Author Topic: Travelling, Staying in Car  (Read 5354 times)

mikefixac

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Travelling, Staying in Car
« on: August 31, 2014, 11:07:30 AM »
I'll be travelling (flying) from CA to VA for a week.

Just would like to tap into this community for ideas.

I plan on renting a car via Priceline and sleeping in the car. Hotels are overpriced IMO. One of the things I'm thinking of is getting free passes at a gym so I could use the shower facilities.

Years ago I hitchhiked across the US and would find a pond to bathe. One such experience after I bathed myself, I was drying off and noticed a sign "Beware of alligators". Luckily nothing happened, but have seen a snake swimming by here and there.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 11:09:22 AM by mikefixac »

acemanhattan

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2014, 11:35:28 AM »
Few things to note:

Sleeping in your vehicle is 10x more comfortable when you have the capability of putting the back seats down and laying flat on a "bed-like" surface as opposed to trying to sleep in the back seat; to that end, try to get something--maybe a hatchback--that allows for this.

Sleeping in your vehicle during the summer is often uncomfortable due to the heat (duh).  One would think that this problem is easily rectified by rolling a window down, but, in my experience, that often leads to being mosquito assaulted. I am fairly certain that outdoor stores sell a mosquito net contraption that is meant for car campers.  I'd highly consider purchasing something like this (or even creating a makeshift one) to maximize comfort.

Sneaky tip for when you can't find a discrete place to park and go to sleep: park in front of an auto repair shop. This way if police bother you (which is known to happen if you park in store parking lots etc.) you can tell them that you're having overheating problems (or whatever) and that you're waiting for the shop to open in the morning.  Also, you will almost never be bothered (by "the man") in a Walmart parking lot.  They often aren't the quietest places though.

As for the showers, if you can swing the free gym membership that is probably a great way to go.  If that doesn't work truck stops have showers that you can use for a fee. 

Roots&Wings

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2014, 01:27:08 PM »
Wow, great tips!  This is partly why I'd like my next car to be a Honda Odyssey with dark-tinted windows.

I had planned to stay at (or near) a campground.  Pay for a campsite if required, sleep in the car, and use the campground shower facilities. 

What do you do with wet towels/washcloth (or would a gym provide these)?  I was thinking placing on a hanger (hang it from the clothes hook in the car), though might not dry too well.

deborah

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2014, 03:48:33 PM »
I am doing this at the moment, but probably on a more luxurious scale. Last year I went on holidays for a month in my little Mazda 121. It's seats fold back flat, and the front seat (I used the passengers seat) can be moved forward, so when it folds back it tucks in level with the front of the back seat.

The car I have now is bigger, but the back seat folds 60/40 forward. I measured it when I was buying to make sure it was long enough. I have made three box cushions from dense foam to fit the area I sleep exactly, and these give me a wonderful mattress. This gives me a better sleep than I would probably get in a tent. I have a tent with me, but I think I won't bring it in the future unless I am sleeping somewhere for more than a few nights.

Sleeping in a car is much more secure. It can be centrally locked, so no boogey men can get in. In Australia, wombats are known to rip huge holes in tents with food in them, and snakes have been known to nudge zippers open so they can get in (always leave your zipper tab on the outside) - unfortunately most of our snakes are venomous, and we have something like 8 of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world.

The two main problems with sleeping in the car are moisture and security of tenure. When we sleep we expire, so moisture builds up on the inside of windows - even if you sleep with them cracked open. When I have located a nice camp site in a national park, I set up there, but if I drive during the day, someone else usually takes it - that is why a tent would be good.

deborah

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2014, 04:19:03 PM »
Also, I consider this method of traveling to be much more Mustashian than a caravan or RV. It also means I can go places they can't (although, as I don't have a 4WD there are places I can't go that they can). I expect that (now that I am set up for just about anything) I will travel around Australia for 2 months each year, and am already planning my next trip. Many retirees in Australia do "the big loop", and get a 4WD with caravan to spend 12 months or 2 years doing it. I figure that if I go to a different part of the country each time, I will eventually do it, and in the months when the climate is perfect for me. I am happy to pay for sites, as I consider that National Parks are a worthy cause, and "bush" camping in remote areas often interferes with stock (stops them from drinking at that nice waterhole you have found...)

Every so often I stop at a caravan park to do my washing (most national parks do not have water available) and charge up my camera battery (I can do this at an unpowered site, because many caravan parks have really good camp kitchens with power points).

G-dog

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2014, 06:12:35 PM »
I've wondered how safe this is for a woman traveling alone.  Sometimes you can't find a hotel room, etc. but I worry about personal safety.

carloco

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2014, 06:31:40 PM »
You may want to consider couchsurfing. couchsurfing.org

workingpoor

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2014, 06:38:58 PM »
If you have a choice of rental car, get a Toyota Prius. You can slide the front seat all the way up, fold down the rear seat down & stretch out comfortably lengthwise. As an amazing bonus when you're parked, turn the ignition on without starting the car (don't step on brake) & set the air conditioning. Just leave it alone & the gas engine will automatically start when the hybrid battery needs to charge & shutdown after a few minutes. You will comfortably slumber all night in a locked car without any worry about bugs or open windows

surfhb

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2014, 07:25:15 PM »
So you wait a month longer to FIRE just because you don't want to pay for a cheap motel 6 somewhere?   This is not only unsafe it's a little on the stubborn cheap side :)

boarder42

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2014, 07:42:18 PM »
You can also pick up decent tents for 40-50 bucks too

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2014, 07:50:44 PM »
I've slept in my car plenty of times driving up and down the east coast. I had a VW Golf (hatchback). I slept in box store parking lots and rest stops. Also, I was a lady traveling alone with a dog. I loved it. The best part was waking up one morning after it had snowed all night. The sun filtering through the snow on the windows was breathtaking and surreal. With a dog and a comforter, it was quite cozy, even when 20 degrees outside. Summer would be more difficult.

Another Reader

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2014, 07:56:52 PM »
Here's a blog by a woman camping full time in a Prius with a specially designed hatch tent.  A picture is on the left side of the home page.

http://www.thegoodluckduck.com/

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2014, 07:58:37 PM »
I have slept in my previous car, a Scion XA, a couple times. I slept in it in a truck stop on they way home for Christmas on year in a truck stop in Kentucky. It rocked. I did have a sleeping quilt though. Head towards the year, feet in between the front seats (I'm 6'0). I only slept a few hours, since I was fucking excited for Santa and drinking Irish coffee in the morning, but it was acceptably comfortable. The other time was in the lower Rockies when I though a crazy guy in the camping area was going to murder me if I slept in my tent.

vern

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bogart

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2014, 09:35:37 PM »
I don't know when you'll be travelling, but many years ago when I was driving across the country and camping in my truck, I realized it was effectively a solar water heater.   I carried several extra gallons of (drinkable) water in the truck as a safety precaution in isolated/dry areas, and one day it hit me -- stored in the cab (which they were at that moment, I forget why), they got really hot when I parked in the sun.  Perfect for pouring over me (in an isolated area and/or a bathing suit), soaping up, and then rinsing off, worked great.

I was a woman traveling alone and would do it again in a heartbeat, had no problems.  But -- I stayed in campgrounds (national, state, corps-of-engineer parks), and of course paid for the site, so it wasn't as cheap as it would have been had I been boondocking; I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that (alone), seems a likely way to attract yahoos.

hyla

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2014, 10:06:22 PM »
I did this a lot when moving cross country between jobs.  I usually stopped either in rest stops or on back roads in national forests to sleep.  Yes, I did think about safety being a young women traveling alone, but never felt like I got in a scary spot.  I controlled safety as best I could by making sure doors were locked, parking in areas with multiple cars when possible so there would be help nearby (rest stops or walmart parking lots fit this bill), and keeping pepper spray and a pocketknife close to my pillow.  Maybe this last one was a bit paranoid, but it made me feel better. 

And, get a hatchback with fold down seats.  My first car was a small sedan, and sleeping in the back seat was not comfortable.  My current hatchback is much better.  Make sure you bring a cot mattress or sleeping pad, that will also improve things. 

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2014, 10:11:48 PM »
Make sure you bring a... sleeping pad, that will also improve things.

Also, I tried unfolding that thing, it was way too long. If you cut it down like a lot of ultralight hikers, it might fit. Do that before you wind up in a rest stop at 3 in the morning.

Lian

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Re: Travelling, Staying in Car
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2014, 10:47:35 PM »
I used to do this years ago when I had a hatchback. We called it 'carping' - car camping.  I'm kind of sorry I didn't consider a car that accommodated carping when I bought my current car.