Is this a good itinerary??? 3 weeks - Chicago to New Orleans to Las Vegas
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Dec 12, 2012 3:46 PM Last Post By: tilos
Dec 10, 2012 7:22 PM
I will have three weeks in the U.S next August and I'm really after some advice/opinions.
Am new to the forums and love reading them... have got lots of info so far from Thorn Tree and have a rough idea of what I want to see. Would appreciate any pointers or opinions on my itinerary below?
My interests include Music, Wildlife and would like to see a bit of scenery... Not too fussed on big cities! But have heard Chicago can't be missed...
I will have already done L.A, San Diego and New York prior to this.
12 August 2013
I want to start in Chicago (3 nights)
down to Nashville or Memphis??? One or the other... Im leaning towards Nashville.
on to New Orleans
Across through Texas... really would like to see San Antonio
Up through New Mexico (Roswell and the Sand Dunes... does anyone know how to get here?)
Across to Grand Canyon (where should I stay for this? Flagstaff?)
Across to Las Vegas.
Flight out to Cancun on 2 September.
I realise there is a LOT of ground being covered here... I am happy to fly between Chicago, Nashville and New Orleans... but would like to Bus from New Orleans to Vegas if possible. Would love to hire a car but may be out of my budget. Looking at NZD4000 (US3200) - am happy to stay in hostels or cheaper motels. I will most likely be travelling with 2 friends.
Hmmm - what else... If there is anything in between New Orleans and Vegas that is worth stopping at I would love to know.
Thanks in advance.
Dec 10, 2012 9:03 PM
1for internal flights see......SKYSCANNER.NET / and compare with ....SOUTHWEST.COM /
Keep one eye on the weather see......ACCUWEATHER.COM /
Budget hotels see......MOTEL6.COM /
Have you considered car delivery ? although a cheap option
may or may not fit your schedule for info see ......AUTODRIVEAWAY.COM / DRIVERS
Where to buy the cheapest fuel on route ? see.......GASBUDDY.COM /
to convert currency see.....XE.COM /
Outlet shopping and regular malls see.....SIMON.COM /
enjoy your trip.
Dec 11, 2012 9:31 AM
2I would recommend, if you have the time, to work your way to Vegas from northern New Mexico on secondary highways through northern Arizona, southern Utah. You can do the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (perfect in August - not as hot or crowded as south rim) and also see Zion, and Escalante/Grand Staircase, then head to Vegas from St. George Utah.
P.S. Why does everyones travel plans to the US seem to include Vegas? Is there cheap flights or something? To me Vegas is a horrible place that I try to drive through as quickly as possible on my way to Southern Utah from San Diego. I say if you can maximize time in Southern Utah, north rim and drive into Vegas with only enough time to go to airport and catch your flight you will be doing great!
Dec 11, 2012 1:10 PM
3Anything worth stopping at between New Orleans and Vegas? Well, it's a huge area so of course there is a lot to see. One of the most spectacular parts of the country is the aforementioned southern Utah, combined with the Grand Canyon...which can even be expanded to include the southern Rockies of Colorado and northern New Mexico (e.g. Santa Fe) if you have the time.
By sand dunes, do you mean White Sands National Monument? You can take a bus to Alamogordo, New Mexico from El Paso, Texas, though you'd probably have to rent a car to get to the monument.
If it were my trip, I'd fly from New Orleans to Vegas and rent a car for a loop drive similar to that of range41's post, i.e. southern Utah and Grand Canyon.
Dec 11, 2012 1:55 PM
4For our wonderful musical heritage see these:
Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville, Tenn.
Beale Street (Blues), Memphis, Tenn.
"Follow the Great River Road (which meanders around - sometimes it's US 61, other times smaller roads, even on top of levees here and there.) from Memphis south to New Orleans as much as possible."
As someone posted: "Don't miss the Crossroads of the Blues at Clarksdale, Miss., and be sure to get a half rack at Abe's BBQ right at the crossroads. Try not to sell your soul in the process." Also, see the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
Jazz Preservation Hall, New Orleans
Check out a Zydeco club in and around Lafayette, Louisiana
Live Music Capital of America is Austin, Texas
Edited by: clarkcoan
Dec 11, 2012 3:21 PM
5Is there something in particular that you want to see in San Antonio?
If you are heading from New Orleans to San Antonio, you will be on I-10 and will pass through Houston. There are countless amazing places to eat here. (See, e.g., http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-12-06/lifestyle/35649804_1_fourth-largest-city-houston-margaritas). If you just want to make a quick chow stop in Houston, I recommend Beaver's. Pass & Provision are both supposed to be amazing and aren't far from I-10, but I haven't been yet. Anvil is one of the best classic cocktail bars in the country.
Also, if you head to San Antonio, definitely don't skip Austin. Although the "live music capital" designation is a bit misleading outside of the yearly SXSW music festival, there is light hiking, kayaking (in Zilker Park), a cold spring to swim in (Barton Springs), and lots of nightlife.
Dec 11, 2012 7:36 PM
6I'll first question the sanity of Cancun in August ! You do not say how you will be arriving or how long staying in Chicago... If there will be three traveling a rental car splitting expenses may prove the better option... Should you be traveling alone Look at AMTRAK fares purchased well ahead...Chicago-Memphis-NO. After a time there, AMTRAK again, NO-San Antonio(train runs every other day) & on to El Paso...In El Paso you will need to rent a car For say a two day loop drive...Carlsbad Caverns-Cloudcroft-Great Sand Dunes & return to El Paso. Continuing by rail then to Barstow CA.& AMTRAK bus to Las vegas ... carracar
Dec 12, 2012 2:05 PM
7New Orleans is exceptionally hot and muggy in August. It's severe enough to interfere with typical daytime activities (such as walking around the French Quarter). Nashville and Memphis will also be quite hot, as will San Antonio.
The plus side is that it is low season for these destinations and you will get some good rates.
Dec 12, 2012 2:33 PM
8Thanks everyone for the tips. Some great things to think about. Much appreciated.
range41 - The North Rim sounds like a fantastic idea. We will try to fit this in for sure. And as for Vegas... We are a group of 22-23 year old girls, First time to the USA so would like to at least see the "pretty lights" in Vegas for one night.
ref_traveller - Thanks for your feedback. Yes I mean White Sands National Monument :) It sounds as though renting a car for a few days from El Paso... or from Vegas, is the way to go. I will do some research on Southern Utah too.
tilos - I have heard San Antonio is a good place to visit for Live music at night??? And just in general a nice unique place to visit. I would like to stop in Houston on the way from New Orleans to San Antonio so thank you for the recommendations. Will check them out :)
carracar - Sanity - yes, you have a right to question :P. Cancun is part of a year long trip for me! I am begining in USA, heading to Mexico and Cuba and onward to Colombia all the way down to Brazil. I have been to South America before but have never been to North America. The reason I am in Cancun in early September is that I have been accepted to work as a Camp Counsellor over the summer in Pensylvania. 13 June - 10 August. The dates here are not flexible so I have worked the rest of my journey out from here.
I know this is not the best time of year to be in Central America, however my mindset is that It is better to give it a shot and hope for a few days of good weather (I have 10 days in Playa del Carmen), than to skip it all together... I may not get to be in that area of the world again for a long time.
Thank you for the advice on the AMTRAK routes. Sounds like a good idea to rent a car in El Paso, return it to the same depot and continue on to Vegas.
Christnp - I will take the plus side of it being Low Season :) A shame the weather will be so hot and muggy but weather is weather - I will just have to make the most of it. Hopefully we can still enjoy being there.
My Summer camp is in Pensylvania... So my other option is to begin in Washington D.C and travel down to New Orleans? If I have four or five days to do this where would you recommend to stop?
What I am trying to decide is should we do Chicago - Memphis (or Nashville) to New Orleans...
Or alternatively Washington - Somewhere - New Orleans???
The rest (New Orleans to Las Vegas) is a definite.
Dec 12, 2012 3:46 PM
There are better choices then San Antonio. For live music, Austin has a good reputation (though I think it is a bit overblown). Large cities also have tons of live music (think NYC, Los Angeles, and Chicago).
Is there a particular style of music you like? For example, many bluegrass fans head to Asheville, North Carolina. Country music fans head to Nashville, while Elvis fans make pilgrimages to Graceland in Memphis.
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