NYC to LA - Nov-Jan
Me and two friends (20 yo, swedish) are currently planning a roadtrip from New York C over to Los Angeles this winter.
We are leaving NYC the 15th Nov and we're looking to hit LA probably the 15th of January or something like that, which gives us plenty of time on the road.
We've made a rough outline of the trip, which covers most of the places we wanna go: http://goo.gl/maps/NZiSG.
We might take a different route on the west coast, maybe cutting south west through the rockies and hitting Grand Canyon and Vegas before going up to San Fran.
We've never done a trip like this before so any input on the route would be greatly appreciated. And if you have any recommendations of towns or attractions in proximity of this route we would love to hear some.
We're also wondering about the weather conditions during this time of year. Will there be snow storms or dangerous conditions or should we be ok?
Also, how much do you think we will have to spend on motels. We've checked some of the larger chains and it looks like we could get a room for three persons for as low as 50 -80 dollars. We're not too concerned about the quality, just a bed to sleep in and we're OK. Do you think an average of 80 dollars per night is a reasonable estimation for our budget? Any chains you could recommend?
Thanks very much in advance!
Welcome to the RTA Forum!
2 months should be a very nice amount of time for a trip like this. It is impossible to travel across the US in the middle of winter without seeing some bad weather, and it is basically inevitable that you will see at least one or two snowstorms, but that shouldn't keep you from doing the overall trip. Just plan that you'll probably have a few down days where you'll be waiting for storms to pass.
However, there is a huge roadblock that you didn't address: What are you planning to do for transportation?
None of the major national rental car chains will rent a car to drivers under the age of 21. Even in the rare cases where such rentals are allowed, they are typically limited to local areas (not one-way, cross country trips) and come with a huge extra fee of about $50 per day.
Have you come up with a solution to deal with this problem?
Thanks for the answer!
Good to hear about the weather, hopefully we won't have to much problems.
We almost gave up about renting a car after reading about what you mentioned, and after weeks of trying to find a loophole we settled for taking the train instead, but then we found a local swedish travel agency, Kilrtoy Travels.
They have some kind of deal with some major rental car chain, and could set us up for a long term rental even thou we're 20! I don't have the price in my head, and i'm not sure what it would cost if we were older, but we found it too be affordable enough, since we're three splitting the cost. So we're super excited.
$80 a day is a reasonable estimate for hotels except in large city downtown areas and resort areas. To find a room that cheap anywhere near the Grand Canyon will require you to stay in Flagstaff or Williams - over an hour away. If you want to stick to chains, some of the lower-priced ones are Motel 6, Super 8, Days Inn, Rodeway, Econolodge, and America's Best Value. This is not an endorsement, but I usually use Super 8 or Days Inn because I'm a Wyndham Rewards member.
We might look into getting some kind of reward card for one of the larger chains.
I also read about getting an AAA-membership to get discounts, is that a good idea?
We're also considering bringing some camping gear. What's the situation regarding that in the states? Many options? Cheap?
I would not get a AAA membership just for discounts. You can save some money, but you probably wouldn't save enough to cover the membership fee. Plus, you'd be better off joining the Sweedish version, as that auto club likely would get you the same discounts.
There's nothing wrong with rewards cards if they don't cost you anything, you just have to be careful that they don't blind you to other options which might actually cost less. Some gas station chains might also have similar discounts to look for.
There are also coupon books available at places like rest areas and truck stop, plus online searches can get you pretty good deal. Check out the search features on this website - including the link where you can bid for good deals if you don't mind a little risk of not knowing the exact chain until after you pay.
I would not recommend camping for this trip - simply because you'll be going in winter.
My rewards card does not give me discounts - it simply builds points that I can use to buy merchandise or get an occasional free night. You won't be here long enough to be able to take advantage of something like that.
For getting a cheap room with no advance reservation, the rest area coupon books are the best bet. I use them occasionally - but if I use one at a Wyndham hotel, I can't get points on my card.
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