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  1. Default Advice for fiirst road trip? (St.Augustine-Savannah-Charleston-Williamsburg-Richmond)

    Dear all,

    I am currently planning my first road trip along the East Coast. This is my first road trip ever and I am looking forward to this journey a lot. I would love to get some advice from some of you who know the American roads a little better than me. I did rent a small car with GPS.

    I would be interested in "practical advice" like:

    How do I find cheap parking spaces in the cites? (Any recommendable websites that list parking sites?)
    How do I avoid toll roads? (Or: Are there many toll roads along my way?)
    Any advice on travelling by car in the USA?
    Any tipps to avoid "common mistakes"?

    I am also interested in travel advice regarding sites and sights (especially historic sites and nice cozy towns/places that are either very well-known or a bit out of the ordinary):

    Any "must-sees" along my way?
    Any advice for the route between Charleston and Williamsburg (Myrtle Beach? Wilmington? Where to stay for one night?)?

    Would be great to get some replies that help me planning my route!

    Cheers
    Dorianna

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Welcome!

    How many days do you have to make this trip, and is it a one way or a round trip? How many hours a day do you want to drive?

    Do not rely strictly on a GPS. You also need paper maps. They are the best things to use to actually plan the trip because they give you the "big picture" better than any screen on an electronic device. Maps also indicate toll roads, and I don't see where you would HAVE to take any on this trip - except possibly some bridges and tunnels.

    If you are presently in the US, you can go to Walmart and buy a Rand McNally Road Atlas for about $7. If you are a member of AAA or an equivalent club in another country, you can get free maps.

    Parking in the smaller cities is generally not an issue. Most hotels have free parking included with the room. On-street parking is usually not too difficult to find, if it's free there may be a time limit, or it may be metered.

  3. Default

    Hi,

    thanks a lot for your reply!!

    I will start my trip in Orlando (2 days) and travel on to St. Augustine (3/4 days), Savannah (3/4 days), Charleston (4/5 days), Williamsburg/Historic Triangle (6/7 days), Richmond (half a day - finding affordable accomodations seems impossible!), Washington D.C. (4 days), NYC (4/5 days).

    I will be travelling by car from Orlando to Richmond and from Richmond onwards I'm planning on taking the bus (which one? any recommendations?) or the train, same from WDC to NYC (again: any suggestions for bus or train? where and when to book?)

    Thanks for the advice with the paper maps. I am a huge supporter of paper maps and I will definitely get one. By the way, I am happy to hear that other people are also supporters of paper maps ;-)

    Any more advice for parking, nice stops along the way, a place to stay between Charleston and Williamsburg?

    Any recommendations where to get a pay-as-you-go sim-card when I arrive in Orlando? Which is the cheapest / best for local calls within the US?

    Thanks for your help!!

    Dorianna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    I would arrange to drop the car off in DC instead of Richmond. Use public transportation around DC, then take the train to NYC. Use amtrak.com to book the train.

    You can actually get from Charleston to Williamsburg in one day if you take I-95 to Richmond, then I-64. With that in mind, I wouldn't worry about preplanning an overnight stop. Even if you take the minor roads, you shouldn't have a problem getting at least halfway, and you shouldn't have a problem finding a hotel/motel with rooms available wherever you wind up.

    There are only 2 phone carriers here who use GSM and sim cards - AT&T and T-Mobile. AT&T's coverage is much better outside the cities. You can go to a company-operated AT&T store and get a sim that allows unlimited domestic voice calls and unlimited SMS for $2 a day. Your phone must be unlocked for it to work.

    From Williamsburg, why do you need to stay overnight in Richmond? It's only about an hour from Williamsburg to Richmond and 2 hours from Richmond to DC.

    Note that it's almost always cheaper to get hotels outside the downtowns of cities out in the suburbs than downtown itself.

  5. Default

    Thanks again for the advice!

    I would've liked to stay overnight in Richmond in order to have more time to spend in Richmond. I'd like to visit some places there, but I guess I'll just do that another time. Or maybe spend one of my "Williamsburg days" in Richmond, if it's just one hour drive!

    I'm sure I'll find some nice place on the route to Williamsburg. I was just wondering if any of you can recommend a nice place. My first stop on this route is planned for Myrtle Beach, but after that, I don't know. Wilmington? New Bern? I'd prefer not to take the I-95 but instead head north via Route 17. Is that ok as well, or would it take much longer?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    17 is considerably slower than I-95, but still within a reasonable 2 day drive. Any of the larger towns along the way should have decent choices - Wilmington, Jacksonville, New Bern, Washington, Elizabeth City. It can be congested trying to get through the Norfolk area, try not to hit it in rush hour.

    If you want to be real leisurely, you could take 3 or more days between Charleston and Williamsburg - and possibly go over to the Outer Banks. You could take days away from Williamsburg - I don't see where you would need a whole week there.

  7. Default

    Thanks for that advice!! Sending you some greetings from Orlando!!

    Dorianna

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