Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. Default First-time RoadTripper - is this doable?

    Hello from the UK!

    We are starting to plan a road trip to be taken probably September/October 2014. It will be our first time ever outside of Europe, although we have done quite a bit of driving across European countries.

    We will probably have three weeks of holiday from our jobs, but want to factor in a day at the start and a day or two at the end back in the UK to recover before going back to the office. With one day at home at the end (so flying back on the Saturday morning), we would have 19 days including travelling to and from the USA. We could possibly combine the trip with a UK public holiday on the Monday so we could fly back on Sunday and still have a day to recover.

    Here's what we're thinking so far:

    WEEK 1
    • Sunday morning - Fly UK to Toronto (aim to arrive Toronto around lunchtime)
    • Sunday afternoon, Monday, Tuesday - Spend three nights in Toronto (2.5 - 3 days there)
    • Wednesday morning - Train to Niagara
    • Wednesday day - Visit Niagara and stay one night (24 hours there)
    • Thursday morning - Train to New York
    • Thursday afternoon/evening, Friday, Saturday - New York

    WEEK 2
    • Sunday and Monday - New York (so stay 5 nights to give 4 days and an evening there)
    • Tuesday morning - Fly to Denver, Salt Lake City or Albuquerque (any thoughts on best to visit for tourists? All I can find on Google is which cities are best for jobs, property crime and living in! Or maybe somewhere else in that region that's even better?)
    • Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday - Two nights in that city (a whole day and an evening there)
    • Thursday - Pick up hire car, then drive to San Francisco via:
      1. Grand Staircase
      2. Grand Canyon
      3. Extraterrestrial Highway
      4. Yosemite National Park

    WEEK 3
    • Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday - Spend two nights (2 whole days, an evening and possibly a morning) in San Francisco
    • Sunday lunchtime - Fly back to the UK from San Francisco
    • Monday (public holiday) - Day at home

    The journey from Denver to SanFran via the above comes out on Google Maps as nearly 1,800 miles, or about 1-and-a-quarter days' solid driving. If we only spent two nights in Denver/Salt Lake/ABQ and two in SanFran that would give us 8 days to drive it, which would average around 225 miles (or just under 4 hours) a day. This is probably a bit too much for us, especially as we will constantly be stopping to take photos and taking detours, not to mention getting lunch, rest stops and finding accommodation.

    If you were us, would you do this, would you forget about the Toronto-Niagara-New York bit at the beginning, the SanFran bit at the end or something in the middle?

    Or any other suggestions for us?

    Thanks in advance!

    Last edited by spinfold; 02-27-2013 at 09:24 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default What I Would Do...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    ...doesn't really matter. This is your holiday, and what you want to do and see are the drivers here. What you've laid out is a trip that is pretty heavy on cities and pretty light on what we would consider RoadTripping, but that's just fine. However you're comfortable spreading your time should obviously make the most rewarding trip for you. But let me just comment on the RoadTrip portion of your trip, driving through the southwest to San Francisco.

    First off, 1800 miles is not, obviously, just a day and a quarter drive. It would take three solid days of intense driving to cover that distance. Spread out over a week, yeah about 250 miles a day. I think that would prove well within your grasp, even with stopping often for snaps. The thing is, if you're used to driving on Britain's 'A' and even 'B' roads, the wide open highways of the American Southwest are going to seem like Brands Hatch or Silverstone to you in comparison. Nevertheless, I'm going to offer an alternative to your current plans that cuts down on the number of miles you have to drive and still lets you get a good taste of what the southwest is about in all its diversity.

    Instead of the three cities you're currently considering for your internal flight, try Phoenix AZ instead. It's a major airport, served by all our larger carriers, so there's lots of price competition. But mainly because it's significantly closer to your goal of San Francisco and there are several great sights to see spaced out along the way. On a drive of 'only' 1100 miles or so you could visit Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Mono Lake, and Yosemite. I think that Sedona and Death Valley make worthwhile substitutes for the Grand Staircase-Escalante (which is not fully developed) and the Extraterrestrial Highway (which is, in reality, nothing more than a desolate two-lane road through the dessert). So have a look at those sites and if they appeal to you, we can help you work out a plan that has you doing less driving but still getting to more enjoyable sights.


  3. Default

    Thanks AZBuck, that was exactly the kind of advice I was looking for. I hadn't considered Phoenix but you're right, if you take out the ET highway (only added to our itinerary as we noticed we were close to it anyway!) it brings the mileage down to 1,143 (according to Google Maps). That brings the average miles-per-day down to about 125 (using 9 days if we only stay one night in Phoenix), which I guess would be about 2.5 to 3 hours?

    Sedona and Death Valley are exactly the sorts of things we want to see, is there anything else you recommend in the area that is worth visiting?

    And how about accommodation in that area? Would it be better to work out roughly where we'll be every 125 miles and pre-book somewhere before we set out, or will we get lucky with walk-ins?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Unique Rather than More

    On 'survey' RoadTrips such as this, I generally try to sample different things that are special about an area rather than just trying to see more of a given thing. Certainly in the Southwest geology and the resulting incredible scenery is the 'thing', and between the Red Rocks of Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Mono Lake and Yosemite you'll have that well covered. Another aspect of the area is the native cultures so look into including the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and Walnut Canyon National Monument and the Museum of Northern Arizona, both in the Flagstaff area, in your itinerary. Also in Flagstaff is the Lowell Observatory where Pluto was discovered but which was set up to study Mars and is still active today. Then in Death Valley, it might be worth you time after visiting the valley floor to head to the northern part of the park to visit Scotty's Castle and learn something about the history and characters of the valley.

    As far as pre-booking accommodations vs. just doing walk-ins, that is a personal style choice about which there has been some fair 'discussion' on these forums. However, if you know where you're going to be on a given night it just makes sense to do some shopping before you get there. Compare facilities, price, etc. from the comfort of your home rather than under the pressure of needing to book something immediately. In some specific parts of your trip, lodgings may be pretty sparse, and while I doubt there is any real probability of your finding everything booked up in the fall, just knowing you've got a room waiting can take a lot of the worry out of being on the road.


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

    Default I wouldn't do that.

    And how about accommodation in that area? Would it be better to work out roughly where we'll be every 125 miles and pre-book somewhere before we set out, or will we get lucky with walk-ins?
    I certainly wouldn't recommend you try and book somewhere every 125 miles ! What you need to do is figure out what you want to see and do and then look to see how it best fits. For example, you could easily spend a day and a half at the GC and a couple of days in Yosemite which could mean having a driving day of anywhere between 250 and 500 miles to play ctach up. As Buck mentioned previously, driving in this neck of the woods is a whole new ball game to driving in the UK and 3 or 400 miles can be a relaxing day on the road, with a bit of time to stop and take in the views.

    As well as Bucks excellent suggestion you could look at the possibility of visiting Monument valley, perhaps even heading further north through Page AZ and visit the wonderful Zion National Park [Possibly Bryce canyon] in Southern Utah before, either heading down to Vegas and across Death valley and up to Mono Lake to Yosemite, or from Zion you could travel the ET Highway to US6 and then through Tonopah to Mono Lake/Lee Vining.

    It really comes down to what interests you and at what pace you want to travel at, but I would open up a good map and do a little research around the RTA pages and once you have some dots on the map, you can start to figure out roughly where to stay. Once you have got that far we can help with the 'fine tuning' and make suggestions on how you can the best from your trip.

    It's a great area to visit and you are doing so at the perfect time of year imo, so if you can spare 8 or 9 days for the roadtrip, I don't think you will regret it !

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 05-17-2011, 10:42 AM
  2. First time roadtripper
    By sputnik in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 139
    Last Post: 05-08-2011, 09:46 PM
  3. Advice on costs for first time roadtripper
    By kawaiikitsune90 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-19-2011, 06:56 AM
  4. first time roadtripper! NJ to KY
    By DCsleeps in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-24-2010, 10:00 AM
  5. First time roadtripper
    By PINKY42598 in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-29-2007, 11:38 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