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  1. Default Can't Decide Where to Go for Two Week Trip To Mid West/East Coast

    Hey. I'm looking for some advice and it seems like this forum is the best place to get it. Myself and a couple of friends are planning on travelling to the USA for two weeks at the end of July. So we have 14 days including the flight over and back (travelling from Ireland). We are young, and on a budget, so we will be staying in cheap hostel accommodation where we can. We will be renting a car, but probably for less than a week to keep costs down.

    The main issue we have is that we can't decide where to go for the two weeks. We have a list of cities and places to visit, but it's guaranteed we won't fit them all in, but we can't figure out which ones to drop. Here are a couple of routes we were thinking. Can anyone help us deciding on one, or none? Any better suggestions would be much appreciated! By the way, we will be flying in and out of New York as it seems to be the cheapest option for us.

    Flight from New York to Chicago-Cedar Point-Cleveland-Pittsburgh-Washington DC-Baltimore-Philadelphia-New York

    New York-Philadelphia-Hershey-Baltimore-Ocean City-Washington DC-Flight to Boston-New York

    What do you think is the best option? What would you leave out or add in? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Welcome!

    If you are flying in and out of NY, it would make the most sense to rent a car there and use it for the whole trip, returning it to NY. Renting a car for return to a different city can carry a large surcharge. You will also not have to pay the airfares for internal flights. It should be pretty easy to plan out a 12 day "loop" trip out of NYC. Either one of your proposals should be very doable driving the whole way. Don't rent the car till you are ready to leave NYC, a car in the city is a liability, use public transportation to see the city.

    Note that hostels charge by the person - it may be cheaper to stay in hotels where you pay by the room.

    You say you are young - HOW young? Under 25 will pay a car rental surcharge, under 21 can't even rent a car here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Where is Not So Important

    Céad Míle Fáilte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    glc's advice on the cost of your trip is spot on: A loop trip will be far cheaper than any one-way rental and internal flight. You will be facing a stiff penalty (typically $25/day) for each and every driver who is under 25. Motels will probably prove a better deal for you than hostels due to the number of people involved. But you should also be aware that even if you are all 25 years old, you will still have to pay a premium for each driver in addition to the primary renter. So you will need to work out the details of who is going to be doing the driving with those costs in mind.

    Secondly, while you've given us a list of possible cities you have considered, you really haven't told us why you've chosen those cities or what it is you hope to accomplish on your trip. Without at least some general idea of what you would find interesting, amusing or enjoyable, it's hard to give you any meaningful advice. We really do endeavor to give individual advice here, and we really can't do that unless you let us know what you're looking for.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Firstly, we are all 25 or older so the age thing when renting a car shouldn't be an issue. glc, what you say makes sense - renting and returning to New York would save us some money. The only problem is that I expect in some cities parking might be a problem. And also tolls, although we hope to avoid most highways and try to see the countryside.

    Secondly, AZBuck, as to what we are interested in going to see - basically we would like to get to see as much of the US as we can. The American way of life, some culture, landmarks, bit of the night life like bars and night clubs, fun activites (that's why I mentioned some amusement parks), maybe a baseball or football game. It'd be nice to see some countryside/natural sights. It's a pretty broad range really! One thing I suppose is that we're not too interested in going to museums (unless it's of particular interest).

    I don't know if that helps or if I have listed too much! Thanks for your help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Yes, parking can be an issue in some cities. However, there will be reasonably priced parking outside the cities near public transportation. Hotels are generally cheaper outside the cities too. In fact, some hotels will be near public transportation and you can just leave the car at the hotel with no fee. Tolls shouldn't be a huge issue, there are ways to minimize them. You can also minimize the cost of public transportation with things like all-day/multiple-day passes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Loop That Might Work for You

    A couple of weeks is actually enough time to cover quite a bit of ground during the day, seeing scenic locations and a diverse cross-section of America, and still have plenty of time to enjoy the nightlife of various cities. So I think that your original suggestions are selling yourselves a bit short. Consider the following loop:

    Head west from New York, crossing the Poconos and Alleghenies to the Cleveland area where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cedar Point await, then continue on to Chicago for a couple of evenings. Next take in a couple of Mississippi River towns known for their blues music scenes - St. Louis and Memphis. Turn east at this point and sample Country and Western music in Nashville. Cross through the Great Smoky Mountains and maybe check out some of the NASCAR garages around Charlotte on your way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Finish up by following the coast through Washington and Philadelphia back to New York and the flight home.

    If that looks like it will work for you, we can offer more specifics, but I think it would offer a good mix of driving, scenery, night life, mountains, ocean, history, and a few different 'sections' of America.

    AZBuck

  7. Default

    Thanks for the suggestion but I don't think that would work for us. Firstly, it is a lot of driving. Over 40 hours. If we want to spend a few days in a couple of the larger cities, and two days of flying in and out of New York, you're maybe looking at at least 6 hours of driving each day. That doesn't leave much time to actually see the places we would be visiting, plus the fact that you would be tired after each trip.

    I'd say we'd be looking at maybe half that amount of time driving? This would allows a bit of freedom to see places and not being rushed to get from one city to another.

    Would be a great trip to do if we had an extra week, but unfortunately we don't.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Deserve a second though.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIrishGuy View Post
    ... plus the fact that you would be tired after each trip.
    Your reaction is quite understandable, and actually a typical reaction. What you are not aware of, and many of us were not, is that driving in the US is so different to driving on almost any other continent.

    I would not instantly dismiss AZBuck's suggestions, without looking into them further. You might well find that it would fill your bill.

    Lifey

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

    Default ...Or Not

    If the routing I suggested seems too much, and you'd rather not spend as much time driving, then it's easy enough to cut some things out and still leave you hitting enough sites that fit your stated desires. You could easily cut nearly 900 miles or about two days worth of driving off the route I gave you before and still have lots to see and do. From New York head for Hershey and enjoy the many roller coasters there, then continue west through the Appalachians past Dayton, and maybe a stop at the US Air Force Museum. Continue on through Indianapolis and take in the Speedway and Indy 500 Museum, and 'end' in St. Louis where you can take in Six Flags, catch some night life, take a ride on the Mississippi, and go to the top of the Arch. Then start your return trip through Nashville, the home to America's home-grown music genre, Country and Western. Then head up the backbone of the Blue Ridge following either I-81 through the Great Valley of the Blue Ridge Parkway along the mountaintops up into the Washington DC area. Finally check out Chesapeake Bay and maybe an oceanfront town or two on your way back to New York. That entire loop would only require the equivalent of four 8-hour driving days spread out over your 12 available days in the US. Not a bad mix at all, and it still gets you to more different corners of the country than just the industrial Northeast and Midwest.

    AZBuck

  10. Default

    Sorry for the late reply. I've been quite busy!

    Thanks for responding again and putting in the effort to come up with a route. I just have a couple of queries.

    You seem to be avoiding the east coast and the typical tourist cities. Is there any particular reason for that?

    You say four 8 hour days of driving. That still seems a lot to me! The longest I've driven for is maybe 3 hours. Although that was motorway for most of it, I found it quite tedious! I've never been on a road trip before. How much enjoyment can you actually get from the driving part?

    Finally, I have no idea how to divide up my days between cities. For instance, is 3 days enough in New York? Is 5 days too much? I feel it's very difficult to split up days when you are visiting so many places - it's like deciding how much you're going to enjoy a place before visiting it! Any tips?

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