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.