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  1. Default First Time Road Trip!


    I'm new to Road Trip America - in fact, roadtripping and America in general - and am looking for some advice :)

    Me and my boyfriend are planning a trip to America at the end of this year, hopefully around mid-November until mid-January. So far, the plans are: fly in to LAX mid-Nov, get to Orlando around Dec 1, then fly up to NY Dec 6 where we plan to rent an apartment for a month.

    We've been thinking of hiring a motorhome and driving from LA to Orlando. Is 15 days enough to get us there without being rushed/giving us freedom to take detours if we like? Is it difficult driving a motorhome (we're from Australia, so used to the other side of the road!) ? Will it be too cold to do a roadtrip? Will it be really expensive???

    So many questions! Thankyou for your time in advance...


  2. Default

    Hi sophie,

    Mid-November to mid-January is our winter months. How cold it gets will depend on the route you take from the West Coast to the East Coast. In general the farther south you stay, the warmer the weather.

    Renting a motor home is pretty expensive but it will be off season so that might help a little. I looked at Camping World RV rentals and they have rentals in LA and Orlando. I ran the numbers for Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670 from Monday, November 14 2011 Kissimmee, FL 34746 Monday, December 5 2011 and for a standard RV it was only $49.86 a day which isn't bad! Cruise America and El Monte were both about twice that price per day. Many RV rentals charge an extra charge for dropping off at a different location and sometimes other hidden fees, so make sure what it's going to really cost.. Gas mileage on even a small motor home can be bad. Figure 10 miles per gallon will be a good guess. Gas is currently just under $4.00 a gallon here in the states. Private campgrounds with full hook ups can range from $15 to $40 and up. There are other state and local campgrounds that can be cheaper.

    The nice think about an RV is you won't have to unpack and pack at a different motel each night but you will have to dump the gray and black tanks and fill the fresh water tanks. You can save money by cooking your own food.

    Los Angeles to Orlando, FL going direct is about 2,500 miles and that can easily be done in two weeks. How far off you go from the direct route will make a difference on time and the weather you might encounter. It might help to know if you had any specific stops in mind.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    LA to Orlando could be done in 5 days of dedicated driving, driving for 9/10 hours a day [a little longer in an RV] with time for only short stops for food, bathroom and to stretch those limbs and fill with gas, so Yes 15 days is 'enough' to take in some of the sights along the way. Whether it is enough once you have continued with your research and start discovering just how many options there are out there is another matter. Personally, with a month allotted to time in NY, I would be thinking of more time for the roadtrip and shortening my NY stay, but that's the type of thing only you can decide on.

    Motor homes [RV] are quite straight forward to operate as is adjusting to driving on the other side of the road, neither should be of concern and you will soon adapt. With 2 of you, you won't need a large RV. If you are concerned with the expense then an RV is certainly not the cheaper way to go. By the time you add up all the associated costs [higher rental rates, campground fees, kitchen/bedroom kits, extra mileage charges, higher fuel consumption] it works out more expensive than a car and Motels. Travelling during the winter months you are going to experience winter conditions and it can get cold in RV's although with the heating system they can remain comfortable to bearable. [I have experienced -15c in an RV]. You might also find that your RV has been winterised and the tanks drained for the winter [maybe not starting in LA]. This would mean that you can fill the water tanks but if they freeze and damage is caused as a result, you would be liable for the repair costs.

    Get a good map of the US and use all the planning resources at RTA, [search the forums, Map centre and other tools in the toolbars at the top of the page] and as you build your trip and have specific questions, just ask.

    Enjoy the planning !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default From one Aussie to another

    Hi Sophie,

    Firstly, don't worry about the driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. It takes about 15 minutes to get used to. Though I need to warn you, do not drive when tired, very early or very late, as it is at those times that you tend to 'do what comes naturally'. I know I have found myself on the left side of a very lonely road in Alaska. It is at those times you need to be careful. (Shouldn't mention the time I went the wrong way round a round-a-bout in Seattle. lol)

    As for a Motor Home, if you do not use them at home for holidays, I would advice against it. Especially if you wish to visit any cities. They would be a nightmare to park. I have even seen folk have problems parking them in parks and recreation areas. As already mentioned, they are no way to save money. A good sedan and hotels / motels / camp ground cabins will be much cheaper, and much more flexible.

    As for laying out a route to follow, may I suggest that you get a good map of the US. I find the National Geographics map by far the best. It shows all the major roads and urban centres, as well as National Parks and Monuments, State Parks and Forests, etc. It is widely available in all capital cities, and online. Use post-it notes to lay out a route and mark places of interest, as you make your way through the forums and around RTA. When you have the main attractions and route which interests you, come back here, and the experts here will critique and tweak it for you.

    I would have to agree with Dave, and having been to both the south and NYC, I would definitely cut back on the time in NYC and add a little more time to spend in the wonders of the southern National Parks.

    Enjoy the planning.

    Lifey in Melbourne

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