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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    brisbane, queensland australia

    Default aussie wanting to drive cross country

    hey all
    read some similar threads but didnt find what i wanted to know

    basically i want to drive from east to west or west to east..doesnt bother me either way. the info im looking for is what route, destinations etc
    i dont want to go to typical tourists spots ie disneyland, manhatten..anything that has tourist written on it. i want to spend about 4 to 6 weeks driving across country seeing the real sights.

    basically when i think about it i think either LA through arizona, new mexico, texas, louisiana, up through tennesee, kentucky etc back to new york
    new york, up to the north east acorss the top all the way to montana and washinton down the coast back to LA

    my brother spent 18 months but was mostly in canada as he preferred it to the US but i wont be going to canada and spending much less time. unlike him i have bills and animals that i am leaving behind.

    put yourself in my shoes, an aussie who has never been to the US, im 34 male... probably the stuff you would think twice about is the whole reason im going ie smaller towns, cheap highway diners...basically the normal everyday US. only using LA and NY to fly in and out of, will be there just the one day each.
    accommodation will be as cheap as possible as will food. hotels but cheap ones, do enough camping here not interested over there.

    i guess the other thing i have to think about there more than here is seasons. no snow here apart from a small pocket of ski fields, otherwise sunny all year. there, if i go the northern route winter will be out. dont particularly want to go there in peak summer season so autumn will probably be best im guessing.

    one last thing, have to decide whether to buy a cheap car there or rent one. pros and cons of each. renting, if anything goes wrong i can get it replaced but its dearer. if i buy one it will be cheaper than renting the whole time however it might be a lemon and die along the way.

    any thoughts/ideas?
    thanks for your time
    Aaron the Aussie

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

    Default what we can tell you

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your biggest question is one we simply can't answer for you. We can't tell you where to go or what routes to take because there are millions of possibilities for stops, small towns, and routes between NY and LA. What makes a roadtrip unique is that you get to go exactly where you want to. A good first step is to just get out a big map of the US and start looking for places that are interesting to you, and then try to connect the dots. Until you've got at least an outline of the major places you want to visit, we just can't be of much help.

    Logistically, we can tell you that Autumn can be a very nice time to travel, and that 4-6 weeks is a very nice amount of time for this trip. We can also tell you that renting a car is really your only option. Purchasing a car as a non-resident of the US is virtually impossible, and even if you could, you'd really need to be on the road for at least 2-3 months before buying a car starts making financial sense once you factor in all of the extra expenses of purchasing like taxes, insurance, etc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default From One Aussie to Another.

    Let's cover your last point first. Buying a vehicle in the US as a non-resident is (almost) impossible, and for a mere six weeks, certainly not financially viable. You will find that renting will not only give you more security - as you mentioned - but when all is considered, will most likely work out the same, if not cheaper.

    To help cut down on the cost, I would suggest that you not do a cross country trip, but consider a loop. Starting in NYC, you could look at a northern route (best do the north first in autumn), and return along a southern route.

    When is this trip to take place? This year? or next?

    Best thing you can do right now is sit down with a LARGE map of the USA and mark on it the places which really interest you. See if that lays out a route for you. Use the map centre on the navigation bar above, and zoom in to some of the areas you want to check out further.

    When you have some dots on the map, or have more questions during this process, feel free to come back here and ask. There is always someone here to help you fill in the gaps and fine tune your route.

    Enjoy the planning.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    brisbane, queensland australia


    yeah after reading another post by an aussie i realised i cant buy/drive there.
    the time of year i get to go will probably determine whether i go north or south. having never driven in ice/snow before or even bad storms, going north in winter is not something i want. i do seem to gravitate towards washington state, montana and the new england area over the south but ideally if i could i would go north LA to Ny then south NY to LA....all depends how long i can get long as its the real US, no silly tourist sites

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default You could just wing it!

    Aaron, on a direct route, it takes an easy six day drive to go coast to coast. I have done it a dozen times. So with four to six weeks you have enough time to take both routes. And the reason I suggest you do a loop, is that you will not be up for a one way drop off fee, which can be as much as $500, and sometimes more.

    If you were to rent in LA, then head north and across the northern States, seeing all the places you have marked on your map, and then from NY, head for the southern route, taking in all your selected sites along the way. You won't be driving a direct route, you will no doubt zigzag a little to hit those places which are on your list.

    So as mentioned above, get out that map and start marking off all the things on your must see list, and see what develops. Be asured that most trips have several metamorphosis before they actually take place.

    As for your desire to avoid the obvious touristy places.... well, you could always do what I did, first time I hit the States. In those days I did not even know that a road trip had to be planned. I knew I had to go to my son's wedding, and besdes that, I just stayed for another 10 weeks 'to see the place'. Not one trip was planned. I picked up a car, took it to wherever it had to be relocated, and made sure I saw whatever there was to see along the way. Very little of which is in the guide books or on the maps, but all of it was an adventure. Most of my information in those day was gathered from locals, each time I came to a town. That is still the way I travel most of the time. Just that next year will be my fifth trip, and as such, I guess I know too much to be able to hit the road in blissful ignorance, like I did in 2001.


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