EDIT: Eeks. Now that I've had some time to go through the other threads more leisurely, I can see that a lot of the questions I have, have already been asked, and answered.
I'll be going over the (millions of!) suggestions on things to do along the route, but a few things I haven't been able to find discussed so far:
1) Would it make sense to drive from SF, to Seattle, Vancouver BC, and then back down to LA and Vegas (within 13 to 14 days, but spending a couple of days each in Vancouver and Vegas); or should we fly to Seattle, take the train to and from Vancouver, and then do the drive from Seattle downwards (only about 7 days, but we'd already have covered Seattle and Vancouver), OR, should we fly to Vegas, and then drive all the way up (about 9 days after having covered Vegas)?
2) Just how much of a pain will driving be, given the weather in mid-December?
3) I guess this is kind of related to the first question, but rental car across the border - yay or nay?
I guess I should also mention that my best friend's all about the shopping and celebrity sightings, and I have a ridiculous fascination for bookstores. Museums and monuments are great in small doses, but we're really more about just soaking in the feel of a place, and hunting out it's inherent quirkiness.
I'm a brand new user, and I'm thrilled to have stumbled across this website. It's fantastic to finally find that all the information I need is in one place and easy to find, and to have people to ask advice from to boot.
My best friend and I have been dreaming about our Christmas vacation for months now, and things were finally coming together, after we'd booked our flights in and out of San Francisco (we live in Singapore). And then it was as if we'd run into a brick wall. It's uncanny the number of obstacles we've come up against while trying to get our domestic flights booked.
Essentially, we've got about 2 weeks, from the 9th of December, when we land in SF, to the 21st of December, when we need to get across to New York to meet up with the rest of our friends.
Our initial plan was to fly from SF to LA, then to Vegas, then to Seattle, take a bus up to Vancouver for the weekend, and then back to Seattle, fly across the New York to meet up with the rest of our friends, and then back to SF to catch our flight home.
Now though, we've decided to only fly from the West Coast to the East, meet our friends over there, and then back again to catch our flight home.
As excited as I am about a roadtrip, I'm slightly overwhelmed by the idea as well. There's so much planning to do, and so many things to take into account.
1) I'd really like for the few days we spend in Vancouver to be over a weekend, so that my boyfriend won't be crazy busy with work and can actually hang out.
2) My best friend really wants to spend a couple of days in Vegas, because she's convinced she's going to hit the jackpot and come away with loads of cash to go on a massive shopping spree once we hit the East Coast.
3) Now that we're driving, I'd love to be able to stop in at places along the way. With the initial plan of flying everywhere, we were going to spend a couple of days in each city, but I'm the sorta traveler who likes to just see and do as much as possible.
It doesn't really matter to us whether we make our way from the bottom up, or the top down, because as far as we can tell, it doesn't make much of a difference price-wise.
I can't figure out whether it makes sense to start driving the day we reach SF, or if we should fly up to Seattle, do that and Vancouver by train/bus, and then start driving downwards.
On top of all that, I'll be the only one driving for the majority of the trip. My friend hates driving, and will only do it on long straight stretches. I on the other hand, love being behind the wheel, but, I've never driven in winter conditions, not even mild ones (I am, however, thoroughly conditioned to driving in tropical storms) and I've never tried my hand at a left hand drive.
Advice would be immensely appreciated, especially on things we may be overlooking like problems in getting a rental car across the US-Canada border, or what time of the day it would make sense to set off at, and which routes to take to get the most out of our drive.
As of now, we've pretty much got a clean slate. We haven't booked our West to East & back flights yet, because we don't know which city we'll be flying out of. We do need to hurry up on it though, before things start getting sold out and prices skyrocket. Us poor college students are busting the bank as it is on this trip ;)