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  1. #1

    Default East Coast Road Trip - 1st time travelllers!

    Hi,
    And what a great forums, some really great info here that I've been unable to find trauling google.

    So, me and my girlfriend are flying into Washington Dulles June 2nd. At the minute, we'd like to see Niagara, Toronto - CN Tower, NY & the WTC Memorial & the city, Philladephia to see family, into DC sightseeing then back to Dulles to fly out on June 16th
    We have 14days from arrival, and would be grateful for any advice you have for first time travellers, and any ideas/suggestions on places to see, stay and things to do and a time scale we should look at planning traveling to as I've got zero experience driving in the states.

    Below is a guestimation of the money breakdown I worked out...

    rental car: $770

    motels & food $1300 inc. (guide lines for economey rooms at $50, what i can see is a average of $80 for two budget, marriot/raddison is about $150 for 2.) - probably less as can pick up extra budget along the way (maybe?)

    fuel is about/average $3.00 per US gallon and say a chrysler 300 will do 20-30 MPG - so it'll be approx $55 to drive to niagara alone.
    so say 2000 miles total traveling (absolute worst ... i cant see us going over 1200-1500), 2000 / 20 x $3.10 = $310.00 - at worst, realistic $200

    + spending money

    so we need to raise a total of around $2500 to cover everything including all food & rest, car & fuel and fun money for doing stuff.

    however, if we dont spend all our money ... we can make it back into £'s =)


    I suppose I'm just looking for some positive input and ideas as we're completely new to this and nows the time to start getting some concrete plans in place - and any help is good help.

    Thanks
    Last edited by 19ninety; 05-03-2007 at 08:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    You will find plenty of good advice for the first-time (as well as seasoned) roadtripper here.
    This page includes our compatibility quiz, recommended so the both of you know what kind of trip you are expecting.

    Let's see - Washington to Niagara Falls is about 9 to 9 1/2 hours one-way. So, that's a day right there. From there to Toronto is about 2 hours one-way - not a bad day trip from the Niagara Falls starting point. If you start from Niagara Falls on your way to New York City, that's roughly 8 hours. NYC - Philly = about 2 hours. Philly to Washington, DC about 3 hours.

    The mileage I come up with for the total loop is about 1330 miles.
    Keep in mind these times are figuring in for rest stops, bathroom breaks, fuel, etc.
    More than 8 hours a day on the road can get to you after awhile - I would figure on stopping in between Washington and Niagara Falls.

    Not a bad estimate on the lodging/food there - though I do see that you haven't figure in the cost of parking in places such as NYC - that can get expensive right there, depending on how long you plan on being in the city. We have some additional guidelines to reduce costs here.
    A budget can quickly go out the window by eating out for every meal.

    Right now in my area, the cheapest fuel is going for around $3.00 gallon - the range I have been seeing over the past few weekends has steadily climbed higher (two weeks ago 87 octane was $2.77/gallon). So, if this trend continues, your fuel cost may be a little bit higher. If it does become a concern, you could probably rent a more fuel efficient vehicle.

    I recommend taking the Metro when in Washington, DC to get around the city. It's reasonably priced and easy to decipher. Much better than being in DC traffic!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Rough Outline

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    And thanks for the compliment! This post describes what I'd recommend as a relaxing, scenic, and interesting drive between Washington and Niagara Falls. If you're going from Toronto to NYC, then you might as well continue east from Toronto and complete a circuit of Lake Ontario. At its eastern end you'll cross back into the US in the Thousand Islands region. If you then use NY-12 between Watertown and Utica, you'll be skirting the edge of the Adirondacks and then be set up to run parallel to the old Erie Canal, now known more prosaically as the New York State Barge Canal. From Albany down to New York, The New York State Thruway offers the fastest route, but there is a toll (~ $5.35). The Taconic State Parkway, on the east side of the Hudson River offers a more relaxed, and free, alternative. For the remainder of your trip you'll be on I-95 for the most part. This is the main transportation corridor for the east coast of the US, connecting the major cities of the northeast, so it will be heavily travelled and most of the sections that you'll be on are also toll roads (~ $19 between NYC and DC).

    $3/gal gas must look pretty cheap. I was listening to a report this morning that petrol in the UK is approaching $10/gal! Overall, your budget looks reasonable, and by all means, bring some reserve.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Welcome to Roadtrip America & to the US for your first visit!

    Quote Originally Posted by 19ninety View Post
    Hi,
    And what a great forums, some really great info here that I've been unable to find trauling google.
    Thanks. We hope you get a lot of helpful information here.

    So, me and my girlfriend are flying into Washington Dulles June 2nd. At the minute, we'd like to see Niagara, Toronto - CN Tower, NY & the WTC Memorial & the city, Philladephia to see family, into DC sightseeing then back to Dulles to fly out on June 16th
    Very do-able. You should have plenty of time to explore each place along the way without feeling rushed.


    We have 14days from arrival, and would be grateful for any advice you have for first time travellers, and any ideas/suggestions on places to see, stay and things to do and a time scale we should look at planning traveling to as I've got zero experience driving in the states.
    My trips to this part of the country have been via plane with no road-tripping so I hope someone will come in with experience in these areas to give you specific answers. You can use the search tool (in the green bar above) and I know you'll find plenty of other threads with information about this area.

    Below is a guestimation of the money breakdown I worked out...

    rental car: $770
    Have you visited the websites of the various rental agencies to get quotes? If you're under 25 years old, there might be extra fees. And you might need to pick-up the insurance at an extra fee depending on how your current auto insurance covers rental cars. So check with your insurance agent on that. Also, you will want to ensure that the rental agency will allow you to take the car over the border into Canada. This has been a problem for some travelers in the past. Don't assume that you can trick the rental agency as the car will probably have a GPS tracker installed.

    motels & food $1300 inc. (guide lines for economey rooms at $50, what i can see is a average of $80 for two budget, marriot/raddison is about $150 for 2.) - probably less as can pick up extra budget along the way (maybe?)
    Hotels in Washington DC and New York City are outrageously expensive and it will be hard to find anything under $100. Don't be surprised if your rates in those cities are closer to $200. Bargains can be had but you'll need to do some research and get reservations ahead of time. The Americana Inn in NYC is a good value and close to highlights like Times Square, Broadway, and the Empire State Building. You might want to check them out. The Hotel Harrington is a good value in DC. Walking distance to The Mall and most everything you would want to see there. And there is a Metro station close by. You wouldn't need your car while you're there and, in fact, would have to pay extra for parking. So, really, you might not want to have your rental car while in DC itself. You won't need it and it's just an extra expense. The Americana Inn has been refurbished so it might be nicer than when my son stayed there. When he was there, it was seedy but clean. The Hotel Harrington is kinda seedy, too. But we loved it. It was clean, inexpensive, well-located, and the staff were friendly and helpful. For both of these hotels, rates are over $100/night and then you need to add tax. So for these low-priced hotels, you will still want to budget about $150/night.

    It looks like you can find hotels in Niagara Falls and Toronto fairly easily for about $80-90/night. By the time you add taxes and fees, figure $100/night. You should be able to find the more budget prices on the road away from major cities and tourist attractions closer to the $50/night range.

    fuel is about/average $3.00 per US gallon and say a chrysler 300 will do 20-30 MPG - so it'll be approx $55 to drive to niagara alone.
    so say 2000 miles total traveling (absolute worst ... i cant see us going over 1200-1500), 2000 / 20 x $3.10 = $310.00 - at worst, realistic $200
    While it's true that gas prices in the area you're driving are around $3/gallon or less right now, expect them to be a bit higher in June. They always jump during the summer months. It's 1365 miles to drive DC-NYC-Niagara-Toronto-Philadelphia-DC using the quickest routes. This doesn't include any miles for leaving the freeway for gas, food, hotel, sightseeing, etc. I can easily see you driving 2000 miles for this trip. So I would budget the $300 amount. If you spend less, cool. Play with the extra funds in DC before you go home.

    If you take AZBuck's suggestion and make a loop, you'll be driving even more miles so your fuel costs will go up. It would be worth it not to backtrack though.

    so we need to raise a total of around $2500 to cover everything including all food & rest, car & fuel and fun money for doing stuff.
    I think you're under-estimating. Using your own estimates, you're at $1400 for hotels, $700 for the car, and $300 for fuel. That $2400 right there. Where's the money for food and fun?

  5. #5
    peach Guest

    Default

    hey 19ninety (gosh i hope that is not the year you were born!!!!)

    re going to nyc.....stay in jersey, (cheaper) take mass transit into the city. if you are young or young at heart go to SOHO!!!! very fun, very hip, very cool.

    of course if you WERE born in 1990....bring your parental units. please?!

    m.a.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by peach View Post
    hey 19ninety (gosh i hope that is not the year you were born!!!!)

    re going to nyc.....stay in jersey, (cheaper) take mass transit into the city. if you are young or young at heart go to SOHO!!!! very fun, very hip, very cool.

    of course if you WERE born in 1990....bring your parental units. please?!

    m.a.

    Hi, umm, nope, ha ha, thats not my age thankfully .... although I wouldnt mind being young and care free again, instead I'm older and care free instead - which has its perks.


    City wise we were planning to park, if possible, and motel away from the city and then commute into the NY. We're looking at a NY tour that allows you to hop on and off their buses for free for 48hrs, so that was kind of our plan for seeing NY, pick up a Tourist guide when there and spend a couple of days seeing the major attractions.

    With DC my girlfriend said shes actually got family thre too (hey, what you mean I dont listen to her properly???) so theyre happy to show us round the city properly as they know it well.
    So I think that covers the cities - although tips on things to see and do in NY & DC are welcome!! Also, what would make a interesting stop or two between DC and Niagara?

    More replies shortly, must do some work =)
    Last edited by AZBuck; 05-04-2007 at 08:05 AM. Reason: Preferred URL format

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    And thanks for the compliment! This post describes what I'd recommend as a relaxing, scenic, and interesting drive between Washington and Niagara Falls. If you're going from Toronto to NYC, then you might as well continue east from Toronto and complete a circuit of Lake Ontario. At its eastern end you'll cross back into the US in the Thousand Islands region. If you then use NY-12 between Watertown and Utica, you'll be skirting the edge of the Adirondacks and then be set up to run parallel to the old Erie Canal, now known more prosaically as the New York State Barge Canal. From Albany down to New York, The New York State Thruway offers the fastest route, but there is a toll (~ $5.35). The Taconic State Parkway, on the east side of the Hudson River offers a more relaxed, and free, alternative. For the remainder of your trip you'll be on I-95 for the most part. This is the main transportation corridor for the east coast of the US, connecting the major cities of the northeast, so it will be heavily travelled and most of the sections that you'll be on are also toll roads (~ $19 between NYC and DC).

    $3/gal gas must look pretty cheap. I was listening to a report this morning that petrol in the UK is approaching $10/gal! Overall, your budget looks reasonable, and by all means, bring some reserve.

    AZBuck
    Thanks AZBuck.
    Well, I've stuck your DC - Niagara route (from another post) onto G/Earth and it looks pretty good! I feel a bit easier now as I can see some points to work from in terms of driving/stopping/sleeping etc.Still waiting a ersponse from Alamo with regards to being able to drive into canada, hopefully the news will be 'ok to go'. If its bad news I may look at using that mileage to head to Massachusetts/Boston then down to NY and on, will read your other post on that journey later today.
    The drive around Lake Ontario is a great idea ... as a kid I always wanted to see Lake Erie - however this trip it takes us the wrong direction and too many miles more, so I'm sure Lake Ontario will be a more then adequate alternative. My mum will be pleased if I can get some good photos of the lake areas as shes always dreamed of visiting Canada.

    Well still early days of planning, will get the other half of the trip marked up and then post a plan of action for some more advise from you guys.

    I forgot to mention before that the car is already paid for, so that gives us some extra cash in the pot.

    Its kinda good and, well, I'm not sure of the word, but its handy I suppose that someones already made and great write up on pretty much the same route as we were aiming for!!! It'll certainly make our 1st time alot less stressfull!

    G.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default One Alternative

    If Alamo won't permit you to take the hire across the border, keep in mind that you can walk across and get some great views of the Falls in the process.

    AZBuck

  9. #9

    Default You could always go by train?

    Just an idea, probably one to throw away as the route suggested sounds good, but you can always go by train from NYC to Toronto via Niagara Falls. I have heard that it's really quite a nice journey, taking about 12 hours, it's quite cheap too - $100 return or so I think. You can read more more if you're intersted.

  10. #10

    Default

    Ok, thanks everyone for our help and time.

    Here is a brief plan of what we're looking to do. The mileage is very rough but this is the general outline we've come up with. Some parts are going to be rushed ... but I think that to see the things we want to, we need to keep up a steady pace. As always, thoughs, opinions and improvements are more then welcome!!!!



    02/06 Day 1 - Arrival @ 14:00. Collect car. Head to Sterling to get new camera, then head to Frederick to find a Motel. Approx 50mi

    03/06 Day 2- Take US-15/PA-806 North to Cunningham Falls early ish for light 5mile backpack and views. Check out Hunting Creek Lake, maybe fishing etc. Head East to Lancaster (US-15 north, then US-30/PA-462 east) to view Amish town (drive through). Over to Intercourse (you know its gotta be done) for photo opertunity... if theres a sign left. Then PA-283 to Harrisburg for motel stop. Approx 170mi

    Alt: Cut out Lancaster & Intercourse. Spend whole day at Cunningham Falls. Stay In Gettysburg then head to Harrisburg & US-15 on Day 3 & straight upto Niagara.

    04/06 Day 3 - Time to do some mileage! Head North on US-15 following Susquehanna River to Williamsport. Continue North on US-15 & pickup I-390 to Rochester, take a left onto I-90 to Niagara. Planning on splashing out and staying in the Cascade Hotel for a couple on nights whilst seeing Niagara. Approx 350miles

    05/06 Day 4 - Niagara Falls

    06/06 Day 5 - Head out to Toronto for lunch at the CN Tower & sight seeing. Then head out to Kingston to stop overnight. Approx 210mi.

    07/06 Day 6 - Head over to CLayton for Boat Tour of 1000 Islands then head out down US-11 and pick up NY-12 south to Utica for a motel stop. approx 230mi.

    08/06 Day 7 - Pick up I-90 again down to Albany. Then over the Hudson River and follow The Taconic State Parkway south to teh I-95 and on down to NY City for a motel stop. Approx 270mi.

    09&10/06 th Day 8&9 - Sight seeing NYC.

    11/06 Day 10 - Drive to Phillidelphia Approx 120mi

    12/06 Day 11 - See Family & Sight seeing in Philli.

    13/06 Day 12 - Travel to Washington DC. Approx 140mi

    14&15/06 Day 13&14 – See Family & Sight seeing in DC.

    Night of the 15th head out to motel near Dulles.

    16/06 Day 15 - Drop car off at 06:00 for flight at 08:00.


    Have confirmed with Alamo that the rental car can be driven in Canada as well YAY!!


    G.

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