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  1. Default New York to West Coast and back

    I have 4 weeks off beginning in late June and wanted to take the following trip (for approximately 2 weeks): leave from Rochester, NY, then travel through Nashville, Memphis, Austin, Santa Fe, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and end in Portland, Or. I've never done a road trip before, but I feel that this may be way too ambitious and won't give me enough time to actually stop and explore. For the way back, I am not sure whether it was best to drop off a rental car and fly back (and pay the high drop charge), or drive back a more direct route (i.e. through Chicago).

    As I said before, I am new to this type of trip, so any suggestions are more than welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Priorities

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, I'm afraid you're right. This would be way too ambitious and wouldn't give you enough time to actually stop and explore. You would need about 11½ days just for the driving alone, giving you only about 2-3 hours per day (on average) for anything other than the basics of driving, fueling, eating, etc. It's ultimately your call, but to me that seems like a lot of effort for not much payoff. My general recommendation for such loop trips from coast to coast is for a three week minimum.

    On the other hand there is an alternative to a one way rental (and attendant drop-off fee0 along with a relatively expensive one way flight, and that is to do the eastern half of your trip by air and then drive in the west. For example, you could book a round trip flight to Denver, or Minneapolis, or St. Louis, or Houston (all hubs for major airlines) and then do a 'local' car rental from there. This would save you on the order of four to six days of driving, skipping over the areas which you could drive to from home at some later date, and let you spend more of your time in the west.


  3. Default

    Thank you for your reply. I would be able to do three weeks, but in your estimation, does that take into account the return trip as well?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    In my book, 3 weeks really is the minimum amount of time you need for a coast to coast round trip, and have a little time left over to see things along the way/on the opposite side of the country.

    However, even that requires a fairly quick trip and a relatively direct route. With the route you've listed, going down to Austin, and the all the way back up to Portland, even going the most direct possible route back home, I think 3 weeks would mean you'd have an extremely rushed trip where you'd have very little time to see anything other than what's outside the car window. You could do it, however, I don't know if you'd have as worthwhile trip that you might hope.

  5. Default

    So clearly it looks like I can't do the trip as planned. Any thoughts/ideas on how to cut out portions of this trip and still accomplish it in 2-3 weeks? I think I'd still prefer to drive from NY, so perhaps forget about going too far west? I'm definitely not married to any ideas yet (nor would I be upset crossing off any of the cities I named above), so any suggestions are welcome.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default You can decide that.

    Rather than any of us deciding what you should or should not cut out, you can easily make that decision for yourself. Get a good detailed map or maps of the US, and look at what is where... and what you may be most interested in. You can use the map centre to zoom into areas to see them in more detail. Use the internet for your distances and further research. Count on every 500 miles being a full day in the car. Decide how much time you want to spend in the car, and how much sightseeing and other activities. And plan a spare day somewhere, just to chill out.

    When you have a route laid out through the places you want to see, the experts here will help you fine tune it, and fill in the blanks. But really, no one else can decide what you should or should not see.


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