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  1. Default our first road trip to the states, please some help.

    Hello everyone,

    I’m from Belgium and me and my girlfriend (still students) are planning a car travel/ road trip to the U.S in Februari . A 15 day trip trough California in combination with 4 days NY. Weve been saving up quite a long time for this trip so we would like to make the best of it so I was hoping to get some help/tips from you fine people.

    We are renting a car to drive trough the more touristy spots and to be honest all destinations came straight out of a travel brochure. We have NY figured out but could really need some help on the California part since its our very first time

    this is how the Cali. trip looks (all places exept San Francisco and ... (?) are 1 night stay)

    Los Angeles – Palm Springs
    Palm Springs – Needles – Laughlin
    Laughlin – Williams
    Williams – Grand Canyon
    Lake Powell – Bryce Canyon
    Bryce Canyon – Zion NP – Las Vegas
    Las Vegas – Death Valley – Visalia
    Visalia – Yosemite NP – Modesto/Sonora
    Modesto/Sonora – Napa Valley – San Francisco
    San Francisco (we will be staying 2 days in San Francisco)
    San Francisco – Monterey/ Carmel – Santa Maria
    Santa Maria – Santa Barbara (we will be staying 2 days in Santa Barbara ??)
    Santa Barbara – Los Angeles

    Since we surf it would be nice to have two days on the beach, therefore we chose a 2 day stop in Santa Barbara but would like to know if you had any other suggestions, reason why we took a two day stop in Santa Barbara was because we think its kind of in the center of the coastline we are following back to LA. Also were told that it’s a verry nice place to stay with loads of things to do. Are there any other suggestions on where to stay instead of santa Barbara…we would like to see places like Venice beach, Malibu, Trestles, Huntington beach…afcourse only if it doesn’t take us to much of track.

    Also some ideas on the rest of the trip maybe like are there places worth skiping and replace them with something else?

    Sorry if I’m asking allot here but as I said before it took us a long time to save the money together so we would like to make the best out of it since its maybe a once in a lifetime experience.

    We would greatly appreciate all the help.

    best regards

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

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    From an initial glance at your plans, it seems like you may be trying to fit a bit too much in to your two weeks here. I did a preliminary route with Google Maps, and the distance doesn't seem all that bad, but I think you would be limiting your ability to really take in the scenery on some of the places you are planning to go.

  3. Default

    Hi Tim!

    Thank you for replying...to be honost with you we do worry a bit that maybe whe are visiting to much in only 15 days so i totally get what your saying ...thing is, its kind of like an already layed out route from the brochure...ofcourse we could change things up here and there...like for example in the brochure there was a two day stop in Las Vegas but we changed this to only 1 day and planed in a two day stop in Santa Barbara instead (altho still not sure if Santa Barbara is an ok idea).

    Problem is if we don't do all those stops (i could be wrong here) there's some pretty long stretches of road ahead?...now most stretches of road between the hotels are from 240 km to 500 km a day...the longest stretch is from "Las Vegas - Death Valley - Visalia" witch is a 720 km drive, thats like an entire day of driving..

    if there are any sugestions in leaving things out or changing a few thing to make our trip better, please they are more than welcome, we really want to make this work

    again thnx for the reply, have a nice day Tim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Remain flexible

    Quote Originally Posted by trip fontaine View Post
    Hi Tim!

    ...thing is, its kind of like an already layed out route from the brochure...of course we could change things up here and there...
    You certainly don't have to stick to everything that is in the brochure, including the hotels.

    Some of the things relating to time would be if you wanted to get out and take a hike in a place such as Bryce, or if you were just going to "pass by" (though I cannot imagine doing that). Also, you may want to stay in a place more than one day if you are particularly smitten with that area.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Surfing in February is going to be quite cold, no matter where in California you plan on doing it. That's wet-suit weather. You may be better off looking at San Diego for that.

    Another issue - you have to be 21 to rent a car and drive a rental car here, and if you are under 25, there will be a substantial daily surcharge for underage drivers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Make it your own !

    The beauty of the road trip is to be able to find a pace and route that suits you as an individual and not be tied into someone else's idea of the perfect trip. Your brochure package is hitting all the right spots and I would think that it is a coach tour that has two professional drivers and you can sit back and watch the scenery go by and do a hop on hop off at major stops.

    As Tim mentioned you can cover the ground and get an overview but you won't have much time in any one spot. I would throw away the brochure get a good map and search the forums for info and decide what works best for you. Here are some threads that are full of info in this area.

    A couple of points are, I would go from Palm springs direct to Williams/Grand canyon without the stop at Laughlin etc.
    I would choose between stopping at Lake Powell or Bryce, but not both. [Bryce wins for me !]
    Las Vegas to Visalia via Death valley is to much in a day if you want to spend a bit of time in DV [which is awesome]. Stop in the Lake Isabella area and go direct to Yosemite NP where you really need 2 nights at least to explore this natural wonder .[This is still only a day and a half with travel]. To get the most I could out of my time here I wouldn't go to Napa but leave later and go direct to SF.

    They are my thoughts but as I said earlier, do a little research and make it work for your needs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Roadtrip libérateur

    Bonjour et bienvenue sur RTA!

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    The beauty of the road trip is to be able to find a pace and route that suits you as an individual and not be tied into someone else's idea of the perfect trip.
    Tout est dit, je suis entièrement d'accord. Travel brochures are great for finding ideas, but you have to spend a little time in some locations to fully appreciate them and you'll feel more relaxed if you don't restrain yourselves to an itinerary, not to mention that living a liberating experience is the ultimate key idea behind every roadtrip...dans mon livre à moi en tout cas!

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    I would go from Palm springs direct to Williams/Grand canyon without the stop at Laughlin etc.

    I would choose between stopping at Lake Powell or Bryce, but not both. [Bryce wins for me !]

    To get the most I could out of my time here I wouldn't go to Napa but leave later and go direct to SF.
    Je suis tout à fait en accord avec Dave sur ces points également. Excellent suggestions. Je seconde.

  8. Default

    hi everyone,

    thanks for all the reply we really appreciate you guys giving us some help!!

    @glc: i am planning on taking me a wetsuit but the main focus is just to visit the places.

    also we are over 25 and both have a international european drivers licenseso that shouldn't be a problem, one thing to get used tyo will be the the fact that the rentals are automatic while we are used to driving with gears but that will work out.

    @southwest dave & Tim

    we took took your tips to work and came up with this new plan so if you guys have some time it would be helpfull if you could take a look at it and tell if this should be better:

    istead of going from "Palm Springs - needles - Laughlin" we now head from Palm springs straight to "Williams" its a longer stretch of road but this makes that we can stay 2 days in Yosemite np. we also left Napa out. but here's a "to visit" list :

    (first trip was around 2507 miles, this trip is around 2308 miles)

    day 1) Los Angeles (arival)
    day 2) Los Angeles – Palm Springs 240 km
    day 3) Palm Springs – Williams 567 km (here we left out the stop at Laghlin)
    day 4) Williams – Grand Canyon – Lake Powell 307 km
    day 5) Lake Powell – Bryce Canyon 247 km
    day 6) Bryce Canyon – Zion NP – Las Vegas 410 km
    day 7) Las Vegas – Death Valley – Visalia 720 km
    day 8) Visalia – Yosemite NP ( 218 km) 136 miles
    dag 9) Yosemite national park
    dag 10) Yosemite national park – Modesto - San Francisco 340 km (211 miles)
    day 11) San Francisco
    day 12) San Francisco – Monterey/ Carmel – Santa Barbara 465km
    day 13) ) Santa Barbara
    day 14) Santa barbara – Malibu – los angeles ( +- 200km)
    day 15) Los Angeles (departure LAX-NY)

    thank you for all the time and kind help!

    oh ps: reason i left both the lake powell and bryce stop in there..the Grand canyon is inbetween, so we don't really want to hurry here, otherwise it would mean that we had to go from "Williams" straight to "Bryce" witch is an 8 hour drive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Getting there !

    It looks better balanced but with regards to day 4, I was thinking staying in Grand canyon or just outside the East entrance [Cameron for example] and making the drive direct to Bryce next day. This would maximise your time at the GC but because of the shorter daylight hours you could spend most of the day at GC if you don't mind driving after dark towards Page or Kanab.

    You would really need to look around Bryce on day 5 and get an early start to Zion if you want to enjoy a little time at the park and still make it to Vegas the same day. Oh for an extra day between this part of your trip, but would you want to sacrifice that day in Santa Barbara ?

    Day 7 you are still asking a lot to visit Death valley and cover the miles to Visalia but it can be done with a long day and night time arrival.

  10. Default

    heyy Dave, how are you doing?

    ok let me get back to you, going to try and re-figure it out :D

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