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  1. #1

    Default East Coast to West Coast

    Hi. My friend and I (both females in their early twenties) are planning a 3 month trip for the summer of 2013 (gives us time to save). I was wondering if you could give us some advice on our route and how much cash we'd need etc...

    We will fly from Glasgow, Scotland into Boston (the flights seems to be cheaper than to NY). The plan is to spend some time in Boston then travel down to New York > New Jersey (Atlantic City) > Philadelphia > DC all either by train or bus. We'd fly to Chicago then hire a car and drive Chicago > Memphis > New Orleans > Austin > Roswell > Santa Fe > Grand Canyon > Las Vegas > then we'll tour around California for a week or two

    We both really want to go to Chicago but I realize it's pretty much out of our way. Would it be a mistake to miss it out? I've only included our must see destinations (although if we have to miss the odd one it wouldn't be too bad)

    I'm gu-estimating we'll need around £5000 each not including flights but hopefully including car hire, gas, food, accommodation, extras. We plan on camping wherever possible and finding hostels as much as possible.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'd say that if you really want to see Chicago, and you've got 3 months for this trip, you should certainly include it. It is a little out of the way, but there's still a lot you could see while going from Chicago to Memphis.

    Budgetwise, I think the biggest question will be the car rental. A one way rental that goes cross country can be expensive, and since you'll be under 25, you'll be looking at another major expense. A $25 per day fee is quite typical for young drivers, which would add up quickly on a 3 month trip. Your best bet will likely to look for a UK/Europe based broker, as many times they can provide better deals with reduced fees for one way and underage rentals.

    I'd say your budget sounds pretty healthy, but the car rental is the biggest expense that's also hardest to estimate. You won't be able to get exact quotes since your trip is so far out, but at least see what prices are now to get an idea of what you might expect later. Once you figure out how much the car will cost, the other things will be easier.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the reply!

    I'll will actually have just turned 25 when we leave but my friend will only be about 23 so I'll probably have to do all the driving. I know it'll slow us down considerably but I'm hoping in 3 months it's achievable while still getting to spend time in places.

    I have considered driving in a loop but it'd double our driving time and our cost of gas. The car does seem to be the biggest expense but I don;'t know any other way to do it while still having the freedom to explore the country.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Suggestions for your consideration

    Considering this trip is still some time off, and you will be moving and tweaking this trip every which way, between now and then, I will take the liberty to suggest a couple of other things to consider.

    With three months, you have all the time to do all the things you want to do, no doubt about that. But why fly to Chicago? The trip from DC to Chicago may look pretty empty, but one of the great States through which you could travel is Pennsylvania. Especially if you get off the Interstates, and use some of the old highways, through small town America. Do a little research on PA, and see if that could fit into your trip.

    From the plan you have laid out, I get the impression that you have a good map of the US. So do a little research around Colorado and Utah. You could fill up three months in those States alone.

    Enjoy the planning.


  5. #5


    Oh this route is certainly not set in stone. I'm just trying to get an idea of how far we'll travel and how much petrol it'll be to get from A to B to C to...

    I figured that since it was a large distance between DC and Chicago and there weren't really any places we wanted to see there that we'd cut petrol costs by taking a cheap flight and starting the car journey from there. The only place in PA I ever really wanted to see was Philadelphia but if there really are some great places to visit i could be convinced :)

    I have a pretty good knowledge of the main places in the USA (New York, LA, Philadelphia, San Fran) but our main goal is to see all the places in between and meet tons of people along the way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default That's Pennsylvania

    Quote Originally Posted by kcg19 View Post
    ... but our main goal is to see all the places in between and meet tons of people along the way.
    And there is no place like PA for that. I won't go into all the places I could suggest, as you are probably better to discover them yourself, as you do your research..... but check out Jim Thorpe.

    You will get lots and lots of information on PA by searching through these forums, and other places on the web.


  7. #7


    excellent. I'll definitely start my travel from DC

    Thanks for the help

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Petrol here is a LOT cheaper than what you are used to. A very rough cost for petrol to get from DC to Chicago in a typical 4 cylinder car including detours for sightseeing would be about $150 USD at today's prices. Can the 2 of you fly or take a train that cheap?

    A UK site to check for car rentals is

  9. #9


    You know I actually have no idea but I also had no idea how much petrol would cost so that number really helps even though it's as you say a rough estimate.

    Thanks so much for the link! I thought I would have to go through virginatlantic or something

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