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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Maryborough, Queensland, Australia (The Sunshine State)

    Default Oct 2010 - New York City to Key West Florida & Beyond

    Hello all

    I'm hoping you can help my husband and I out with a trip we have planned for next year (late Sept/Oct). We are flying from Australia to New York. Then plan on driving from New York via Appalachian trail somewhat down to Florida. (20 days) Then fly from Florida to Chicago, join the Amtrak train, California Zephyr to San Francisco. (52 hrs) Then explore West Coast for 10 days or so (San Francisco, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon)

    I haven't really thought out the West Coast bit too much yet. I'm after assistance with the East Coast trip first.

    1. New York (4 nights)
    2. Exit via Newark to Lancaster (via Bethlehem & Allentown & Reading - US-22 & US-222) Have a look around Pennsylvania Dutch Country
    3. Lancaster to Gettysburg (PA-340 & US-30) (overnight stop)
    4. Gettysburg (spend day at Gettysburg) Afternoon drive to Sharpsburg (overnight stop)
    5. Antietam National Battlefield to Harpers Ferry Crossing (either MD-67 & US-340 or Harpers Ferry Road)
    6. Harpers Ferry Crossing to Frederick to Washington DC (US-340 & I-270) (overnight)
    7. Washington DC (explore today) (overnight)
    8. Washington DC via Arlington to Front Royal (I-66 & VA-55) commence Skyline Drive - Detour exit Skyline at US-211 to Luray for Luray Caverns - back onto Skyline Drive to the end - Waynesboro to Staunton - (I-64) (overnight stop)
    9. Staunton to Charlotte to Charleston (I-81 S & I-77S) to Lynchburg (US60 & State Route 635 & VA130) (overnight stop)
    10. Charleston – Visit Hampton Plantation at McClennanville (overnight stop)
    11. Charleston to Savannah (overnight stop)
    12. Savannah to St Augustine to Daytona Beach to Kissimmee (overnight stop)
    13. Kissimmee – Disneyworld today – which Kingdom? (overnight stop)
    14. Kissimmee to Sarasota to Naples (overnight stop)
    15. Naples to Everglades to Key West (Via FL-90 / Tamiami Trail / US-41 / US-1) (overnight stop)
    16. Key West to Miami (overnight stop)

    We will have 3 spare days to fit in there – Ideas - drive further up Florida coast back to Orlando to fly out? Fly out from Miami? Stay extra days in somewhere north? Georgia? Stay overnight in Amish Country? Go to coast and visit Myrtle Beach before driving down to Charleston? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    I've check out web prices on car hire for 16 days, one way, Australian driver and got quotes back of Economy Car Rentals $1649, Avis $2852, National $2242. This seems very high to me. Am I being ripped off because I'm an Aussie? Can someone point me to a better car hire place?

    I must say I've been thoroughly enjoying reading through posts on the forum. Any suggestions / advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks K.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Couple of Things that Should Help

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First of all, there are for more interesting stops along the Appalachians and east coast than can be listed in a simple response, but besides the places you already have on your agenda, you should have a look at the attractions listed here. Then when you go to plan the west coast portion of your trip, a good place to start your search for ideas would be this collection of discussions.

    Secondly, I agree that the prices pouted seem high. Understand that there will probably be a substantial one-way drop off fee charged for leaving the New York car in Florida (a few hundred dollars). But still, I think you should be able to get the rental and drop off for under $1000 (US). If you're not used to renting, check with your current auto insurer, any auto or travel clubs you may belong to, and even your credit card company to see how much insurance protection you already have before signing up for any of the short term, high cost coverage offered by the rental company. There are several travel search/booking sites here in the U.S. that should be able to help you find the best price, including Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, and Travelocity. Try those and see what they come up with.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Car Rental

    From what I have heard and seen, it can vary greatly from and to which location you hire. I would at least look at other nearby locations. Also check on the mileage allowance. Often a cheaper rental without unlimited mileage can end up costing a lot more than a rental with unlimited mileage. 100 miles per day is really on a couple of hours drive, at the most.

    And as Buck says, check the insurance you already have - travel insurance, car insurance, RACQ - and check which companies will accept that insurance. Not all do. For myself, I have always found Budget the most economical.

    And make sure that you bring your RACQ membership with you. It will give you access to all AAA offices for tourist information, free maps, etc. And there is nothing like having a good map of each State and city through which you pass. GPS just does not do it.

    Lifey in Melbourne

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