Texas to Maine
My friends and I (3 of us) are planning our 1st "real" road trip late September early October - about a week and a half trip. We are planning on renting a fun car to drive up and the we will flying back. We would like to keep the trip fun and interesting not so much interstate driving. We are looking for B&B's, and out-of-season-rentals to stay, still places that we would feel safe at.
I would love all the advice I can get.
Lower Your Sights Just a Bit
Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!
First of all, you need to recognize the conflict between your goals and constraints. You say that you're looking for a cost-effective way to meet up, but that you plan to rent a 'fun' car for a long one-way trip and then fly back to Texas. The second part of that plan is going to chew up and spit out any savings you may realize on the first part. One-way rentals are very expensive, with drop-off charges of around $200-300 common. Specialty cars are similarly very expensive and generally aren't available for one-way rentals in any case, they have to be returned to the place you pick them up. You might be able to get an otherwise 'standard' convertible, but that's about it. (I do hope you're all over 24, or else even that possibility is out the window.) Three one-way plane tickets are also going to eat up a ton of money. So, if money is an object, then I think you need to set your sights a bit closer to home, find a major or regional airport that is central to your three locations, get there however you best (and most affordably) can and then either rent a car or use one of your own to do a loop trip somewhere and back. With a week and a half from central Texas, possibilities include the South, the east coast, the Appalachians, the Colorado Rockies and the desert Southwest, but not, I'm afraid, Maine.
It is possible...
...assuming you meet all of the criteria AZBuck laid out. You are of an appropriate age to rent a car, and you have the funds to pay the drop off fees, one-way tickets, etc.
The trip you have planned measures out at about 1,900 to 2,000 miles, depending on what you want to see and which route you want to take. In 10 days that averages out to about 4-5 hours of driving per day if you stay off the Interstates. If you get an early start, and can arrive a little late, that leaves you some time to see things along the way.
To some extent, the "what you want to see" part should determine the "which route you want to take" part. Needless to say, there is a ton of stuff in that part of the country. The list of national and state parks, historic sites and scenic drives is practically endless. So you need to decide what kind of things you want to see, then do some research, or ask for more advice.
When you've each had a chance to make some choices, I'd suggest that you sit down with your friends a month or so before the trip and decide what sights you must see (each person gets to pick two must see's and two might see's), then you can rough out the route and determine where you will be each night. Then you can look up B&Bs online and make your reservations (at least a month in advance if possible).
Note that most B&B's prefer a mid to late afternoon check-in, though many will make arrangements for later if you need to arrive after dinner. Also, many require a 2 night stay, so you may have to do some shopping to find a place. The important thing with B&Bs is to communicate with them. They are small establishments, usually owned and operated by one or two people, and they want to be sure you are coming. If you need to cancel, give them as much warning as possible. If it is less than 48 hours (or even a week in some cases) you'll probably have to pay the first night, unless they can book the room.
I'd say you have an exciting trip planned. You will be in the Northeast at a spectacularly colorful time of year. It is too bad that you can't take longer. We did a loop from Boston through just New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts for 10 days, and loved it.
I just had a thought. You might have more luck dropping off your car if you flew to Maine and drove to Texas. The car rental company might be more agreeable if you could drop it in a larger city like Dallas or Houston.
Good luck and have a great time,
co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years
WOW - I am so glad to have found this website, ya'll are answering questions that I haven't even thought to ask yet.
First, my friends and I are all age appropriate, I'll be 50 on Friday and my friends are both a little older and a little younger then me, so we will be fine there.
I do a lot of traveling through Texas & Louisiana for work, but this will be a real road trip just for fun.
After discussing our plans with other friends, I am having a hard time convincing them that the trip between Houston and Maine is the "trip", they think that we should just fly to Boston, rent a car, spend 10 days driving around New England, then fly back home - I want to see stuff along the way.
I am not sure about which route would be best to go - I am still investigating that. As far as where to stay, I just thought that B&B and vacation rentals would be a lot more fun and interesting than Holiday Inns and LaQuintas or any other major hotel chain - I see a lot of those with work.
I am okay with the 5 to 6 hours of driving a day, but I do want to see more than just Interstate driving. We want to rent a convertible - maybe a Solero, or something along that line - we are more about the comfort. Oh, and as far as driving, I know NOTHING about driving in the mountains (neither do my friends) but I'm willing to go for it. About eating, we want to try local diners, and dives instead of IHOP and Chili's - not that those aren't fine restuarants, but part of this trip is to enjoy the local fare. Now, seriously, is this too much to expect??
I have laid out what we want out of this trip, now I really need to put the numbers to it so we know exactly how much it will cost and what to expect. I priced airfare one-way coming back, if we book now we could get it for a little more than $200 each. I have a friend in the car rental business, she did confirm that renting a car one-way was more expensive - I am surprised, but that is the whole reason behind researching early. I guess once we determine a route, I can start looking for places to stay -
ALL suggestions on everything is greatly appreciated! I think that I have come to the right place. Thanks again for all the great info and advice.
Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-13-2008 at 06:31 PM.
Reason: Added some white space
Split the Difference
As far as an overall plan goes, rather than drive all the way to Maine and get hit with the one-way fee on the rental, or fly to say Boston and 'just' see New England, why not compromise and fly to a good sized regional hub about half way, say Cincinnati, Charlotte or Raleigh-Durham, and do a loop drive from there. That would let you save on the rental, and you'd have your choice of several airports so you could take the cheapest fare, and you get both a RoadTrip and a New England tour. In particular, any of the airports I suggested would let you see a bit of the Appalachians as well as some of the major cities of the mid-Atlantic region if you would like. I think this also makes a lot of sense if you are uncomfortable with more than 5 or 6 hours a day of driving and only have 10 days or so for the entire trip.
For things to see over a week or so in New England, read through some of the threads linked to from this post. What to see on the way there and back will depend on how you finally decide to get there, but there will be options.
I. too, am a fan of B&Bs, but they do require more planning than just rolling up to the nearest chain motel. You will have to do some research beforehand to find places that appeal to you and your friends, book ahead, and stick a fairly rigid set of stopping places each night. That doesn't mean that your days have to be that highly structured, but you will have to work to an overall schedule to use these kinds of accommodations. My experience with vacation rentals has been very positive, but they do typically strongly prefer if not require minimum stays of a week, and their pricing is geared to that expectation. And as far as local fare goes, pull into any small city in America and ask a few of the locals where THEY would eat if they were looking for whatever it is YOU want. My experience is that one or two restaurants will quickly come to the fore and none of them will be named McDonald's, Applebee's, or Denny's.
Mountain driving, and back road (non-Interstate) driving is not nearly as hard as you imagine. Especially in the well worn down mountains of the East. I think you'll find such driving a ton of fun, particularly in a convertible.
I hope those suggestions at least get you and your friends talking about making the trip that most appeals to all of you. It should be a great time.
New England in mid-Oct
My friends and I are traveling to the New England area in Oct 9th. We will be visiting friends in Conn, but would like to see and do as much as we can in a weeks period. We will be renting a car, and will probably have 4 to 5 days to just see the sights. I would appreciate any and all suggestions. We would prefer to stay "off the beaten path" and travel to those out of the way places. At least a couple of nights we would like to stay in inns or something other than hotel chains.
All advise is welcome.
Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!
These threads should give you a good idea of what's available to you in New England. I'd suggest you concentrate on Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, using the Connecticut River valley as a recurring theme. US-5 on the Vermont side and NH-12/NH-10 are two of the more scenic roads in the area and there are some great country inns and B&Bs throughout the valley, with some of the best in Windsor, VT and Hanover, NH. Other great roads would include VT-100 and NH-112. While neither of those would qualify as "off the beaten path" (they're far too well known, justifiably), you'll be traveling in the saddle period between summer and leaf-peaking, so take the opportunity to enjoy them. If you really want an unusual scenic road, ask for directions to the Sandwich Notch road between Center Sandwich and Goose Hollow, NH. It's dirt, but any sedan can handle it.