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  1. Default Central New York to the West Coast and Back Again

    Hello, everyone! A buddy of mine and I referred to this site a lot last summer when we did a driving tour of the West Coast and everyone here was fantastic, helpful and full of excellent advice, and now I'm taking my girlfriend on a driving tour across the country and back again.

    It's a relatively spontaneous trip--we've only recently find ourselves with the time and the means and this is something we've always wanted to do. We'll have three weeks at most, and we'll be leaving this Friday (her birthday) so that she might be wined and dined in someplace completely unexpected (the plan is to be back by that first half-week of August--hot weather, I know!).

    What I'm wondering is:

    1. What advice could anyone give me about traveling inexpensively over such long distances?

    2. Can anyone recommend spots along the way? Neither of us are terribly interested in cities so much as nature and odd places that tourists don't often see. The plan is to head out through the north and return through the south.

    3. We don't have a very clear plan for the trip other than having chosen some places we want to see (the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Olympic Park, etc.), so any general advice about long-distance road travel would be appreciated.

    4. Is there anything else we should be aware of?

    Thank you all very much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default the details

    Welcome back to the RTA Forum!

    I'll just go through your questions point by point.

    1 - I'd start by taking a look at the RTA Article: The Art of the Cheap Roadtrip.

    2- Simply put, no we can't. You're talking about a trip that covers the entire country and there a millions of potential places to stop. Even just focusing on nature, there are dozens of National Parks, and that quickly expands to thousands if you also include all of the National Forests, State Parks, and other public lands. You need to figure out your basic outline first, then others can offer more specific ideas.

    3- This site is filled with tips about long distance travel. I'd highly recommend spending a little more time just looking around the site, including areas beyond the forum. The Roadtrip Tips section is one with lots of ideas and articles for you to consider.

    4- I'd be a little concerned about how much you are trying to do with the amount of time you've got. It basically requires a full week to drive back and forth across the coast, and on top of that, you want to see things in the far north, like Rushmore and Olympic, as well as the South, like the Grand Canyon. With 3 weeks, If you're not careful, you could quite easily end up with a trip where you don't have time to do anything other than drive from place to place.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply, Midwest Michael! We actually started looking at travel times and costs and have revised our trip, with your advice in mind.

    We will now be heading out of Syracuse, NY, this Friday and ending in Seattle, WA, August 3rd for a flight back east. This gives us three weeks of time, with an interest in heading south, points of interest being: Savannah, New Orleans, Dallas, Las Vegas, and then up through Olympic National Park and ending in Seattle (this is 76 hours of drive time, according to Mapquest--much more manageable than the initial estimate).

    Your comments are very appreciated and we're looking at the advice articles on the website currently.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

    Default

    If you are looking for cheap, then your new plan isn't going to work very well. You've just caused your costs to balloon by doing a one way trip. In addition to the flights, you'll be looking at a major one way drop fee that is going to add several hundred dollars, minimum, to the cost of a car rental.

    I'm sure such a trip would work with 3 weeks, but Mapquest, like all computer estimates, really don't work under real world conditions. More importantly, on a trip like this, you need to be measuring things in terms of travel days, not hours.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Add 20% to Mapquest times.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    BTW, just plugging your planned dates into the Car Rental reservations option here at RTA, doing a one way trip would increase your car rental by at least $800.

    3 weeks round trip from Syracuse in a compact car was about $1200, doing it one way to Seattle pushes it up to $2000.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Add another 300 bucks apiece for airfare from Seattle to Syracuse. You certainly won't be burning $1400 in gas to come back.

    Do you own a car that's suitable for a road trip? That's the most inexpensive way to travel.

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