View Poll Results: Best way to travel from east coast to west coast?

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  • Amtrak - Train

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  • Road Trip cross country

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Thread: Sleepless in NY

  1. #1

    Default Sleepless in NY

    Hi Guys,
    I'm currently I'm the midst of a career transition. I have lived in NY for my entire life and now at 25 I have the opportunity to work in L.A. I haven't been on a road trip longer than 5 hrs so I know I have my work cut out for me. I need to leave NY and be in CA within 5 days. Is there a recomended route for a first timer on a one way trip? I'll be traveling with a friend or two. I've heard that 8 hrs of driving per day is the max. I looked into renting a uhaul van and towing my car. I'm nervous but hopefully with enough advice I can shove off by march. Any and all advice is grealty appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    Five days is generally how long it takes to go from one coast to another, and you have that much time. You wouldn't be getting out to see too many sights, but at least you'd be able to drive through them and enjoy the scenery.

    Our general recommendation is 500-600 miles a day max, which is roughly 10-12 hours, though with multiple drivers you may be able to stretch it a little. However, having driven multiple (and ancient!) Uhaul vans over the years, I wouldn't recommend it. If you stopped after 8 hours, you'd still be about 1000 miles short of your destination. Will you have five full days to make this trip? Or do you need to be there on the fifth day, ready to work?

    Are you leaving from New York City or somewhere else in the state? Assuming the city, I-80 to I-71 to I-44 to I-40 would be your best bet, as you won't have the time to venture off the beaten path. Plus, you'll be driving an unfamiliar vehicle with your car in tow - don't forget that it's back there!

    Good luck with your new job and new home!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default can you add another

    5 days really is the minimum amount of time you should be looking at for this trip. Tim's estimates are right on in terms of distance and travel time, you'll be looking at 10-12 hour days to make this happen.

    If you can at all, I would try to add in at least an extra day, if not two. Having moved cross country a few times, I can tell you this. You won't leave as soon as you plan on your first day. The finishing touches on packing always seem to take longer than you think. You also probably won't get as far as you think you should that first day either. Most people aren't used to driving a big truck and most people aren't used to pulling a trailer, when you combine the two, it takes some time to get used to your situation and get comfortable. By the second day, you'll probably be somewhat used to things, but I'd expect to go pretty slow for that first day.

    You didn't say when you are traveling, but since you put this in the winter trips category, you could have the possibility of a weather delay too. I drive in winter weather all the time, but trying to do it while driving a big unfamiliar truck and trailer is another thing altogether.

    When you factor in those things, I think you'll have a much more enjoyable and less stressful trip if you have at least 6 if not 7 days at your disposal. Even if you still complete your trip in 5 days, I think you will appreciate having a day or 2 to unpack and get settled into your new place.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks Mike & Tim, I really appreciate the advice.
    I'm looking to leave the first week of March and will be joined by one or two of my friensds, so hopefully driving the 10 plus hours won't be as bad. I'd like to leave on Feb 27th which is a Friday, heading south to D.C. from Westchester NY to see a friend from college, if we stay over until Sunday morning and head out is there a specific route that I should consider? Being that i have the uhaul with a car towing along is there a route that should be entirely avoided? I know I'll be pressed for time and can't fit in sight seeing I'd like to maybe see a view of the grand canyon or Rockies and maybe a slight detour on route 66 for some photo ops but that's it, I just want to make it safely. I wanted to save some money do you know of any hostels that you could suggest?
    Thanks again guys...!

    :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default interstates

    Honestly, as long as you are sticking to the Interstates, you really shouldn't have any problems. I've driven a Uhaul pulling a trailer over the Rockies on I-70 in winter, and its really not bad at all. The interstates will always give you the option to move into the right lane and go slow, will have gradual curves that are easy to deal with, and you'll have truck stops for services (they are bigger and easier to manuver with the large truck/trailer, getting into some small off-highway gas stations can get tricky if you're not careful.)

    There are a few different hostel directories, and if you search this site, I'm sure you'll find them. However, a couple downsides with hostels. Since you're paying per person, if you've got 2 or 3 people, you probably won't save much money going that route. More importantly, Hostels tend to be located in urban areas and often have pretty mediocre parking options, that is great if you want to explore a city, but it's not very good for a moving van/trailer trip. I think you'll be better off sticking to roadside motels for this trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    DC to LA - fastest route is I-70/I-44/I-40/I-15/I-10. 5 *FULL* days of driving, 2600 miles, some toll roads.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks glc, do you know if the winter conditions in the mid west and beyond tend to be hazerdous or does it depend on the day?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default every day

    As with any place in the US, or the world for that matter, the weather will be what it will be. Thousands of people travel cross country every day in this country, and the Interstate system is among the safest in the world. Of course, there are days where weather conditions make the roads more difficult, or at times impossible, to travel, but that can be said about roads in any part of the country, certainly not just the midwest.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Poll results

    Why am I not surprised??

  10. #10

    Default

    Hi guys, I'm doing my last prep with for my road trip and I forgot to ask do you know what I should estimate to spend on hotels? Nothing fancy just a place to get some z's and a shower. Two friends will accompany me and we may rough it a night or two and sleep in the car at a truck/rest stop once or twice, but I'm sure it'll depend on the area and weather conditions.

    P.S. thanks for all the info, you've all been really helpfull

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