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Thread: NY to LA

  1. Default NY to LA

    Hi

    My boyfriend and I are from the UK and looking to drive east to west coast this summer. We are thinking of starting in New York and working our way to LA, where we'll fly home, taking about a month in total.

    We're thinking of hiring an RV, as this seems like the cheapest option rather than hiring a car and then having to pay for motels or camp sites, plus this will save on food costs as it means that we can prepare a lot of our own meals. Would you say that we are right to think this or are there any hidden costs with rvs that we may have overlooked for example? Are we OK to just park the RV at the side of the road or do we have to pay to park in camp sites? If so, how much is this likely to be per night?

    We're also mainly looking for advice as to what would be a good route. Do you have any suggestions as to sights or cities that are a must- see or even ones to avoid?

    Thanks for your help...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Some RV Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by hollie_maria View Post
    My boyfriend and I are from the UK and looking to drive east to west coast this summer. We are thinking of starting in New York and working our way to LA,
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    We're thinking of hiring an RV, as this seems like the cheapest option rather than hiring a car and then having to pay for motels or camp sites, plus this will save on food costs as it means that we can prepare a lot of our own meals.
    Renting a RV is a wonderful way to see the country for all of the reasons you have outlined, except for the saving money part. In these days of higher fuel costs, you can travel the entire route with a reasonably priced rental car and staying at motels and camping for far less than a RV vacation will cost.

    There are some articles about RV holidays you ought to read:

    1) An excellent overview about renting RVs
    2) Pros and Cons of RV rentals
    3) A checklist for use when you pick up a rental
    4) An overview about campgrounds
    5) A discussion of parking lot boondocking
    Are we OK to just park the RV at the side of the road or do we have to pay to park in camp sites? If so, how much is this likely to be per night?
    See above!

    Mark

  3. #3

    Default There may be some issues to consider

    Welcome to the site
    There are a few factors to consider carefully before getting too far into planning the trip:

    First, and most important, you may find it hard to find a company that will hire you an RV on a one-way basis. If they do there will almost certainly be an astronomical 'drop-off charge'. Unless, of course, you can find someone else who wants to do the reverse journey immediately after you!

    This 'drop-off charge' problem still exists with a rental car but is likely to cost you significantly less. Also, it will be considerably cheaper to run a car in terms of gas and, of course, you can park a car in an underground parking lot in NYC, LA and any other cities that you choose to visit.

    You are quite right that an RV is very convenient in terms of the freedom it presents - being able to pull to the side of the road and prepare your own dinner is a real luxury but not necessarily something that you cannot do in a car... the first port of call when I arrive is always a Walmart where I pick up provisions, a cheap polystyrene cooler box and a bag of ice. I can then carry fresh fruit, yoghurt, drinks, meat, cheese, bread, etc. with me and quite happily eat reasonably well.

    Parking an RV will often cost you money - if it is a 'proper' RV site - often as much as a cheap motel but you can, sometimes, park for free in places such as Walmart parking lots. This is known as boondocking but, if you do this, be sure to adhere to the boondocking etiquette

    Other than that, do you have any particular thoughts on what you would like to see and do? How long are you looking to spend in NY and LA? And have you set a budget?

    Here are some links to previous threads that you may find helpful:

    A lot of questions
    Cross country roadtrip
    Roundtrip adventure from NYC
    NY to LA in an RV?
    Los Angeles to New York

    You'll find dozens of similar threads along these lines by using the search facility on the forum which will help you plan. But don't think that we're not interested in helping you plan your trip - just do a search and hopefully you'll then have a list of specific questions that we can help answer!
    Last edited by UKCraig; 06-03-2007 at 01:40 PM. Reason: added links to previous threads

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

    Default Where to go?

    Answers so far have focused on the RV issue. As a road-tripper who normally car camps, I'm not big on the RV for these shorter trips. For months at a time, nothing really beats an RV. But I personally don't think a month qualifies. Renting a car will save you money on fuel. If you decide to camp, you can either bring camping gear with you or find inexpensive gear at any big box store. For about $200 you can get a tent, sleeping bags, lanterns, cooler, cookstove, etc. and enjoy the best of both worlds. You can camp when you want, stay in hotels other nights, and still stop by the side of the road a make a great picnic lunch. Campground fees for tent-camping are less than for an RV and your fuel costs will also be much less. Just my 2 bits.

    Where to go? Gosh, with a month you can see quite a bit but you'll still have to make choices. I don't think there's any area to avoid. And everybody's preferences are different. We usually suggest that you spend some time poking around this website and rid different trips on these forums. Plus check out the Roadtrip Planning sections for links to travelogues and other posts about certain places and activities. But I think the easiest way to start planning is to get a good map or atlas of the US and then mark the places that you most want to see. Then see what kind of routes there are between the major points. With a month, you should be able to see most of the highlights.

    After you've gotten a rough idea of where you want to go, come on back here and share and we can help you flesh out the details. Also, if you tell us what you're interested in and what kinds of experiences you wnat to have, we can probably give you a bit better advice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Historic Sites

    Hi,

    In addition to the usual big city things like museums, trendy restaurants, shopping and such, and the national parks full of amazing scenery quite different from that in Europe, there are hundreds of uniquely American living history museums and historic sites as well. If you have an interest in the historic stuff, I'll suggest some things along the way. If not, have a great time anyway. You just about can't go wrong with any route you take.

    Craig Sheumaker

    Co-author of the travel guide America's Living History-The Early Years

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