Best Car for Long Term Traveling?

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11. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 3101 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

How much do you intend to spend on a car for this year long odyssey? Just you and no one else? No boyfriend or family member?

Some old cheap cars might be okay around your hometown where when they break down you have a known repair facility you can trust or friends or relatives to help out. On the road a cheapie vehicle can cost a lot when you need service in a remote location.

Unless I am reading your profile wrong you are a 16 year old female. So, is it just you and your car traveling all over the US? No school? No job? You must have some huge pile of money available! If older, and with schooling out of the way and sufficient spending money available - go for it! But school first!

Are you traveling with a boyfriend?? Boyfriends come and go all the time. Don't quit school and run away with some guy! Especially not with a guy with no job and no money!

Sleeping on the side of the road is not particularly safe even for male adults who might be able to defend themselves better than a lone young female.

  • * Car. I have had very good luck with Toyota products. Last 2 were Toyota Rav 4's bought new. This last car I thought would outlast me but after over 14 years I am outliving the car!! Now I have to decide on buying another car or spending money for an old vehicle to keep it running by replacing parts that finally began to wear out over time and where there is no real payback if I traded it in! Rav 4, Toyota very reliable! Took rear seats out just after buying it and it has been a mini van for all the time. About 5 feet between seat back and hatch door. A makeshift bunk would fit in the back if you scrunch up.

Come on back.

12. Posted by Dymphna (Respected Member 223 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

The list of sites given by road are good, but I would add that many fishing accesses, (at least in Montana) do allow overnight camping at a small fee.

If you are going to do a year long trip, you might want to consider getting something all-wheel-drive. This will cut back on gas mileage, but you will bless the day you chose it on icy roads. I like my Traverse, lots of room. But you might try an Equinox, which is a smaller version and would get better gas mileage. They are a tad wider than most vehicles, so they are less likely to tip and have a high safety rating so it brings down the cost of insurance. I am an odd ball. I hate my Toyota!

13. Posted by zariel.rose (Inactive 5 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Quoting goodfish

Kaeylee, the text behind your name on your profile is " ( 16 / Female )". Does that 16 refer to your age?

A couple of comments, as I see you've also posted your query on Thorn Tree:

If you are indeed a 16 -17 year-old female traveling solo (you don't say exactly WHEN you plan to take this trip), I'll question the wisdom and safety of car-camping just any old place. From your TT thread:

I can't afford to always pay to stay in expensive campgrounds (National Parks), especially if I'm staying for multiple days. As for my plans, I'm going to try to hit as many National Parks/National Forests/Points of Interests as cheap and efficient as possible.

Understand that if you intend to stay IN a National Park/Monument, you will be required to stay in a designated, fee-based campground. Period. While it is possible to rough camp in the National Forests, those could be a long drive from where you WANT to be, you must be completely self-contained, camp without, say, without a fire, restroom or water, and without 'friendly' neighbors as well.

Camping in a van is also a different animal that in a car. Street camping is widely illegal but it would be easier to get away with in a van or van-type than a standard car. Your age could very likely be an additional complication if you are a minor.

According to your profile, you've recently returned from a trip to the Utah parks. Can you tell us a little about that trip? Did you go alone? Where/how did you stay? What did you do in the parks?

Why would my age be a problem? I will be 18 once I leave for my trip. As for Utah, I was with my dad and we spent half the days sleeping in our rental car as the weather was cold, wet, and windy. We slept in the car mostly on Hole-in-the-Rock road in Grand Staircase. I found it was a lot easier rather than attempting to set up a tent in the weather condition. It also saved us time because we did not have to pack the tent and find someplace to put it in the car (we simply shoved our sleeping bags into the backseat). Honestly, I found the car more comfortable and warm than the tent. We did a ton of day hikes in Arches NP, Canyonlands (the Needles) NP, Grand Staircase, and Zion NP. We also did a short repelling tour in Moab.

14. Posted by zariel.rose (Inactive 5 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Quoting karazyal

How much do you intend to spend on a car for this year long odyssey? Just you and no one else? No boyfriend or family member?

Some old cheap cars might be okay around your hometown where when they break down you have a known repair facility you can trust or friends or relatives to help out. On the road a cheapie vehicle can cost a lot when you need service in a remote location.

Unless I am reading your profile wrong you are a 16 year old female. So, is it just you and your car traveling all over the US? No school? No job? You must have some huge pile of money available! If older, and with schooling out of the way and sufficient spending money available - go for it! But school first!

Are you traveling with a boyfriend?? Boyfriends come and go all the time. Don't quit school and run away with some guy! Especially not with a guy with no job and no money!

Sleeping on the side of the road is not particularly safe even for male adults who might be able to defend themselves better than a lone young female.

  • * Car. I have had very good luck with Toyota products. Last 2 were Toyota Rav 4's bought new. This last car I thought would outlast me but after over 14 years I am outliving the car!! Now I have to decide on buying another car or spending money for an old vehicle to keep it running by replacing parts that finally began to wear out over time and where there is no real payback if I traded it in! Rav 4, Toyota very reliable! Took rear seats out just after buying it and it has been a mini van for all the time. About 5 feet between seat back and hatch door. A makeshift bunk would fit in the back if you scrunch up.

Come on back.

Yes, it would be just me on this trip, no boyfriend or family member. My plan is to graduate high school, take a gap year, and travel BEFORE college (not sure what major I want so I'm hoping the trip may lead to some ideas). As for sleeping on the road, I'm going to be as safe as possible and will try to stay away from shady areas/places as much as possible. Thank you for the information!

15. Posted by zariel.rose (Inactive 5 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Dymphna

The list of sites given by road are good, but I would add that many fishing accesses, (at least in Montana) do allow overnight camping at a small fee.

If you are going to do a year long trip, you might want to consider getting something all-wheel-drive. This will cut back on gas mileage, but you will bless the day you chose it on icy roads. I like my Traverse, lots of room. But you might try an Equinox, which is a smaller version and would get better gas mileage. They are a tad wider than most vehicles, so they are less likely to tip and have a high safety rating so it brings down the cost of insurance. I am an odd ball. I hate my Toyota!

Thank you for the info! I will check those out! :D

16. Posted by Dymphna (Respected Member 223 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Being alone and young, you are going to want to invest in a good taser or some form of protection. Not all tasers are worth buying and will just make the attacker mad. Get some advise on which ones are effective from a police officer or knowledgeable person. Then keep it where you can get to it. It is very different being with your dad and being alone. You will be far more vulnerable.

17. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2288 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I've got to agree with the people warning you. That's a dangerous country you're planning on travelling in, with a high level of violence. If you were planning on doing the same somewhere safer like New Zealand or Scotland I'd say take your chances.

18. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Dymphna

invest in a good taser

If you're staying in national parks some bear spray wouldn't be a bad idea as well, and could be useful in an urban environment as well .

19. Posted by Dymphna (Respected Member 223 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Andrew Mack

Quoting Dymphna

invest in a good taser

If you're staying in national parks some bear spray wouldn't be a bad idea as well, and could be useful in an urban environment as well .

I agree. Just watch expiration dates when purchasing, it does go bad.

20. Posted by goodfish (Full Member 235 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I've got to agree with the people warning you. That's a dangerous country you're planning on travelling in, with a high level of violence. If you were planning on doing the same somewhere safer like New Zealand or Scotland I'd say take your chances.

Well, considering that a 22 year-old female backpacker was murdered last month in New Zealand, I don't know as the country the OP will be traveling is necessarily more dangerous?

Kaeylee, it was helpful to know that you're planning this trip after you turn 18.

Chances are fewer than more than anything terrible will happen to you but you ARE taking more chances if you intend to car-camp in dispersed camping areas, rest stops, etc. You would be taking more chances in an open car, versus a more enclosed van/SUV, where you and your gear are clearly visible. Oh, and bear safety involves more than spray: you need to know about storing food or anything else with an attractive scent up on ropes or in bear canisters. Depends on the park.

Subaru is a pretty popular brand for adventure-travel vehicles.

Interesting that you did Hole-In-the-Rock as it's often impassable if conditions are wet (and requires a free permit for overnight camping). That's another thing to consider with your vehicle? It's not just what you might be able to bunk in but what has high enough clearance to get you over some challenging terrain. After recent rainfall, the only way we were able to manage Notom-Bullfrog/Muley Twist, the 30 miles of dirt to the Canyonlands unit of Horseshoe Canyon, an unexpected detour on hunting roads over the La Sals, etc. was with a 4X4, 4 WD high-clearance vehicle.

Additionally, you're going to want to consider insurance costs for an 18 year-old driver; they vary per type.

Glad you made it to Needles as that one has some of my fave hiking in the Southwest. Very cool, eh? :O)

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Jan-2019, at 16:48 by goodfish ]