USA Road Trip. Maybe...
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Feb 17, 2013 8:49 AM Last Post By: steve18566
Feb 15, 2013 5:05 AM
USA Road Trip. Maybe...Hello All,
So as part of our round the world adventure, a friend and I (2 males, 28 & 30) will be making our first stop in New York at the beginning of September 2013 and our next flight is out of LA 2-3 months later.
Obviously the dream is to rent/buy a car and drive across the country maybe via Route 66. But we're starting to realise this will probably remain a dream due to costs as there are only 2 of us. This post is basically to put the feelers out on the off-chance there are others in a similar situation, around the same time, who would be interested in doing it together and sharing the costs?
I'll admit we've not put a huge amount of thought into where we want to go yet but the planning is ongoing and I'll update this as and when necessary.
If we don't end up finding anyone, any other advice on getting around America will be much appreciated.
Feb 15, 2013 5:40 AM
1Get thee to a library. Or a bookstore. Or a computer (state tourism sites, city tourism sites, Wikitravel, guidebook sites, etc.) Do some research. Look at some maps. Look at bus and train schedules. Read the many, many posts on this branch about buying vehicles vs. renting, cross-country trips, etc.
For a start, consider what you will do between New York and Chicago, which is where the original Route 66 began.
Feb 15, 2013 6:08 AM
2While the US is a relatively expensive destination, with some careful planning you can reduce the costs. For one, driving across the country is not the most efficient, exciting, nor cheapest way to see the country. Instead, fly/bus/train between major cities and then rent a car for loop drives to see non-urban areas, including some spectacular National Parks. In most cases, renting a car in one location and dropping it off in another incurs a very hefty one-way fee. As well, most places in the northeast of the country can be visited by very cheap buses and you will not need a car to move about in the city; they are generally quite walkable and served by good public transit. With some exceptions, the opposite is the case in the western part of the country.
Feb 15, 2013 6:52 AM
3To have 2-3 months to make your way across the US is a great opportunity. But you will definitely need to do some initial research with a guidebook or something similar in order to figure out exactly what it is you're interested in. For example, I could recommend a trip where you cover the Northeast (Boston down to DC) by bus, then fly (or take the bus) to Chicago, then fly to New Orleans, then fly to Las Vegas, drive to some national parks, then fly to California and do the entire coast before you depart out of LA. But that leaves out a lot of the US that you might be interested in -- for example, the deep south, or Miami, or Texas, or the Rocky Mountains. Or maybe you have a particular interest (e.g., Native American history) that requires spending time in a certain area (e.g., Santa Fe). You need to do some work on your own before you can ask more specific questions.
I do think driving across the US, although firmly part of American mythology, is overrated and is more of a waste of good time than anything else. Much of the America you'd be driving through is painfully flat and boring (and I come from those parts and say that with great affection). It will also be much more expensive than you think, particularly compared to cheap domestic flights you could get instead. And you will have to deal with parking your car in major cities, which is a real hassle. Skip the mythology and stick with the realism, do some serious planning ahead of time, and you'll have an amazing trip.
Feb 15, 2013 7:00 AM
4Check out http://www.greentortoise.com motorcoach tours across the USA, north route and southern route, to get some ideas. You could do individual exploring on the West Coast or East Coast after arriving from the initial tour. There are cheap shuttlebuses up and down the East Coast from NYC to Washington, D.C. No train or bus travels along the Pacific Coast, so you should either rent a car or share a ride. There are some popular hostels in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. Otherwise, there are very few hostels in the USA. Budget motels are usually on the outskirts of towns.
Feb 15, 2013 9:44 AM
5Previous responders all offer good advice.
-Route 66 does not, and never did, cross the entire country. It originally started in Chicago and ended in San Bernardino, California. But today, only a few vestiges of the old hightway remain and frankly, there are far more interesting and scenic drives i teh U.S. than Route 66.
-The absolute best time to visit the U.S. is in late summer/early fall (September/October being the best). After early September the weather remains good everywhere, but hotter areas are starting to moderate some and best of all, kids and college students are all back in school so parks and other attracdtions are much less crowded.
-Renting or buying a car: Lots and lots of foreign visitors have done both. One-way rentals are expensive as they charge "one-way" fees for picking up a car at one location but returning it at another. As for buying a car, people do it, but you need to register it which requires a U.S. address and selling it requires you have the title to the vehicle in your name. Then there is the problem of actually buying and selling which takes time (especially the selling part).
-Driving across the U.S. can be interesting to some, but frankly, most people find the middle section of the country (called the mid-west) pretty boring.
-Where to go? That depends entirely on your interests. Describe what you like to see and do and we can advise and, the more specific you are the better advice you will get.
-Finally, budget. Have you got unlimited funds? Are you looking to travel as inexpensively as possilbe? Your budget will dictate the length and breadth of your trip.
Feb 15, 2013 1:11 PM
6I'd consider spending some time first in the Northeastern corridor after your arrival in New York - perhaps a couple weeks in the region between Washington DC and Boston. Getting around is easy and there is a lot to see and do, whether your interests are cultural, historical, or just partying. You won't need a car unless you had particular interest in something out in the countryside, but other expenses will rack up fast in this area (food and particularly lodging will be expensive). Without knowing your budget or interests I don't know if I can be more specific.
I'd consider taking the train across the country. With a rail pass can hop-off-hop-on in any city you have an interest in (Chicago would be a good choice to start), and save yourself the driving and one-way fees on the rental. Once out west, you can get off the train in a logical place to begin a loop through the National Parks and other scenic attractions before continuing on to LA. You'll have a lot of options for this - maybe a several-week-long loop through Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico starting in Albuquerque or Flagstaff (which are on the train line); or a similar trip starting from Vegas (which is not on the train line but easy enough to get to); then put aside another couple weeks for a tour through California before departing.
Without more knowledge of your budget and interests this is probably about as specific as anyone can be - you've got a loto f work ahead to figure out what you're interested in and how you'll prioritize your time and money budgets.
PS - #4, hostels are a bit more common than that..there are several both within San Fransisco and along the Coast north and south of the city. There's one in Sante Fe, one in Albuquerque, one in Flagstaff, Moab, Lone Pine (California), Tucson, Phoenix...that's just off the top of my head. They're nowhere near as common as they are in other countries, but there are more of them than you post implies.
Feb 17, 2013 8:49 AM
I'm a 46 year old male, and would definately be interested in joining you. I'm looking to travel the world, starting in pretty much similar time and place as yourselves.
It's something I've always wanted to do, and my personal circumstances look like making this possible around this time.
If you're interested in discussing it more, let me know.
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