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Pre-College Road Trip

leftwingedleftwinged Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
edited November 2013 in Parent Cafe
My friend and I are planning a road trip for next summer. We're putting together a power point presentation for our parents to show them that we have actually thought everything through. I'm currently 17 but I will be 18 and my best friend will be 17 by the time the trip rolls around. (she was born right on the cut off date). My friend and I are both responsible teenagers and we haven't given our parents much reason not to trust us. We get good grades and we pick the right kind of people to hang out with. I'd give us both a solid 8 out of 10 on the "How Well Behaved is Your Child? Scale."

We plan to go to California and come back but we won't be without help along the way. We both live in Atlanta so we'll be stopping off at my grandmother's in Missouri for a day or two on the way to California (resting up before the huge drive west). When we get to Cali, I have some close friends that we can rely on if we find ourselves in a tough spot. Then we plan to stop through the Grand and Antelope Canyons on the way back. After camping out at one of the public campgrounds, we'll meet up with some of my friend's family who live in Texas. After a few days there (to catch up on sleep in a real bed), we'll travel through New Orleans, PCB and then back up to Atlanta through Savannah. We know it's a long trip and we've calculated the miles (not including local driving) as well as gas and how much we'll be spending on lodging and food. We're also going to take two other friends with us, so we won't be just us two going out into the wild west by ourselves.

Our problem isn't so much about telling them about the trip as much as it is convincing them to let us go. I've already come up with four major reasons that they'll say no, but I'm sure that they could come up with more just because parents are devious in that way.
What we have so far is:

It's too far.
My mother is letting me travel to another continent to visit a friend that we have never met before by myself... I don't really understand why she wouldn't let me traverse the country with three close friends. And my friend's parents are always encouraging her to expand her horizons and to see the world.

We need more life experience before we make this trip.
The whole point of going on this trip is so that we can gain a life experience. It's like letting your kid go to school on their first day of kindergarten. You don't know if your child will like the teacher or whether or not the teacher will take care of your child like you would and you know that if your son/daughter gets hurt (like a scraped knee) you won't be there to help them out. But you know that you have to let your kid go at some point and that they'll have fun making new friends and learning the difference between red and blue and that it's going to be an amazing learning experience. That's why it's worth it. That's why we want to go on this trip. Because we want to see and experience the world (or America) for ourselves.

We're too young.
When will ever stop being too young to do things? "You’re too young to go on a road trip. You’re too young to be in love. You’re too young to be married. You’re too young to have kids. You’re too young to let your ambitions go." You might as well say we’re too young to live our lives! o_o We are young, but we're not stupid and we surely aren't unaware of what it means to live. So let us.

There are dangerous people on the road.
There isn't much we can say to defend this point. But my friend and I are responsible and trustworthy and we're smart and quick thinkers. We're just asking that our parents trust us at this point. That they'll trust that we'll make good decisions and that they trust that we are the responsible young people that they know us to be. Life is always going to be full of danger, but that doesn't stop us from getting out of bed. You don't know if a car is going to rush around the corner as you step onto the crosswalk but that doesn't mean you don't cross the street. You look right and left and then look right and left again and after you've done the best you can to make sure the road is clear, you cross it.

So those are our four points. We need a few more and that's where you guys come in. :) And maybe a few tips on how to save money or other ways to stay safe. My friend and I have been planning this trip since we were 15/16. We have to do everything in our power to show our parents that we can do this and that even in spite of not knowing what's it's really going to be like, we still want to go. We haven't asked any other friends to go along with us yet though because we need our parents to take the bite first.

Any help or specific criticisms will be greatly appreciated. :)
Post edited by leftwinged on

Replies to: Pre-College Road Trip

  • bopperbopper Registered User Posts: 8,423 Senior Member
    How would you pay for this?
    Where would you be staying? (campsites? friends?)
    What would you do if your car broke down?
    How much driving do you plan to do a day?
    How much driving experience do you and your friend have?
    What car would you be using?
    How often would you check in?
    Can you give your parents a detailed itinerary?
    Will you have all your hotels booked before you go? What would you do if you got off schedule?
    Will hotels/campsites allow 18 year olds to check in?
  • southbelsouthbel Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    It's so different nowadays. When I was looking at colleges, my friend and I jumped in my car and went. My parents didn't care in the least. I already had a gas card and a credit card provided by them. As far as they were concerned, that's all I needed. However, now you have a lot more facing you in terms of safety and even the ability to get a hotel room.

    Something you need to make sure about - if you must, can you even rent a hotel room? A lot of them have age restrictions. What about if you break down on the road, etc. Do you have AAA to handle these scenarios?

    It's fine to say you'll be camping but is that a safe enough option and what if the weather doesn't cooperate?

    As a parent, I don't know if I would let my child do this.
  • bopperbopper Registered User Posts: 8,423 Senior Member
    Honestly if this were me, I would say no to doing this the summer after senior year of high school. I would say wait a year...
    A) You will have gained independence and will have learned more about taking care of yourself and planning for your self
    B) Your parents would be used to you being gone
  • leftwingedleftwinged Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thanks so much more the quick replies. This has helped a ton! :)
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 65,163 Senior Member
    How long is this trip going to be? Our kids did some traveling with an organized group after HS graduation but not for an extended period of time. Both had summer jobs...or they wouldn't have had a penny of spending money for their freshman year of college.

    I did a cross country trip like the one you are talking about but I did it after I got my masters degree...and I was self supporting.

    How ARE you planning to pay for this trip?
  • boysx3boysx3 Registered User Posts: 5,164 Senior Member
    My son just did a cross country trip like this, post college graduation. It was fun but a very big proposition.

    He and his friends were frugal, camping most nights of the 5 weeks of the trip but it cost a lot more than they planned

    Many hotels and motels will not accommodate guests under 21. Same with many campsites

    Also make sure you have AAA. A bird we into their engine grill and caused big problems
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 65,163 Senior Member
    Another thing...whose car are you planning to use? I wold be less than thrilled to have 4000 miles or so on my car. I'll bet you are not driving to see those friends on a different continent!

    P.S. I would be LESS inclined to say yes if the car was loaded with recent HS grads. Sorry...2 is enough.
  • BrownParentBrownParent Registered User Posts: 12,776 Senior Member
    You might have problems with someone under 18 in certain situations. You'd better investigate that state by state. Think about getting pulled over by the cops and them having to hold her until her parents came to get her. Or having to go to the hospital for a broken ankle or whatever might come up and needing permission for treatment.

    This would be a no go for me. Your arguments aren't persuasive or even relevant sometimes. As good as your judgement may be now you will be in unfamiliar situations. You can't have that much driving experience and long trips in a car full of kids doesn't sound good to me. You know the accident rates by age, right? Also campgrounds are magnets for weirdos and a car full of practically minors would draw attention. As said, I'm not sure you can rent a motel room or campground site. Do you have a credit card?

    After graduation from college my daughter and a friend went on a Green Tortoise trip for 11 days down the coast of CA and to Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon. Maybe something like that would work.
  • harvestmoonharvestmoon Registered User Posts: 952 Member
    To be honest, I don't even think I'm comfortable doing something like that at 19/almost 20...

    It's not so much about being young or far away. It truly is about inexperience. As you start growing older, you realize that there are a lot of things that your parents take care of and that you need to learn how to handle. You also realize how quickly things can derail and stray away from the plan.

    For example, what if you planned on saving up money for the trip over the school year at your PT job but you end up getting laid off/quitting? What if some unexpected bill comes up and depletes your savings? When traveling, what if your bank freezes your debit card because you live in Atlanta and you were trying to take out money in Texas? If you bring cash, what if someone mugs you and takes everything you have? How will you put gas in your car? How will you eat/find a place to sleep/get home?

    I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but I think you should consider maybe waiting until you've lived on your own for a bit (even if that means living "supervised" on your own in a college dorm room). It'll be hard to just jump in and take charge of life's full agenda without a bit of training.

    I know you've been planning it for a while, but what's another year? More money, more experience, more appreciation after you've worked even harder to get there... Sounds reasonable to me!

    Good luck, and really dig deep. It's more than just joy riding around the country. It's also about surviving in environments that are unfamiliar to you.
  • SlackerMomMDSlackerMomMD Registered User Posts: 3,094 Senior Member
    I don't have any particular issue of a pre-college trip. My nephew organized a trip by train from New York to Quebec when he was 16 for himself and two buddies. I think they were gone for about a week. I went across country by Greyhound the winter of my freshman college year.

    It's the driving part that bothers me. Whose car? How reliable is the car? Do you have experience driving more than two, three hours at a time? How much driving experience will the 17 year old have? Will you both have full licenses? I'm clueless about these provisional licenses and how they are viewed in the various states.

    Can you map out a suitable route that uses trains and buses (green tortoise, etc.) ? You can probably stay in hostels with HI membership (free membership for those under 18).
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 29,846 Senior Member
    I am trying to figure out why I would be bothered (and I think I would be). I did this trip at 22 after I graduated from college, and I think scariest for my parents, I got my license only a few months before the trip. On the plus side, the trip was paid for by a grant and we did have a project. We spent almost nine months on the road and had relatively few problems, broken windshield wipers once, misbehaving sparkplugs once, a dead headlight once, and we didn't know we had to fill the battery with water and killed it. That said I'd spent many summers already traveling alone in Europe (but on public transportation), I'd had to do at least some traveling solo because my parents were overseas most of the time I was in college. I think the driving bothers me the most - I did make a few beginner's driver mistakes (and I was a much better driver than my partner who theoretically had been driving since she was 16.) I also think some of the logistics of whether you can actually camp, stay in motels etc needs to be looked into. Hostels, or relatives, relatives of friends and friends of relatives may be enough, but you'll have to make sure before you go, that you really do have places to stay.
  • qialahqialah Registered User Posts: 1,897 Senior Member
    It sounds like a fabulous trip, and I'd want you to do it. I think my issue would be the driving. I would not want to see more than 6-8 hours of driving in a day in a late model, well maintained car (which presumably you have). That's what I'd concentrate on.
  • powercropperpowercropper Registered User Posts: 1,466 Senior Member
    Sorry, can't give you any positive response here. No powerpoint presentation is going to overrule my maternal instincts.

    I would try to come up with a different idea that would give you a taste of freedom. A high school graduation trip, maybe. A short drive, or better yet, a train ride to a destination where you have a family friend. Maybe a few days at an amusement park on your own, or sign up for a "hands on" volunteer service or mission trip.

    I would be more comfortable with a year's worth of successful, independent college life before I sent a child off on a cross country adventure.

    Find ways to prove you are a mature, responsible teenager. Do your chores without being asked, better yet, start finding chores to do that are beyond your normal routine. Arrive back home 5 minutes before your curfew. Finish papers 2 days before they are due. Don't wait til last minute to do schoolwork. Engage in adult conversation on topics your parents have interest in, whether it is sports, politics, church, etc. Be the adult you want your family to see you as, and you might have a chance later to get their approval for an adventure.

    Good luck to you.
  • maffdadmaffdad Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
    I know you don't think this applies to you, but 4 teens on a road trip is an accident waiting to happen. As a parent, two would be a much better number. My children were extremely responsibly. I would say pretty much 10/10 by your rating system. I would have been against the trip, but that wouldn't have mattered because my wife would have completely vetoed it. Remember when your parents veto the idea it is because they care about you.
  • bopperbopper Registered User Posts: 8,423 Senior Member
    Also, remember that you are the most mature you have ever been in your life. So you think you are ready.
    However, we are twice as old and know that you have much more maturing to do.
This discussion has been closed.