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  1. Default Road Trip Advice - Location Related

    Myself and a couple of friends are hoping to go on a road trip during the summer. Only one of us have been to America before, and that was when he was much younger so we really do not know what to see and do; kind of spoilt for choice as opposed to lack of choice of course.

    We have 3 weeks + maybe 1 or 2 extra days to equate for the travelling (we are from the UK) and would like to spend a few days in New York. After that a lot of attractions which personally interest me are closer to the West Coast (Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Las Vegas) so another flight coming away from New York would probably be sensible.

    Here is where I have hit the first question, where too go afterwards? I think it would be cool to hit Route 66 and the intentions would be to finally get a flight back to the UK from probably LA or San Francisco. I have noticed there is an abundance of states which Route 66 goes directly through or surround, but where would a sensible city be to land which is feasible to reach California in the given time?

    Just a bit of a note, while we intend to do some sight seeing, we like to enjoy thrills as well. On that note, is there like a shuttle bus or anything which runs between NY to Six Flags in New Jersey?

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Impressions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Yes, It's hard to get a read on a foreign country, especially one as large and as varied as the United States, from afar. But there are a few misconceptions in your initial query which need correcting before you proceed further. First of all, there is no longer a "Route 66" for you to follow. That storied old highway was decommissioned about 25 years ago after it was largely replaced by the Interstate Highways (Motorways) I-55/I-44/I-40. There are bits of the old roadbed here and there, sometimes marked with local or state signs as Historic Route 66, but it is simply no longer a cross-country highway suitable for extended RoadTrips.

    The second major concern you should have is the cost and availability of rental cars. If any of your potential drivers are under 25, you are going to be paying a substantial penalty/fee of $25/day/driver. Even if you are all 25 and older, each additional driver over the primary renter will cost you $25/day/driver even if that driver only drives for 5 minutes out of the entire rental period. Then there's the one-way drop off fee for leaving the car someplace other than where you picked it up. You are potentially looking at $2500 or so in fees over and above the cost of the car hire.

    Finally, before anyone can give you specific advice, it would help in you were a bit clearer about your plans. Will you be driving from New York to the west coast or flying. Have you looked at the cost of an 'open jaw' ticket where you fly into New York and return from San Francisco or LA, or the cost of a round trip internal flights? Finally, and most important, what kinds of things do you want to see and experience? As you note, there's no shortage of attractions in this country, but rather than having us bombard you with the things that we like, it would be better if we could help narrow the choices to the things and places that you might like.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default a loop

    For the west coast portion of your trip, I think a loop would be your best bet. Pretty much the most popular and most discussed basic trip outline on this forum goes LA-Grand Canyon-Vegas-Death Valley-Yosemite-SF-Big Sur/Cal Coast-LA. Fly into LA, SF, or Vegas based on where you can get the best deal on flights and car rentals. Buck is right that Route 66 isn't a true highway anymore, and much of it is just gone, but there is a nice section that's still around, labeled Historic 66, in Northern Arizona that you could drive before or after the Grand Canyon.

    It looks like there is a daily bus from New York to Six Flags Great Adventure, however, since you'll already need a car for your West Coast leg, you might consider instead going to Six Flags Magic Mountain, on the north side of the LA area.

  4. Default

    Sorry for the really slow response, and thanks for the heads up regarding Route 66.

    Cost of the rental car seems to vary massively depending on the pick up/drop off. I.e. picking up a convertible from Denver and dropping it off in San Francisco would cost £1400+ whereas picking up from Phoenix would cost £700.

    We can get direct flights to New York and come back from San Francisco for £900 each. The only airline I found which could do multi-stop is Delta but do not offer a direct flight back. So if we choose to fly internally that will add a bit more.

    Driving from NY to LA was an initial idea but would be too rushed right?

    Feel a bit unsure on many aspects now to be honest. While West Coast obviously has many amazing attractions, it kind of seems as though there would be a lot of barren land we would be driving through. Never been before as I said, but Grand Cayon and Vegas aside, what is it like driving there?

    Is there a comparably decent Road Trip either on the East Coast or starting New York and heading inland?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default Coast to coast and back is possible !

    While West Coast obviously has many amazing attractions, it kind of seems as though there would be a lot of barren land we would be driving through. Never been before as I said, but Grand Cayon and Vegas aside, what is it like driving there?
    Driving through the southwest is pretty amazing and there are a million and one things to choose from seeing and doing. Mountains, tribal lands, Glacial Valleys, lakes, Red rock country, City life, the Californian coast and many spectacular National parks can all be found. Even the 'barren land' is quite incredible and the open roads even more so. I think your next step is for you all to do a little research, study a good map and to sit down with your friends and discuss exactly what you want out of the trip as only you as a group can decide upon where to go and what to do. Once you have done that and nailed down a few basics we can start to make meaningful suggestions.

    You could possibly drive from coast to coast in 5 to 6 days so yes it's an option. It would actually be possible to drive back again via a different route and fly in and out of NY, but like I say, it's what type of trip it is you are all after. You could do a trip from the east coast out to Colorado and back, or as far as the Grand canyon, your options are endless.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick91 View Post

    Cost of the rental car seems to vary massively depending on the pick up/drop off. I.e. picking up a convertible from Denver and dropping it off in San Francisco would cost £1400+ whereas picking up from Phoenix would cost £700.
    That's not surprising. Changing your dates or even other minor details can mean huge changes in rental fees. However, it is a guarentee that you'll pay much more for a one way trip than if you do a loop, finishing in the same place you started.

    As Dave mentioned, you do have time to drive coast to coast if you want, but expect the rental fees to get even higher for a coast to coast one way rental.
    Is there a comparably decent Road Trip either on the East Coast or starting New York and heading inland?
    Of course there are great roadtrips that can be had on the east coast, but you've really got to get out of the mindset that a roadtrip is like ordering off a menu, where you just pick from a list. Roadtrips are about deciding where you want to go, and then building a trip around those places - and it seems like you've got a whole lot of work ahead of you to figure out what it is you are hoping to see.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Amazing attractions are everywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick91 View Post
    Feel a bit unsure on many aspects now to be honest. While West Coast obviously has many amazing attractions, it kind of seems as though there would be a lot of barren land we would be driving through. Never been before as I said, but Grand Cayon and Vegas aside, what is it like driving there?

    Is there a comparably decent Road Trip either on the East Coast or starting New York and heading inland?
    It all depends on what your interests are. You are bound to find lots to suit you, with a little research.

    The Eastern and Mid West States do not necessarily have the spectacular country and National Parks of the Southwest, but each and every State has its attractions. Both natural and man made. Do a little research and see how much there is in every State, in towns, in villages, along secondary highways, even along the Interstates.

    This article may be of some help to get you started.

    Lifey

  8. Default

    Think you were all right in regards to looking much deeper into things.

    In relation to the car rental, many companies appear to hide either the under 25 fee or one way fee till later on in the booking process, probably as late as the minute you pick up. So an idea of flying from NY to LA and circling around would help to cut out the one way fee.

    So being at least semi concious of everything which is around, here is a little idea I had:

    1) Land in LA
    2) Head North - East towards Yosemite, possibly delving a bit further afterwards onto Mono Lake.
    3) Head West to San Francisco
    4) North to Redwood National Park
    5) Further North to Vancouver
    6) East to Yellowstone
    7) South to Salt Lake City
    8) Further South to the Grand Cayon
    9) West to Las Vegas
    10) South towards Lake Havasu
    11) West back to LA

    I'm aware of other points of possible interest which could be visited along the way through, but that is the general stretch if you like. Haven't included time-scales, and we wouldn't immediately leave LA as soon as we leave. Sure we could be persuaded to stay longer at than others, I mean with Vegas 2/3 of us will be 21 and my other friend who is 21 isn't into the party/casino scene much so I cannot imagine we would stop of there for long.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default It's a huge place.

    With the points of interest you have laid out, I would consider adding stops in Southern Utah, such as the parks of Zion and Bryce canyon, Arches and Canyonlands and perhaps leave Vancouver off your list for another trip, it's just a long way North of any other of your attractions when you could see more in a tighter loop. You could also include the California coast around Big Sur which is one of the world finest coastal drives. If you were to reverse your trip the Ocean would be on your side of the road heading south.

    It would look something like this; LA>LV>GC>into southern Utah [NP's]>SLC [although if you went to Moab UT [Arches NP] you could opt to take US highways past Dinosaur NM and Flaming Gorge Res]>Yellowstone [via the Tetons]>Redwoods/coast [via Crater Lake?]>San Fran via Golden Gate bridge >Yosemite>Monterey>LA [via coast around Big Sur].

    Of course it's your trip and it's for you to decide on the finer detail based on your interests. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to spend multiple days in a few places [NY/LA/LV/SF, and Yellowstone would need at least 2 to 3 days to explore properly] then your time will soon dissapear and you will need to cut back anyway. The USA is HUGE and distances between places are much further than we are used to in the UK. For example, the distance between Vancouver BC and Yellowstone is greater than that of travelling from Lands End [furthest point west in Cornwall] to John 'O Groats [northern tip of Scotland] in the UK, and imagine how much you could stop and see along the way ! The driving is one thing, but having quality time at destinations is another.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    4,546

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick91 View Post
    In relation to the car rental, many companies appear to hide either the under 25 fee or one way fee till later on in the booking process, probably as late as the minute you pick up. So an idea of flying from NY to LA and circling around would help to cut out the one way fee.
    When you are getting quotes for a rental car, get the BOTTOM LINE, including taxes, insurance, one-way fee, mileage, and under-25 fee. Don't let them try to "sell" you on a basic daily rate and then hit you with the fees later. Another place to check is an online consolidator, as often they can get good deals that wave such things as under-age fees.


    Donna

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