Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. Default Touring the whole country in 90 days?

    Hello all,

    I am in the middle of planning a road (and sometimes air) trip for the summer of 2016 or 2017. Now as far as I know, the easiest way to get a lot of travelling done in America is to enter through the Visa Waiver Program, which would allow me 90 days worth of travel. I have already travelled around the West Coast previously, visiting all the places you typically would in a West Coast trip, but I would absolutely love to do that again, and ideally that would be the starting point for the trip.

    I have had a rough plan in mind starting from Seattle, WA. and then heading down the coast eventually landing in San Diego. For this section of the trip, it would be mainly the inner city side of things, so spending time in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. I would also want to try to fit in Yosemite to this part of the trip. As for a time plan on this trip, I have had a look at the driving times from place to place, and I don't think it is unrealistic to think that when I do this trip, with 2 drivers as there would be, that we couldn't just drive from place to place from my plan. Here it is:

    Seattle -> Portland -> Gleneden Beach -> Crescent City -> San Francisco -> Yosemite -> Monteray -> Santa Barbara -> Los Angeles -> San Diego.

    As for the amount of time to spend in each place, it would obviously vary from place to place. But here is what I was thinking:

    Seattle - 2 nights
    Portland - 2 nights
    Gleneden Beach - 1 night
    Crescent City - 2 night
    San Francisco - 3 nights
    Yosemite - 3 nights
    Monteray - 1 night
    Santa Barbara - 2 nights
    Los Angeles - 2 nights
    San Diego - 3 nights

    Total nights - 20 nights

    This covers a total of 1,793 miles (apparently).

    I was hoping to receive some sort of feedback on this part of the plan? Am I being to hopeful in being able to do this much in this amount of time? Does any place need more time do you feel? Am I missing any must see places? One thing I do want to ask, is can anyone see any way to fit in a trip to Death Valley in this trip? I went to Furnace Creek when I was travelling before and would absolutely love to go back again as that was really the highlight of my trip.

    As for the next part of the plan, I would like to do a grand tour of as many National Parks in the west. This plan is extremely rough. I am not even 100% sure that this is a realistic route, but it will give an idea of the places that I would like to see. I was thinking something along the lines of:

    Flying from San Diego -> Las Vegas -> Zion NP -> Grand Canyon -> Lake Powell -> Monument Valley -> Bryce Canyon -> Canyonlands -> Moab (Arches) -> Salt Lake City -> Yellowstone NP -> Sheridan -> Mount Rushmore -> ??? -> Minneapolis/St Paul -> Chicago

    Now as I am sure you will have picked up on, towards the end of that trip becomes very unrealistic for one stop driving between the 2. I'm sure that maybe even some of, if not most, of the other journeys I proposed are too long to make from one to the other, but this is why I am posting on here to find out from people more knowledgeable than me on this subject!

    I haven't got an exact plan on nights I would like to stay places as I can't honestly say I know enough about them to decide. However, a few of the places I would like to spend a certain amount of nights:

    Las Vegas - 2 nights
    Zion NP - 3 nights
    Grand Canyon - 3 nights
    Lake Powell - 1 night
    Monument Valley - 1 night
    Bryce Canyon - 2 nights
    Canyonlands - ?
    Moab - ?
    Salt Lake City - 2 nights
    Yellowstone NP - 3 nights
    Sheridan - 1 night
    Mount Rushmore - 1 night
    Minneapolis/St Paul - 2 nights
    Chicago - 2 nights.

    Total nights - 23 nights + ???

    This is the section that I need much more help on (I think/hope!). The same questions apply to this section as to the previous and I assume this is going to be the one that gets picked apart for the distances and time to get each place a bit more! But that's a good thing!

    Like I said before this trip will be two people, one of whom is a US citizen, aged 24 and 25 at the planned time (25 and 26 if it is in 2017), so therefore the driving time for each person will be separated in half. We expect to be camping or staying on campsites in some sort of accommodation and would by no means turn our noses up at the idea of a motel. I'm not against the idea of using an RV but it would be preferable to use a rental car for the whole trip.

    So if I were to say I am 5 days ish inaccurate on each section of the trip overall I have got a rough idea for 60 days. That leaves 30 days left which I am undecided on what to do with (unless I am so far out with my planning that I would have to fly home after these 2!). I would love to see the East Coast but I wouldn't even know where to start with that. Would it be possible to try to see both the West Coast as extensively as I have in my mind and then to also spend some time seeing different places on the East?

    Thank you in advance to anyone who reads, answers or comments on anything here!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A couple things about your plan stand out as a bit odd.

    The biggest is your idea to fly from San Diego to Las Vegas. Why wouldn't you just make the drive? That could also be the ideal spot to fit Death Valley into the works.

    I'll also say that going to Bryce after Monument Valley involves a ton of backtracking that could be avoided by going there either right after Zion (setting up perhaps Mesa Verde or Natural Bridges before Moab), or by going to the Grand Canyon and monument valley first, and then heading back to zion and bryce, hitting Capital Reef on the way to Moab.

    I would also add more time for Yellowstone, which is a huge, huge place. You can do a nice exploration of Zion and the Grand Canyon in a day (each places you have 3 days planned) and its tough to do a quick tour of Yellowstone in less than 2 or 3. I would also add in a stop at the Tetons.

    One note about costs, especially when it comes to car rental, if you've got a 24 year old driver you'll typically pay about $25 more per day for an underage driver fee, which may be a reason to wait an extra year, or plan to do all the driving yourself.

  3. #3


    Will the US citizen have a car or are you going to have rent a car?

    With 90 days you do not need to travel by plane any where once you arrive in the US.

    A person can drive coast to coast in 5 days.

    That means you can drive coast to coast 18 times. So you will have time to drive down the the west coast and up the east coast and a drive lot in between the coasts.

  4. Default

    Thank you for the responses and I will definitely do a bit of tinkering with the order in which I will see the national park! Would you suggest more in the region of a week spent in Yellowstone?

    As for the rental prices; I knew about the fees and they may just be something we have to deal with unless I do all the driving as there are situations with our postgraduate study that will have to be sorted out! The US citizen would have a car, however, we wouldn't feel confident in its abilities to last driving in the desert (especially in 3-4 years time!).

    In terms of the 90 days I was just worried that if we planned a whole country trip then we would spend a lot of time on the road. As much as we don't mind the driving and will actually enjoy it, we were wanting to have relaxing stops for multiple days at a time.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Overall, you have done a good job so far !

    I think your overall plan is a good one, set at at a decent pace where you have time to relax and enjoy the sites, once you have 'tinkered' that is.

    As mentioned, there is absolutley no point in flying from SD to LV. Not only can you visit Death valley on the way, it will save you from having to pay another one way drop off fee on your car rental. In fact you could consider doing a complete loop and end your trip back in Seattle. From Moab you could continue into Colorado [a beautiful State] and spend time there exploring before heading up to Mt Rushmore [and other sites in the area, Badlands, Custer State park, Devils tower] before heading to Yellowstone and the Tetons and back towards Seattle. You could include a trip up to Glacier NP ! That of course depends on how much you want to head east to Chicago or the east coast. Either way is perfectly doable !

    With an extended trip like this financing plays a key role in how long you can stay on the road and how far you can go. A mixture of tent camping and a Motel every 4 of 5 days for a proper bed and shower etc can work really well. Camping in National parks is very reasonable and lodgings are expensive, so camping within the parks [which can save time and gas against driving in and out each day] and using a motel in between could work well. The only thing is that the NP's are extremely popular and during the peak season it's recommended that you book in advance. An RV with 2 people sharing the cost would be far more expensive than a car and Motels all the way.

    You could easily spend a week in Yellowstone and the Tetons, although I'm not sure Michael read it correctly that you have 3 nights planned there as he mentioned "being tough to visit in less than 2 or 3 days." [?] Either would work but if you added a couple of days [5 in total] and visited the Tetons as part of it, it would be a nice stay and longer than most experience on a road trip.

    You have plenty of time to plan so what I would suggest you do is to continue using RTA to read and research all aspects of road tripping [as well as the forums you will find lots of planning advice in the tool bars above]. Get a good [wall] map of the USA and mark the places you have on your 'to do' list and then set about joining them up and discovering other places in between. You will soon find that there are enough options to fill a lifetime, so you will have no trouble filling another 30 days. That could be achieved within the places you have listed, or you might want to expand your trip more, that comes down to personal preferences and is what makes each roadtrip unique !

    As you continue with the planning [which is half the fun] keep asking questions 'as' and 'when' and we can help to fill in the blanks and fine tune what you have.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by Colinthepod View Post
    The US citizen would have a car, however, we wouldn't feel confident in its abilities to last driving in the desert (especially in 3-4 years time!).
    One very important thing to remember - especially when planning a trip several years out - is that things will change. Your lives aren't going to remain static, there will be people, and other factors in your life that you simply can't predict right now, which is always a big challenge in even starting an outline this far from a departure date.

    The car is a very good example of that. If the car is in a condition now that you wouldn't be confident taking it on a roadtrip today, then odds are it will need to be replaced long before you ever hit the road.

    A trip that's 3 month long is typically around the break-even mark for purchasing a car in the first place, and if you've got an under 25 driver, then having your own car could end up being significantly cheaper. Underage fees alone will cost you $2000 - and overall, I'd guess you'd need at least $5000 to rent a car for your entire trip. That amount of money would go a long way towards purchasing a good used car, and since your friend is a US citizen, you wouldn't have the usual problems with registration and insurance, nor the need to immediately sell it quickly as soon as your trip is done.

Similar Threads

  1. Four Days Touring Near Las Vegas
    By Harry Kline in forum Favorite Routes in North America
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-30-2014, 12:17 PM
  2. SW Virginia to Texas Hill Country in 3 days (and return in 3 days)
    By Partyof4 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-08-2008, 10:01 AM
  3. Cross-Country in 27 Days
    By Cirrinone in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-29-2007, 08:54 PM
  4. Around the Country in 30 Days!
    By bd25d in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-22-2005, 09:18 PM
  5. around the country in 14 days
    By joeptc in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-24-2005, 09:59 PM


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name