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Thread: New York to LA

  1. #1

    Default New York to LA

    Hello everybuddy!

    Two friends and I are hoping to travel from NY to LA in summer 2009. We have roughly estimated our total budget as £9000 or $12,286.37 at todays exchange rates. (hopefully they go up again so we have to spend less!!) This is our first potential route, we are open to suggestions and would like to keep it as open ended as possilbe so theres the chance to just get lost and have an adventure

    ©Google Maps

    We are looking at doing that in 4 to 6 weeks, with 5 days in NYC and 5 in LA,it comes in at 4764 miles. From reading some of the adventures that you guys have been on that dosen't seem that much, but my entire country's only 900 and change long!!! So it's quite a daunting prospect. With our time off, that works out at about 150 miles a day, which is more than do able, would you reccomend shortening the time, or increasing the distance as 150 miles daily dosen't seem that long to me.

    We Are looking at buying an RV in New Jersey, driving the way and either selling it or dontating it to an organisation of somesort in LA. I've been reading alot of posts in the past day or so on foreigners buying cars in America, and it all seems very confusing!! We have a friend who lives in NJ and where wondering if in anyway that helps us? Insurance wise we are, or will be! 22,22 and 21. All with full clean UK driving licences, will our age affect anything, in the UK the younger driver more expensive insurance costs start to fall at 21, is this the same there?

    Also, are we ok to drive on our licences, or would we need to take a test?

    As we are from Nottingham, we (quite sad, i admit) are hoping to travel to other Nottinghams in the USA, and have tried to plan a route around that.

    I'm not sure if the RV would be a viable option, but the cost of renting a car and staying in motels seems to be prohibitive. I am all up for camping occasionally, but I'd rather not for 6 weeks and I doubt they'd be space in any we could afford or be allowed to rent for alll our stuff, us and our camping gear to fit comfortably.

    Having only previously been to NYC I'm unsure on food costs outside of such a big city, we were thinking on £20 or $27.50. This is realistic in the UK, but would it be there?

    With wanting to keep our plans somewhat fluid, we are planning on not buying a return ticket before we travel and just picking one up when we get to LA. This also gives us the option of giving up and flying back from anywhere, should we get bored/ill/poor! Is this allowed or do we have to have a return ticket to enter the country with your imigration laws being so much stricter then ours.

    I apologise for the rambling! I have thousands more questions to ask but i wont take anymore of your time up! Hopefully we'll get to know eachother better in my coming year of planning!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-23-2009 at 10:17 AM. Reason: New members may not direct users off site; Copyright notice added

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

    Default reality

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I really don't think your idea of buying an RV is very practical. Even if you get beyond the red tape, the costs I think will destroy your budget. Buying a car isn't cost effective unless you are on the road for a least a couple of months, and RV travel generally is more expensive than going with motels.

    I wouldn't recommend trying to book a one way trip and then hope to book another one later. I'd probably instead look at booking a round trip ticket, but try to find one that has the flexability to change the ticket easily (with as few fees as possible). Not only will it probably make your trip through immigration easier, it could very well be cheaper too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Agreed

    I agree to try and find a suitable R.V. that will be sound and reliable isn't going to be cheap and certainly something you won't want to be donating at the end.[Unless you win the lottery] ;-)

    You are o.k to drive on UK licences but as you know renting will be at a premium due to your ages. A car and camping or hostels would be best for budgets but even a car and Motels would work out cheaper than an R.V.

    Your trip is certainly doable with the time you have and 150 miles in the U.S is a doddle compared to here in the U.K.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Well Within Limits

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your overall budget in both time and money should make for a very enjoyable trip. I wouldn't look at average miles per day as any indication of what your days will look like. But since you only have to cover 150 mile/day to make the trip work, consider that what that really means is that you will not be in any rush. You can easily cover three times that many miles in a single day. So you will have plenty of time to savor the major national parks and anything else you find along the way that you particularly fancy. Just relax and enjoy.

    To be honest, I'd simply drop the idea of purchasing an RV. Even with the benefit of having a real street address available to you to help with the title and registration, I think that in the end it will just be more trouble than it is worth. Actually, unless you are used to traveling by RV and really enjoy the lifestyle, I'd recommend just renting a comfortable sedan and staying in motels. The price usually works out considerably cheaper when there are only two or three traveling together. Also staying in motels lets you occasionally get two rooms so that you and your friends will have at least some opportunity to get away from each other and off each other's nerves. Three weeks of 'togetherness' usually proves to be too much, no matter how good your friendship is going in.

    Having traveled moderately extensively in Britain over many years, I was always struck by how expensive your food was in comparison to here in the U.S. We are a big grain and livestock producing country and you will find a wealth of 'family style' restaurants where you can get filling meals for what I am sure will be less than you are used to. Also, I think your exchange rate figures place too much value on the dollar. £20 will go further than you're giving it credit for.

    You will probably find that you will need to show that you plan to return to the UK before you will be granted a visa or visa waiver. Normally you would show this by having a return ticket. You can check with your airline on whether they would even let you on the plane without a return ticket, because if you land on our shores and are refused entry, they are on the hook for getting you home immediately. The easiest way around this would seem to be to purchase a return ticket that allowed you to change the date of your return flight for either no or a minimal penalty. Then you have proof you plan to return but still have the flexibility to return on your own timescale (within the limits of your visa, of course).

    Once you get these logistical matters out of the way, you can concentrate on planning the details of where you want to go and what you want to see, in my opinion one of the most pleasurable parts of any trip.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-23-2009 at 11:11 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Driver's License and camping

    Just a quick note, you might want to check out getting an International Driver's License. If you have a valid foreign license, you use it with the IDL , and you'll be good to drive in the US. I'm not sure if you could use only your foreign license, but I know the IDL is recognized.

    By the way- I understand about you wanting to travel to other Nottinghams in the US :)

    With the camping and car- I think it's a better option than the RV. Easier to get to certain places, you save on gas... You don't have to bring too much 'hardcore camping' gear. Spend a couple days camping, then stay in a motel. Unless you plan on backcountry camping, your biggest gear could be a sleeping bag for each person and a tent for 2 people or one big tent. You wouldn't need cooking gear (which takes up a lot of space) if you stick with things like sandwiches, cereal... which you could buy along the way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    NJ is one of the most difficult states for a "foreigner" to buy a vehicle in and get it licensed. They have a "6 Point ID Verification" program. I do not see any way for anyone on just a visitor's visa to qualify.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default 6 Points


    Great job looking that up. I wonder if I could even qualify therein?

    Actually, I qualify on all of the criteria -- but still you get my drift.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default geesh

    Wow, that's some crazy amount of documentation. One of my favorite things about a US passport is that it is usually a catch all, that's good enough for all most anything where an ID is needed. The fact that even with a passport, you'd still need 2 other forms of id for a license is intense.

    Of course it still makes more sense then Wisconsin's driver license law. You are required by law to get a Wisconsin Drivers License within 20 days of moving to the state, however to get a Wisconsin Drivers License you have to be able to prove that you've lived in the state for at least 30 days!

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