USA Trip Planning Questions - (optimal road trip across the U.S)

Discussion in 'Americas' started by kiran, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    All of this is every good advice.
    Give yourself the time. Stop when you want for as long as you want, knowing that there is no place you have to be.
    Someplaces you will spend 10 mins at and others you may spend 4 hours. If you have to be at X hotel/campground by a certian time....puts a big hitch in your plans.
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  2. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    While I agree generally on traveling without reservations, if you want to stay anywhere near Yellowstone National Park, you should start looking several days in advance as all rooms in the area are booked. It's probably the same close to other really popular national parks.
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  3. Rippin209

    Rippin209 Long timer

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    Within a hour of national park as awesome as yellowstone I imagine the prices are pretty high as well, I'm closer to Yosemite and the prices for hotels are just as much as Pismo or Monterey
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  4. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    I may stop at places like Yellowstone or Yosemite but I never plan on stay in them. I always find better/cheapers places down the road a hour or 2
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  5. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    +1 to Da Monk45

    Bit of an example from last night . Scooting along in north Michigan on I 75 I decided to stop for the night at Lake Burt State Park campground $37 !!!!!!! This was in the touristy north woodsy district, I dread to think what the hotels ask here.
    A few hours south I KNOW , and have stayed at a Motel6 for the SAME. price earlier this year at Midland .
    Weigh your options ,it is not uncommon to find fancy campgrounds priced higher than budget motels with a discount coupon.

    Kiran I mentioned the motel discount coupons , look them up on the net and you can also print coupons from


    GREEN ( dominant colour of book)
    www.hotel coupons.com

    RED
    www.travelcoupons.com

    WHITE
    www.freehotelcoupons.com

    As for showers at campground , it appears the Michigan State Park does not accept folks only to let them use showers.
    Commercial campgrounds are more likely to accept the added income , I know KOA does.
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  6. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    I am yet to get hang of money matters in states, especially relativity of expensive/cheap...you get one gallon of gas for cost of two newspapers...in india i can buy 25 newspapers for a gallon (anywhere in the country). hotel prices typically do not vary too unless I am in major cities or tourist places. I have stayed in a 4 floor hotel for USD5 but typically I can get a decent clean room for USD15-25 in most cases...a swanky place would cost USD50 onwards. in tucson the motels around the city advertised USD40 a night but around boston same was 80 or more in earlier trip.

    That's another thing I need to understand is inflation...I was here in 2006 and that time gas prices in east coast were USD3+. in 2016 I see it around USD2!

    I have budgeted USD100 per day on an average for total trip for all expenses over two months (bike apart)...hence each day that I spend less adds more to my available time. As I move along I should be able to judge the relativity better. that's one of the 'merican thing i wish to learn on this trip.

    thanks!
    do I need to PRINT them physically?
  7. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    I've posted this before, but let me stress it: It is HARD WORK to motorcycle travel in the US, using hotels, for a $100/day. To do so, you'll constantly have to do without things like a big meal, refreshing drinks, purchases like batteries or memory cards, etc. Heck, in many places you can't even find a clean hotel room for $100. To travel on your budget, you need to seriously consider camping (and you need to find affordable camping equipment) or couch surfing, or tent space map, etc. I want you to have a wonderful trip seeing the US, and it's no fun to find you're broke.
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  8. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I agree with boatpuller. The $40 you see in Tucson is a 'come on price'...when you try to get a room it's more like $65. We used to travel looking for $40 rooms, but they are few and far between anymore. Now you have to think $75. As you see a campground can cost $37! IF you are flexible AND STOP EARLY you will of course have more time to 'shop around'...but it is HARD WORK as boatpuller says. There are exceptions and your experience may vary. I'm sure someone will come on with $40 rooms 'all over the place'..if they do make note of the places and go there. Chances are they won't be too close to anything you want to see....again there are exceptions (you have to say this on ADV or someone will jump all over your post). It may or may not be an advantage to you but from my non scientific survey it seems 90% of the motels in the USA are run by people from India. Also a good portion of over the road truck drivers are from India and therefore you see an infrastructure tailored to them, including Indian restaurants close to the motel. I realize you are looking for the 'USA exoerience' but staying in lower cost motels will involve you interacting with people from India.
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  9. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    " Printing" the coupons is actually beyond the scope of my very limited computer ability, but that is what the sites say .
    I rely on the actual paper booklets when available and cut out the actual coupons. I have never tried the method of copying a picture of the coupon on my iPhone and then taking that into the motel to show at the check - in. I shall have to try it sometime soon .

    Take care to read the fine print and exceptions on the coupons . The special price applies only if rooms are " available" . They may keep only a few rooms that actually are for coupon clippers and when full that is the end . Also the special may apply NOT. on weekends or during " special events" on the city . For example " spring break" is considered a special event because monied college kids flock in.
    Often the coupon price is actually the regular posted room price but that is lower than the fancier hotels in the same area , so it gets attention , draws in interested clients .


    For comparison to the campground I took last night I asked the prices at a not- ostentatious hotel in nearby Mackinaw City , MI.
    Knights Inn wanted $69.95US for a room for one during the time Monday through Thursday and $79.95 ( corrected typo ) for the weekend nights.A family of three would need to pay $80/$120 for those time slots. This is a very touristy place .
    If one is in more industrial areas or " economically depressed " or " plain " areas prices are usually lower in SOME PARTS of the country. Some regions are always high priced to cater to the generally wealthier population or because the very high local tax loads force prices up to cover costs.
    It all has to do with supply and demand - they supply the rooms and demand what the market will bear .
    Certain hotel groupings aim at the upper -crusty kind of folk to provide a stroking for the vanity. Lots of business travellers use them and have expense accounts and get tax reductions for their cost so they really don't care about price .Thus you see a lot of modern " big box" hotels which suck the business travellers away from the older small motels which then begin to get abandoned .
    Very few hotel chains are actually much interested in just providing plain affordable shelter for travellers .
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  10. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Also, let me add: The advertised hotel price is BEFORE taxes and fees are added. Those may increase your cost 15-25%, or more. You see, local governments have learned they can tax out-of-town visitors sleeping in hotels, and not lose any votes from the locals, because locals never sleep in the local hotels with the very high taxes.
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  11. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Rooms cost also relies upon labor cost. If it's a family run place often the labor is low priced or 'free'.
    We rent rooms, it's no picnic changing the bed and doing sheets/towel laundry and cleaning the bedroom and bathroom...EVERY day between 11am and 3pm. Also to come to the room and find the door open and the air conditioning on full, all lights on, even....believe it or not the shower running! It's pretty hard for an owner to want to do this for $40.
  12. kiran

    kiran CommuTourer

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    thanks again and your concern is much appreciated.
    I cant ignore importance of camping and need to get used to that as fast as possible. My order of options is Couchsurfing, camping, tentspace, airbnb, motel and worst - hotel.
    I have reserve funds to cover and hoping that I dont have to use it. lets see how it goes.
  13. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Using that approach, you should be able to get a low cost hotel now and then. Any time you can find Forest Service or BLM land campgrounds, there is a very good chance for finding a free space. The free spaces typically do not have showers and restrooms though.
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  14. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    Kiran,
    Do you have experience camping?
    Are you comfortable camping?

    I have some stuff you can use if you need it. I am like the others I want you to have a good time here in the us. If loaning some gear helps...I can do that.
    It could be shipped to Tuckers and ready when you get there.
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  15. Rippin209

    Rippin209 Long timer

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    I think $20 for gas for your motorcycle and $25 for food a day would be a good place to start. I personally would spend more on food. If I could take that much time off of work I would love to explore the country, sounds like it's going to be a very rewarding adventure
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  16. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    at $20 a day for gas that would be about 10 gallons
    10 gallons at 40 mpg would be
    400 miles per day
    give or take a few.
  17. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    We do way less than $25 on food for two, more like $10. BUT if we eat out $25 is not uncommon.
    Yes, I am available and happy to receive goods for Kiran. It's a big adventure for him and very costly...a trip of a lifetime. Quite a gutsy trip too. Good for him. I do know he needs a tire air pump and the OEM tools are on the bike, which means not much. There is no front axle removal do-dad, no feeler gauges, no oil filter removal do-dad.
    Over the last couple of years I have dispersed all of my extra tools and stuff to International travelers, so don't have much to offer.
  18. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Yes, around two tanks on this year BMW R1200GS. That's 8 hours in the saddle on average. On our two 1200's if we are running steady we stop every two hours for fresh gas, drink and leg stretch/bathroom. The gas light comes on after 2 hours at 75 mph. I have the same bike as Kiran.
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  19. Rippin209

    Rippin209 Long timer

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    you sound like a great guy Tuckers. So how do you propose $10 a day for food? I live in central California gas is $2.80 or so and I'll spend $10 getting lunch for myself
  20. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Colleen and James are vegetarian. We fix our own food on the road. Oatmeal/coffee/tea breakfast. Peanut butter and jelly on tortilla lunch. Pasta/veg/packet camp food for dinner. Our drinks tally is higher than our food! For a treat we will get a 12" Subway each...$12. We very rarely go in restaurants. We do like Taco Bell and Del Taco for a pleasing cheap pick me up. (Under $1 menu). We buy apples and bananas. We carry nuts. We carry coffee and tea. Four cups of coffee a day can ding you $10 if you buy it from a place! The average $10 food budget is in addition to what we have packed, which is minimal cost. We figure we eat/drink if we stay home, so food doesn't enter in to our budget. We carry a bottle of booze and generally buy cold beer....not included in food budget! We'd loose weight on a trip if we didn't drink....at least that's our excuse (as if we needed one).
    We hate to pay $78 to sleep 8 hours and take a shower...it's bad enough $38 camp ground to do the same thing. We try to 'visit' as many relatives and friends as we can, but it can cost you more as people want to go out and eat to celebrate! No room cost though.
    We are SUPER happy with our tent sleeping as long as it's not raining when putting it up or taking it down. We have actually come to the term 'sleeping in a tent' rather than 'camping'. We will sleep in a friends yard or a busy campground. Most campgrounds close to the highway ought to be called something else....it's hardly camping. You can get ice cream and miniature golf at KOA!
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