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11. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 9y

Quoting Scollins

I trust these boys pretty much completely. They've grown up together and they are honor students and involved in many things. I just worry about the things that might happen beyond their control. Things that kids of course don't think of...other drivers, getting into the wrong part of town, ect. How long should a trip like this take? They are thinking they will be back in 17 days.

I think you hit on the key words in your post: the things that might happen beyond their control. As you have stated, they are smart boys and have a long history together. Even as adults, "the things" are also somewhat out of our control. It's the chance we take getting behind the wheel and visiting unknown places. Maybe thinking of this as a trial run for their departure off to college may help ease the anxiety. Some day in the not to distant future, I'm sure all of them will be taking that trip.

As far as their time line - it depends on their itinerary. If they plan to stick to the interstates all the way with stops in the highlight areas (such as the Grand Canyon, etc.), then 17 days may not be that far off. If they plan to take state highways and make several stops, that may not be enough.

Granted, these were men in their 50s, but my husband's cousin and 2 friends did the old Route 66 roadtrip last year - Chicago - LA - Chicago. They gave themselves 21 days and said they did not rush it. Again, not quite the same, but NY - LA - NY can be done in 17 days if they don't dwaddle along the way. (Don't ask me where I pulled that word from...)

One thing I do recommend that may also help ease some of your concern - either you or your son contact the local state highway patrol office. Almost every state patrol has a 2 or 3 digit emergency number. Your local office should be able to tell you those numbers for the states your son will be traveling through. In most states, there will also be highway signs on the interstate, but not necessarily on local highways, with that state's number too. Either have the boys key them into their cell phones or make a written list to keep handy. (Example: Illinois' is *99 - not 911.)

12. Posted by s_hoot (Respected Member 497 posts) 9y

yeah, plan your itinerary very carefully, i have drivin cross country a few times and about to do it again in a few weeks. there is a lot of boring countryside out there and if not planned right you could do a lot of driving through places you wouldnt even want to stay in. some good advice, dont ever pick the very first motel/hotel you see when coming off the highway into a new city, i made that mistake once and wont do it again. a cheap motel, is most of the time, a cheap motel, and sometimes still wont be even close to what you paid for it.

13. Posted by Scollins (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

This is all great advice. It's putting my mind at ease. Keep it coming. Anything else these guys need to know? They seem to be planning this trip around a few of the National Parks. And they will be camping alot of the time to save on cost. I have heard that you need to make reservations to stay months in advance.

14. Posted by Eric19382 (Budding Member 24 posts) 9y

A cross-country trip is a great chance for your son and his friends to discover who they really are, and the lessons they learn on this trip will serve them well later in life. These boys aren’t fools; sure they might make a few mistakes, but they won’t be harmful ones.
You’ve taught your son well; now it’s time for him to teach himself. Let he and his friends plan the entire trip themselves. It will be a wonderful self-confidence builder for him, and by staying out of the process you’ll show your son that you have confidence in him, which is the best thing a parent can do for her child.

15. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 9y

Quoting Scollins

This is all great advice. It's putting my mind at ease. Keep it coming. Anything else these guys need to know? They seem to be planning this trip around a few of the National Parks. And they will be camping alot of the time to save on cost. I have heard that you need to make reservations to stay months in advance.

Most state and national parks do require reservations between Memorial and Labor Day holidays. The National Park Service has a page (see link below) with all of the National Parks and links to them. They can make reservations through the individual park sites. As for state parks, each state should have a listing through their online service to do the same. All the site links should give their dates of operations also. (Some parks do not allow camping until after "X" date so it's good to check those out soon.) A Google search for parks in each state will give them lots of info.

National Park Listing

When it comes to camping, a friend and I did a roadtrip from Illinois to N. Carolina last March. We made sure to have state maps with us as they also showed the state parks. We googled private campgrounds (before we left) for those areas where the state parks were not allowing camping that early in the year. We actually found really nice ones for little money. We called ahead when possible, but we also found local residents knew the best ones. They would even draw us maps to get to the campgrounds.

I also agree with Eric19382. You hold your son in high regard and you are going to have to trust he has learned his lessons well enough to do this trip. You must think him capable or you wouldn't even consider letting him go. As long as the boys do their "due diligence" before they leave, they will be fine.

16. Posted by daphnemaia (Full Member 155 posts) 9y

i'm an asian girl, and my parents have allowed me to travel on my own or with friends since i was 18. i don't think the boys will have alot of problems. it's inevitable that you get worried - i understand that completely - but just let them know that u want them to call u everyday or every 2 days, to check in.

they'll be fine. :) Take care of urself and don't worry too much!

17. Posted by Stodney (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y

when i was 18 i moved to vicenza, italy....i traveled all around europe by myself or with small groups of friends im sure your boys will be fine on their own. many of the lessons i have learned in life i learned while on these trips. it will be a great experience

18. Posted by KoalaGirl (Travel Guru 307 posts) 9y

I also took off from Australia when I was 18 with just a back pack, plane ticket and a head full of dreams... needless to say my parents were more than just a little freaked out!

Your son will be fine. As you said you trust him and you know he's a responsible person. The experience will be amazing and he'll not only find out more about himself, but have memories of it for life.

For me, one of the greatest things I learnt by going when I did, was that despite my parents being totally freaked out and panicking about all the horrible things that might happen to me whilst I'm on the other side of the world, they still trusted me and believed in me enough to let me go. That knowledge in itself brough me closer to my parents - something I value to this day.

19. Posted by NantesFC (Respected Member 531 posts) 9y

There's nothing more I can really say that hasn't been said by the previous posters. Think of it this way, would you really want to ruin your son's plans after graduation? 12 years of hard work warrants some time to celebrate afterwards. They even decided to take more of an educational trip as well which isn't common with HS graduates nowadays.

20. Posted by Ardy (Full Member 62 posts) 9y

I moved out of home at 17 (new zealand) and moved alone overseas at 19. For your own piece of mind, another girlfriend and I drove and camped across America (DC to OR) last summer (took two weeks). I found America very safe, as safe as safe can be that is (just be smart). I don't quiet understand what you would be nervous of, if you trust your son everything will be fine. They sound like smart boys. Its all part of growing up... I did the same thing, it was the best decision!

[ Edit: Edited on Apr 15, 2007, at 8:23 PM by Ardy ]

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