Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

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DanMahowny
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by DanMahowny » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:51 pm

Google "Civil Asset Forfeiture"
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quantAndHold
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:51 pm

mega317 wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:32 pm
WildBill wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:13 pm
Spare set of keys, in a magnetized box tucked securely under the car on a cross member.
This has been mentioned a couple of times. Do would-be thieves not look for these?
I have no idea what thieves look for, but when I lost my car key in the ocean (don’t ask. I was much older than 19 at the time), AAA was able to bring me another key. I was in a remote area with no cell service, so it was an all day ordeal that involved walking to a pay phone in a bathing suit and flip flops, borrowing money from a stranger to make the call, and convincing a tow driver to trust me when I didn’t have the cash to pay him. But he did bring a new key.

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Ged
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Ged » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:53 pm

dm200 wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:18 am
Make BOTH of them learn (and show you) how to change a tire on the car they will be taking. Make sure spare (whether full size or donut) is fully OK.
These days quite a few newer cars come only with a can of compressed gas+sealant.

I would suggest a car charger for their cell phones.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by SrGrumpy » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:55 pm

ClevrChico wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:35 pm
The over protective dad in me would have them purchase an Amtrak pass that would allow them stops along the way. (I've had a family member and coworker both total their vehicles on road trips this year. They walked away, luckily.)

Here's a list of National Parks available via Amtrak:

https://www.amtrakvacations.com/destina ... nal-parks/
Those interminable delays at 3 am in the middle of nowhere so that Warren Buffett's freight trains get priority will be quite the topic of conversation at Thanksgiving (and for the next few decades). Might be best to hire a team of Navy SEALS and a convoy of SUVs with drones overhead providing live feed back to your cell phone.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by kenoryan » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:53 pm

I hid some cash in the glovebox and never told my daughter when she drove from Chicago to the PNW with another girl. Got it back untouched when I saw the car next.

Oil change and fluids check
Brakes check
Tires check
Battery check
Spare key under the car.

Water, food, blanket
Tell them to stay in decent hotels.

Follow both girls on Instagram or snapchat. They will leave a trail for you to know where they are with their stories of OMG, here we are now crossing into .......

Empty gas can,
charger or jumper cables
Phone charger and power bank.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by JFKtoSFO » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:55 pm

Just to offer some anecdotes and hopefully some peace of mind - A younger friend of mine just completed a drive from the northeast to the southwest and back again completely solo and with minimal preparation (and almost zero supplies) and was absolutely fine. She was even picking stops on the go, and it all worked out. If you want major brownie points, upgrade one of their hotel stays (A suite on the Las Vegas strip has a bathroom the size of their dorm room, I’m sure!)

Your daughter and her friend will have eachother, which in my opinion counts for a lot. Relax Dad! :beer

Scrapr
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Scrapr » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:10 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:48 pm
They should consider spending at least one night in a Walmart parking lot. There's a whole subculture based on that.
I'd advise staying in a hostel instead of walmart

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:27 pm

JFKtoSFO wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:55 pm
Just to offer some anecdotes and hopefully some peace of mind - A younger friend of mine just completed a drive from the northeast to the southwest and back again completely solo and with minimal preparation (and almost zero supplies) and was absolutely fine.
I will use an investment analogy. Don't confuse an individual result with a sound plan. Or we do not insure because risks are guaranteed to occur, but because they may.

The suggestions for water, food, first aid kit, etc... are smart and prudent. So was your friend rational an prepared or dumb and lucky.
Last edited by Spirit Rider on Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:27 pm

Did not read all of the responses so this may have been covered:

• If they are going to lots of national parks/monuments, an annual pass may be a better deal. Any two people can be covered for $80. Park fees can add up quick

• What's app is great for when there is internet but not cell service. Both caller and recipient have to have it. Works for calls and texts

• Both parties should sign up for Venmo or similar cash transfer service

• Digital copy of important items on cell phone- drivers license, health insurance card, car insurance, etc.

• Traveling together can be stressful, it helps to plan a little alone time for each party and a regularly scheduled check in to process feelings and experiences

It will be a good learning experience for all...


gasdoc wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:18 am
Our daughter and her friend, both having just finished their freshman year of college, are planning a summer road trip. They are driving from the eastern U.S. to the western U.S., spending time in Southern Utah, Grand Canyon and other stops. Their main activities will be sight seeing and hiking. They will be staying in AirB&B homes, national park campgrounds, and occasionally in Best Westerns. Their average stay will cost $65 per night. They are excited; their parents are anxious. Advice?

gasdoc
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Pajamas
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:48 pm

WhyNotUs wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:27 pm
• Traveling together can be stressful, it helps to plan a little alone time for each party and a regularly scheduled check in to process feelings and experiences
If it's going to be that traumatic they should just stay at home instead. :shock:
roymeo wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:46 pm
I'm not sure if the Green Book is still published
No, publication began in the 1930s and ended in the 1960s. :oops:
Billionaire wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:27 pm
Visit your local REI store and load up on supplies. If you are not already a member of the co-op, you should join and take advantage of the membership benefits.
What supplies for a road trip would they need to get from REI? The only things I can think of might be a flashlight and water bottles but they probably already have water bottles and can use their phones instead of a flashlight.
Last edited by Pajamas on Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by MJW » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:49 pm

Hand sanitizer.

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Watty
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Watty » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:04 pm

I am beginning to appreciate some of the advantages of being a college student before cell phones and the internet. I went on a couple of shorter but still significant road trips in college and my 20's and I might have called my parents(collect of course) maybe once a week, if that. Usually it was more like, "Call us when you get back so that we know that you got home OK." That was pretty normal back then.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by rob65 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:06 pm

I think these have already been mentioned, but a few thoughts.

As mentioned already, the holds from hotels and gas stations can really add up on a debit card if you are somewhere different every night. I think credit cards are better for travel anyway.

Take some actual cash just in case. They're 19, so you might have to explain to them what cash is and how it works. "No, you don't swipe it or use the chip reader, and it doesn't need a pin number." :happy

Have a couple of different credit cards with them. Let the bank know they are traveling, but the spending pattern is still going to look awfully suspicious to the bank's automated fraud detection software.

The overly cautious parent in me would spring for a GPS with car charger. (A basic one is pretty cheap these days.)

I'm about to give advice that I'm not following myself, but we should all really have a first aid kit and emergency water/food in our cars - there could be a zombie apocalypse. Oddly enough, being prepared for a zombie apocalypse is very similar to being prepared for any natural disaster. The CDC even ran an ad campaign along those lines.

Strongly second the earlier advice to only drive during the daylight when going from one location to the next. Also, second the advice to have an extra set of keys to the car and extra copies of drivers license, auto insurance, health insurance card, etc.

Tell them to have fun.

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Pajamas
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Pajamas » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:08 pm

Watty wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:04 pm
I am beginning to appreciate some of the advantages of being a college student before cell phones and the internet. I went on a couple of shorter but still significant road trips in college and my 20's and I might have called my parents(collect of course) maybe once a week, if that. Usually it was more like, "Call us when you get back so that we know that you got home OK." That was pretty normal back then.
She's going to learn to wait and call less than 24 hours before she leaves to let her mother and father know about any such trips in the future.
rob65 wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:06 pm
Have a couple of different credit cards with them. Let the bank know they are traveling, but the spending pattern is still going to look awfully suspicious to the bank's automated fraud detection software.
This is very good advice. I can inform my credit card company of travel plans online now, don't even have to call. Little is more aggravating than having a credit card frozen because of a fraud alert when traveling.
Last edited by Pajamas on Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

scorcher31
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by scorcher31 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:10 pm

So I agree multiple packs of water (most important), blankets (second most important) packaged food, cell phone with working charger, bear mace is probably useful for people or critters, I would get a printed US map as well just in case. Supply of cash, multiple credit cards, AAA card all very useful. I would ask them to check in every day or so by quick text. As long as they are moving they will have reception at some time every day.

Regarding the car, make sure it is a good dependable car, good tires, make sure the oil was just changed, hopefully it's a big enough gas tank. What I've always done when I'm in the middle of nowhere is start looking to fill up whenever I hit half a tank. Even in the middle of nowhere I've never been close to running out.

I hate verizon, they gouge the heck out of me, but honestly I find their cell phone service to be superior. I don't know who your daughter has but I've only lost services for maybe 30 minutes here and there in areas our west, etc. You can pull up a map online, if they stick to major highways they may very well not lose service at least based on verizon's coverage maps. I did A west coast trip and the only place I lost reception for an extended period of time was in Yosemite but there were so many tourists it would have been easy to flag someone down. 911 may still work even if you don't have service. 95% of there trip they will likely have service so odds are if they do break down, which is unlikely, it won't be in a place without service. Many roads still have landline emergency phones along them, have the girls keep an eye out if they are in an area without service just in case.

For what it's worth I've done a bunch of these trips, never had a break down or a flat in my life nor has my wife. I don't know how to change a tire but feel comfortable enough that I could either get a call through, find help, or flag someone down if necessary even in the middle of nowhere. As long as they have supplies they should be fine. Remember cell phones weren't around when most of us were growing up, I'm sure they will be fine and have a great trip.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by EddyB » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:54 pm

scorcher31 wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:10 pm
I would ask them to check in every day or so by quick text.
It's at least worth considering whether it would be beneficial---for both these women and their parents---that the travelers not check in that frequently.

scorcher31
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by scorcher31 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:05 pm

EddyB wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:54 pm
scorcher31 wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:10 pm
I would ask them to check in every day or so by quick text.
It's at least worth considering whether it would be beneficial---for both these women and their parents---that the travelers not check in that frequently.
I see your point and I guess it depends on the relationship. I still don't think it would be much to shoot a text as a passenger, "hey were are alive just got to Arizona." I certainly wouldn't have them go out of their way to send the text, and obviously it may not be every single day if they stayed in an area without service for an night, but it's something that should be pretty easy every couple of days. Heck as a grown family we still talk to out parents ever couple of days, but everybody is different.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by StrangePenguin » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:31 pm

When I took a cross-country road trip at age 21, I got carded at a motel in Nevada because you weren't allowed to rent a room if you were under 21. Something related to the fact that there was gambling on the premises. So if Nevada is on the itinerary then that's something to look into (I don't know if it is a universal rule, but it did seem true, at least at that time, that every podunk motel had a slot machine).

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by tibbitts » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:53 pm

This is a remarkable thread - I've never encountered a Bogleheads thread with such a wide variety of often conflicting recommendations.

Comments:

Checking in daily is normal and seems reasonable to expect. People three times their age are often expected to check in daily, too. But today they're more likely to post their progress minute-by-minute without any prompting - you just have to ask where they'll be posting it.

I don't think a cell phone is a good substitute for a Garmin, partly because a cell phone is unlikely to be in GPS-only mode and is more likely to be distracting. Excellent Garmins cost less very little and work without cell coverage (which is sometimes where you're mostly likely to need them.) I've done the map download-to-cell thing and for the price of the Garmin it's not worth it.

Tires are (in many cases) a much more complicated story than a few years back, but the story is vehicle-dependent. They just need to understand how to deal with the tires that happen to be on the car.

Same for car keys. Probably if both of them have a key that's good, of course make sure they understand that if one of the keys get lost, replacing it could cost more than the rest of their trip.

It's important to be aware of any vehicle-related warranties and have any necessary paperwork (tire and battery warranties, for example.)

joeblow
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by joeblow » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:14 pm

Lots of advice above. One thing I did not see mentioned is a device like SPOT.

I come across a lot of people (at the risk of offending some...particularly those from the east coast) who do not realize how remote the west can be. I've gone days without cell coverage...then again, when we go out we try to get away from people. Maybe, they'll stick to the more populated areas, maybe not?

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:39 pm

pacodelostigres wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:21 am
Ask them what they enjoyed most when they return, in case you want to make a similar trip some day.
Exactly. Do your parents ask online forums for tips for when you go on vacation?

I'm not sure I could have afforded a trip that cost $65 a night when I was 19 though. I do remember a road trip to Vegas where we camped in the desert and split the gas five ways though. I'm pretty sure I didn't tell my parents I went, and they were 4000 miles away anyway.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by White Coat Investor » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:45 pm

roymeo wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:46 pm


I'm not sure if the Green Book is still published, but I've been given friendly, unsolicited advice in Utah to keep moving.
What decade was that?

Is this the green book? https://www.ebay.com/i/173294433638?chn=ps
In the segregated US of the mid-twentieth century, African-American travelers could have a hard time finding towns where they were legally allowed to stay at night and hotels, restaurants, and service stations willing to serve them. In 1936, Victor Hugo Green published the first annual volume of The Negro Motorist Green-Book, later renamed The Negro Travelers' Green Book. This facsimile of the 1940 edition brings you all the listings, articles, and advertisements aimed at the Black travelers trying to find their way across a country where they were so rarely welcome. Also available: The Negro Travelers' Green Book: 1954 Facsimile Edition
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by StevieG72 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:57 pm

Yikes! Sounds scary for the parents.

Safe car with contingency plan for flats etc.

Emergency supplies in vehicle, water and nonperishable
food.

Satellite phone! Cell service can be nonexistent in some areas out west.

True story.... a girl got lost on a solo trip near the grandcanyon, took a wrong turn. Ran out of gas, no cell service, missing for days before being rescued.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

quantAndHold
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue May 01, 2018 12:37 am

About daily texts/calls/facebooks/whatever...

a) they’re adults

b) In some of the places they intend to go, they will likely be out of cell range for more than 24 hours straight more than once. They won’t always know when they’re going to have or not have reception, I t’s not that easy to predict in some places when you’re just passing through. Asking for daily checkins is likely to just worry everyone on both sides.

c) they’re adults. Young, but...adults. They’ve survived this long, they’re likely to survive a few more months.

Freefun
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Freefun » Tue May 01, 2018 4:24 am

Car battery jump starter such as this

https://smile.amazon.com/GOOLOO-18000mA ... =0&ie=UTF8
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Freefun » Tue May 01, 2018 4:42 am

HomerJ wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:13 am
gasdoc wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:00 am
The cell phone coverage is something I have thought about. Will a stand-alone GPS unit work in those areas? Good ideas about bringing bottles of water and bars of some kind. Reminding them to keep gas in the tank is a good idea. Thanks!

gasdoc
Here's a product from Garmin that allows one to text normally and send an SOS if necessary (monitored 24/7) from anywhere on the planet

https://explore.garmin.com/en-US/inreach/

Not cheap though. Used by hikers in remote locations usually.
If you want the garmin unit allow time to set it up and learn it. It requires a computer to set up. Texting from the unit itself is a pain but using a computer you can preload text messages e,g, "all is well"

The freedom plans allow use only during months you want.

It will work when no cell phone will.

If they have apple iPhone they can turn on "share location" :

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201087
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

chipperd
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by chipperd » Tue May 01, 2018 4:59 am

Don't go with

student
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by student » Tue May 01, 2018 5:57 am

I would be terribly worried about the AirBnB. If you can afford it, perhaps gift some money to upgrade the AirBnB to a standard hotel in a safe neighborhood.

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gasdoc
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by gasdoc » Tue May 01, 2018 6:36 am

tibbitts wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:53 pm
This is a remarkable thread - I've never encountered a Bogleheads thread with such a wide variety of often conflicting recommendations.

Comments:

Checking in daily is normal and seems reasonable to expect. People three times their age are often expected to check in daily, too. But today they're more likely to post their progress minute-by-minute without any prompting - you just have to ask where they'll be posting it.

I don't think a cell phone is a good substitute for a Garmin, partly because a cell phone is unlikely to be in GPS-only mode and is more likely to be distracting. Excellent Garmins cost less very little and work without cell coverage (which is sometimes where you're mostly likely to need them.) I've done the map download-to-cell thing and for the price of the Garmin it's not worth it.

Tires are (in many cases) a much more complicated story than a few years back, but the story is vehicle-dependent. They just need to understand how to deal with the tires that happen to be on the car.

Same for car keys. Probably if both of them have a key that's good, of course make sure they understand that if one of the keys get lost, replacing it could cost more than the rest of their trip.

It's important to be aware of any vehicle-related warranties and have any necessary paperwork (tire and battery warranties, for example.)
Car is keyless entry- and they will have a key hidden in the vehicle.

gasdoc

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DanMahowny
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by DanMahowny » Tue May 01, 2018 7:01 am

I took a few cross country trips at that age. All I was concerned about was having a cooler full of beer on ice.

No need to overthink this.
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Toolymon
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Toolymon » Tue May 01, 2018 7:03 am

Door stop alarm- works great for piece of mind.
I have stayed at air bnbs with great results. The cheap ones.
Life is not like the TV shows, Criminal Minds, CSI, etc..
They will have a blast.
Dress conservative, be confident, talk to old people (ask them questions),it will make their day and they will have their back.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by awizard » Tue May 01, 2018 7:28 am

gasdoc wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:00 am
The cell phone coverage is something I have thought about. Will a stand-alone GPS unit work in those areas? Good ideas about bringing bottles of water and bars of some kind. Reminding them to keep gas in the tank is a good idea. Thanks!

gasdoc
Get one of these for her:
https://www.findmespot.com/en/

These are used for back country skiers, they work anywhere and help comes at the press of a button. If they break a leg in the middle of nowhere desert you can get help at the press of a button. I believe 1-2 helocopter rides are free as well with this particular device once purchased!

To say this wont happen is kind of crazy, a coworkers kid was hiking the Grand Canyon just two weeks ago. She did a stupid kid thing that resulted in a broken leg at the very bottom of the Canyon late in the day. Needless to say no one was around and her BF carried her about 1/2 the way before they luckily ran into a wilderness medic who then helped carry her the rest of the way out. She was lucky, any significant bleeding and she would have been dead because it took a few hours to just get 1/2 way back up the Canyon.

Things happen. This is a nice little insurance policy for her, peace of mind for you, and she can have an awesome trip!
Last edited by awizard on Tue May 01, 2018 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

tibbitts
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by tibbitts » Tue May 01, 2018 7:46 am

Regarding the GPS units with 2-way communication (not what I was referencing originally), I don't have one but believe there are two kinds:

1. intended for even non-emergency communication (can text via satellite);

2. intended to signal an emergency and request for help only.

These are is mostly available on units intended for hiking - which also can navigate on many trails (so, not an automotive GPS.) The first group are more expensive than the latter.

If there will be any kind of serious hiking involved then these are worthwhile and I'd provide one. I did a lot of day-hikes when I was younger, where I believe there was never more than a few miles to a road of some sort, but it was very possible to get lost, and always being by myself, very possible to be injured to the point of being unable to walk. It was not unusual to do an entire hike and not encounter another person, particularly during a weekday, and this was in the east, not in the much more remote areas of the west. Had the technology been available then I would have had a GPS that could communicate in one way or another. But if hiking means walking around boardwalk trails within shouting distance of a parking lot at a national park, not so much.

The anecdotal stories here are only helpful to a degree: if someone had a sufficiently bad experience on a similar trip, they're unlikely to be here writing about it. As with investing, the outcome being successful doesn't mean the strategy was correct, or that a strategy that worked at another time will work today.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue May 01, 2018 8:34 am

student wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 5:57 am
I would be terribly worried about the AirBnB. If you can afford it, perhaps gift some money to upgrade the AirBnB to a standard hotel in a safe neighborhood.
Are you claiming that AirBnB's are not in safe neighborhoods? I would much rather stay in an AirBnb than stay in some mediocre hotel or motel in some podunk remote town. I don't know, maybe it's the millennial in me...

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Freefun » Tue May 01, 2018 8:41 am

tibbitts wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 7:46 am
Regarding the GPS units with 2-way communication (not what I was referencing originally), I don't have one but believe there are two kinds:

1. intended for even non-emergency communication (can text via satellite);

2. intended to signal an emergency and request for help only.

These are is mostly available on units intended for hiking - which also can navigate on many trails (so, not an automotive GPS.) The first group are more expensive than the latter.

If there will be any kind of serious hiking involved then these are worthwhile and I'd provide one. I did a lot of day-hikes when I was younger, where I believe there was never more than a few miles to a road of some sort, but it was very possible to get lost, and always being by myself, very possible to be injured to the point of being unable to walk. It was not unusual to do an entire hike and not encounter another person, particularly during a weekday, and this was in the east, not in the much more remote areas of the west. Had the technology been available then I would have had a GPS that could communicate in one way or another. But if hiking means walking around boardwalk trails within shouting distance of a parking lot at a national park, not so much.

The anecdotal stories here are only helpful to a degree: if someone had a sufficiently bad experience on a similar trip, they're unlikely to be here writing about it. As with investing, the outcome being successful doesn't mean the strategy was correct, or that a strategy that worked at another time will work today.
One device does both. Garmin InReach. It requires setup on a computer especially if you want to text on it without using the trackpad. The SOS is like umbrella insurance - hope never to need it.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by bo105954027 » Tue May 01, 2018 9:01 am

Advice:

Review their plan to see if there is any dangerous activity.

Add fund to their budget and ask them to spend night at 3-star hotels instead of Airbnb homes as they are much safer for two young-age girls.

I will add more if something else comes to my mind.
Time in the market beats timing the market.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by stemikger » Tue May 01, 2018 9:08 am

As a dad, I would not only ask to be notified daily, I will demand it. Their experience and freedom will not be compromised if they take 5 seconds out of the day to send a text. You can even make a code word for them to send you once a day. The word will be their way of telling you everything is going fine. And it could also be used if things are not going well. Either way, it will give you peace of mind and them enough freedom to experience this trip and staying safe on the road.

I would make this mandatory and if my daughter didn't agree to this, she would not be going.
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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Alf 101 » Tue May 01, 2018 9:21 am

I'll agree with bringing some basic auto supplies, a first aid kit, and a water jug. Maybe some basic tools, or just a good multi-tool. Based only on my experience, I'd figure they'd have a tent, camp stove, and sleeping bags too -- or maybe not. It's cheaper camping across the west, and an easy option at state and national parks. I'd also bring a roll of paper towels; in seems on road trips I was always looking for a napkin, or something to wipe up what I spilled.

A daily PAR check is not an unreasonable idea. It could be a call, text, or email. This was standard procedure growing up, when I didn't have a cell phone, and certainly should be easy for your daughter. It's her trip, but you're there in case of emergency, so a text every 24 hours is fair.

Taking a different tack, if you want to give a gift, and not be the hovering parent, give them something interesting to listen to on the way. If their car is so modern that it doesn't have a CD player, then you probably are less worried about it breaking down, though it makes this a little more challenging. Still, driving thousands of miles, one can start to zone out. I found it was a problem listening to my music, since I knew the songs and it became predictable.

As an example, one summer, as I was about to launch upon a 2,500+ mile or so drive, my older brother gifted me a 20 CD collection of the Super Hits of the 70s. While not something I would have selected for myself, this was surprisingly engaging. Another year he gifted me the Lonesome Dove audio book. Something like the Lemony Snicket "Series of Unfortunate Events" would also be a great series of audio books, but you know what you like, and know your daughter, so could probably come up with something better than me. I realize they have each other to talk to, but it is a long trip.

Another time honored tradition is to place or give her a fairly small cardboard box, completely taped up, with the idea to "break glass when you need it". I don't know -- put $100, a multi-tool, a can of Spam, a coconut, a throwing star, an instructional break dancing book, or a bottle of garam masala. The anticipation of this mystery box is a good psychological boost, and contents that bridge the gap between the practical and unexpected can add some fun to the trip. It could be my family and friends are more eccentric; you know your daughter, and whether this might have merit or not.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by mrc » Tue May 01, 2018 9:26 am

stemikger wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 9:08 am
As a dad, I would not only ask to be notified daily, I will demand it. Their experience and freedom will not be compromised if they take 5 seconds out of the day to send a text. You can even make a code word for them to send you once a day. The word will be their way of telling you everything is going fine. And it could also be used if things are not going well. Either way, it will give you peace of mind and them enough freedom to experience this trip and staying safe on the road.

I would make this mandatory and if my daughter didn't agree to this, she would not be going.
I tried this with my elderly mother, twice a day. If she fell or had a problem, I didn't want her lying there for days. Turns out, she forgot more than she remembered. Drove me nuts with anxiety! We stopped after I had a thought, what if she sends me the morning notice, gets up from the PC and falls? She's still going to be lying there for a long time before I miss enough contacts to involve EMS. My mom's a lot older than 19, but neither of these ladies are children. Bottom line: Be careful what you wish for! A missed contact—which will happen—can drive you batty.
People often hate what they fear

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Watty » Tue May 01, 2018 9:41 am

One thing to watch out with things like the high tech emergency satellite equipment, guns, bear spray, etc is that people tend to feel over confident with these and will take more risks and can end up getting into more trouble. There is a valid question about if these actually make you safer or not.

I have not seen any mention of multi day hikes in the backcountry so in many of the areas they will be in like popular national parks they are more likely to complain about the crowds and having trouble finding a parking space than feeling isolated.

Depending on where they are starting at I would guess that they might be driving somewhere around 5,000 miles. That sounds like a lot but the average driver drives around 15,000 miles a year so it is not all that much different than a couple of months of normal driving so you might not want to worry too much about that either.

While they might be out of cell phone contact at times and they might be 30 minutes from the nearest gas station they will have to go out of their way to really find anything like true wilderness. It is a bit sad but they will only rarely be more than an hour away from the nearest Walmart.

There are of course risks but if they stayed home all summer and would be working at the shopping mall instead and you asked about that you would likely have people postings stories about people having terrible things happen at the mall. You have to take all the anecdotal stuff with a grain of salt.
Last edited by Watty on Tue May 01, 2018 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by mak1277 » Tue May 01, 2018 9:45 am

stemikger wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 9:08 am
As a dad, I would not only ask to be notified daily, I will demand it. Their experience and freedom will not be compromised if they take 5 seconds out of the day to send a text. You can even make a code word for them to send you once a day. The word will be their way of telling you everything is going fine. And it could also be used if things are not going well. Either way, it will give you peace of mind and them enough freedom to experience this trip and staying safe on the road.

I would make this mandatory and if my daughter didn't agree to this, she would not be going.
I'm so glad I grew up before cell phones! When I was in college my parents were lucky to hear from me once a week...and I still thought they were overbearing.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue May 01, 2018 9:50 am

stemikger wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 9:08 am
As a dad, I would not only ask to be notified daily, I will demand it.

I would make this mandatory and if my daughter didn't agree to this, she would not be going.
You sound like a joy to have as a father. I went to college starting in 2003 and my parents would be fortunate to hear from me more than once a month. This was before social media, but not before cell phones. Granted, they had 6 kids and were typical non-caring baby boomer parents, but still.
Last edited by Glockenspiel on Tue May 01, 2018 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue May 01, 2018 9:53 am

tibbitts wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:53 pm
This is a remarkable thread - I've never encountered a Bogleheads thread with such a wide variety of often conflicting recommendations.

Comments:

Checking in daily is normal and seems reasonable to expect. People three times their age are often expected to check in daily, too. But today they're more likely to post their progress minute-by-minute without any prompting - you just have to ask where they'll be posting it.

I don't think a cell phone is a good substitute for a Garmin, partly because a cell phone is unlikely to be in GPS-only mode and is more likely to be distracting. Excellent Garmins cost less very little and work without cell coverage (which is sometimes where you're mostly likely to need them.) I've done the map download-to-cell thing and for the price of the Garmin it's not worth it.

Tires are (in many cases) a much more complicated story than a few years back, but the story is vehicle-dependent. They just need to understand how to deal with the tires that happen to be on the car.

Same for car keys. Probably if both of them have a key that's good, of course make sure they understand that if one of the keys get lost, replacing it could cost more than the rest of their trip.

It's important to be aware of any vehicle-related warranties and have any necessary paperwork (tire and battery warranties, for example.)
+1
A close "senior" friend recently drove from Minnesota to my home (northern az) in mid winter, in a Prius. I told him to text or call me every day or more with where he was at so if he got stuck or in a jam I could go get him.

Another dear senior friend is on a cross country "walk" (no kidding). He texts or emails me every few days with locations and destinations. Again, if in a jam or stuck, I would get in my truck and drive cross country, if needed, to get him.

Safety and prudence and polite discretion reflects courtesy and mature concern between all parties.
j

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by auggiedoggies » Tue May 01, 2018 10:11 am

gasdoc wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:51 am
auggiedoggies wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:44 am
Man, some of these replies make it seem like they're driving through a 3rd world country. Special devices that send an SOS signal when there's no cell service? GPS tracking apps? What's next, a shotgun and a set of crutches?

As a pair of 19 year old college girls who have already lived on their own for a year (presumably) I'm sure they will be just fine. Did you check in with them every single day when they were in college?
Nope.

gasdoc
Sorry OP, to be clear I wasn't chastising you or suggesting that you checked in on them every day. More asking the rhetorical question directed at those who are being a bit "helicopter"ish

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Khanmots » Tue May 01, 2018 10:14 am

rhinopylon wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:11 pm
Just browsing through these comments shows the huge generational gaps between common users of this site and the mentioned 19 year old travelers. I mean, printing out atlas maps? Cmon, they have a phone right? Then they have maps and know how to use them. The US is not so desolate that they won't be able to load their route prior to heading out in the morning. They'll be hard pressed to find an area that doesn't have a cell signal or wifi.

Make sure they have a reliable car and they have a credit card for hotel/airbnb stays as needed. Ask her to send pictures as she's able. Be excited for her.
I'm a so-called millennial and I've spent a lot of time driving through Texas, New Mexico, CO, Oklahoma, and Arkansas in recent years. There's multiple areas where you can be driving for hours with no cell signal much less data. I did download maps of areas I expected to be, but as I'll spontaneously divert and get myself out of my planned area... I now make sure that I at least have a paper state map in my car for each state I'm visiting.

I'll likely wind up purchasing at least one Atlas before my next trip; probably two, one national and one for the destination state where I'll do most of my exploring.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue May 01, 2018 10:16 am

All of this “checking in” discussion brings up a point. In the big scheme of things, what they’re planning to do is not really more dangerous than a school year at college, or a summer going to a summer job. Modern cars are reliable. There’s wilderness and lack of cell coverage in places, but it isn’t Kazakhstan. If they break down, someone will drive by and offer help sooner rather than later. From everything we’ve heard, daughter and friend are responsible young adults.

Why is everyone so spun up? Give a few pieces of fatherly advice, then let them have their adventure.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by rob65 » Tue May 01, 2018 10:18 am

joeblow wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:14 pm
Lots of advice above. One thing I did not see mentioned is a device like SPOT.

I come across a lot of people (at the risk of offending some...particularly those from the east coast) who do not realize how remote the west can be. I've gone days without cell coverage...then again, when we go out we try to get away from people. Maybe, they'll stick to the more populated areas, maybe not?
I’ve never traveled in the west, but my sense is that many on the east coast underestimate the distances in the mountain west and southwest and don’t realize how low the population density in these areas can be. My suburban county has more people than the entire state of Wyoming.

Young people from urban/suburban areas might not realize that it could be a long way to the next gas station.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by PhilosophyAndrew » Tue May 01, 2018 10:27 am

mak1277 wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 9:45 am
stemikger wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 9:08 am
As a dad, I would not only ask to be notified daily, I will demand it. Their experience and freedom will not be compromised if they take 5 seconds out of the day to send a text. You can even make a code word for them to send you once a day. The word will be their way of telling you everything is going fine. And it could also be used if things are not going well. Either way, it will give you peace of mind and them enough freedom to experience this trip and staying safe on the road.

I would make this mandatory and if my daughter didn't agree to this, she would not be going.
I'm so glad I grew up before cell phones! When I was in college my parents were lucky to hear from me once a week...
+1.

My parents offered me much protection and support, but without the comprehensive ‘helicopter parenting’ that many kids endure today.

My teenage daughter doesn’t have as much freedom as I did at her age because driving licenses are issued later in our state, but my spouse and I try to make sure she has age-appropriate adventures without us. The OP’s daughter’s trip sounds like a marvelous adventure for her age.

Times have certainly changed — as a young adult, I would never have expected or accepted all the parental hovering that seems accepted today.

Andy.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by Glockenspiel » Tue May 01, 2018 10:31 am

quantAndHold wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 10:16 am
All of this “checking in” discussion brings up a point. In the big scheme of things, what they’re planning to do is not really more dangerous than a school year at college, or a summer going to a summer job. Modern cars are reliable. There’s wilderness and lack of cell coverage in places, but it isn’t Kazakhstan. If they break down, someone will drive by and offer help sooner rather than later. From everything we’ve heard, daughter and friend are responsible young adults.

Why is everyone so spun up? Give a few pieces of fatherly advice, then let them have their adventure.
I couldn't agree with this more. It doesn't sound like they're taking a 5-day backpacking/camping trip in the remote wilderness. It sounds like they will mostly be sticking to national/state parks and other known attractions, and have lodging every night. There WILL BE OTHER PEOPLE. Regardless of our flaws as Americans, if someone asks you for help if they're in distress, you are highly likely to help them.

I agree that people from the East coast are highly likely to underestimate the distance between things in the west. Once you get west of Eastern Nebraska, Eastern Kansas, or Eastern Texas, you could drive hours without passing much of anything. An anecdote, I have relatives in Sweden who came to visit in my midwestern state, and they thought it was just a couple hour drive or a short flight to visit New York City and San Francisco. Since they were in America, they wanted to visit some other cities and thought it was much simpler than it truly is.

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Re: Daughter and Girlfriend, age 19, taking cross country road trip. Advice?

Post by CedarWaxWing » Tue May 01, 2018 10:34 am

dm200 wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:18 am
Make BOTH of them learn (and show you) how to change a tire on the car they will be taking. Make sure spare (whether full size or donut) is fully OK.
1. Also... go through the how to do a battery jump start on their car, and get them a REALLY good set of cables, with large gauge wires, good clamps, etc. ( 6 gauge is great).

2. If they are sleeping in tents at night... get a Goodwill sourced size 14 or so pair of men's hiking boots to leave outside the tent at night... any strange noises at night should cause one of them to say... "Bill, roll over, you're squishing me".

M

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