Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    Default 3 Month trip 2008 - Forward Planning

    Hello everyone,

    I am new to this forum. I have been looking at this page on and off for about a year Ė just getting ideas and such. I travelled to the states in December 2005 and did a very small amount of road tripping basically because the time and money was limited.

    Iíve been planning for a while to move to the UK (I live in Australia) and after the USA trip in 05, I thought that I would add a USA road trip as my way of getting over there. Now that Iíve (nearly) finished uni, the time is right! :D

    As a way of summary, Iíve booked a one way ticket to LA arriving on 2nd July 2008 and am planning on taking the whole 90 days available on the tourist visa to get to NYC, where Iíll fly to London.

    I realise this is a LONG way off, but I need to book my ticket to London for an appropriate date, to allow me enough time to see the states and spend some time in NYC (i'm thinking Sunday 28 Sept at this stage). Iím also hoping my brother can come with me for the first 2.5 Ė 3 weeks of the trip, in which case I need to figure out where Iíll be after that long.

    The basic plan is arrive in LA just in time for 4th of July Ė spend a couple of days there and buy a car. Travel down to San Diego and begin the drive up to Seattle (where my brother will leave from). Then Iíll zig-zag across the states, hopefully fitting in most of the major cities and seeing lots of interesting natural features, mountains, cities, people, etc. Maybe duck into Canada when Iím up near the boarder or Mexico if Iím down that way and then spend 1 Ė 2 weeks in NYC at the end, by which time I will have sold the car (probably in NY state or New Jearsy).

    Iím planning on camping as much as possible and sleeping in the car where necessaryÖIím not fussyÖIím happy to do this on a serious budget, as I really am just looking forward to driving and looking and enjoying the open roads and new places. Iíve been at uni for 6 years, so Iím used to living on $80 a week Ė no big problems there. Iím also used to living on (and am happy to continue doing so) cheap food in terms of fruit and vegetables and sandwiches Ė so another way to save money. As a point of interest, Iím also a town planner (and geography nut) so I really will be happy just to be part of something new and different without the need to be spending up big on paying to enter places and ďbe entertainedĒ. Of course, it goes without saying, that Iím not going to avoid must see places just because you have to pay to get in Ė I just mean that I will enjoy the trip without feeling the need to constantly be spending money.

    Iím planning on having about AUD$10k (currently US$8800) for the USA trip (this is for car, fuel, food, accommodation but not flights or airport taxes). I think this should be plenty, and I will have some more spare if I need it, so itís not dire if I run out of money.

    I am, of course, a little apprehensive about travelling by myself for all that time since I (will be) a 23 y.o. female, but Iím also fairly confident that if Iím not stupid and use appropriate levels of caution, I should be fine. Also, for those of you who arenít aware, Australia is quite huge and Iím very used to driving long distances on country roads. This year at easter I clocked up 3000km (1600miles??) by myself in one week. And I only have a 1.5L Manual 1993 Lancer Ė soÖIím not at all worried about actually driving. Additionally, Iíve already driven in the states and have no problems being on the other side of the road. I guess I just need to figure out what animals to look out for Ė there are no kangaroos in the USA ;) haha.

    I know that it will be quite possible to make it across the states in 3 months, that I should be able to afford it, and that in theory it should all be fine. I guess I donít really have any specific questions at this stage, but am just testing the waters to see what everyone thinks.

    My main comments I suppose would be:
    a) what major problems am I missing?
    b) Iím hoping to at least hit all 48 mainland states (just to say that I have) but itís totally not essential
    c) Will I be able to get a car and what issues are there associated with (especially the no USA address thing)
    d) Would AAA membership be worthwhile?
    e) Iím planning on getting a yearly subscription to the National Parks
    f) Any recommendations on must see places? Especially off-the-tourist map type places.

    I will come back to this thread if I have any specific questions for which I canít find answers in the other threads.

    Thanks to everyone in advance for checking out the thread and any comments or suggestions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you, especially in terms of USA specific information which I may not be aware about. Additionally, if anyone has questions about road tripping down under, I would be happy to answer where I can.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Not that far in the future!

    Quote Originally Posted by FEHG View Post
    I realise this is a LONG way off,
    Not really, there are threads on this forum where the would-be roadtrippers are planning trips that are 10 years away....Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!
    The basic plan is arrive in LA just in time for 4th of July Ė spend a couple of days there and buy a car.
    I am not sure that 90 days is sufficiently long enough to justify the expense & hassle of purchasing a car. There are lots of opinions on that subject. You can start reading some of those posts here.
    As a point of interest, Iím also a town planner (and geography nut) so I really will be happy just to be part of something new and different without the need to be spending up big on paying to enter places and ďbe entertainedĒ.
    Always, a wise course of action!
    Iím planning on having about AUD$10k (currently US$8800) for the USA trip (this is for car, fuel, food, accommodation but not flights or airport taxes). I think this should be plenty, and I will have some more spare if I need it, so itís not dire if I run out of money.
    The $8800 would be OK if it didn't include the car. But since you will need to spend at least $5,000 and probably closer to $7000 to get a car that could possibly hold up to the travel plans you have in mind, I would think you need to increase the budget to at least $13,500 USD
    d) Would AAA membership be worthwhile?
    Yes, or the one our sponsor supports: Allstate Motor Club.
    e) Iím planning on getting a yearly subscription to the National Parks
    I am not sure what you mean by this?

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default Key Issues

    Hi,

    I've been giving your trip some thought, and frankly, I don't hardly know where to begin, or if it makes sense to begin. So while I think more, I'll comment on your key issues.

    My main comments I suppose would be:
    a) what major problems am I missing?

    Insurance. I wonder what kind of car insurance you can get as you transition from AU to UK. Will you still have insurance back home that will be usable here? Can you transfer the billing address to your parents house?

    b) Iím hoping to at least hit all 48 mainland states (just to say that I have) but itís totally not essential.

    Not likely, but you should be able to get through most of them.

    c) Will I be able to get a car and what issues are there associated with (especially the no USA address thing)

    This is the big question. I wonder if you could get someone like a TV network or newspaper to donate a car if you promised to do a regular travel blog. I also wonder about a lease, maybe if your brother did it for you, then he could turn it in later after the minimum lease time (I assume he is in the US on a more or less permanent basis).

    Be sure to get some sort of 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. I can envision several roads that you might want to take where traction will be very important. For example: Yankee Boy Basin outside of Ouray, Colorado, All but the main road in Captitol Reef National Park, the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park (2 day car camping trip), Monument Valley loop, to name a few. These aren't just dirt roads, they are unimproved in the true sense of the word (steep, rough, deep, sandy, rocky, and a whole lot of fun). Maybe you need a Jeep with tough tires that you sell on consignment or Ebay at the other end. Of course, you can rent those kind of vehicles on as needed basis, sometimes.

    d) Would AAA membership be worthwhile?

    Yep, a good way to protect yourself if you have trouble on the road (a friend of mine with a "go anywhere" recreational vehicle got it high-centered in a remote part of Captiol Reef and had to hike 20 miles to a phone [before cell phones], but the AAA truck came the next day, lifted him off and and he went on his way). The free travel info, books and maps are worth much more than the cost.

    e) Iím planning on getting a yearly subscription to the National Parks

    A must have.

    f) Any recommendations on must see places? Especially off-the-tourist map type places.

    This is the hard one to respond to. You could just pick up the AAA tourbooks, vow to hit all the gem attractions, and you'd easily fill up 3 months with an amazing array of things to see and do. We've used their books extensively to find out of the way, interesting places. The only problem is they put "everything" in those books. Of course, that is the good thing about them, too.

    One approach we've taken is to keep an eye/ear on the weather reports and go where ever the weather is good. (That doesn't mean you won't get caught in an occassional rain storm, but it helps to ensure that you get good pictures.) Then see what there is to explore in the area. We're rarely disappointed.

    Sure, you'll want to develop a list of things/places you don't want to miss, but you can do that pretty quickly by looking through some of the threads on this site. Also, read the reviews here of the better guidebooks to decide which ones will take you to the kinds of places you want to go, though if you aren't carefull you'll have a large back seat library.

    As a "geography nut" you'll love the western states and Utah especially. The most scenic roads are marked on the maps (though there are scenic roads that aren't marked). And there are books on the subject such as the Roadside Geology books and scenic drives books. My caution here, too, is that you can accumulate too much information that you never use.

    As a town planner you'll want to compare Salt Lake City with Boston - a study in contrasts.

    The more I think about it, this trip seems like it could be a planning nightmare, or the jaunt of a lifetime. I hope you make it more of the latter.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  4. Default Random Suggestion

    Since you've got 90 days, and aren't really required to be a specific place at a specific time other than the other end in 90 days...

    A suggestion might be to get a largish map of the US (and Canada), and then spend a week or 2 doing a bit of reading and internet skimming to pick out some interesting places you might want to see..

    Put these on the map, using pins or marks with a felt-tip marker or something. Then sit back and sort of lay out a route to go through them. That might give you a rough planning base for how you want to go.

    Then we, and other folks, can chime in with "Oh you've got to see this too!", and add in places we've heard of the like.

    But with such an open itenerary, I think we're all not sure where to start making suggestions.

  5. #5

    Default Thanks for your comments

    Larrison, RedCorral and Mark...

    Thank you for your comments.

    The more I re-read my original post, the more I realise it doesn't really make a whole heap of sense! :)

    Responses and comments:

    * My brother lives in Australia - he's just thinking of coming on the first 2 - 3 weeks with me as a holiday. He hasn't been OS before, and it would keep me company for a little while.

    * My rough idea (at this stage) is to make a list of "must see" places and a list of "would like to see places"...put them on a map and join-the-dots. Anything in between I'll check out, and if it's not on the path, then I'll have to miss it out.

    * I think the biggest trap with this kind of thing is trying to see everything. In reality, you could spend 2 years driving across America and not seeing everything, so...Iím just going to see the places I want to see, and visit stuff in between those places.

    * The car thing is still (at this point) the biggest issue I have to address. I'll do a little research and try and figure something out. I don't want to catch the greyhound. I don't want to catch the train and I can't afford to rent for that amount of time. I thought about a short term lease (as opposed to car hire) as a possibly cheaper option, but I can't find anything through my internet searches. I had relatives that did this in the UK, and it was much more affordable over a three month period.

    * I am selling my car here when I leave, and won't be buying one in the UK, so I won't have any insurance I can transfer over. I'm pretty much erasing myself from Australia before I go, except for one bank account, and starting fresh in the UK.

    * Our equivalent of AAA (RACQ) has some types of insurance, and I'm planning on maintaining my membership with that while I'm overseas. They may have reciprocal membership, I'm not sure.

    * I haven't done much research at all, at this point, so I may be bringing up questions which have been answered in other threads. I will find these when I have the time to look a bit harder (currently writing a thesis - quite time consuming). So, I apologise if Iím repeating things.

    * I'm hoping it will be the jaunt of a lifetime. If nothing else, it should be character building! ;) I suppose that after 3 months by myself on the road (give or take) that I should have a slightly altered perspective on life, not to mention some excellent photos, hopefully. Either way, should be a laugh. Really - what's the worst that can happen?? (this is a rhetorical question - I don't want to know what's the worst that can happen! :D)

    I'll check out the local papers/TV shows that may be interested in giving me some cash to do it ;) wish me luck - ha ha.

    Anyway, thanks again for your time and comments.
    I'll go and do some research and come back with some more constructive comments and questions.

    Regards,
    FEHG

  6. Default Short Term Lease

    I can't get onto this website at work and have never visited it before, but a friend of mine told me about a site called where you might be able to get a short term lease.

    A co-worker of mine's son helped a family out a few years ago ... they were moving from CA to NY and didn't want to pay to have their car transported. They asked my co-worker's son to drive it cross country (provided him someo gas money), and in exchange for doing that, he was able to use the car to sightsee as he wished.

    I know it might be a long shot, but maybe you can search on craigslist for something similar? You never know!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-02-2007 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Preferred URL Format herein

  7. #7

    Default

    Souperjen24,

    Thanks very much for the heads up. I can't get onto it either at work, but I'll check it out.

    I was doing some thinking on the bus ride home yesterday - I will have about AUD$20k to get me from here, via the USA, to the UK. I think I need about AUD$5k to get my VISA to the UK and I would like some cash so that if I can't get a job, I've got about 6 weeks worth of money.

    So, to cut a long winded ramble short - it doesn't matter how much the car costs, as long as I can sell it and not lose more than about US$3k. I don't know much about the car market over there, so I guess the questions I would have for people would be...

    * If I buy a car in California and sell it in NJ or NY, what notable issues are there?

    * If I bought a car for (say) US$8000, would it be possible to sell it for not less than US$5000. That way, the cost of transport is $3000, which is cheaper than either a lease or a rental and I have the added benefit of having my own car with unlimited miles, etc...

    * The assumption is (of course) that I don't crash it, dint it or that it breaks down. I'm also assuming I'll do not less than 6000miles and probably not more than 10000miles.

    * Would it be difficult to sell the car in (estimated) 3 days when I get to NJ?

    * I'm happy to take a bit less money for the sale to get rid of it quickly

    As I've said previously - I have only had a quick look around this site, so I may be covering old ground. if this is the case, I apologise and will do research...this is just a brain dump on paper so that i can come back later.

    Thanks again for your help

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    378

    Default hair-brained idea

    Not yours, mine, probably!

    I was just thinking that maybe you could buy the car and after a month or two post it on Ebay with the stipulation that it will be available to pick up on specific day at a specific location. (You don't want to tell them where it has been). If you can find a decent car for $8,000 you should be able to sell it 3 months and 10,000 miles later for $5,000, even on Ebay. Take a look at the car sales on Ebay, or another auction site, and see how they work. I really have no idea, but it seems like it might be possible.

    The other possibility, again based on no real experience, is the used car consignment places such as CarMax. I'm not sure just how they work either, but you might be able to give them the car, have them sell it and send you the cash (minus their commission, of course).

    Your itinerary-planning approach of picking the must-sees, might-sees and plotting them on a map is exactly right. I've worked out many long trips that way, and it is by far the best way to see a lot in a little amount of time.

    Good luck, and have a good life in the UK,

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years
    Last edited by RedCorral; 08-05-2007 at 10:42 PM. Reason: spelling

  9. Default

    I have no idea how/if a non US citizen can purchase a car. But to get an idea of what your used car trade in value is, check out Kelly Blue Book which is usually pretty standard - I know a lot of car dealerships in the area use it.

    Since you don't have a lot of time to sell the car at the end, I would look up used car dealerships in the NJ/NY area and call them to see if they purchase cars from people without you having to purchase another one. I see signs from dealerships in my area (south Jersey) who do that sort of thing. I'm sure they do it up North too.

  10. #10

    Default VISAs

    Hello everyone,

    I was talking to my cousin on the weekend who did a similar trip to me, although - 10 years ago. We were talking about different things, and he suggested that, if I go into Canada or Mexico, it might re-start the 3 month visa waiver that I get as a tourist. This seems way too easy and I'm sure that I am missing something.

    Essentially, I would like to have more than 3 months, if possible, but don't want to go through the hassel of getting a 6 month tourist visa if I can help it. That's why I've restricted my trip to 3 months.

    However, if I can spend a week or so in Canada, in order to "re-start" the visa, this would overcome the problem

    Does anyone know anything about it? I have checked out the US visa website, but couldn't find anything answering this particular question.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Similar Threads

  1. Planning a long Motorcycle trip!
    By liveinxs in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 01-03-2009, 09:45 PM
  2. Help plan my 2 month road trip!!
    By JF2CBR in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 02-10-2007, 06:06 PM
  3. Planning a two month road trip and seeking advice
    By ChepandJen in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-09-2005, 03:38 PM
  4. Phase One: Gathering Info for 4+ Month Solo Trip
    By ChiTownLinda in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 04-09-2003, 04:09 AM
  5. 26yr male, planning trip to NYC, Chicago, 1 month
    By RoadTripper Daniel in forum Share the Gas
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-07-2002, 05:59 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES