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  1. Default Please help me in planning our first road trip!

    I am trying to plan a road trip, but really have no clue where to start. We are flying into Atlanta from London (we are americans, just living in london so driving is no problem). First question. Should we rent an RV or take my parents SUV and stay in hotels? It will be Myself and husband and 2 sons 17, 14
    Second Question

    What route should we take?! We want to travel a route more south to California going through Houston to see some friends stopping at points of intrest along the way(please suggest some!). We also want to go to many national parks. We want to go through small towns. Vast stretches of road. realLY experience the west. Once In California we will go to San Diego, LA and San Fransisco as well as wine country, redwood forest and Sequoia national park. (any other suggestions?!) We have 4 weeks from the day we start until the day to be back in Atlanta! On the way back we want to take a more northern route seeing the beauty of the north etc. This route needs to take us to mount rushmore. Maybe Go to Lake Tahoe to! See how confused I am?!:)
    We are not really into long hikes, and rafting

    I know that this is kind of confusing and I myself have no idea what all there is to see. But any help you can give IS GREATLY appreciated!

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    What exact dates are you looking at?

    It will be a LOT cheaper taking the SUV - a RV is not cheap to rent and it sucks gas. Hotel rooms don't cost much more than campground fees.

  3. Default

    We are looking at May 4-June 1st

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    This trip looks to be in the 6300-mile range by the quickest route, easily doable in four weeks.

    The choice of vehicle - and the associated lodging - depends largely on what you have for a budget AND what interests you. If you're not interested in staying in campgrounds, then the likelihood that you would enjoy your RV experience is greatly diminished, regardless of the overall budget, so I would start with that: Would every member of your party be content with four weeks of staying in an RV?

    Also consider if you would feel comfortable piloting around an RV for that length of time. For some folks, it could be a stressful situation.

    You've mentioned not liking long hikes - but are short hikes okay? I find that taking even a short hike - a walk, really - in most of the National Parks is a great way to enhance the experience beyond what is visible from the main viewing points.

    Having some clearly defined points of interest helps plan your route. It's probably impractical to suggest staying off of the Interstates for a majority of your route, but if small towns interest you, you can usually hop off the Interstate onto an older US route and find a plethora of small towns. Sometimes, these places only have a couple of residents, and other times, they are thriving communities with interesting attractions and good restaurants.

    How much side exploration off of the generally straight path to each of your noted destinations would you feel comfortable traveling?
    Does your stop in Houston have to be on a specific date - ie, have you told your friends you'd be there on Thursday, for instance?
    Have you considered the Grand Canyon on the westward-bound leg of your trip?
    Have you considered Yellowstone National Park on the northern leg of your trip?
    Does horseback riding interest you and/or anyone in your family? Aside from what you don't like, and the knowledge that you like small towns and nature, are there other things that interest you that could help with suggestions (art, music, food, etc.)?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Its about you and time management

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The great thing about planning a roadtrip is much the same as the most difficult thing about starting to plan: There is almost never a single "best" answer to your questions.

    For example, RV or Hotel/Car is a case where it depends upon what you are looking for. A Car/Hotel trip will be cheaper and has the advantage of being more manuverable, where it will be able easier to get around in some places, especially in cities. An RV is very much a lifestyle choice, but it is one that many people love, where you can bring the comforts of home with you, and spend your nights closer to nature.

    What to see and the routes to take are much the same way, there are countless things and what will be best for you depends upon what you and your family are interested in. Between Atlanta and California, you only mentioned Houston and Mt. Rushmore as possible stops, and there are literally millions of things that could be added in between. This site can help you find many of those ideas - check out the map center and the attractions sections of RTA - but you really need to get much more of an outline before anyone else will be of much help in giving you useful suggestions.

    One word of caution is that the US is a big country and while 4 weeks is a nice amount of time, its probably shorter than you think. You'll spend at least half of your time just driving from Atlanta to California and back, since it takes about a week to go each way, and you'd need even more time if you decide to detour as far north as the Dakotas. Considering that you could easily spend more than 2 weeks just at the places in California you've listed, you will have to consider the time as you build your plan.

    As you have more questions, feel free to ask.

  6. Default

    We want to see as much as possible, we are not really campers so i guess we will rule that out to begin with! We want to see alot of national parks, yes we are fine with short hikes! Houston is not a set date but will be closer to the beginning of the trip. As for grand canyon and yellow stone! YES! we must do those.
    As for our interests, we like amazing vistas, charming towns, we also like just exploring. We also like visiting cities with alot of history so you could say we are all history nuts.!

    We feel comfortable driving just about anywhere so side trips are a must!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Well there are lots of places that fit those requirements, but that also really gets into the time consuming elements. You will have to factor that time in as you build a plan, as those side trips and history visits can quickly take up your days.

    One more note, Yellowstone is just starting to open up for the year in May, and there are other mountain areas that will still be closed for the year, so keep that in mind too.

    I'd certainly spend some time looking at the National Parks website, as it will both have lots of information about the places you could go, but can also provide even more ideas for places to include in your plan.

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