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  1. #1

    Default 6 month road trip - planning

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a guy from Hungary (so sorry for my possibly poor English in advance), planning a 6-month trip to the US with my girlfriend, maybe next April-September (or the same period in 2014). Since I still have plenty of time, I'm in the early planning phase regarding the route, car, lodging, budget, etc. and appreciate any help from the experienced visitors of this forum.

    My basic idea is to do all the cross country routes and the two coast routes from the Road Trip USA website (www.roadtripusa.com, I hope it's okay to post the URL here) with some detours and changes here and there, in two loops starting and ending in St. Louis, MO. The plan is to have a "driving day" approx. every 3 days where I would drive between 400-700 kms, then stop and explore a city/area/national park for 1-3 days. So my first question would be if this route is at all feasible, or is this too much for just six months?

    (I'm aware of visa, car rental etc. difficulties, but as a first step, I'm trying to put together a rough plan for the route I'd like to cover.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,350

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    To start, a drive of 400-700 kms would convert to about 250 - 440 miles, which is a wonderful day drive. Typically, a 250 mile/day drive should take about 5 hours (that's WITH stops for gas, food, and rest areas) unless you are sightseeing too.

    However, you do have to figure out the VISA problem *first*. You can't plan for a 6 month trip if the longest VISA you'll get is the standard 90 day visitor. The car rental will be a big expense for 3 months, and double that for 6 months. (We have seen a few who were able to get a 180 day visa, but they are few and far between.)


    Donna

  3. #3

    Default

    Thank you for your quick and helpful reply! Well, if I can't get the visa sorted out, I may break this into two parts, so I can do it with the standard 90-day ESTA.

    Budget wise, I'm well aware that this will be an expensive trip, off the top of my head I figured around $25K for the whole 6 months (includes gas, car rental, lodging and food), I think that seems realistic (?).

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    Welcome to RTA!

    To start, a drive of 400-700 kms would convert to about 250 - 440 miles, which is a wonderful day drive. Typically, a 250 mile/day drive should take about 5 hours (that's WITH stops for gas, food, and rest areas) unless you are sightseeing too.

    However, you do have to figure out the VISA problem *first*. You can't plan for a 6 month trip if the longest VISA you'll get is the standard 90 day visitor. The car rental will be a big expense for 3 months, and double that for 6 months. (We have seen a few who were able to get a 180 day visa, but they are few and far between.)


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,938

    Default first steps

    I have to agree that working on the Visa really needs to be step one. Based on what's been reported here, its an extremely time consuming, difficult, and frustrating process.

    If you do the full 6 months, or even just 3 allowed without a full visa, you certainly can do a full loop of the US and see really anything you want to.

    What I would encourage, however, is that you not pick your routes just because they are in a book/website. The information provided there is certainly good, but far too often it leaves the impression that there are only 10 routes that can be used for roadtrip and/or the 10 options they focus on are the "best" roadtrip routes.

    Rather than focus on sticking to a loop, I'd really recommend you start thinking about what things and places you want to see most, no matter where in the US they are. Once you've got your priorities, the roads will start to make themselves obvious.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,938

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GaborFarkas View Post
    Thank you for your quick and helpful reply! Well, if I can't get the visa sorted out, I may break this into two parts, so I can do it with the standard 90-day ESTA.
    Just to make sure you understand, if you do end up trying to break it into 2 parts, you will have to fly overseas to reset the clock. If you just cross the border into Canada or Mexico, you still have to leave the US by the end of your initial 90 days.

  6. #6

    Default

    Great advice, thank you. I didn't mean to follow these routes exactly, I just figured they're a good starting point, as my main idea was to use mostly highways instead of interstates.

    I'll definitely look into the requirements of the VISA and the details of the whole process. If it looks like way too much of a hassle, I'll probably stick to a 3-month plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    I have to agree that working on the Visa really needs to be step one. Based on what's been reported here, its an extremely time consuming, difficult, and frustrating process.

    If you do the full 6 months, or even just 3 allowed without a full visa, you certainly can do a full loop of the US and see really anything you want to.

    What I would encourage, however, is that you not pick your routes just because they are in a book/website. The information provided there is certainly good, but far too often it leaves the impression that there are only 10 routes that can be used for roadtrip and/or the 10 options they focus on are the "best" roadtrip routes.

    Rather than focus on sticking to a loop, I'd really recommend you start thinking about what things and places you want to see most, no matter where in the US they are. Once you've got your priorities, the roads will start to make themselves obvious.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Just to make sure you understand, if you do end up trying to break it into 2 parts, you will have to fly overseas to reset the clock. If you just cross the border into Canada or Mexico, you still have to leave the US by the end of your initial 90 days.
    Yeah I know that, what I meant is that I do one half next summer, and the other half a year later or something like that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,386

    Default

    It's also my understanding it may be difficult to find a company who will rent you a car for 6 months - they will want it back long before that for service. You would probably have to plan on renting from a major nationwide company and periodically swap it. This may involve a one-way drop fee each time. Even for 3 months, you should check into this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,497

    Default Drop Fees

    Unless you use a specialty rental service that will enable you to rent the same vehicle for six months, just about every national car rental service has a maximum term of 30 days per rental. And those drop fees will really add up!

    And I moved your thread here, since as a policy we tend to move all trips that are intended to be longer than 30 days to this section of the Forum.

    Mark

  10. #10

    Default

    There used to be some smaller companies which offered months long rentals but might not allow out-of-state travel or one-way rentals.
    Last edited by CAnative; 05-02-2012 at 10:16 PM.

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