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  1. Default LA to NY - 6 weeks (Apr/May) - Have a plan, but is it any good?

    Hi guys,

    We are a couple that have spent some time planning a 6-week (or shorter...) cross country trip, but as neither of us have spent much time in the US and never undertaken a lengthy road trip we thought it best to seek some expert opinion before it is too late. We are intending to travel mainly on smaller roads ("byways").

    I did put together this quite detailed journey plan but I am not at all sure how "good" it is i.e. whether I am spending too long on the trip, too short, wrongs sights/locations etc. Worried I might end up being bored or too stressed....Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    I have also attached my budget (see below) - again I don't have any first hand experience of the US so not entirely sure how realistic it is (too much? too little?) so any input would be greatly received.
    Would like to make the trip as cheap as possible of course i.e. save on food and accomodation (excl. large cities). Have budgeted for $60 a day for food. What are the average cost of roadside motels? Not sure if camping is a viable option most places...

    Day Destinations
    1 Los Angeles (CA)
    2 Los Angeles (CA) - San Francisco (CA)
    3-5 San Francisco (CA)
    6 San Francisco (CA) - Cambria (CA)
    7 Cambria (CA) - San Diego (CA)
    8 San Diego (CA)
    9 San Diego (CA) - Joshua Tree National Park (CA)
    10 Joshua Tree National Park (CA) - Las Vegas (NV)
    11 Las Vegas (NV) - Grand Canyon (AZ)
    12 Grand Canyon (AZ)
    13 Grand Canyon (AZ) - Zion National Park (UT)
    14-15 Zion National Park (UT)
    16 Zion National Park (UT) - Arches National Park (UT)
    17-18 Arches National Park (UT)
    19-20 Arches National Park (UT) - Grand Teton National Park (WY)
    21 Grand Teton National Park (WY)
    22 Grand Teton National Park (WY) - Yellowstone National Park (WY)
    23 Yellowstone National Park (WY)
    24-26 Yellowstone National Park (WY) - Mount Rushmore (SD)
    27-30 Mount Rushmore (SD) - Madison (WI)
    31 Madison (WI) - Bloomington (IL)
    32-33 Bloomington (IL) - Niagara Falls (NY)
    34 Niagara Falls (NY) - Montreal
    35 Montreal
    37 Montreal - Quebec
    38 Quebec
    39 Quebec - Burlington (VE)
    40-41 Burlington (VT) - Boston (MA) - Providence (RI)
    42 Providence (RI) - New York (NY)
    43-46 New York (NY)

    Budget (2 persons):
    Car rental - $3,700
    Food cost - $2,800
    Fuel cost - $1,200
    Accomodation - $4,000
    Sundry - $5,000
    TOTAL $16,700

    In advance many thanks for your help!
    Last edited by Bobla; 01-06-2012 at 02:07 AM.

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

    Default Looks GREAT !!

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If you are travelling a route that appeals to you and is one you have chosen, I'm quite sure you won't get bored or stressed. Both are just a state of mind so send those thoughts packing and you will have a great time, we don't do 'boring' ! ;-)

    You have a nice amount of time for your trip, but even then you can't see everything and you have picked and chosen accordingly. Is it any good ? I think so and if it's what you want to do, it's GREAT !!

    I'm pretty sure that you are aware that Yellowstone is not in full 'open' mode until the end of May/June and you should expect the possibility of seeing cold weather and snow on the ground. The solitude will be wonderful, but just keep an eye on conditions there.

    On your second night planned at Zion I would consider making my way to Bryce canyon in the afternoon and stopping overnight for a quick look before continuing to Arches.

    I am presuming you are driving up to San Fran and back to LA to drive with the Ocean on your side of the road ? Is it a lot more expensive just to fly into SF and work your way down to San Diego ? AnotheR option, if you could find a couple of days, would be to go further inland and visit Yosemite NP.

    I would think your budget looks quite healthy at a quick glance. You can get a cheap road side Motel for $45 but in reality, when you get close to the Grand canyon and Yellowstone etc that can quickly double and more. Your average $95 per night for a room should be fairly comfortable to achieve. If you have that final figure as your overall budget available, it wouldn't surprise me to see you have plenty of 'change' from it, but it's nice to know it's there if needed.

    Keep looking around RTA for ideas and inspiration and if you have other questions, just ask. If you haven't already, get a good detailed map of the US and start looking at all the places along your route and see what you find. It's often the small towns, better kept secrets and the people you meet along the way that hold the best memories. They certainly prevent the boredom from creeping in, seek and you will find ! ;-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Driving to SF and then doubling back down the coast is the first thing that stands out as being a bit odd to me. Flying to SF, as Dave suggested, could be an option, or instead you might think about going to SD first, then head back up the coast to SF and then head to Vegas via Yosemite, Sequoia, and Death Valley. It would really reduce the backtracking, and while driving south down the coast has its advantages, you can have just as enjoyable of a time going north.

    My other question is what's the reason for the Bloomington IL stop? Its a bit out of the way, and I'd think you'd want that time to spend a little time exploring Chicago.

  4. Default Thanks

    Thanks guys, given me a couple of things to think about.

    BTW - the reason for the back and forth between LA and SF is due to the one-way rental car being $1,000 more expensive out of SF...

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


    I'd suggest you keep shopping for rental cars then, as prices can change quite frequently. Its not uncommon for there to be significant prices differences even between nearby locations, but that seems pretty extreme.

    Actually, many rental companies allow free drops between SF and LA, so if you want to get outside the box, you could even look at flying to SF, renting a car one way to drive down the coast, and then swap out with another rental in LA. I'm sure that would cost less than $1000!

    But I don't think you'd be disappointed if you used the LA starting point as a reason to visit both the coast and Yosemite/Sequoia parks.

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