Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. Default Tips for beginners

    Hi - I have lurked a few times on this forum over the years and have finally decided to just go ahead and book a 2 week trip to the West of America for a road trip.

    The thing which has put us off before is the planning - there is so much to plan that the hardest thing is just finding a good place to start! Car hire, hotel booking, route planning - I have no idea where to start.

    I am hoping to get for some info from people who may have done this before - just to try and get some basic established such as how long to drive for each day, whether to have days off driving, best type of car to rent that kind of thing.

    The route is the toughest, as coming from the UK getting an idea of scale and traffic is quite difficult. Have never driven overseas so that's a scary thought!

    Top of the priorities for me is Yosemite - though it seems most places in the park are fully booked so I think we will need to stay outside the park. We'd also like to visit the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, LV, SF, LA. Maybe a jaunt into Mexico if that is even logistically possible.

    Do people book their accommodation before going? I like the idea of being a little more free-willed, but do not want to end up without anywhere to stay.

    Seems there is so much to consider! I'd really appreciate some stories from people who have done similar, to give me the kick up the ass I need!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    Logistically, a "loop trip" would be best, that way you can rent a car without paying a one-way dropoff fee. For your interests, I'd look at SF, LA, or LV for your start/end point, whichever gives you the best airfares and car rental costs.

    Coming from the UK, just about anything would be suitable for a car, you folks are used to small cars.

    A jaunt into Mexico is highly discouraged - the border towns are very dangerous places these days and you cannot take a US rental car across the border.

    Just to drive from place to place on Interstate highways (motorways) we advise to keep it to no more than 500 miles a day. This will take from 8 to 10 hours. There is no point in driving after dark, you can't SEE anything!

    The only places where booking hotels is necessary is *IN* the national parks - you should be able to find someplace to stay on a "walk-in" basis outside the parks. However, you may have to travel an hour or so away from the park. I would advise you book a hotel for your first night, wherever you decide to fly into.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Can't see the wood for the trees !

    Hi there.

    We have all been there when planning your first trip independantly seems a quite a daunting task, but once you start separating all the things to be considered and work on them indivdually, things become much clearer.

    Don't let the planning put you off, it's just the start of the adventure, allow it to be fun !! [And we're here to help]

    You already have an idea of places you wish to visit, so with those dots on the map you can see how you can best join them together, with other areas of interest to you. As mentioned a loop would work well and the City that offers the best value airfares and car rental combo makes the most sense. So for instance start San Fran, a couple of days along the scenic coastal route to LA and then inland towards the GC and Monument Valley. To get to Vegas you could head into Southern Utah [Zion NP and possibly Bryce Canyon among other options] and from Vegas head across Death Valley and up to the Tioga Pass [CA120] near Mono Lake and cross the Sierras into Yosemite before finishing back in SF.

    Once you have your start point, search for car rental deals and work on your itinerary. You don't have to book lodgings in advance, some like myself, who are on a bit of a time crunch like to know where they are staying for the night, where as others like to 'Wing it'. You will always find somewhere to stay, but it could add time finding them in the summer and as mentioned, particularly near 'Hot spots'.

    Here are a few of out favourite threads to help you along the way. As your plan comes together keep asking questions and we can help 'fine tune' the smaller detail.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default More than advisable.

    It is not just advisable to book your first night's accommodation, as mentioned above. It is essential. You may have hassles with customs and immigration if you do not have an address you are heading to.

    As Dave mentioned, some travellers book their stays, others wing it. I am one of the wingers. However, there are times as well as places where you would be wise to book. Check for any holiday weekends, or the time around the 4th July. It was mentioned in another thread that this year, this holiday falls on a Wednesday, which could mean that up to the weekends either side could be fully booked. Besides the NPs, some urban areas are almost essential booking areas, if you want anything half decent. The two where I would always book are NYC and Chicago.


Similar Threads

  1. Road trip for beginners from the UK
    By richardjamair in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-03-2011, 06:01 AM
  2. Help needed for beginners with San Francisco>Las Vegas Trip!
    By Amy85 in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 02-09-2011, 03:34 AM
  3. Absolute Beginners...
    By VoodooRay in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-14-2006, 06:12 PM
  4. RoadTrip Beginners Need Some Help
    By dcarnes in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-18-2005, 01:09 PM
  5. Beginners on the Road
    By Bob and the Boys in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-03-2001, 09:59 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name