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Thread: Summer holidays

  1. Default Summer holidays

    Hi all

    I'm Andrea, from Italy. I would like to arrange a visit to the States for me and my family. For me it would be the second time I come on USA, but my wife and our little daughter never came there.

    In 1997, my previous visit, I do NY, then 20 day in Florida, 1 week in the Bahamas.
    Now it's different, and despite I would like to go again in Florida, what I really would like to arrange is a coast to coast.

    I necessary have to take off in NY, and certainly the big apple is a city to visit, then go (by plane) to Fort Lauderdale (where I went on my last visit) and after spending two days there (just to go around (Miami, Palm beach and something else) drive to San francisco, visiting national park and many other attraction along the path.

    That's the problem. I read ton of web site, posts and blog, and everybody suggest something different.

    So I'd like some suggestion from you, that probably are all americans.

    I can fly from NY directly to San Francisco (CA) and come back to Miami, or the opposite.
    Actually I don't have a time limit nor a budget, but certainly I don't want to spend 10K$.

    Some places I would like to see are:

    San Francisco
    Las Vegas (and Canyon)
    New Orleans (if it really worth - I mean after the disaster)
    Cape Canaveral and Epcot center (they should be both there for what I remember)
    Disneyworld for my daughter (there two of them, San Francisco and Orlando, right?)

    And now your suggestion.

    Which is the best period? In the south of states, generally also in December it would be a great period.
    When is the storm and tornado period that is best to avoid?

    Thanks for all answer.
    Andrea

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default what you are working with

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think a lot of the things you are asking about depend upon what you have to work with.

    As far as a time to go, I'd say the best time to go is whenever you can. Every season has some pluses and minuses. You mentioned December? That can be a fine time to travel, and especially before Christmas which is one of the slowest travel times of the year for many places. However, you then run into the possibility of winter weather almost everywhere in the US. Once you get to Christmas/New Years, you also run into one of the busiest travel times of the year. You also mentioned summer, which is generally peak travel time in the US and everything is open to enjoy, but then you also have to deal with the heat and/or humidity. Hurricane season in the SE runs from late summer into fall, with August, Sept, and October being the heart of the season, of course those times are also my favorite times to travel across much of the rest of the US.

    Disneyworld is in Orlando, Disneyland is in Anaheim (LA area). If you are looking to go to Epcot anyway, you'd probably be best off just spending a few days at the Disneyworld complex. The per day cost for tickets drops off dramatically the longer you stay there. There are a total of 4 major parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM), and Animal Kingdom), and I think you'll be surprised at how much that area has changed in the past decade.

    Finally, I think coming up with a rough idea of how much time you want to spend on this trip and a rough estimate for a budget would be a good idea. I'm thinking you'll want at least a month for the kind of trip you are talking about, and I could also see the price of this trip easily reaching $10k or more, depending upon how you go about it.

  3. Default

    Hi Michael

    and thanks for your quick answer.

    Well supposing a 3 weeks - travel time included - so effectively would be 18 days (1 days for jet lag purpose). What could be a possbile itinerary?

    I thought to rent a car in Miami and drop it off on San Francisco. From here, 3 weeks I see just 280$ unlimited km. It's a sedan, but we are just in 3 and generally we travel with no so much bags.

    I though also to sleep in motel, that as far as it was in 97, should be the best choice when you have to drive for long mileage and drift to see local attraction.

    But for example I remember that flight there doesn't costs as much as here in Italy, and maybe a good solution too, for example decide to setup 2-3 central point from where locally rent a car to see local attraction.
    For example taking off to Orlando and spending there 4 days (2 in Disneyworld, 1 in Cape Canaveral, and 1 I don't know).

    In Las Vegas to see the Grand Canyon and Casino of course and something other that I don't know. Maybe also good, since Nevada and California are closest to keep the car and move to San Francisco to complete the trip.

    Which is the best and cheapest flight company? Is better to make reservation here with a long term or would be convenient get the ticket as per requirement once there?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default check that again

    I thought to rent a car in Miami and drop it off on San Francisco. From here, 3 weeks I see just 280$ unlimited km. It's a sedan, but we are just in 3 and generally we travel with no so much bags.
    If you've found that price for the total cost a 3 week one way rental, no strings attached, I'd lock it in as fast as you possibly can. I did a real quick search and the best deal I could find was $1500, but most were closer to the $2-3,000 range. I would think that $280 might be the "per week" fee, and would not include a one-way rental drop off fee, which usually runs a few hundred dollars on a cross country trip like this.

    Motels would probably be a good option for your trip, but for a low-mid range place, I'd estimate about $75 per night. You'll find some cheaper some night, and more expensive others. Over 3 weeks, that's another $1500.

    A point to point flight trip would be another option, it will give you another option but its certainly a different animal than a regular roadtrip. I'd figure you'd be looking at about $500 for each leg for all three of you, but flight costs are so volitale, that could change.

  5. Default

    No, I just checked it again, 21 days, a Chevrolet Aveo from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco for 413,34 euros - 275,56 $.

    They said that some local taxes could be applied, but it's not specified what kind of taxes. Definitely it will be quite far from the fares you mentioned. So it seems car won't be a real cost. And there the gaz is extremely cheaper, isn't it?

    Btw, I just phoned them and there is a full kasko and no extra for different return location.

    What about nice places to visit or travel off?

    Andrea

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Lock that rate it!

    Quote Originally Posted by andreamoro View Post
    No, I just checked it again, 21 days, a Chevrolet Aveo from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco for 413,34 euros - 275,56 $.

    They said that some local taxes could be applied, but it's not specified what kind of taxes. Definitely it will be quite far from the fares you mentioned. So it seems car won't be a real cost. And there the gaz is extremely cheaper, isn't it?

    Btw, I just phoned them and there is a full kasko and no extra for different return location.
    When poking around, I've seen drop-off fees from $500 to $1800 US. So this is a great deal.

    What about nice places to visit or travel off?
    You've already talked about Florida, the Vegas/Grand Canyon area, and California, especially San Francisco. These would all be good areas to explore. Each area has its merits and is worth visiting. I could make persuasive arguments for each place. It's really a matter of personal preference.

    Of course, there are hundreds of other places worth visiting but in the time you have, you'll have to narrow it down.

    You've mentioned driving coast-to-coast or flying into the three different areas and doing tours from them. Both ways would work. But if you decide to drive it, you need to be aware that we figure 5 days to drive coast-to-coast. This doesn't include time to linger or explore much along the way. But that could still be a spectacular drive and worth doing as long as you're willing to keep moving and just enjoy the changing landscape from your car with only short stops along the way.

    If you think you can do further trips to the US in the future, I would advise you to consider just doing a regional trip at this time. For example, you might do Florida some of the other Southern states nearby. Believe me, you wouldn't run out of things to see and do there. Or you could do just California including San Francisco and Disneyland in the LA area. Or you could do just Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and the amazing other national parks and cities in that general vicinity.

    I'm still a bit unclear of what type of trip you're really looking for so it's difficult to give you exact advice right now. So keep posting specific questions and ideas and, hopefully, we can help you narrow things down and plan a wonderful trip for you and your family.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default agreed

    If that is the rate you can get, and there are no strings attached, lock it in now. That is an incredible deal, and as Judy mentioned, thats less than what you'll usually pay just for the drop fee.

    Since you've got your car price locked in, what dates did you decide on traveling?

    I agree with Judy that its tough to narrow in on what you might be interested in, however you might try browsing through our state by state, A-Z list

    Oh, and what is a "full kasko"?

  8. Default

    Thanks both for the replies.

    Well consider that I should stop at NY first, because my english school make me a present while renewing the contract and giving me a return ticket for New York.
    It's worth spending there 2-3 days I think. First time, in 1997 we did 4 days, but in that case NY was the transoceanic landing area after the "big flight". I think that also in this case I should do the same, or maybe that at the end of the visit I put my wife and daughter on a different flight starting form LA or San Francisco to come back. But it doesn't make a big sense of family. Also because there are incredible cheap flight from a closest airport here in Abruzzo. And believe it's a real chance, considering the type of the region where I live.

    So, the best would be arrive in NY spend one night, and flight the day after for the southern coast, in Florida.

    It's 21 days - 1 day flight + 1 night = 19 days

    5 days are needed for travelling, but certainly I don't want to drive and stay 5 days over a car.
    So something I've to see. My problems is what? I don't really know what, because I don't know what is worth and what isn't. This is because I mainly opened this post, to get suggestion based on your personal feeling.

    Some idea based on the previous experience.

    Orlando. Yes, I want to bring my family at Cape Caneveral. I think it would be interesting for them, but this could be skipped if something closest there is better than it.

    I went in the Everglades, in an indian reserve, but it was just a visit.

    I went on a small place (don't remember the name) in the gulf of Mexico. There was ton of pelicans (it was amizing). That could be nice to bring my daughter to the sea.

    What I think I cannot miss

    * New Orleans? Is it worth see it today? Or does the alluvion destroyed everything.

    * Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

    * San Francisco

    I don't think to be so lucky to get another chance to come in USA so closest. So it would be better to organize an amazing trip today rather than wait for some other occasion.

    I could also think to flight on the east coast and concentrate the visit in California and Nevada.

    What's a good motel chain or hotel too that it's not so expensive? I had a look at BW hotel chain, and 80$ per night sounds not so convenient at the end of the holiday.

    Do you think it's better to arrange reservation from here, or drive and stop when I need. I know there are tons of motel just around every corner.
    What should I have to take care for them? Are they all truastable or should I get away when I see something strange?

    I think that driving in the desert, toward Las Vegas is a bit problematic in this case, isn't it?

    Thanks
    Andrea

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default It's all worth it

    Obviously, you need to spend that time in NYC. Congrats on the gift and renewed contract.

    Quote Originally Posted by andreamoro View Post
    It's 21 days - 1 day flight + 1 night = 19 days
    5 days are needed for travelling, but certainly I don't want to drive and stay 5 days over a car.
    So something I've to see. My problems is what? I don't really know what, because I don't know what is worth and what isn't. This is because I mainly opened this post, to get suggestion based on your personal feeling.
    I think the point we're trying to get across is that all the areas you've targeted as "must see" places to visit (Florida, New Orleans, Grand Canyon, San Francisco) are worth it. And the areas surrounding them are also full of beautiful scenic vistas, interesting national parks and historical places, great architecture and culture, etc.

    The reality is that you can see them all if you want to do a marathon roadtrip. Or, if you'd rather not spend that much of your time driving, you will need to pick a region of the country and focus on that for your trip. You might consider a Florida/New Orleans trip. Or a San Francisco/Grand Canyon trip. Either would be great! But doing both is going to mean long hours driving.

    Of course, your alternative might be, as already discussed, flying to Florida and exploring that, and then flying to either San Francisco or Las Vegas and then touring the western places. This would save you the cross-country drive. Of course, you might also fly into New Orleans on the way for a visit there. For myself, this would mean too much time in airports. But if you really want to see New Orleans, it might be worth it to you to do it this way.

    We can't make this decision for you. And all these areas are worth seeing. I could tell you what I'd probably do but this might not appeal to you and your family. Personally, I would focus on the western areas (San Francisco/Las Vegas/Grand Canyon and add in time for a stop in Los Angeles to go to Disneyland and stops Zion and Bryce National Parks in Utah). Florida and New Orleans are wonderful but if I had to choose, I'd choose the west. Especially since you have already been to Florida and on the Gulf Coast.

    * New Orleans? Is it worth see it today? Or does the alluvion destroyed everything.
    Everything was not destroyed. It's definitely still worth seeing. The question is whether or not it's worth it for you to stop there on this particular trip in the time you have.

    What's a good motel chain or hotel too that it's not so expensive? I had a look at BW hotel chain, and 80$ per night sounds not so convenient at the end of the holiday.
    Some other motel chains that are usually a bit less expensive are Motel 6, Super 8, Days Inn, and Econolodge. Prices will vary at all motels chains depending on their location.

    Do you think it's better to arrange reservation from here, or drive and stop when I need. I know there are tons of motel just around every corner.
    If you are going to do the cross-country roadtrip, I would not make reservations for most of the trip so you have flexibility. Exceptions to this would be at places like the Grand Canyon. If you want to stay inside the park, you will want to make reservations ahead of time. However, Williams AZ is only about an hour south of the Grand Canyon and there should be no problem with finding a hotel there without reservations.

    What should I have to take care for them?
    I'm not sure I understand the question. If you're asking what you need to make a reservation, you simply need a credit card.

    Are they all truastable or should I get away when I see something strange?
    You shouldn't have a problem at most hotels, especially chain motels. However, if you don't like the looks of things, it's best to move on. This might be due to their location or whatever....but I always trust my instincts. If something is telling me that this is not a good choice, I heed that inner-voice and move on.

    I think that driving in the desert, toward Las Vegas is a bit problematic in this case, isn't it?
    Any car that you would rent from a trustworthy car rental agency, should be able to handle the desert just fine. You should have air-conditioning. Modern cars that are reasonably well-maintained should not have any problems with over-eating. We always advice that people have plenty of water to hydrate themselves. Anytime you do a roadtrip, having a cooler along for refreshments is a great idea. You can buy very inexpensive ones at most any store. Fill it with ice and water and you will be fine.

    Gosh....I'm sure it's frustrating that you're not getting a definitive answer from us on what areas you should focus on.

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

    Default Thousands of drivers do it every day

    Quote Originally Posted by andreamoro View Post
    I think that driving in the desert, toward Las Vegas is a bit problematic in this case, isn't it?
    I can't see why. Modern cars all have excellent air conditioning systems -- there are some tips for summer time travel you ought to read -- but no problems otherwise.

    Mark

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