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California to Florida

This was my first road trip ever, let alone my first one that I was planning. I have a type "A" personality so the amount of details and word documents I kept for the trip, as you can imagine, was quite extensive. I want to start off by saying that this trip wasn't a "let's watch our money" kind of trip. We were short on time, so we flew from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to San Francisco, CA, rented a car and drove it back home. The flight was cheap, where we stayed was cheap/sometimes free & we only ate out a few times. We actually checked our Yeti and got dry ice and groceries in San Francisco and would refill the ice as needed. We would stop along the way and make sandwiches and breakfast was usually a red bull and pop tart (especially since this trip was a very on the go, no time to rest, trip). So, at this point, it all sounds pretty doable, right? Well, the one-way rental really was where the money was. Yes rentals are cheap, but when returning it to a different location there is an insane fee. We looked into several other options, but were short on time and this was the easiest, so we decided to just go with it and spend more time looking into cheaper options next time. ADVICE: TRY RETURNING YOUR RENTAL CAR TO THE SAME LOCATION OR LOOK INTO RENTING AN RV
How I Planned the Trip:
I heard about the Roadtrippers app through a friend and immediately started pinpointing places my boyfriend and I wanted to go. After getting our time off of work we knew how many days we were able to play with so that helped us figure out how many stops we could make/which ones we needed to weed out. 
Once we knew a rough draft of the cities we were going to hit, I headed to Pinterest and Instagram to see what cool areas/food spots I could find.
I then began putting together a word document that had a break down of each day. This included the dates, what we would do during that day/night, where we would stop to sleep and time frames to stay on track. Starting with what time we landed and giving ourselves an extra hour or two to get luggage/pick up the rental, I began breaking down driving time and arrival times to each location. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS LIKE A NIGHTMARE TO HAVE TO FOLLOW AN ITINERARY, but it helped so much with us being able to see everything within the window of time that we had.
My next step after having a rough draft of each day was to start keeping notes on each location. For example, sometimes we camped and after doing a lot of research we had to actually book the campsites in advanced and have a confirmation number/voucher to be able to even get in the campsite area. As I came across articles and forums where people discussed their experiences and what they recommend I would keep notes. This is also a good idea if you are wanting to do specific hikes within a national park. It allows you to see the best location to stay, so you're not on the opposite side of the park when it's time to explore. I also looked at things like sunrise/sunset times and where people recommended to see them. 

Below is a screenshot of the app after I pinned the main stops and cities. If you want to be able to view it and see notes that were made you can click the orange button below.

This app also:

  •  shows total time driving

  •  gives you gas estimates, once you put in the type of car you're driving

  •  lets you keep notes on each spot (if you don't want to make an entire document like me)


Click The Map To Pin It

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