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  1. #1
    rookieuk Guest

    Default East cost roadtrip

    Hello everyone :-)

    As you can tell from my name I am quite the novice when it comes to road-trips. I have been to NY and NJ in the past but never anywhere else in America.

    I am planning a road trip from the NY area down to the Florida Keys with my girlfriend. We want to go to the obvious sites such as Philadelphia and then a trip to the White House but then we're pretty free for about 7 days.

    I've had a look on some other posts on here as there seems to be alot about the East Coast trip, but I am hoping not to spend too long actually on the coast and am looking for visits more 'inland' so to speak.

    A few questions I have (which I'm sure will increase in the future!) at the moment are:
    1. Is there any particular place on the Florida Keys that is 'better' than the others in terms of beauty, scenary etc. We've looked at Key West and that looks gorgeous but dont know much about the others.

    2. I tend to use to book most accomodation when I go away and obviously this way you can scout around and get the best deal, however I think part of the fun could be just stopping wherever. Does it tend to be more expensive if you do it the latter way and just find a room there? Obviously the big places like NY will be booked beforehand.

    3. Are any of the national parks worth going to for just one night or do they need more time to explore? And are there any not too far from the coast that are worth visiting? I loved the look of the Smoky Mountains but think they are slightly too far in.

    4. Does anyone have any recommendations in terms of money saving on food and daily spending? I think a cool box might work well for food in the car which we can stock up on things. Obviously this will be a fantastic trip (hopefully!) and dont want to worry about money too much, so small money saving tips could mean we get more spending money in other places.

    5. (last question for now, I promise) I've read alot about car rentals and that non are necassily better than others and I've looked at some quotes but do they include all the fees, especially if we choose the pay now option. Or should we expect to get additional fees on collection/delivery? I think we will be collecting and delivering at different airports which I imagine will incur a fee in itself!

    Thank you, I hope some people who have experienced this can give us some guidance. I've have had, and will continue to have, some fantastic reads on here.

    Best wishes everyone :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default In Order

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Seven days is actually a very comfortable amount of time for a trip0 down the east coast. Since the drive alone could be done in 2-3 days, including the keys, you'll have plenty of time to savor the sights along the way. Take a look at these two possibilities for general itineraries. Yours can and should differ, but they will give you an idea of what's available.

    1) Not really. We don't believe in single 'better' or 'best' places or attractions here. Such judgements are way too dependent on the tastes of the RoadTripper. I've heard good things about Keys Largo, Islamorado and West. But the whole archipelago is so other-worldly that you can almost pick one at random and find something you'll enjoy.

    2) Depending on when/where you go, there are other places that might need pre-booking. For example the Keys in summer could get crowded, although winter is their high season, and it's a long way back to the mainland if you can't find anything that suits you. But if you're near an Interstate Highway or a moderately large city, you should be able to find something on the fly easily enough.

    3) The major national parks will be Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Cumberland Island National Seashore on the coast, and Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the Appalachians. As noted above, you have the time to make either the coast or mountains the main subject of your drive e.

    4) For some general money saving tips read through this discussion

    5) I've rented from all the major car hire firms, and a few you've never heard of, and find no discernable difference in the cars or service, so just pick the best price. 'Extras' you should expect include local taxes and fees (generally included in the quotes), one-way drop-off fee ($250-300), underage driver fee ($25/day/driver for all those under 25), and insurance fees. Check with your current auto/driving insurance company, the credit card you'll be paying with, and any auto club (AA/RAC) that you belong to as to whether they offer coverage you're already paying for. If you're covered, just 'decline' any and all insurance that the hire firm offers. I'm afraid I don't know the 'pay now' option. That is probably something associated with the agent or search engine you're using to get quotes. I always just put it on the credit card, which you'll have to have anyway so that the hire company has a way to charge you in the event of an uncovered accident or ticket.


  3. #3
    rookieuk Guest

    Default Thanks

    Thanks for this Buck, really good information.

    I did notice when investigating Key West that their high season was the winter, out of interest, why is this? I'd have expected it to be the summer.

    It was recommended to me by a friend that I might be able to save some money on the car by calling around some of the local rental places in NY just prior to leaving and seeing if they have any that need being driven down to Miami. And that might save on the one way fee. Is this actually recommended? Or do you think he was just lucky as a one off.

    Thanks again. :-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Weather and temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by rookieuk View Post
    Thanks for this Buck, really good information.

    I did notice when investigating Key West that their high season was the winter, out of interest, why is this? I'd have expected it to be the summer.
    Key West is essentially a tropical destination - so in the winter, it's a great place for folks from colder climates to escape to for awhile. In the summer, people generally want to escape to where the temperatures are cooler, thus the increase in tourism in places such as Maine and upstate New York.

  5. #5
    rookieuk Guest


    Ahh that makes sense! In England it's pretty cold all year round as we don't have that benefit!!!!

  6. #6


    Floriday Keys,
    We are just home Prince Edward Island from a fun, fantastic, frugal trip to Key West.
    Word of advice the further you go in the Keys the more expensive accommodations cost.
    Marker 100 starts the Keys and around marker 53 or so we found an $80 a night accommodation at Valhalla Resort.
    Cooler in the car, making lunches during the day saves money.
    We were given a scavenger hunt of the Keys by our (tourism expert daughter) and we had the time of our lives, however we did have to visit these places and bring her back little pieces of evidence we had been there. Great fun.
    Just my take on the Keys

  7. #7


    My friends did the car rental across Canada, the car was dented and dinged and had a smashed screen at the end of the trip, but it saved them hundreds of pounds. I can't remember the name of the firm.
    They were on a longer trip, so maybe not good price option for shorter trip?. Maybe worth a look into deeper though.
    Have a great time either way. Im hoping to do a tour in 2 years time and a leg of my trip will be like yours. Look forward to reading about your trip once complete :-)

  8. #8
    rookieuk Guest


    Quote Originally Posted by skeels44 View Post
    My friends did the car rental across Canada, the car was dented and dinged and had a smashed screen at the end of the trip, but it saved them hundreds of pounds.

    How do you mean it saved them money?! Did they get the car in that condition!?!?
    Thankyou for the advice :-)

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