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Driving from Seattle WA to Dallas TX on barely any budget - Help?!?


Jul 24th, 2011, 08:52 AM
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Driving from Seattle WA to Dallas TX on barely any budget - Help?!?

Next week I'll be moving my mother and younger sister back down to their home state of Texas, towing a small trailer. The problem is, since they're moving, the budget is EXTREMELY tight. As in, there's barely enough for gas.

What things do you do to save money when you must travel?

We'll definately be packing an ice chest, and eating out of that as often as possible. We'll have two drivers, so hopefully we can make okay time. I think we could drive through the night and alternate sleeping, but Mom's not so keen on that idea. Any suggestions for cheap but safe places to stay? I've heard truck stops are pretty safe to park the car, as long as you're careful. What experiences have you had with truck stops? We do have a medium-size dog with us, and two cats, so any hotels will need to be pet-friendly... But at least the dog makes my Mom worry a little less about security.

Also, it'll be my first time towing a trailer. Any advice? It'll be a UHaul, the 4x8 size.

Thank you in advance for your wonderful expertise!
kaira4116 is offline  
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Jul 24th, 2011, 09:04 AM
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At most McDonald's three McDoubles, a large fries, and as much soda as you can drink cost
about $6.

If you drink coffee, keep a coffee maker handy and carry coffee and filters with you.

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Jul 24th, 2011, 09:10 AM
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Here's a link to pet friendly hotels: http://www.petswelcome.com

Try to stop every couple of hours just to get out and stretch your legs, get fresh air, and let the critters run off a little energy. Make sure you pack water/bowls for them to use at the rest stops.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 09:12 AM
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You might also want to purchase some window screens as it can get extremely warm when the sun is shining in through the side windows. Or do as we did when we took family road trips - hang a towel/pillowcase through the window to block the sun!
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Jul 24th, 2011, 11:12 AM
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Your trip is about 2100 miles. You can do this in 3 long or 4 shorter days of driving and since you have more than one driver, that's not too taxing. mygasbuddy.com and other gas price websites can help you find the cheapest gas on your route. Plan your 2 or 3 overnight stops in advance so you'll have a pet friendly lodging option. Camping is probably your cheapest sleeping alternative, but you might also find inexpensive lodging where the three of you can share two double beds and that also serves a basic breakfast. Use that ice chest for picnic type foods and plan to stop at rest areas for lunch where the dogs can exercise. Carry plenty of water for your pets and yourselves to avoid dehydration in this very hot weather. Good luck on the move and welcome back to Texas!
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Jul 24th, 2011, 01:40 PM
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If you are thinking about parking the car in a truck stop to sleep then forget it. It is way too hot to turn off your engine and a/c. Use the web site above to find pet friendly motels. Just note that some motels charge a fee if you have a pet and some strickly limit the size and number of pets allowed. Call ahead and check. Also try to book one that has a complimentary breakfast. If your mom is moving a portable microwave then pack it where you can get at it and that will save on dinners.

As for the trailer it is small enough you should not have a problem as long as you remember to make wide turns. Also practice backing up in a large enpty space, like a parking lot after hours. Basically when backing the trailer will turn the oppisite direction you turn the wheel. I would ask you sister to stand behind it in sight of your mirror when in doubt so there are no surprises.

Good luck!
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Jul 24th, 2011, 01:52 PM
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Jill_H, thanks for that website! Mom usually won't plan our stops in advance, so I doubt it'll be much good, but perhaps I'll use it in the future. The window screens are an awesome idea.

Saige, the gas website is amazing!! Thank you!

Barblab, oh darn. I didn't think about a/c being off if we stop. Will definately practice with the trailer beforehand.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 02:08 PM
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Stay away from the truck stops. Check this place out. It sounds like what you are looking for for the first night.
You should make it there in about 9.5 to 10 hours.
There is a great Rest Area on I-80 at the high point between Larimme and Cheyenne Wyoming. From there, you should be able to make it to Dallas in about 14 hours.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 03:19 PM
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kaira4116, You're welcome! Have a safe trip and try to stay cool. Saige
saige is offline  
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Jul 24th, 2011, 03:53 PM
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LaQuinta hotels are pet-friendly, and have a good, free breakfast.

I agree it is far too hot to sleep in your car. This awful heat wave we are currently experiencing is keeping the daily lows in the 85+ range!

Take it easy with the trailer. You will not be able to go 75 mph with it, so just stay in the right lane and let people pass you.
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Jul 24th, 2011, 04:04 PM
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To be on the safe side, spend the money for a motel instead of trying to drive all night. Sleeping in a vehicle you won't get the same rest as if you were in a bed. Rest areas for overnight are not safe. I don't think you will find much quiet at a truck stop. It's just to easy to fall asleep at the wheel when you are tired. You want to make it there!

I've never tried them but maybe you could consider hostiles in the places you want to stop. If you have a tent, you might consider camping.

Eating out even at a fast food place can be a killer, so try going to grocery stores and buying a whole cooked chicken and fresh fruit and vegetables. Lunch meat or peanut butted and jelly to make sandwiches. Energy bars or cereal for breakfast. Nuts and fresh fruit for snacks. If you belong to Costco or know someone who can get you bars, soda & nuts ahead of time it will save some money.

Carry plenty of water when driving!

Good luck,

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Jul 26th, 2011, 09:20 AM
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Anderson Camp looks like a neat place, but not something my mom would go for, and we're definately not staying overnight at a rest stop, I've heard that can be dangerous, and we've met some weird people there even in the daylight.

I've been learning lots about trailers, the max speed for ours is 55mph. Also learned that you can unknowingly overheat and blow out your transmission on hills, since our car has no transmission heat gauge. Supposedly lower gears help with that. Apparently slow and gentle is the way to go.

It looks like we'll be taking I90 to Ellensburg, I82 to Oregon, then I84 down to Ogden UT. From there we'll take I80 across to Cheyanne WY, and then I70 down to Denver CO, and then US287 down to Texas.

A costco trip before we leave sounds like an awesome idea! We'll be sure to stock up pre-trip.
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Jul 26th, 2011, 10:46 AM
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You really need to somehow find the money for an inexpensive motel room for at least a night or two. Sleeping in a car in truck stops/rest areas - especially with 3 people and 3 animals - is simply not practical, even if it was safe or comfortable (which it is not).
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