Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: First Time

  1. #1
    sterph Guest

    Default First Time

    A couple of my friends and I decided to plan a senior trip road trip for spring break this year. We are all high school seniors who have never done this before and would appreciate any advice you can give us.

    We have nine days to go from Portland, OR to San Diego, CA and back again. As cheaply as possible.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Basics

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forum.

    The basic way to travel cheaply is to camp out and prepare many of your own meals. For some more on traveling on a tight budget check out these ideas from a couple of our regular contributors. Also be sure to follow the links to related threads at the bottom of this page, and look into the RoadTrip Planning section. Splitting the costs will also help, but try to be realistic in your planning and leave a margin for emergencies and some 'mad money'.

    Nine days is time enough to explore some of the beauty of the coast and mountains along the way. You could make the trip one-way in as little as two days if you didn't stop anywhere. Be sure to look into state parks and national forests (generally free or very low admission) and national parks as well as the night life in various towns.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    Your trip is do-able in the time you have, and should be a lot of fun. Like AZBuck said, eating out of a cooler and camping will keep your costs down.

    If I were you, I'd go south via the coastal highways. Very scenic and fun to drive. Lots to see and do.

    I'd then zip home via I-5. Plan 2 days for this part. This gives you 7 days for the trip down. Plenty of time to meander, explore, and check out things that interest you along the way.

    I would budget $25/night for campgrounds. National, state, and county parks will typically be less than that but it can be harder to find a spot in them. So, if you end up staying in commercial campgrounds, you might end up spending about this much each night. If you find cheaper accomodations, you can save some of the excess toward a hotel for a night in the city or put that excess into your play money pot.

    If you have room in your vehicle to load up a bit on food/drink before you leave home, raiding the pantry (with your parents' permission, of course) will give you a good start on your food. Sandwich stuff, granola and/or protein bars, cheese, fruit, etc. travel well. Some can go in a cooler, some in a box. Take plastic utensils, paper bowls, a knife, and a can opener. I like cereal in the morning sometimes. You can buy smaller containers of milk and it will keep in a cooler for a couple of days. If you want some hot meals, you can swing into McDonald's for their $1 menu to get some cheap, hot eats. And buy your pop/water by the case to keep those costs down.

    Hope this helps a bit. Have a great trip.

  4. #4
    sterph Guest


    Thanks! I'll keep all of this in mind as we continue planning.

    Anything other advice on just about anything would be great to. Wo. Tips for convincing the parents (we have a few over-protective ones to condend with) or fun sites to see along the way?

    After talking it over with my friends, we decided we're more into it for the drive than the destination. If we don't get all the way to San Diego, no big deal, so long as we have fun on the way.

    We hadn't really considered camping before. Thanks for the tip!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default The Parents

    Hmm - Well I routinely take 3,000 + mile road trips every summer with my sister. I'm 27 and she's 20. We've never had any real problems (well - except for a minor fight with a guy over gas in Arizona {long story}). We've done 4 trips so far and have had a blast. Promise them you'll call every time you stop and get gas, etc and let them know your general route and plans ahead of time. It took some talking to my parents to get them to let me take my 16 yo sister on our first trip, but it was well worth it.

  6. #6


    Another thing to do that might help ease the "overprotective" parents is to let them know you will be using a buddy system in just about everything you do on the trip. You can never be too safe on a trip in "uncharted territory".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula


    I might suggest trying for a couple of short weekend trips away from home first. If your parents are convinced that you're responsible enough for 1-2 nights away from home, then they'll probably feel better about the longer 9 day trip.

    As a parent, that's how I did it with my kids when they got old enough for roadtrips. Actually, the progression was like this: first, we went off without them for short overnight trips to see if they could handle being home along without any problems. Once we saw they could do this, then we would let them go for overnight trips to friends who live out of town. Once they did this OK, we allowed longer Friday night-Sunday trips. If they did this well, they got to go for several days. Only after this did we start allowing the longer 5-10 day trips they have done.

    My 19 year old is flying to NYC this weekend for a week in the Big Apple with a friend to see some shows on Broadway. Because he has done roadtrips closer to home, I'm comfortable with him doing this. Also, he has gone on a few trips with school and church groups. A week in Washington, DC., a week doing a mission trip in Mexico, and a week in Disneyland. But, as a mom, I would never have let him go to NYC without those other trips without me or his dad along, without those other trips under his belt.

    Hope this makes sense and gives you some ideas on how to appease concerned parents.

    Oh, a few other ideas:
    * make sure there are at least one or two working cellphones so your parents can contact you to check on your status
    * have a game plan for emergencies, like a AAA membership or some extra money set aside for emergencies, etc.
    * discuss with your parents how you will plan emergencies
    * discuss with your parents how you will ensure your personal safety. things like the buddy system when you go places, assuring them you won't go off to somebody's house or party that you don't know, etc.
    * come up with an itinerary and even reservations at places where you will be spending the night so they know where you will be each day. If the plan changes, assure them you will let them know.

    Yes, I'm a mom but I understand the need for kids to spread their wings, experience adventure, and learn to deal with the real world on their own. Your parents just have your best interest in mind.

Similar Threads

  1. The Art of the Blitz Drive
    By PNW Judy in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 05-12-2006, 10:48 AM
  2. SFO to Glacier NP
    By cool in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 06-21-2005, 11:38 PM
  3. Major League Baseball Roadtrip
    By fredbow in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05-27-2005, 12:58 PM
  4. Oregon to California for First Time with Kids
    By Daisy in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-27-2004, 08:44 PM
  5. Backpacking for the first time
    By Matt Wiggall (Don't laugh) in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-17-2003, 07:30 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts