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  1. Default First Time Road Trippers - Western USA

    Hi guys,

    My girlfriend and I are starting a Road Trip in the USA tomorrow, we're flying into LAX and renting a car straight away. I've been planning for a long time and was hoping to get our final fine tuning done with then help of this awesome forum.

    This is the google map of the trip:,14.128418

    This is the itinerary for those who don't want to have a look:
    19th to 22nd July - Explore Los Angeles
    23rd - Visit 'Winchester' & San Bernardino NP, sleep Ridgecrest
    24th - Visit Death Valley, sleep Vegas
    25th to 28th - Explore Vegas
    29th - Visit Hoover Dam, sleep Flagstaff
    30th - Visit Grand Canyon, sleep Kanab
    31st - Visit Zion NP, sleep Cedar City
    1st August - Visit Bryce Canyon NP find motel North
    2nd to 3rd - Salt Lake City
    4th - Drive to Teton NP, sleep motel
    5th - Explore Teton NP
    6th to 7th - Explore Yellowstone NP
    8th - Drive Beartooth to Red Lodge
    9th to 10th - Drive to Browning
    11th - Going-To-The-Sun Road, sleep Spokane
    12th - Drive to Seattle
    13th to 14th - Explore Seattle
    15th to 17th - Explore Washington & Oregon, sleep Newport
    18th to 20th - Explore Oregon, visit 'Winchester', sleep Mt. Shasta
    21st - Drive to Sacramento
    22nd - Explore Sacramento
    23rd - Drive to Yosemite
    24th to 25th - Explore Yosemite/Sierra NF
    26th - Drive to San Fransisco
    27th to 29th - Explore San Fransisco
    30th - Drive San Fran to Montery
    31st - Drive CA1 to Santa Monica
    1st Sept - Drop off car and fly to London

    The main things I'd love some feedback on are:

    1) I am a huge film fan so what are the best movie-related things / filming locations to do along the way that anyone knows of? I've googled a few websites but a lot of the info is confusing - does anyone have a favourite?
    2) Would you buy the Los Angeles Card or is there enough free things? It is $150 for 3 days and includes things like Universal Studios, Museums, Zoo, Sealife Centres etc and I'm sure we'd make use of it but is it really necessary anyway? Are there enough free things to see?
    3) Would you buy the Vegas card? Again, it's around $150 and there are loads of activities on it but it is necessary? We've had some people tell us you can get so much free in Vegas there is no need.
    4) Going by the rest of the itinerary, what do you recommend for Washington and Oregon? We like nature but are not into camping or long hikes, just the odd couple of hours every now and again. Also, we like quirky museums and anything to do with animals.
    5) The budget is around $6000 for 6 weeks. We are couchsurfing in some places and have already paid for our car hire and Vegas accommodation so what do you think of that? We won't be doing any camping so advice on National Parks would be great as they look quite expensive, also what is the general consensus on Motel 6, Super 8 etc as they are fairly cheap.
    6) What are the best driving guides/maps to buy?

    Hope that all makes sense. Would love some feedback :) Thanks in advance!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Many cities are getting those cards. I think you have to look at which things they're good on, and then decide if it will pay for itself. We debated on one for New York City, and decided against it because they weren't necessarily on things we wanted to see/do.

    Film buff: while in LA, go up to Malibu. Go north/west on US 1 out of Malibu, about 4 miles, and follow the signs to Zuma Beach/Westward Beach. Go way down to the end of the road to a parking lot ($7 last I went). That's the beach where lots of movies & TV shows had their beach scenes taped, such as "Spaceballs" and the pilot of "I Dream of Jeannie" (back in 1964).

    Are you a road/auto club member in your home country? You may have privileges in AAA here in the States, if you are. You can get freebie maps and tour books if your club has an agreement with AAA.

    Motel 6 and the mom-and-pop motels are at the bottom of the price pyramid, when it comes to hotels. Super 8 is one notch above that. We prefer to pick a motel as we go, except when we are in places that might fill up early. I make my husband stop at the State Tourist or Visitor Information booths in rest areas, as we pull into a state where we intend to make an overnight stop. They have coupon booklets (Room Saver, Travel Coupon Guide, and others) for motel rooms. We've had great luck with those, often getting a nicer hotel for a Motel 6 price!

    National Parks - if you're going to that many, buy the pass. It's $80 and I believe it's good in all the parks you're planning to go to. Camping is over and above that, maybe $15 per night.

    When you get back, post a Road Trip Report about your trip, and let us know how it went!


  3. #3


    To add to #4, in Oregon I would suggest driving the Historic Columbia River Highway. It is a beautiful drive, with many waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls (the second-highest year-round waterfall in the US).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default While in LA...

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    As a Film Genie you will no doubt be touring the Hollywood and West Hollywood area, the walk of fame along Hollywood Blvd and other streets, the Universal Studios, the Hollywood Sign, etc. And while up that end of town, you might like to check out the railway station on the corner of Vine and Hollywood. This station is like a movie museum, with old cameras, film reels, screens, etc., decorating it. On the platforms you will find seats in the form of cars; memories of the era of the great movies from half a century or more ago. I was transfixed by it, and spent hours wandering around and taking photos. You will need to buy a ticket to see the best of it. Use it to go to the next station, Hollywood and Highland, which I believe has something similar.


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