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  1. Default 1st Road Trip - West America

    Hi Guys,

    Im from England and am currently looking into heading to America in august for say 2 weeks with my girlfriend. Im 21 and she is 23.

    As id imagine for a 2 week break the best place for a Road Trip is West America. Looks like maybe fly to LA, drive up to San Fran, to Vegas and then loop back down to LA for the flight home.

    My question is, is the ok for a 2 week break? i think its enough, not trying to fit to much in but enjoying the places we do visit.

    Now, my aim isnt to get in a car and drive straight from one place to another. I want to enjoy whats on the way, i feel the driving itself would be just as much fun and seeing the actual cities.

    I imagine this route has been talked about endlessly on this forum. But being from England im not sure of the right protocol to abide by?

    Shall i pre book accommodation? Or do i just roll up to a place on the night? I understand planning is key, but when you doing a roadtrip its hard to get everything to a tee.

    Any help on places to see, routes etc... would be great.

    Thanks Guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    The Great Midwest, Illinois to be precise

    Default Welcome to RTA

    You've found a great idea site.

    Once leaving Vegas, drop down to Oatman, Arizona, for some unusual wildlife in the streets on this original stretch of Route 66. The wild burros just wander the streets looking for food. This is very much like the old west towns you see in the westerns.

    Plus, you'll be in for some outstanding views on a very twisting mountain road.

  3. Default Prebooking or not

    Hello TomPich --

    2 weeks is a good amount of time for a fairly leisurely loop from LA to San Francisco to Vegas and back. With that amount of time you can spend a couple of days in places to get to see them a bit more (every point on the loop is a day's drive or less apart, if you take the superhighways).

    There have been multiple discussions of pre-booking hotels and the like, and I'd recommend you do a quick search of the discussions for those. (And in general for places to stop at or visit on this loop -- its got to be the most heavily discussed trip on this forum.)

    In general, you can *usually* get away without prebooking a hotel, if you're heading somewhere that has a multitude of hotels, or you're not trying to stay at a specific geographic place. However, August is the big vacation month in the US since its the month that all the schools are out, and families typically take vacation during this month. If you want to stay somewhere specific -- like a campground right on the Pacific coast for example, or *in* Yosemite National Park -- where there aren't a lot of alternative places to stay, or a busy holiday weekend, then you might want to get reservations before hand. Highly desirable places, like the campgrounds inside national parks, fill up pretty fast -- several months in advance for the busy summer months, and summer weekends. Most hotel/ motel reservations can be cancelled at no cost, given a 24 hour notice (in some cases, just that you call by 4 PM or so the day you were scheduled to arrive to cancel). I've found that campgrounds either have the same policy, or charge a small cancellation fee.

    So.. if you're heading to a spot that has limited availability of lodging sites, you might want to book ahead, particularly on a August weekend. If you're heading for somewhere where there are a number of hotels or motels available (like the dozens of hotels around Disneyland, for example), or you're willing to drive an extra 30 minutes or so, you can usually find a room without prebooking. I'd suggest taking a good travel guide/ tourbook along (I use the AAA - Automobile Association of America -- Tourbook), and a cell phone. Then if you don't have somewhere booked, then mid-afternoon or so, call ahead and reserve a room. That way you know where you'll spend the night, and not end up in worst case driving through the night to the next town to find somewhere with a vacancy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Good advice so far

    However, I think you need to be aware that car rental companies charge a premium for drivers under age 25 and also limit your options (usually no premium vehicles, for example). When you get quotes, be sure you let them know your age. You might find that some companies are better deals than others just based on what kind of surcharges they have for the under-25 age group.

    This post by AZBuck has links to several informative discussions about the general route you're planning on traveling. You should gain a lot of good info by reading through them.

  5. #5


    Two weeks isn't enough to see the west. Two months isn't enough to see the west. You'd struggle to see it in two years :) My advice is just to chill, see a select few places and enjoy yourselves there. You'll be back - I guarantee it - there's something about the area that draws you back. Have a great trip!

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