Travelling USA from November to February
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Sep 7, 2012 2:57 AM Last Post By: yofletch
Aug 29, 2012 8:54 PM
Travelling USA from November to FebruaryHi All
We are travelling the USA from november to February and just wanted some information on how to do this as we realise that it is Winter! We are going to hire a car and travel from Los Angeles from mid November around the USA states and then arrive back into Los Angeles in late feb. I was wanting to know what way to travel? The south first (texas, louisiana, florida, alabama, etc) and then the north (Dakota, montana, Pennslyvania, ohio, wisconsin etc) including canada, or visa versa. We are wanting to do everything from rodeos, games, National parks, Swamp tours, Orlando theme parks - everything touristy - and wanted to know best places to visit during these months. We are going to be staying in bed and brekfasts, hostels and motels - we are on a budget. Will anything be closed, will the prices be more expensive, etc.
Thank you :)
Aug 29, 2012 9:21 PM
1You need to get ahold of a guidebook and read it. Your questions are far too broad. Lonely Planet USA guide is very good.
How old are the proposed drivers?
You are chosing a bad time to visit the northern US and Canada. When you investigate a rental car, you are going to have a problem because the rental agencies will not allow car chains and you will need them to get to many places.
I would just forget the midwestern US and Canada in winter.
You need to know that bed and breakfasts in the US are expensive, upscale accomodations, not inexpensive ways to travel.
What sort of visa do you expect to travel with? You may have time limitations on how long you can stay in the US.
What sort of budget do you envision for this trip? "We are on a budget" isn't precise enough to give advice. If you are renting a car, you need to budget for upwards of $110 a day, probably closer to $140 a day for two with self catering, fast food, little alcohol.
No rodeos in winter. Orlando theme parks are expensive.
Aug 29, 2012 11:45 PM
2If you must travel in the midst of winter, stick to the southern parts of the USA. Even then, when you get to altitude you can still face some pretty harsh winter weather. Stay out of "Dakota, Montana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin etc) including Canada" until earliest late March. Yes, LOTS will be closed and inaccessible.
I second doing some of your own footwork and buying and reading the USA travel guide and coming back to this forum better educated and equipped to ask proper and specific questions.
Aug 30, 2012 3:06 AM
Aug 30, 2012 4:25 AM
4When traveling in winter, build in flexibility into your schedule. You never know when you'll get stuck by a blizzard.
If you really want to drive the north, I'd do it as quickly as possible. The harshest weather will usually come in during the later winter months.
Read up about seasonal park closures (particualrly in xYellowstone).
Btw, "Novermber to February" encompasses 4 months. Make sure you have the appropriate visa. The Visa Waiver is limited to 90 days, including time in xCanada.
Aug 30, 2012 7:14 AM
Aug 30, 2012 8:04 AM
6"The south first (texas, louisiana, florida, alabama, etc) and then the north (Dakota, montana, Pennslyvania, ohio, wisconsin etc) including canada, or visa versa. "
Visa versa, for sure! if you really want to visit any northern destinations, visit them in November or early December, when the risk of encountering bad weather is lower. (Although your chances of hitting nasty winter weather in the Dakotas and Montana are still going to be fairly high even in November. Winter comes early to the high plains and the Rocky Mountains.)
Aug 30, 2012 8:21 AM
7You have chosen a really bad time of year for a trip of this magnitude and expense. You will not see the US at its best and may not even see everything you want due to bad weather, like fog, rain, snow and ice plus many places are closed in the winter season. Spring and early summer March through June is your best bet, with September through November being the second best. In the spring start out in the south and head north and up in elevation. In the fall start out in the north and head south and down in elevation.
Your best bet for the time of year you have is Hawaii and the southern part of the country including Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Florida then go to Cuba or Mexico for a month or two. The Riviera Maya is a great vacation area with warm weather.
Aug 30, 2012 9:11 AM
8It's still going to be cold and dark in November and December. Parks like Yellowstone and Glacier will be mostly off-limits. You will need to wrestle with the rental car agency to determine how to deal with the issue of chains. You are also not likely to be able to rent a car with snow tires.
Aug 30, 2012 3:39 PM
Sep 1, 2012 10:59 AM
10Hello! I have to agree with the majority of what everybody else has already mentioned. Visiting the North of the United States would be largely inaccessible for all of the snow and ice in the winter, and even in Northern New Mexico, you can expect unexpected snowfall. You should grab a Lonely Planet Guidebook that I believe would be of far more value than our advice, no offense to the experienced travelers answering the forum's question. :)
As far as your budget, which remains elusive, I would simply suggest that the chain, Motel 6, is the most affordable, and generally safe and good quality for the price. The best rate for a night stay that I've seen is $20.00 each adult, the worst rate I've witnessed was $90.00 each adult. Children stay free. Weekend rates are always pricier, but weekly rates are less expensive. Everything is affected by holidays, unexpected occurrences, where you are, etc. Yes, expect that entry into some of your desired doings will be closed.
It would have been better if you'd planned a Spring, Summer or even an early Fall adventure, but I wish the very best of luck. (Even if Holden Caulfield loathes that expression.)
Sep 3, 2012 6:16 PM
11Thank you for all of your replies!! I have bought the Lonely planet USA book :) We have also decided to go in spring instead!
Sep 5, 2012 2:06 PM
12Keep in mind the best way to see the USA is not always traveling by a car, but to fly. It is mind numbing boring interstate in most the Southwest, South, Midwest and Florida.
Divide the trip up and rent locally, doing a loop in each area, like the Southwest Via LA to National Parks, or San Fran to National Parks.
New Orleans you dont need a car.
Texas is best skipped IMO, nothing great there worth a flight or long drive other than Austin area.
Florida fly, then get a car, like California, you can get a car in one city and drop in another usually at no charge. Spring Break in Florida is High Season from March 10 to after Easter/April.
No need to drive around midwest in Spring as its all flat overall, what would you do?
Most the Rockies/Yellowstone and mountain areas in the west do not open fully until June due to snowfall/road closures. Its peak ski season at the resorts in Feb to early April from Toas Sante Fe to Colorado and up to San Fran and Seatlle.
Also the cold will be in place in March for most of the midwest north of I-70 (Chicago/NYC/Boston) no need for car in those cities as well as Wash DC.
School is out end if May, but most Americans dont start vacations until after June, with August the Peak.
Consider flying from West or East coast to Florida and also New Orleans. DC you can get a car do a loop thru Appalachians and Nashville/Memphis/Smokies and Charleston...
Fly to/from Chicago...
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