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  1. Default Three month North America trip

    Hi this is our first time planning anything like this. We are from Ireland and hoping to go do three months traveling across America. Partly by car and partly in an RV. We both drive but one of us is under 25. Our rough itinerary looks something like this but is subject to change; Start in Miami and travel down Florida keys in hire car then back up to Orlando, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, El Paso, Phoenix, San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Reno, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Chicago. We are hoping to do the latter part of the trip on some of Route 66 if possible. I would greatly appreciate any tips, advice and/or suggestions about any part of the trip including budget as I am really stuck here. We plan on having an RV for about a month and the rest in a hire car stopping off at budget motels and camp sites. We hope to go in early February 2008. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Sounds like a great adventure!

    Quote Originally Posted by nadiaelf View Post
    We are from Ireland and hoping to go do three months traveling across America.
    Sounds like a fun trip -- it is going to be a little more expensive with the one driver under 25 -- but still a great adventure.
    Partly by car and partly in an RV
    Here is an article you ought to read -- How to rent a RV -- there is also a brand new book that really has some good tips on this subject and you ought to print this article and take it with you when you pick-up your RV.
    We are hoping to do the latter part of the trip on some of Route 66 if possible.
    We have several sections on Route 66 stuff:
    RTA's Web links for Route 66
    Best web site out there for planning
    RoadTrip Advisor Don's field reports
    I would greatly appreciate any tips, advice and/or suggestions about any part of the trip including budget as I am really stuck here
    Here is a good place to start on your budget.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-29-2007 at 09:41 AM.

  3. Default Busy times of planning ahead!

    Thanks for your speedy reply Mark!
    I will check out all those links and then I'm sure I'll probably have some more questions.
    Thanks again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts


    Quote Originally Posted by nadiaelf View Post
    We hope to go in early February 2008. Thanks!
    It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what the weather will be like at that time of the year in various parts of the country, either that or your itinerary is just luckily coinciding with following the weather getting better in those parts of the country. Though I cannot say that Florida would experience anything approaching winter in Chicago!

    You'll be able to watch Spring come about in several different climates and surroundings. It sounds like a really good trip. Hopefully once you start budgeting you won't run into anything insurmountable, but if you find yourself stuck, we're here to help.

  5. Default What a coincidence!

    Wow I had really not planned that with the weather but that's a great bonus! Thanks for the heads up!
    Do you think it is advisable to book hotels/motels/campsites in advance or just as we go?
    Does an RV work out more expensive than motels/camping or will the cost balance out what with eating some meals from grocery stores and not all meals out etc?
    I know I have have tonnes more questions but can't think right now, but thanks for all your help so far!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Lots a miles...

    ... but lots of time. Good for you!


    I did a quick calculation of your mileage and it looks like about 6,500 is the minimum. However, my experience with trips of this sort would suggest that you'll drive more like 9,000! It just seems to work out that way when you are having fun and are exploring.

    As you know, you've got a big pot of time to fill and a lot of ingredients available to throw in. I'd suggest getting a good guidebook or two, sit down with a map and make a list of must see places. Both of you should have a voice in which places are selected to visit along or near the route. I wouldn't think you'd need reservations in most place since it is the off-season. However, Florida, Texas, and Arizona are popular places for retirees at that time of year so campgrounds could be full during the first part of the trip. By mid-March many of those people start heading back north toward home.

    The fact that you are traveling in late winter will have some affect on which campgrounds are open in cooler climates (higher elevations) from Flagstaff to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and further north if you head toward Denver. Wintery weather is possible even in March and April from Kansas City to Chicago, but not too likely. Campgrounds in those areas often don't open until April.

    Do some research and send us an update.

    Craig Sheumaker

    co-author of America's Living History-The Early Years

  7. Default More questions!

    Hi I really need help with quite a big part of the planning and that is what part of the trip to hire a car for and what part to hire an RV, as in which areas etc. We want to experience both forms of travelling so we get to stay in hotels/motels some of the time and self cater for the rest. I think we may have to mix up the route a bit so that we are in the most suitable form of transport for that particualr area and obviously we will only be able to hire each once (because of one-way drop fees etc.). Originally I was thinking I'd like to do the part on Route 66 in a car and Nevada,Utah and National Parks etc in a motorhome but I seem to have overlooked how to factor in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California (oops!). I have never planned anything more than a two weeks sun vacation so this is quite a lot for me to get to grips with.

    Thanks again for all your great advice!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default For Your Consideration

    One thing you need to realize (You did ask, but no one really answered) is that an RV will always cost more than a sedan and a motel. Plus you're lugging your 'home' around with you, paying for gas to get it down the road each day, going slowly up hills and around curves, finding a parking spot for it each night, etc. Unless you really want the 'adventure' of RVing, I think you should reconsider. In addition, using one in the middle of your trip means that you'd be paying three one-way drop-off fees. That alone will run you around $1,500! You can camp out with a minimum of equipment that you can pick up at any 'big box' store once you land here. And if you want to self-cater, you can rent whole houses for little more than the cost of a motel room, especially in the off season. They aren't mobile, but if you pick a couple in strategic locations, you can day trip quite far afield. This is the method of travel my wife and I prefer and it has worked quite well for us.

    However, if you choose to go the RV route for part of your trip, the place to do it is in the southwest. You'll probably experience your best weather here, the roads tend to be a little more 'wide open', and the plethora of National and State parks would make finding campsites a mite easier.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default More on self-catering

    I agree with the house rental. It can be a nice option. Also some hotels do have small kitchens in them, usually called kitchenettes. And you can fix an amazing variety of meals by eating out of a cooler. Coolers can be bought very inexpensively and many of our grocery stores have big deli-sections where you can buy some things practically ready-to-eat out of your cooler, and other things with very simple prep. For far cheaper, healthier, and with more variety than you can if you depend on resturants. Box stores also sell relatively inexpensive cooking supplies that would make for good camping meals. A simple stove, a few propane canisters, and some cheap pots and utensils will probably run you no more than $50 if you shop carefully.

    I love driving down the road and spying a cool scenic overlook, a river, a beach, what-have-you, and then pulling over to make a quick salad and a burger, or a sandwich and fruit, or simply eating a granola bar and a yogurt while enjoying the scenery and fresh air instead of being cooped up in a restaurant.

    As AZBuck said, you can easily outfit yourself with tent, sleeping bags, and a few other items for about $100 at a big box store. You're not mountaineering so cheaper products will be fine for your trip. And the money this will save you can go towards more playing on the road. Expect to pay only $15-25/night for fees in most campsites.

  10. Default A clearer idea!

    More great advice, thanks!
    This may seem like a very silly question and is obviously common knowledge in the States but foreign to us here in the UK and Ireland.....what is a big box store? Is that like Walmart or something? This sounds like a good plan to buy all our equipment and save a lot of money by camping and preparing our own meals which is something I would rather do than eat out all the time (for both calorie and money reasons!!)
    I have taken into consideration the advice about RVing...thanks AZBuck, but how about we hire one at the start or end of our journey for a week say and drop it off at the same place we picked it up to avoid the one way fees, just to have the experience of it? Do you think that would work? And spend the rest of the time in the car, camping and staying in motels and the very occasional luxury hotel. We are actually very flexible as to where we will start off and in fact the whole route, I know I mentioned Florida but it is just an idea and of course can be changed until we go ahead and book flights. But I think we are quite certain at the moment as to the list of places I said we would like to visit unless of course I am missing out some blindingly obvious places that are a must-see (and also places that could be given a miss to spend more time in others that might be more enjoyable).
    I have to say again, this is great interactive advice I just can't get from guide books, but speaking of which...for extra research does anyone know any good ones that might be useful?
    Judy/AZBuck, I had never considered house rental or actually knew this was an would I go about arranging it? As I am sure there are some places we would like to stay in longer than others and have a base to come back to every night.
    Sorry for lots more questions but I am learning so much that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own without your expert opinions!

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