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  1. Default Planning 1st Road Trip in America for 4 Students

    Hey,

    I am planning my first Road trip around North America and was looking some help on places to go and things to see and do. We are four 21/22 year old males from Ireland just out of university. We were planning going out for a couple of months and staying in San Francisico, therefore having a home address to make it easier to rent/purchase a 2nd hand RV. We are planning to go from San Fran to Los Angeles, Las Vegas (via route 66) to chicago, jersey shore, New York, Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, tampa and then get a flight from Tampa to Cancun for Spring Break. We also hoped to make the Beer Pong World series in vegas and the superbowl in New York (2014) which are a month apart (Jan and Feb) therefore giving us some time at the cities inbetween. We are looking a mix of things to do, such as theme parks, attractions and sightseeing and have already planned on going to the more obvious 1's such as grand canyon, golden gate bridge, empire state building etc but are there anything else that would be worthwhile visiting. We are also wondering would it be worthwhile going from Los Angeles to Las Vegas via route 66 and sacricing an extra couple of days in chicago or just go the quickest possible route? As it will be a bit of a partying road trip, is there any big nightclubs in any of the main cities that are a 'must do'? Also is there any City i have missed out that we should consider?

    Any Help would be greatly appreciated.

    (Also I am planning the road trip for Nov/Dec 2013 to March 2014)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    A couple of thoughts here:

    First, realize that the actual "Route 66" ha been decommissioned long ago. There are only a few parts of it left, usually labeled with another number. It also never went through Las Vegas. Route 66 went from San Bernardino to Barstow on what's now I-15, then over to Kingman, Flagstaff, Winslow, Gallup, Albuquerque etc on what is now I-40. There's a small section of 66 left in western Arizona, and a few other sections that are now labeled "Historic Route 66". There's a part of this website dedicated to that old road.

    The fastest way to Las Vegas from LA is to take I-10 East, to I-15 north. It's about 5 hours of driving, or more if the traffic out of LA (or into LV) is bad.



    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Couple of Big Problems

    Céad Míle Fáilte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are at least a couple of major difficulties with your current plan, but with enough time and pre-trip groundwork you might be able to overcome them. First is the vehicle. Simply having an address will not be sufficient. In order register and license the car, you will need the address to match the one on your driver's license, which I'm guessing is somewhere in Ireland. Getting a US drivers license will be nigh onto impossible unless you can show citizenship or at least permanent residency. Besides the legal hurdles, it simply doesn't make economic sense to purchase a car for just a few months. You will be the 'motivated' party on both ends of transaction, buying retail and selling wholesale, and you can expect to lose several thousand dollars in the process. And that's before you pay for the title, tags, insurance, maintenance, etc.

    The second major problem is your plan to follow Route 66. That road hasn't existed for about 25 years. There are bits and pieces of the old asphalt here and there, but by and large it has been totally replaced by Interstates (motorways). And it never went to Las Vegas in any event. But with a few months (and unlimited funds?) at your disposal, pretty much anywhere in the US is available to you. Unfortunately, that means that we can't really make any suggestions. You're simply planning on covering too much ground. Can you imagine trying to list both the "must sees" as well as "anything else that would be worthwhile visiting" for all of Europe?

    At this point, your plan is pretty much in the daydream phase and requires that you do some serious research before making it a reality. Hopefully, the above will motivate you to start looking into all the things you need to do over the next couple of years if you're going to pull it off. Good luck and keep us posted.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Hey, thanks for the help! :)

    sorry what i ment was to drive from Las Vegas southward to connect onto the part of the route 66 that is left or 'historic route 66', i don't know much about it to be honest it was just to be able to say that i was on it but would it be worthwile to make this 'out of te way' trip?

    Thanks AZBUck, yea its still very much in the daydream phase but im very motivated (hence the 2 year in advance planning, lol) to make it happen as i know it will be an experience of a lifetime. I really think what will make the trip is travelling by RV and would love to make it happen, as i don't have a clue on how to go about making that happen would having a relative in the US help? Also is it difficult to rent an RV?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Easy, but usually expensive.

    It isn't difficult to rent an RV as such, but they are expensive. Add to that the fact that everyone under the age of 25 years old will face young driver fees and there is normally always a one way drop off fee if you end your journey in a different place to where you started and it get's real expensive.

    Some large companies like Cruise America do on occasion have special offers where they need vehicles relocated and if you are flexible, it might be worth looking into. With a long stay such as yours you could consider purchasing some basic camping equipment and rent a car, perhaps mixing it up with the odd 'treat' in a Motel and some Hostels.

    Keep searching the forums and other RTA planning pages in the tool bars above where you will find endless amounts of info.

  6. Default

    Thanks Southwest Dave, i have emailed a few rental companies for a couple of quotations to see whether renting an RV would be within our price range which is probably in and around $2000 between the 4 of us. And what would be the costs and how long would it take to get a US licence or anything that would get us on the road?

    Also if we were unable to get a license or the costs are out of our price range what would be our other options?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Relatively Speaking

    Having a relative in the US would help immensely, BUT... Think about what you'd be asking them to take on. If they agree to be the 'owners' of the vehicle, then they are liable for any damage you or the vehicle cause. Plus you would have to buy the primary insurance in their name AND buy supplemental insurance for you and each of your friends who plan to drive it. Since you all would be the principle users of the vehicle, you would not qualify under any insurance policy's 'casual driver' clause, and if you try to, all responsibility for any damage or injury you cause reverts back to your relatives. Then, of course, they would have to be physically present for both the purchase/registration/licensing of the vehicle and the sale/title transfer.

    Then there's just the fact that RVs really are not about saving money, they are about a lifestyle when on the road. If you want one that comes with cooking/toilet/bathing facilities you are talking a fairly hefty up front cost and an even greater loss on sale than I mentioned previously. Then there's the fact that you would still have to pay for a campsite with water/power/sewage hookups most nights.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default First things first.

    Probably your first challenge is going to be your visas. Be aware that you will find it almost impossible to get a visa for more than 90 days. From what I have read on these forums, those who have applied for longer holiday visas have not been successful. Best you first contact your local US consulate, and get the facts.

    Secondly, as to buying/renting a vehicle. It appears to be possible as a non-resident to purchase a vehicle, and you might like to have a chat with Don. I can't recommend him, as I do not have experience, but have spoken to him, and he knows what he is talking about. But you won't find him in SF.

    Having said that, I would seriously take note of AZBuck's comments above. You will be responsible for your own maintenance, insurance, registration, etc. and for just a few months, you would most likely be cheaper off, renting. You might also consider Adventures on Wheels, who do not have the underage surcharge. Once again, I have not used them, but have spoken with them and considered using them, until I got the offer of a loan of a vehicle.

    Since this trip is in the daydream stage, and you admit you do not know what else there is to see, you would be best off getting a large wall map of the US (I prefer the National Geographics Map), and becoming familiar with where all the national parks, cities and roads are, as well as other attractions. And read! Not just guide books, but anything to do with the US. Your local library is bound to have a large selection of books which will inform you. Only then can the daydream turn into a plan, and the plan into reality, which will eventually turn into the trip.

    Good luck.

    Lifey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Keep it alive.

    Quote Originally Posted by caolanraff View Post
    Also if we we're unable to get a license or the costs are out of our price range what would be our other options?
    Keep the dream alive, work hard and save diligently, until you can afford to take the trip you dream of. There really are no short cuts.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Up against it !

    Quote Originally Posted by caolanraff View Post
    within our price range which is probably in and around $2000 between the 4 of us. Also if we were unable to get a license or the costs are out of our price range what would be our other options?
    (Also I am planning the road trip for Nov/Dec 2013 to March 2014)
    I'm not sure if you mean the road trip takes place between those months, or if it includes the first two months in SF, but with $2000 between you for rental/purchase, you really are going to be up against it ! I don't know what registration, insurance would cost so I won't speculate, but you would be hard pushed to find a reliable vehicle for $2000, and to rent an RV and the associated costs that go with it would, under normal circumstance, cost you in the region of a $1000 per week plus young driver and one way drop fees.

    Other options ? Firstly you need to work out your overall budget that you might expect to have. You will probably work on 'best case' scenario [as most do] so figure 20% less to be safe and then work your trip from there. You will enjoy a shorter trip, more than a longer one that you can ill afford and although I understand your 'dreams', if push comes to shove you can still have a great time in SF and touring the southwest for a few weeks and possibly [budget permitting] fly out east.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 07-31-2011 at 01:44 AM.

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