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  1. Default Coast to Coast Trip

    Hi My husband and I are planning a trip to the US and were looking at the following places. We don't mind flying to a few places to save time. We have about a month to cover the places and would like to know what's the best route to travel and the best mode of travel as well. If it's better to drive to cover more places in between , then we are keen.

    1) LA (Theme Parks, Hollywood etc - so mayb 2-3 days)
    2) San Francisco
    3) Yosemite National Park
    4) Montery and Carmel
    5) Vancouver
    6) Banff National Park
    5) San Diego
    6) Santa Monica/Santa Barbara
    7) Las Vegas
    8) Grand Canyon
    9) Lake Loiuse
    10) Rafting on Colorado River
    11) Yellowstone National Park
    12) New York
    13) Niagara Falls
    14) Washington DC
    15) New Jersey

    Can you pls help us build of trip plan and also what places we can cover enroute. We are planning to come there in June 2011.

    cheers

    Aparna

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Two Loops

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    With the places you've listed, I think that you should be looking at doing two loops, one on the west coast and Rockies, and one in the Northeast. And given the size of them, I'd plan on about three weeks in the west and a week in the east. The advantage to doing two loops is that you could rent both of the two cars you'd need on weekly rates and without facing one way drop-off charges. You would need an internal flight between the two loops, but even so you'd have some flexibility to look for the cheapest flight into the US - This could be to any city on either of your loops - New York, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, wherever. You could then make one loop and then take a round trip flight from your port of entry to any city on your second loop, make that drive and return to your original entry city and fly home.

    Your western loop, assuming you start in Los Angeles, would go: Los Angeles/Santa Monica, Yosemite, Monterey, San Francisco, Vancouver, Banff/Lake Louise, Yellowstone, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles. (Or the other way around.)

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Hi,

    Thanks for your prompt reply.
    After listing the places, we felt that its a bit too ambitious to try to cover Canada n US in the same trip and also not very practical to get visas n all.
    So we are thinking of just going to the West and East COast.
    Doing it in 2 loops sounds like a great idea.
    Can you pls look at the travel plan below and make suggestions:

    -Arrive LA and spend 3 days there - Covering Santa Monika, theme PArks etc - we have relatives there who will take us around and so will not need to hire a car
    - Go to SF by Return Flight
    - Hire a car in SF and go to Montery, Carmel , Yosemite (3-4 days)
    - Come back to LA and go to San Diego by bus/train
    - Do we need to hire a car in San Diego or will the hop on hop off type of transport work to cover the city?
    -From San Diego, go to Vegas in Bus/train - is the route to Las Vegas more scenic from LA?
    - In Vegas: 4 days – Grand Canyon, rafting on Colorado river, visit Lake Powell, sequoia National Park – will we need to hire a car to do all this or can we do one day trips?
    -Will staying at Flagstaf be more economical?
    - From Vegas, one way flight to Jackson (wyoming)
    - From JAckson hire a car or do a one day tour to the yellowstone national park? If we hire a car, can we take it in the NP? How many days do we need to spend hire?
    - Fly one way from Jackson to New York.
    - Bus to DC, New Jersey and take a tour to Niagara Falls (US side only)
    - Fly back to LA from New York

    Pls let me know how does the above sound and let me know if any changes are required.
    What is the best way to go to the Yellowstone NP as that one is a bit out of the loop but have heard that it's worth going.
    Also do you have any suggestions for the cheap motels/backpackers?
    Wat type of food allowance is required per dya - we are vegetarians - will that be an issue?

    This is my first type at such a forum and thanks a lot for your reply - its really very helpful.

    Cheers

    Aparna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Bus and Train??

    Hi Aparna,

    You do not state where you live, but you need to be aware, that bus and train transport between the places you mention is not as easy or convenient as you may be used to.

    From the loop you mention, you might find that renting a vehicle for the complete trip along the west coast will be both more convenient and possibly cheaper.

    Even dropping the Canada option, the loop outlined by Buck would be a great trip, and easily enjoyed in three weeks.

    And why do you need a visa for Canada? Are you coming from the UK, NZ or OZ? because from those countries, you will most likely not need a visa. I have never had to get one.

    It would really be a pity to miss out on the Canadian side of Niagara. It is the side where you will see the falls best, and where most of the attractions are.

    And whereas you will not want a car in NYC nor in DC, I would highly recommend that you rent one to go to Niagara. (Buses and trains between NYC and DC are frequent.)

    As for accommodation, you may like to check out this site. In each case you will be able to purchase your food at the local grocer / supermarket.

    Lifey

  5. Default

    Hi Lifey,

    Thanks for ur reply.
    We are coming from New Zealand but are on Indian Passports and so require visas to both USA and Canada.

    So do you still recommend the same route that we are taking but use a car rather than public transport? Isn't the Amtrak train service efficient enough? If we hire a car in LA, can we use it to cover the whole western loop? What would be good car rental places?
    We are just a bit skeptical about driving too much as we are not used to driving on the other side of the road n all that.

    Thanks for your suggestions about the accom as well.
    Cheers

    Aparna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by shrenik View Post
    We are coming from New Zealand but are on Indian Passports and so require visas to both USA and Canada.
    That surprises me! I thought all Commonwealth countries had open access.

    You can still enjoy the Canadian falls, if you take a trip on the Maid of the Mist boat, from which you will get a great view of the falls.

    Quote Originally Posted by shrenik View Post
    If we hire a car in LA, can we use it to cover the whole western loop? What would be good car rental places?
    Check with the rental company as to where you can take the car, and make sure you mention where you want to go, everytime you have contact them. If this were me, I would be contacting every rental company in LA, and try to make sure I get the LA office, and not their central booking line. You may like to pick up the car near the end of your stay in LA if your accommodation does not have free parking. And note that the same company could have different prices and policy at different locations in the one city. It really pays to contact all offices which you think would be convenient to get to.

    Quote Originally Posted by shrenik View Post
    We are just a bit skeptical about driving too much as we are not used to driving on the other side of the road n all that.
    Aparna, take my word for it, it takes about ten minutes to get used to. (You will probably have more trouble looking in the correct direction when crossing the road on foot.) If I, who as a senior had never driven on the 'wrong' side of the road, can do it, I am sure anyone can. A couple of things to be aware of: don't drive when tired; don't drive in the very early morning when there is not much traffic around; don't drive after dark if you can help it; and if you don't feel comfortable keeping up with the breakneck speeds on the interstates, make sure you keep to the very right hand lane. I am sure you will be fine.

    BTW, do you have Indian or NZ licences? If Indian, I recommend that you get international driver's licences. It also pays to check with your travel insurance to see if you are covered for car rental, and exactly what that cover is. It could save you by not having to pay the extra insurance at the rental company.

    Quote Originally Posted by shrenik View Post
    Thanks for your suggestions about the accom as well.
    My pleasure.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 04-23-2011 at 11:54 PM. Reason: added info

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