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  1. #1

    Default Newbie hitting the road from Montreal to Hopi Reservation

    I'm a newbie to this forum but looking for advice on an upcoming road trip in August (8th-25th). I'm starting out in Montreal, Canada and would like to drive down to the 4 Corners Hopi and Navajo reservation area, maybe Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon.
    My initial plan is to barrel it down to the area, take my time exploring the aforementioned and then taking my time, driving back, across the South and up the East Coast.

    A few questions:
    1) I'll be renting a car, I know the desert heat is excruciating in August so I need to rent out a powerful car with a strong motor which can give enough AC, I was also thinking of something fuel-efficient given gas prices these days.
    I'll also be alone for this trip.
    - what are the best deals for car rentals, should I pick up the car in Canada or fly into the states and pick up there?
    - what kind of car should do the job?
    - does anyone know of excellent deals worth looking into?

    2) Given this time frame, is a trip of this sort feasible?

    3) What tips can you give a female solo road traveler and are there areas which need to be avoided at all costs from a safety point of view?

    4) Has anyone here done a similar trip before? What are the best places to stay (best bang for your buck), eat and check out?
    5) What other websites or books are worth picking up for this?

    Any and all pieces of advice are welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default cars etc

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I wouldn't worry too much about the power aspect of the car. While there are a few cars that really don't have enough engine to the more than adaquately do the job, there really are very few cars on the day that fit that description. Even if you rented the smallest (most fuel efficient) car available for the trip, it really shouldn't have any problem driving with the AC on.

    You'll have to shop around to figure out where to rent the car. With the low value of the US dollar it could very well cost less to rent in the US, but I can't say if it would be enough to overcome the costs of getting to the US to rent the car. Prices from town to town and chain to chain can vary wildly, so all we can recommend is to keep looking until you find a price you like.

    Otherwise, your trip looks pretty feasable. You might just want to spent more time reading some of the other forum threads, like this one about traveling solo as a woman, and the planning section articles, like this one on traveling on a budget.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Just a couple additions to Michael's great tips!

    Nothing much to add to the car issue. I agree that any car with A/C should be fine. Just choose the car that has the combination of price, comfort, and fuel consumption you prefer.

    2) Given this time frame, is a trip of this sort feasible?
    You're looking at roughly 6-8,000 miles for this trip (the variance is because your route is fairly vague). So you're looking at needing to average roughly 500 miles per day. That's about the high-end we recommend in order to cover some miles while also having time to sightsee and play a bit. However, when you're traveling for a couple of weeks, it's nice to have a day, every few days, where you either cover less miles or just stay put. Driving is fun but does get tiring. I'm thinking this might be a tad too much for a solo driver and that you'll find it a bit challenging.

    However, you can always change your route a bit while on the road and cut some miles if you find this to be true. And you may be a road warrior who thrives on this many miles. Just allow yourself some flexibility to change things, if needed, and you should be fine.

    But if this sounds too much to you from the get-go, then you might want to re-think your trip a bit now.

    3) What tips can you give a female solo road traveler and are there areas which need to be avoided at all costs from a safety point of view?
    Read Michaels' link on this. Relax. Use good common-sense. I'm a woman who travels solo at times. Believe me, you should be fine.

    5) What other websites or books are worth picking up for this?
    I doubt you'll find many websites with better or more thorough info than here. But you might want to check out the books suggested here to see if any look like they might meet your needs. Also, make use of the search function to find posts about the areas you're traveling through for more tips. And keep asking questions. We're happy to help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France

    Default Answers 1-5

    Welcome to RoadTrip America fellow Quebecoise!

    1) Personally, I'd drive the whole way. In my experience, if you fly to the desert, especially in the middle of August, it'll take you from 1-2 days to adapt to the climate/food, etc. I never rented a car in my life but I've made the trip several times to the southwest from Montreal and small japanese cars such as Honda Civic are definitely more fuel efficient than most American cars I've driven. Anyway, If you are going by yourself, you are better off with a smaller vehicle, it's easier to park in tight spaces (not that any American City I've been in in that particular area is comparable to the parking situation in Montreal) and it usually attracts less attention (unless you choose an Austin Martin!)

    Like Michael said, I wouldn't worry too much about the A/C, most rental cars have it. Just make sure you have drinking water and put plenty on sunscreen, especially on your left arm -- unless you want to end up with a truck driver's tan!

    2) Totally feasible. But time flies by so quickly when you travel to such incredibly beautiful environments! Just remember that you have to leave at some point. It sucks, I know.:o)

    3) At all costs? No, I don't think so. It's easy to say such and such cities are more dangerous and the crime rate is higher, yada, yada. But I've been to a lot of these "bad" cities by myself and nothing bad happened. Moreover, I've always been appealed by urban decay. Use common sense : don't walk in dark alleys at night, act low-profile, always watch your back, if you feel like someone's following you, head to a somewhat busier intersection or public place, carry a charged cell phone, and for the absolute paranoid : a personal alarm or whistle and maybe a small pepper spray container they sell at any good hunters and fishermen's store (not the ones that are considered as weapons).

    4) Yep, plenty of times! I usually stay in cheap motels, mostly the Motel 6(~35-45$) chain which is pretty basic (not even an alarm clock in the room) or Mom & Pop operations. The advantage of chains is that you don't have to spend several hours looking for a decent motel. You know what it's going to look like (uh...well, most of the time) and you know what to expect. I've had good and bad experiences with Mom & Pop. Also, I sometimes camp out in State/National Parks and BLM campgrounds (~7-20$US). To me, lodging is not that important when I'm on the road since I only stop for a few hours to sleep and drive out to somewhere new. As long as I have a clean bed and no lousy neighbors, I'm happy. But it's a matter of taste, really.

    As for food, well, it depends on what you are looking for. The cheaper solution is to eat out of a cooler. You can stop occasionally at various grocery stores to refill but it does get boring after a while. Then, there are the fast food place : greasy, salty, tasteless and unhealthy. It's good to have some every once in a while but I get tired of it pretty fast. The US has a lot more fast food chains that we have, so I guess the grease lover can have some sort of variety on a road trip:oP. To me, the best restaurants are usually the Mom & Pop's just around the bend, but you have to try them... to know. Sometimes it can be a rather scary experience and sometimes a rewarding one (or both.). Tiny Mexican cantinas are usually a good bet when you're travelling to the southwest. Most of them have cheap and earthy meals.

    5) You can order a few Official State Guides on the internet and hotel/motel directories. Other than that, there are plenty of specialized guide (Lonely Planet, Routard, etc.) on that area. Check out the RoadTrip Planning page at the top.

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