2-3 month USA trip - Sept 2013
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Aug 16, 2012 8:36 AM Last Post By: fdbaz
Aug 15, 2012 3:07 PM
2-3 month USA trip - Sept 2013Hi All, first post hoping to get some ideas for a trip to the USA next year.
My girlfriend and I (from the UK) are hoping to get away for 2-3 months at the end of next year, aiming to leave in the middle-end of September. I'm currently working on a budget of around $18,000 for both of us (Including flights in and out), hoping to do a round trip of the USA. Is this a reasonable budget? We're happy to stay in hostels, but would want private rooms.
We've got fairly broad interests, but a few things we'd be looking to do: go to a few museums, hopefully go to at least one Baseball / Football / Basketball game, enjoy some good food, head out for a few drinks now and then, a theme park or 2. Don't mind a bit of walking, not extensive hiking, but hoping to go to a few national parks nonetheless.
We'll both be 23, so obviously car hire will be difficult, but I'm not adverse to the idea of driving in places if it's going to be necessary and not too unaffordable. We're hoping to get in a bit of everything, so a few national parks, some of the big cities and a few sports matches if possible. Small town America would be great to see, but not sure how easy it will be with public transport.
We're thinking of starting in California with the hope of catching some late Summer sunshine and heading to a couple of beaches before things cool down too much, but also hoping to try and catch the early part of the ski season at the end of our trip for a week in December before heading home, although aware this will eat into budget considerations quite heavily. (Also, awkward clothing planning to ensue!).
Out current rough route (which needs a bit of fleshing out) is:
- Enter at LA
- Las Vegas
- San Francisco
- Portland, OR
- Niagara Falls
- New York
- Washington DC
- New Orleans
- Colorado area (As a potential skiing destination - alternatively California skiing?)
- San Diego (We have a couple of family friends here who should hopefully be able to put us up for a few days. Could also go at the beginning which might help us settle in!)
- Back to LA for home.
We're assuming transport between major cities using train, bus or flights, whichever works out cheapest, but as mentioned above, would like to make stop offs in smaller towns if it's a possibility using public transport.
The only reason for finishing back in LA is that a return flight from seems to be cheaper than 2 one way flights, but obviously this benefit is likely to be offset by cost of getting back to LA... So flexible on this part.
Any thoughts and ideas, or glaringly obvious issues noticed will be much appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
Aug 15, 2012 3:33 PM
11. Budget should be adequate if your flights aren't too expensive. Adequate but not lush at an estimated $166 a day (if flights for the two of you cost $3000)
2. Public transport will be difficult in some areas. Most visitors rent a car for at least a part of their trip.
3. May not be able to find skiing in early December unless it's a place that makes snow.
4. You are allowed a maxium of 90 days stay under the Visa Waiver Program. 90 days is not three months.
5. Late fall is sort of a dull time to travel, once the leaves have dropped and the days get short.
Aug 15, 2012 4:10 PM
2Is there any particular reason you are flying from the UK to LA, and then returning from LA, rather than from the UK to the nearest/cheapest airport in New York? And secondly, if there any reason to arrive and leave from the same point - it would seem more efficient to arrive into NYC (say) and depart from Miami (say) at the end.
I agree that anywhere in the northern half of the US can be kind of dull by November - I would suggest you arrive the first weekend of September (Labor Day) if you can arrange it, and see the northern parts (NYC, Washington DC, Boston, Niagara Falls if keen enough, Chicago, Seattle, etc) first, and then do the Western-Southern sweep second.
You will have difficulty if you do not rent a car in some parts - difficulty includes a fair amount of dead time waiting for various connections etc, not just the lack of access to some wonderful destinations. I think Colorado would be quite hard without a car - even if you caught the Greyhound along I-70, once you get off somewhere, what do you do then?
If you drop Colorado (and Utah) this trip (and wait until you are 25, and also turn up in ski season - beautiful) you could feasibly do a trip that included buses/tours in the Northeast, bus or flight to Chicago, flight to Seattle, bus or train from there to San Diego (including a tour ex-San Francisco to Yosemite, maybe on to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon), a flight from Las Vegas or LA to New Orleans, and a flight from there to Miami.
Seeing small-town America is a lovely thing to do, as is wandering the many beautiful regions - but the scale of the place is big, and without a car, daunting. Good luck with it.
Aug 15, 2012 6:42 PM
3I agree with both the above sentiments, and.....
Forget Niagara Falls....
Consider some nice cultural areas with both history and regional cuisine, in addition to New Orleans, I would go to Charleston North Carolina 3-4 nights, Asheville North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Parkway, as well as Somkey Mountain National Park.
You will need a car out west and LA, besides San Fran, but wine country and areas to the south a car is needed too.
The two most important baseball stadiums in the game is Boston and Chicago. But Football will be in full swing, as Baseball season playoffs will start in Sept, many teams will not be playing after Sept 15th ish...
I would consider a side trip a night or two to Philadelphia, and also consider the many Civil Way battle grounds in the region from Philly to Atlanta...
If you like horses, the Lexington Kentucky area is a major time for sales and events at Keeneland, and historic towns like Harrodsburg, Danville and even the Shaker Village is all very much intrinsic of the regional culture and traditions. Its also Whiskey country (and wineries) if you like a nice bourbon or malt...
Some ideas for iconic American hotels...
Aug 15, 2012 6:55 PM
41. Agreed with those above about late-fall travel. However, northern California (where I'm from) draws quite a few tourists around that time of year to look at the changing colors in the vineyards. And the southwest is gorgeous that time of year.
2. Could you buy a used car? Quite a few tourists I'd met had done that. You do run some risks with maintanence, but you'd open yourself to a plethora of opportunities, such as visiting state parks. If not, transport is good in and between cities, if you don't mind missing more rural areas.
3. Your budget is fine. Hotels in expensive cities such as New York and San Francisco won't come cheaply, but you'd probably be able to find something for around $100 a night. There is good food to be found at all budgets, but you'll have to do your research. "Yelp" is a good source. Street food is on the rise; LA is particularly famous in California for the food trucks.
Aug 16, 2012 8:36 AM
5May not make much difference in your plans, but ...
Weather in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle / Portland) is generally better in late September than early October, better in early October than later October, etc.; it's pretty much gradually downhill from mid-August until the the winter drizzle clamps sometime in early-to-mid-November.
Fall color becomes impressive in the mountains around Seattle sometime around the first half of October (exactly when varies somewhat from year to year). On a nice day (less numerous later than earlier), there are excellent easy walks/hikes at and around Sunrise and Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park and at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park to enjoy the color as well as stunning views (and, no bugs!). (On less nice days, you will find yourself in the middle of a cloud and/or be rained or snowed upon.)
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