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  1. Default New York to Los Angeles May trip


    I am thinking of making a trip to the US mid May, I see this forum is very useful so thanks to Roadtrip America for the service.

    I am thinking of driving from New York to Los Angeles with my wife, we would spend a couple of days in New York and then set off accross the US to posibly take in 'Chicago or Washington' Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, San Francisco onto Los Angeles. We would love to take in Yellowstone but I don't know if this is viable in the time we have.

    Never been to the states before so I am kind of in the dark and would love to know if:

    1# Is 16 days is long enough to do this kind of trip? plus 3 to 4 days in New York
    2# Suggestions on One-way car rental, pickup at New York and drop at LA or San Francisco. Maybe recomendations on car rental companies that cater for this and are reasonably priced with reliable cars. Any idea on costs, finding it difficult to get straight answers by e-mail.
    3# Do we need a 4 x 4 for this kind of trip, a car would be more confortable but would like to avoid paying for a costly SUV if I could.
    4# Would love to take a tip to Niagra falls while in New Your, what is the best way to do this, just use the car rental or some organised trip? How much time would I need for this, 1 day, 2 days?
    5# Is it recomended to just pick up on motels while driving across the states, is there a beter option, bulk booking with a hotel chain, is it logistical to rent a small camper rather than a car?
    6# What's the logistics on taking in Yellowstone in the time? we don't want to * Rush * across the states, I have read for other posts that a trip from New York to La can comfortably take 5 days, so hopefully with 16 we should be OK?
    7# What should we expect to allow for gas and hotels, just a guide.
    8# Is the weather OK in the regions we are planning to visit at this time of the year, slowdowns because of snow or rain?
    9# Any tips or advice that can be offered for this kind of trip?

    Thanks for putting up with the questions, I have loads more but the above should get me to a position where I can actually put down a reasonably solid plan.

    Many thanks

  2. #2


    1: 16 days is enough, but you can easy spend one more week for this trip. I realize that you donīt have more time than this.

    2: I will do a trip later on this year, and so far I like the websites of National Var Rental and Budget. Easy to check. I think you will save some money by renting from a station in New Jersey instead of a station in New York. I saved around 300$ when I compared the prices.

    3: You donīt need a 4x4 or a SUV. Depending on your own size something between an intermediate to a Full size will be enough.

    4: New York to Niagara is just over 400 miles, and can easyli be ridden in one day, and then one day back. Or start with your trip with this, and the go for Chicago.

    5: There is usually no problems with finding a motel, but if your budget is small or if you visit some very popular places there can be good to make a reservation 2-3 days before. People on this site seems love to camp, but I think itīs a time thief, itīs uncomfortable and it isnīt very cheap. If you search a little you can find motels outside the big cities for 40$/night. But, other people here maybe has an other opinion...

    6: I donīt think Yellowstone will be any problem because of the wheather, except if the winter will be extremely long.

    7: I have counted 3$ for every gallon of gas, and 20 miles for every gallon. That is way over what the cost is today, but itīs better to be on the safe side. As mentioned, motels can cost $40, in bigger citys $75-125 is more normal for cheap places.

    8: If you plan to go from Las Vegas to Yosemite via the Tioga Pass, there is a big risk itīs still closed beacause of snow. Otherwise the wheater, as far as I know, is OK in May.

    9: Start to plan your trip, either in a computer with good software, or by paper and a atlas. There is a lot of different ways you have to choose between sooner or later. You can, by checking this site and use the search function in the forum, get a lot information about roadtrips from many different kind of aspects.

    Bernt Bergkvist
    Stockhholm, Sweden

  3. Default

    This might sound like a stupid question but is it better traveling East to West or West to East on this kind of trip? driving into the sun, climate, traffic flow!

    Last edited by sunpo; 02-08-2007 at 04:48 PM.

  4. #4

    Default East to west


    Most people like to go from east to west, because they driving with the sunlight, that also goes from east to west. A east-to-west-traveller also win some hours when passing time zones, and that feels better than loosing hours.

    Bernt Bergkvist
    Stockholm, Sweden

  5. #5


    East to West!
    I think it gets more beautiful as you go that way.
    Look out for the rush hours around big cities- i was once stuck for a couple hours on the New Jersey Parkway- horrible!
    The best time to drive when going from east to west I've found is in the morning, near sunset it can be pretty hard on your eyes even with sun glasses- unless you use wrap around glasses i guess- can't really depend on getting a rented car with tinted windows.

  6. Default

    We did west to east at the end of the day, it worked well although we did get caught out with the hour change at times but this did not cause any great problem.

    I kept a record of a rough travel log with maps of the trip for family, friends, personal use etc. but if anyone is interested you can look through it at:
    San Francisco to New York travel log

    BTW, this was a great trip. We met some fantastic people and visited some fantastic places. Made a few mistakes and didn't get to see some places we wanted to 'Like the drive down H1 from SF' but the mistakes let us find some places we wouldn't have otherwise 'e.g. Cambria, Hearst castle with the H1 miss'. We came back feeling very happy with what we managed to see without have felt rushed, although we did cover some distance.

    We hoped this trip would give us a good grounding for going back to places we really liked but........ we really liked practically everywhere, I would definitely do the same again, just wish I had done it sooner.

    Last edited by sunpo; 08-08-2007 at 07:47 AM.

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