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  1. #1

    Default 1st time in USA travelling east coast to west coast Summer 2012 -- HELP

    Hi everyone. Mick and Gail here a couple 50yo of Aussies who are making the big trip next year. We need advise. We will be arriving in New York July 2012 and will be leaving the USA on the west coast mid September. That gives us about 10 weeks to take in as much of the USA as possible. Where to go? What to see? RV v's car? B&B v's hotels/motels. There are a few things that we have decided to see and do Niagra Falls, 5 to 7 days in New York, Washington, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon & a part Route 66 of course. The rest of our time in USA is very much undecided. My wife and i have not decided to leave the USA by Los Angeles or San Francisco at this stage. We look forward to your help and suggestions especially about RV v's Car. Thanks Mick and Gail.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default So many options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    What to see, where to go and what to do will largely depend on your interests, and when we know what they are, the list could still run into thousands upon thousands of options with a 10 week trip across the country ! On this subject and at this stage, I would keep researching with a good map of the US and get some dots on it. When you have the basics and an outline we can help to fill in the blanks and make meaningful suggestions. I am a big fan of the National parks and in Colorado, Southern Utah, Arizona and California you have a large selection of some of the best. Rocky mountain NP, Black canyon, Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce canyon, Zion NP, Death valley, Yosemite, Sequoia and of course the wonder you have mentioned, the Grand canyon. These are just a few highlights and in between there are some great driving roads, mountain towns, Indian reservations, National Monuments, State parks and much more !

    As for the car/ Motels v RV choice. It has been asked many times but first and foremost it is a 'Lifestyle' choice. If you think Yes, it's a lifestyle I want, you need to move to budgeting factors. With just 2 of you travelling it will certainly be more expensive in the RV, with 4 sharing the cost it's a much closer thing. The 'headline' rental figure of an RV starts out looking promising, you then add the extra mileage charges, bedroom and bathroom kits, possible prep fees etc and the bottom line doesn't look so great ! Then you have to consider campground fees and the fact that you will only get a gas return of around 10mpg.
    If you are still with me [lol] and the RV still sounds appealing, all I can say is they are great, with everything you would want and more, I love it ! Your next consideration would be if it would suit this trip or not ? They are wonderful in the Lakes and Mountains and really help to balance the cost difference if you are staying in the NP's. A typical NP campground site is $18 where NP lodgings can easily be $200 plus. Of course there are cheaper options outside of the parks, but it's not like being 'there' IMO. In the City they are not so user friendly and you don't want to be driving around the streets in a big RV. Some have RV resorts with transport links downtown and some are not really RV friendly and as your planning unfolds it will help to determine if it's what you want.

    One other thing to consider at this stage. Would you be better off doing a complete loop of the country and ending up where you started ? Most 'one way' trips where there is plenty of time to explore plenty of options, end up zig-zagging up and down the country to get to see 'must see' spots and the mileage ends up not much less than taking a more northerly route one way and a more southerly route the other that could lead to seeing more attractions. You also avoid the dreaded 'one way drop off fees' on the rental and could possibly get a better flight deal.

    Search around the forums and check out the tool bars above where you will find pages and pages of info and planning tools, heres an article with the Pro's and Con's of RV travel. As new questions come up, just keep asking in this thread and we will be pleased to help out !

    Enjoy the planning.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default From One Aussie to Another.

    Dave has given a great outline of car vs RV. The popular opinion that an RV is a money saving option is flawed in so many ways. And you would be wise to read all he outlined and linked to, and use the forum search function to find other threads which discussed this topic at great length.

    As for where to go and what to see. By far the best you can do is get a large map of the US. My preference is for the National Geographics Wall Map. It is available in all specialists bookstores in the Capital Cities, as well as online. It shows not only the interstates and highways, cities and States, but also the national parks, state parks and much more. These will help you to decide places to visit. And whereas most of the great spectacular national parks are in the western States, don't overlook the many parks and historical attractions east of the Rockies.

    You have a good bit of time allocated for NYC. Have you thought about DC. The many musea of the Smithsonian Institute could well occupy you for a similar time. And that's not to mention the other great attractions of the National Capital.

    I am a little puzzled why you would fly into NY. But I agree with Dave that a loop trip would make much more sense, and with 10 weeks, you have tons of time to do this.... whether you take a car or RV. Take into consideration that you won't want an RV in the cities, and neither would you want a car in NYC. And possibly not in DC either. Both these cities have great public transport, and the train trip between them is a mere three or four hours. Parking in both is very expensive, and you could well spend half your time looking for a parking spot.

    You don't say in which State you reside, but if you are a member of the RACV, RACQ, NRMA or similar, be sure to bring your membership with you. It will give you access to all tourist information and free maps from the AAA, through their reciprocal arrangement.

    (Might see you on the road, as I will be over there at the same time. lol)


  4. #4


    Thanks guys for your advise and tips. The reason we are starting in New York is because we are comming into the USA from England. The USA is the last and biggest leg of our 5 month holiday. We are going to hire a vehicle after New York and Washington as you suggest Lifey. Looks like a RV may not be the best fit for us. We will probably stay at B&B's most of the time. We used B&B's on a recent trip around Tasmania and still managed to meet heaps of people and have a great time. Does anyone know the standard of B&B's in USA?
    Thanks again guys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Another Alternative

    While B&Bs are great and I have enjoyed them in the past - they are much more 'user friendly' than mere motel rooms - there is another option that might better suit your extended travel plans. B&Bs and motels tend to work for relatively short stays in an area. But with the amount of time you have you might want to look at 'vacation rentals'. This would be a case where you rent an entire home, typically for a week at a time, which makes for a very relaxed lifestyle while you explore an area in some depth by making day trips from your temporary 'home'. This type of accommodation has worked very well for my wife and me over the years and we find that we can often compete in cost with motels and B&Bs because vacation rentals come with full kitchens and (typically) laundry facilities, so that we make our own meals at breakfast and supper, and just have a light lunch while we're out and about. Plus, we're only unpacking/packing once a week rather than every 2-3 days. This probably won't work for your entire trip, but certainly if there are a few areas that you want to stay in for a bit it's worth looking into. Some of the sites we use to find places include VRBO, Home Away, Cyberrentals, Redweek, and others. Or you can just plug {vacation rental cityname} into your favorite search engine.



  6. #6


    Thanks AZBuck. The only places we will be staying a week at are New York and Washington. The rest of the time we will be travelling. I have been looking at B&B's. If anyone knows of any good sites or reasonable good value places in New York and Washington we would greatly appreciate it.

    We are impressed by the helpful advise everyone is giving us.

    Thank you very much
    Mick & Gail

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