We want to see it all
Hi, Newbie here.
My wife and I are planning on taking a year out from our careers before we start a family and go travelling. Part of our year out, we want to give ourselves a couple of months to travel across America. Starting East and heading West and seeing everything that should be seen, in between. We realise there are huge amounts to see and do in the states so obviously the title of this thread is a little tongue in cheek, but firstly we would love some advice on how we should do this. We've looked at the idea of a rental car which would cost around £2000 with the one way drop off charge, and gives us the security of breakdown cover etc etc. What would you reccommend? Buying a car is an alternative but what about problems like breakdowns and insurance??? I think we would prefer a car over an RV as we're pretty flexible on our accomodation needs and would happily combine camping and motels, my problem with renting an RV is not just the cost but that it may limit us a bit more with what sort of routes we can explore. Thoughts? I was budgeting around £30 a night ($50ish) as an average for a half decent motel or campground (obviously some higher than others) but would you imagine this to be a fair budget, I have no idea about the costs of camping in the states, I will be looking into this.
Then of course there's the route. Our plan was to start North East do a little loop around there going as far east as Michigan and as far north as Montreal and work down the coast to Miami then head a little west to New Orleans and then Houston before heading North (either going back east through the heartlands or going west skirting along the rockies, what would you suggest), the missus want to go to Mt Rushmore so we will definately be heading to that part of South Dakota. From there I presume it'd be best to head out west to Seattle and work our way down from there. We have visited Las Vegas and Grand Canyon before, but we are toying with the idea of hiking from Rim to rim so we may head inland for that. We did drive the coastal road between San Francisco and LA before as well so we could miss that when we head inland to cut down on the mileage.
We are pretty active so are looking for lots of things to do, some adventure sports, hiking and cycling (I've been advised to go to Moab for some great cycling round Monument Valley) and we want to sample some real culture as well. We don't plan on sticking to the main highways all the time.
As well as the questions above, I guess we're looking for answers to the following:
1. Is this too much to do in two months, should we have longer or do less?
2. Along this rough route what drives are sites would you suggest we do, if you only had one to choose?
and then any further advice really.
I don't expect one person to have all the answers but if people could chip with advice and experiences that could help I'd be most grateful.
Many thanks in advance
I think I forgot to mention that we are planning on travelling July/August/September ish!
It's quite difficult for overseas visitors to buy a car here then resell it. Rental is the only really viable way. You would need a visa - the visa waiver program is not good enough - and you would need to have a physical US address for title and registration. Insurance is difficult and costly for non-residents to obtain too. You will get the best deal on a car rental from agents in your home country before you leave.
Two months is plenty of time to see a LOT of things. What might be better than zigzagging is do a complete loop trip, starting and ending at the same city. This will also save you a bit on the car rental, as there will not be a dropoff charge. If you fly into, say, New York or Boston, you could go west along the northern routes and return along the southern routes, or vice versa. July and August are our hottest months, especially in the south, so maybe wait till near the end of August to go and do the north first.
Hotels/motels range from $30 to $100+, the closer you are to large cities, the more expensive they usually are, and also they are expensive in popular resort areas. Campsites should be $25 or less, camping in national/state/local parks is generally cheaper than in private campgrounds.
Thanks for the advice, I didn't realise that about buying a car over there, so renting seems the way forward. I hadn't really thought about doing a loop either but tha makes a lot of sense as it seems to be a few hundred pounds for a drop off from one side of the country to the other, and we'll be on a rtw ticket so the only difference will be a little longer on the flight.
Hugely valuable info, thanks.
Any more advice from anyone. Places to go, routes to drive etc etc.
The Whole Enchilada
The big problem here is that your trip is simply too big for us to give you specific suggestions. You've got the entire country, and time enough to see a major portion of it, at your disposal. So it's going to be up to you to at least make a first cut at what you want to see and do. Have a look through some of the various discussions here, follow the links to similar threads (at the bottom of each page), and have a look at these sites in each state. Once you have a basic sense of where you want to go and accomplish on your trip, we can be of more help. But right now we'd just be taking shots in the dark.