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  1. Default First time visitor from AUS, 3 month solo trip suggestions & help?


    I'm going on a 3 month solo trip of the US, leaving Sydney on November 20th and going back on February 16th 2010. I will be landing at LAX.

    Traveling solo with the intent of meeting locals in as many cities as possible. I have an interest in photography and will be taking my full kit, along with a new HD video camera that I just ordered. I have a desire to experience the diversity that I hope America offers from town to town and document it for memories.

    I'd like to ask you all for some advice on a few things, namely trip suggestions and car hire.

    I've only 2 things that I must do, and everything else is open!

    - I am meeting my relatives for the first time in San Jose and spending up to 2 weeks with them. This happens at the beginning of the trip.
    - I want to be in NYC for Christmas + New Years

    So, assuming I leave San Jose on the 4th of December, is it possible or adviseable to drive through the "middle" of the country across to NY, and then spend my time in NY as planned, then drive around the surrounding areas (anti-clockwise starting at Boston), work down to Florida, then drive back to LA across the southern states?

    I also had an alternate plan which is spending the family time, then flying to NY, going with public transport whilst in NY and then hiring a car when I'm done in NY and one-waying it back to LA, doing the surrounding areas in the same way in the other plan, down to Florida, then sort of "snaking" my way across the southern and middle parts. Is this perhaps a better idea?

    My main concerns are about driving conditions. I have no experience driving through snow / ice, and I don't know whether it can be bad across the middle of America in December.

    My other question about car hire. I am unsure whether any companies would allow me to hire for so long, and also drive it across the country and back. Before I ring them up, does anyone have any experience on this?

    I also have one silly question. In winter in the colder parts, especially where it snows, is there no sunshine? Happy to win the stupid question of the day to get the answer to this one....

    Thanks for reading!


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

    Default answers

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    No matter which way you go about this, you should be able to make it all work.

    For the rental car, renting for a month shouldn't be a problem at all, especially if you are returning at the same location. Just make sure you get unlimited mileage. If you decide to go with the one way option, you will pay a few hundred dollars extra for a drop off fee.

    Weather wise, its not just the northern US that sees snow. Simply put, there is no way to cross the US without being in a area that can and does see winter weather at times. (This includes places like Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.)

    As far as the sun, yes there are still sunny days in winter. However, I'll note that sunny days in winter are often the coldest days of the year, as those are the times when there is no blanket of clouds to keep the heat in!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Hi Dee,

    From one Aussie to another!

    Sounds like a great trip, and three months is such a perfect time. My first trip was 13 weeks, and I just winged it... did not know a thing about the US, other than that my son had fallen in love with, and was going to marry a lass from St Paul MN. I know how daunting, but none the less exciting, it can be.

    Michael has answered most of your questions. I just wanted to say, when I wanted to rent a car for more than 28 days, in 2004, it was extremely difficult. In fact, I did not succeed in getting it for longer than the 28 days.

    One organization you may like to check out is Adventures on Wheels. I have not used them, but did make enquiries for my 2007 trip. (My son ended up loaning me a spare vehicle.) I have however heard from people who have used them, and who have been satisfied with the service. Worth a phone call.

    Lifey who wishes you a great trip

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