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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    14

    Default Across the USA April -May 2013

    Hi
    My daughters dance group are spending 8 days at Disneyland in early April 2013. At the end of this I am planning to spend another month driving across the USA. I am from Perth Western Australia and there will be my wife and I and our 5 children. The only stipulation so far is that we need to end up back in LA to fly home from. Early ideas are to fly to New York, hire an RV and drive back to LA
    Any advice would be appreciated and as I plan more and get a better picture I will post more and probably ask for more advice.
    Thanks in advance
    Evan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,939

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    With a full month, you'd have a lot of options.

    The cheapest way to do a trip is to do a loop, starting and ending in the same place. If you fly to New York first, you'll have a one way drop fee that will likely cost several hundred dollars, and that's in addition to airfare. Of course, doing a one way trip also means less driving, and potentially more time exploring.

    The beauty of the roadtrip is there is no one sized fits all trip. There are a million things you could potentially stop and see, and when you are still in "blank slate" mode, its nearly impossible for anyone to start narrowing those things down. I'd suggest you start really focusing on your family about what kinds of places and things you'd most like to see. You might even discover that you just want to focus your time on one part of the US, rather than going cross country. There are no right or wrong answers!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Penang, Malaysia
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Hi Evan. Sounds like an awesome trip!! 8 days in Disneyland itself is huge!! You need to check out the prices for RV's before you make a decision - your budget will dictate if you go this way or not. We could not get an RV for less than $120 per day when we looked which was outside our budget!! So now we have bought a car and are camping our way across the US for 3 months!!! If u get an RV you can free camp a lot of times for no extra cost - it's pretty fun!! Definitely check prices for the one way drop fee we found one charge of $5000 for dropping off somewhere different!! You can check standbycars.com - they do relocations for $1 per day but you have a limited time and pick one off the list we did this teo weeks ago and it was awesome! $7 for the rental $750 in fuel and they gave us $250 of that back! Free camping every night in rest areas with great facilities! We like quirky things to visit. If your kids like these too check out roadsideamerica.com. Who doesn't want to see the worlds largest pistachio?? Lol. If you prefer national parks you can get a pass for $80 here for unlimited entry. We will buy one next week at Yosemite. If u don't get an RV please think about how you will feed your tribe - quality and your budget! There's every kind of food here but the less you spend, the more "junk" you will eat!! Meals here are huge - if your kids are little they'll be able to share and it'll be cheap!! Really - yesterday we succumbed to Denny's. My son had 2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon and a big hash brown, plus 3 fat pancakes with chocolate and peanut butter sauce - it was $7.49 plus tax!!!! He couldn't finish it!! Don't even get me started on the sodas!! McDonald's offers all sizes for $1!!

    We are from Brisbane so feel free to ask us anything as it relates to home. We have a website at www.lifechangingyear.com. We are just about to start documenting our US adventures. It's not really a resource, just a laugh about wierd stuff on our holiday so may be no use to you.

    You'll have a great time. In the RV we nearly went over the Mexican border, got screamed at by a crazy truck driver and were stopped by the state troopers in New Mexico as they searched for an RV that had been at the White Sands Missile Site!! See what you have to look forward to? I hope you have a great trip!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Thanks for the replys. I spent a few hours last night looking at guided coach tours and self drive tours to give myself some idea of realistic travel times and distances. One option I liked was New York to Washington then up to Niagra falls across to Chicago. From there it went across the badlands to Yellowstone. From here head to the grand canyon,Vegas and then either head up to Sanfrancisco and then down to LA or head straight to LA. In terms of what we want to see I guess a bit of American history, some of the best nature has to offer and what ever else we can fit in. My main concerns at the moment are weather conditions in places like Yellowstone and als if I was to go down across the top of Texas instead tornados and storms. So any advice is appreciated and I will keep researching
    Evan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    10,939

    Default

    Yellowstone can be a little tricky at that time of year. The park is just starting to reopen after the winter, and you could end up finding some areas and roads still closed. The later you arrive, the better, really.

    There's really no reason to worry about storms, mostly because there's not much you can do about them. The peak of summer storm season doesn't come until later into the Summer, and realistically you can see them just about anywhere in the middle of the US, so it doesn't really make sense to worry too much about them in your planning.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    4,415

    Default A car??? And a map.

    Quote Originally Posted by lifechangingyear View Post
    So now we have bought a car ...
    Would you care to share how you went about purchasing your vehicle? Which address you used for the registration, and in which State it is registered? And who did you use for insurance... without a US address or SSN? From my invesstigations it seems not to be as simple as your post makes it sound.

    Quote Originally Posted by lifechangingyear View Post
    Free camping every night in rest areas ...
    Glad you enjoyed these areas. However, it is not something we encourage, and actually we warn people against these practices. Rest areas are among the most dangerous places to spend the night. You leave yourself vulnerable to attack. There are records of folk who have lost their lives, including a German family of four, some years ago in Florida. If you are looking for free parking areas use truck stops, travel plazas or department stores and supermarkets which allow overnight parking. But definitely think twice about risking it at highway rest areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by ecrute View Post
    Thanks for the replys. I spent a few hours last night looking at guided coach tours and self drive tours to give myself some idea of realistic travel times and distances.
    By far the best thing you can now do is get yourself a large wall sized map of the US. My preference is for the National Geographics map, for the detail it shows. It is readily available at Map World and other large map shops. (I had mine laminated and use sticky notes to mark attractions and places in which I am interested.) Get yourself familiar with where things are, and how far apart they are. Look at roughly 500 miles per day driving... that is with necessary stops, but very little sightseeing. Mark those things which are of interest to you and your children. Eventually this will become the basis of your route.

    Quote Originally Posted by ecrute View Post
    In terms of what we want to see [.....] some of the best nature has to offer.
    For the best of what nature has to offer, you can't go past the south west of the States. Consider looking at Colorado, Utah, Arizona and California. You could spend a month in each of those States and not even scratch the surface.

    How old are the children? If they are all of school ages, why not get them to read up on places and do some of the research. It will help give them a sense that this trip is theirs as much as yours.

    You may like to consider doing a loop trip, rather than a cross country trip, whether you end up going the RV or car + hotel route. It is likely to be more economical and you could well end up seeing more great sights in fewer miles. (Recently someone posted a link to a site listing hotels which have rooms to accommodate 5 or more guests. You might like to look into that. From what I recall, many of them had cooking facilities.)

    Enjoy the planning.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Ok another update.

    I have been looking into this for a few weeks but now that deposit day for the dance trip is only a few weeks away Im beginning to get a bit more serious.
    I have bought a big map and am highlighting different routes on it. I am finding that using organised tours as a starting base is good as it gives me an idea of distances and things to see on the way.
    I did consider a loop trip but the wife wants to see a bit more than just national parks.
    I am thinking fly to New York and then drive back to LA as opposed to driving to New York and then flying back to LA as this makes it a bit later when I get to Yellowstone and Yosemite.
    The wife and I both want to visit ground zero and Washington and given this will be a trip of a life time we will make the effort.
    I appreciate the advice offered so far especially tips about overnight stays in carparks and truck stops etc.
    Also the suggestion about getting the kids to do some research is a good idea.
    Thanks
    Evan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Ok deposit has been paid and we are committed to LA from the 8th April to the 16th April 2013.

    From there we are planning to fly to New York City on the 16th and spend 3 or 4 nights in a hotel.

    Now im guessing a hotel room or two for 7 people could be expensive so im also thinking 2 nights in a hotel then pick up the RV and camp somewhere on the outer of New York if we still want to see things.

    From there im planning to head to Washington DC for a couple of nights then Charleston West Virginia to see my cousin.

    From here im looking at either Niagra falls then chicago or direct to chicago.

    Then either St Louis,Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Flagstaff/Grand Canyon,Vegas,Yosemite,San Francisco and then back to LA.
    OR from Chicago to Omaha,Sioux Falls,Rapid City, yellowstone,Salt lake City, Grand Canyon,Vegas,Yosemite, San Francisco and LA.

    These are main options im looking at and not necessarily where we are going to stay but more an indication of direction we will take. Im looking at about 20 t0 23 days in the RV with 2 adults and 5 children.

    We are experienced campers in Australia and have driven across australia and back camping.

    Any opinions on my suggested routes are most welcome.

    Regards
    Evan
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-01-2012 at 12:38 PM. Reason: added white space

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    8,408

    Default In the middle ?

    I have no idea what the costs are likely to be, but have you looked into a private vacation rental for your time in NY? It might be worth a look.

    With regards to the RV rental, no matter how many it sleeps, [or how many you can squeeze in] you must make sure there are 7 seatbelts for 7 travellers as everyone has to be strapped in when on the move.

    Both your options are viable but as mentioned earlier, Yellowstone could still be in winter mode and although it can be a wonderful time to visit, it does come with the risk of snow and sub zero temps. I would be tempted to take that option over the other choice, however you could also go 'through the middle' and into Colorado and Southern Utah and down to the Grand canyon. You could still run into poor weather in the Rockies, [or anywhere really] but Spring and warm weather come to the lower elevations and in Utah [such as in Arches NP] you could experience temps in the mid 70's or more. Lots of amazing and diverse scenery, Lakes and mountains, small towns and great driving roads abound !

    It's your trip but is worth looking into imo.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Perth Western Australia
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Thanks Dave
    Done some more research and am now considering getting the Rv as soon as we get to NYC and staying somewhere like black bear camp ground for 4 nights and catching the train in to the city to have a look around each day. Accomadation would cost us approx 200(RV hire and camp fees) a day instead of 700 or so for 2 rooms for 4 nights.
    If anyone can tell me what black bear camp or liberty RV camp grounds are like that would be great.
    Thanks

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