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Old 07-18-2012, 02:15 AM
 
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
141 posts, read 304,165 times
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My wife and I are planning a trip to the USA within the next few years (kids will be off our hands..well...at least independent). I know its a little time a way but we want to start planning this for saving/budgeting purposes and to start to put down a few ideas on where we want to go.

Initial intention is to cross from LA to NY via the southern states, then cross into north eastern Canada and head west again, finally ending up back in LA. We estimate that this should take about 3 months (driving) which allows us to spend some time in 'favourite' places? We might also consider a cruise in the Carribbean during our trip.

My question is..is there a website that can provide not only a route planning tool but also link to a budgeting tool so we can keep the two together. For example, the route may be LA to Las Vegas, the miles are calculated and the petrol costs automatically filled in (assuming you put in car size and petrol cost/gallon), average accommodation costs calculated for number of nights, attraction costs or links provided for areas, road tolls, etc.

I can set this up in excel myself but just wondered if there was anything already out there. Might also save quite a bit of research time on the various places.

Also would like some advice on the car. Is it better to buy and resell, or hire. We are thinking hire as if we have an accident it will be easy to replace the car and continue the trip. By owning, dealing with insurance and rebuying to continue the trip could be a hassle.

Any other advice or good websites would be appreciated. Have already got Couchsurfing, Motel 6, www.motel.com, www.booking.com, Road Trip America & www.tripit.com.

Thanks
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:20 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,540 posts, read 9,954,943 times
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I don't know of any such route/budgeting site, though one may exist. To my mind, there are too many variables - type of accommodation, seasonal pricing variations, fluctuating gas (petrol) costs, etc. - to put much faith in a site.

Tripadvisor is a good starting point for information on various places, but it's also easy to go directly to city/state sites for more detailed information. Regarding your route, I'll assume you will consider the season when traveling - if you start in the spring, your route makes sense. If you start in the summer, you might want to reverse it.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:49 AM
 
32,140 posts, read 33,051,397 times
Reputation: 14986
Quote:
Originally Posted by muir33 View Post
My wife and I are planning a trip to the USA within the next few years (kids will be off our hands..well...at least independent). I know its a little time a way but we want to start planning this for saving/budgeting purposes and to start to put down a few ideas on where we want to go.

Initial intention is to cross from LA to NY via the southern states, then cross into north eastern Canada and head west again, finally ending up back in LA. We estimate that this should take about 3 months (driving) which allows us to spend some time in 'favourite' places? We might also consider a cruise in the Carribbean during our trip.

My question is..is there a website that can provide not only a route planning tool but also link to a budgeting tool so we can keep the two together. For example, the route may be LA to Las Vegas, the miles are calculated and the petrol costs automatically filled in (assuming you put in car size and petrol cost/gallon), average accommodation costs calculated for number of nights, attraction costs or links provided for areas, road tolls, etc.

I can set this up in excel myself but just wondered if there was anything already out there. Might also save quite a bit of research time on the various places.

Also would like some advice on the car. Is it better to buy and resell, or hire. We are thinking hire as if we have an accident it will be easy to replace the car and continue the trip. By owning, dealing with insurance and rebuying to continue the trip could be a hassle.

Any other advice or good websites would be appreciated. Have already got Couchsurfing, Motel 6, www.motel.com, www.booking.com, Road Trip America & www.tripit.com.

Thanks
LA as in Louisiana or L.A. as in Los Angeles?
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:34 AM
 
34,455 posts, read 41,569,541 times
Reputation: 29922
Google Maps will give you mileages,
Joining AAA will give you access to their Triptik maps.Planning a road trip? AAA’s Internet TripTik trumps Google Maps | eBusinessBlog.org

Also for route ideas Americas Hiways and Biways is something worth ordering and its free.
I ordered that free fold out map and they sent me a whole book
America's Byways®: National Scenic Byways Online

Also each state has a tourist/travel guide that can be ordered,has maps and a book explaining points of interest for each state

.As this trip may be 10-15,000 miles The car will be very expensive if you rent it and to save on mileage charges you may have to rent a different car every 500 miles. Buying a car may also be problematic if you are buying used it might turn out to be a money pit and at the end of the trip you'll have to hope some one wants to buy it in the time frame allotted.
America is a huge place and you could spend a lifetime of travel and not see it all.
Personally i'd not try to do the whole trip in a car or try to see all of America in one trip., i'd do trains,buses and boats or short hop planes to half a dozen or so well researched locales and rent a car at those destinations, thing with America is its big and although it has many astoundingly beautiful and interesting places it also has thousands of miles of nothing.
Good luck

Last edited by jambo101; 07-18-2012 at 11:44 AM..
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:17 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,693 posts, read 40,062,283 times
Reputation: 23839
FWIW...

I would buy a good used Roadtrek or smiilar class B (Camper van conversion) ~ 15-20mpg. Or a Diesel VW station wagon (50 mpg... save enough in fuel to stay in hotels) . Both have excellent resale. IF you crashed it (very unlikely), you could get a replacement or rent a car for a spell while they fix it). Worth checking into long term rentals too (usually from Car Dealer NOT rental company.)

I second America's Byways®: National Scenic Byways Online (But I don't like their maps, after I ordered the set... I will stick with the website.)

RoadTrip America - Road Trip Planning for North America
I use this Free Campgrounds for RVs
and Roadfood.com - Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
Where We Eat: The Splendid Table

If over age 40 you can join one of the 'hospitality travel clubs'... $10 - $20/ night World wide in SAFE & INTERESTING private homes. We have done it for 25+ yrs. It has made our travels very special. There are some options for under age 40 too. (we started ~ age 30, as homeschool family).

You can save out and modify different routes on sites like mapquest / google maps. I would figure 10,000 to 12,000 miles, and 100 days on the road. (bit short but doable if you don't get carried away (I would not add the cruise. South Pacific is MUCH better for cruises).

I travel for under $30/day including lodging, excluding fuel which is free if you drive a 'grease burner'. My last one cost me $100 (whole 'operational' car). Tho I have got many for under $100. A Chinese restuarant will keep you in fuel.

I have been known to buy a cheap car and leave at the airport when I depart.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
141 posts, read 304,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
LA as in Louisiana or L.A. as in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Mtns of Waynesville,NC & Nokomis, FL
4,248 posts, read 8,102,125 times
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Agree that a several month rental, with that kind of potential mileage will be very expensive...

The 'buy a used car/sell it or toss it at end of trip' is also filled with potential problems: luck with the used car on the trip,
re-sale value 15,000 miles later, (with attendant stone chips, etc.), buying it upon landing in US/tossing it before you depart, etc..

Used RV? If you like slow driving, finding a place to park every night, and the possible exclusion of many wonderful scenic 2 lane black top roads due to the impractical inability of most RVs/Campers to make it at altitude...and, you have to buy that used RV/Camper upon landing and toss it before you return.

The US has literally thousands of miles of extraordinary 'two lane black top roads', and while we did pass hundreds of gagging RVs/campers on some of those roads, it would not be my pick for seeing the US.

Since it sounds like this trip isn't happening until maybe 2014 or later, maybe someone will have some good ideas on the transportation issue.

I would not give 'route' more than a momentary thought at this point of your 'planning'. What you need to do is to figure/rank what you want to see/do during a trip like that, and have plans B&C for almost any locale; it takes longer to 'see stuff' than we think, and there is always something just a couple miles down the road, (not planned), that is worth a few mins to see/do.

We did 35 states, 4 provinces of CDA, 13,000+ miles last summer in our '02 Vette, and we have done several coast to coast motorcycle rides, so this isn't back row bleacher editing.

One site I used pre-trip:

RoadTrip America - Road Trip Planning for North America

It has some very informative info via the Tabs, and some drilling down in the articles, route/trip reports, etc.
Don't recall any cost sheets...the 'Forums' are lots of 'where to go' type of drivel and not esp helpful, imo.

As mentioned, Google maps is very helpful, Trip Advisor, et al.

We used a smart phone with GOOG Maps and GOOG Navigator everyday, all day on our Road Trip. It is good as/better than most NAV systems, imo. A laptop for 'night work'/photo downloading in the motel,, is also very helpful.

And, an idea of your interests, must sees, like to see/do would be helpful in garnering more concrete responses, imo.
GL, mD
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:10 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,658,121 times
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If you buy a car you will need to register and insure it. Most states won't give you a registration without a drivers license in that state, and will not grant a license to a legal non-resident unless they own property in the state.

Some car rentals won't allow you to cross the border into Canada, some charge extra to add a spouse, some won't allow you to take the car out of that geographical area without additional cost, the list goes on.

It seems that before you worry about the cost of hotels and attractions you need to figure out how you'll be getting around, because it's not going to be as simple as you might think.
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Old 07-19-2012, 01:04 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,556 posts, read 62,337,179 times
Reputation: 32336
Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
America is a huge place and you could spend a lifetime of travel and not see it all.
Personally i'd not try to do the whole trip in a car or try to see all of America in one trip.

do trains, buses and boats or short hop planes to half a dozen or so well researched locales
and rent a car at those destinations...
^^This.
You can rent a car too here and there as well.
Actually you'll pretty much have to in a LOT of places.
---

If you have a GOOD friend or perhaps a trusted relative somewhere in the US...
you might find them willing to help you BUY a reliable used car in advance of your arrival
and then to dispose of it after your departure (and return to their town).
The titling, registration and insurance c/would be annoying but it's not at all impossible.

The net cost to buy a small to medium USED station wagon and make it roadsafe
(tires, brakes, etc) less whatever that friend/relative could sell it for after...
plus of course the 15,000 miles worth of fuel and incidentals will still give you the
most destination flexibility at the least overall cost.

And with a wagon you can stuff it full of camping and cooking gear too.
---

If you have such a friend/relative have them send you a good Road Atlas today.
You'll use that regardless of whatever approach you finally choose.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:15 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,693 posts, read 40,062,283 times
Reputation: 23839
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
^^This.
You can rent a car too here and there as well.
Actually you'll pretty much have to in a LOT of places.
..
ACtually with your plan (fairly short trip for entire USA) You might want to consider fly/the rental car drive to a few select destinations. (I would do SF/ LA, SEATTLE, Denver (or SLC), Chicago, New Orleans, Raliegh, NC, Baltimore, Boston).

I get $10/ day rental cars on Priceline, AND often $70 - $100 flights (One way) to many USA destinations.

Southwest airlines often run $69 specials for routes less than 1,000 miles. (can't buy much fuel for that price).

RE RV comments..(motordavid). You will have minimal issues (performance and lodging and resale) with the class B. You can 'Stealth-camp' about anywhere / anytime.
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