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  1. Default 3 month USA adventure

    Hi All,

    We are four British girls aged 22-25, roadtripping the US from September to December of this year. I've attached a draft of our itinerary, these are just ideas, we don't want to be completely unprepared. We fly out to Miami on September 8th and have booked a hotel already. We will be hiring a car before we go and will road trip our way from Miami through to Texas. We then have two weeks in Mexico, with a 10 day tour already booked. We then fly from Cancun to Vegas, where we have 7 days (we realise this is a long time, but will be visiting the Grand Canyon and it's Halloween so we wanted the weekend there), before we fly to San Francisco. After San Fran we will drive down the East coast, to San Diego, take a day trip to Tijuana and then we need to be back in LA for December 5th to catch a flight to Oz. If anybody has any advice to give us, about anything really, we would be very grateful. We're not experienced travellers. We've holidayed lots, but we've not travelled for this length of time. I have a few questions now and will probably be back to ask more as we get nearer to the time. So here are my first few questions:

    1) We intend on doing most of our driving in the mornings, do any of our timings seem completely out ie. we've only put a day in somewhere, when actually it would take most of the day to get there?
    2) Any recommendations for a plantation house to stay/visit in Alabama?
    3) Recommendations for somewhere to go horse riding in California? We love the idea of going riding through vineyards like in the Parent trap, but we're not sure if this is doable?
    4) We were thinking of booking hotels for Orlando and San Francisco before we go and staying in motels for the rest. Is there anywhere else where we should think about booking before we go?

    Thank you for any advice in advance!!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Major Hurdle Number One

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As it stands, your basic plan is impossible for one simple reason: US car hire firms will generally NOT allow you to take their vehicles into Mexico. The two major reasons for this are the risk of it being stolen or involved in the violence along the border, and that Mexico requires a separate insurance policy on the car written by a Mexican national underwriter. You may be able to find a firm through a European consolidator that will allow you to cross the border and return, but expect that to come at a price. Also working against you are your ages. Only one of you who is 25 will be able to drive the car for the nominal rental fee. Every other driver will have to pay an 'additional driver' fee of approximately $25/day for the entire period of the rental regardless of how often or how much she drives. On top of that, every driver who is under 25 will have to pay an additional 'underage driver' fee of about $25/day - again for every day of the contract regardless of the amount of driving she does. Then there are the one-way drop off fees if you are going to leave the car somewhere other than where you pick it up. These can run to several hundred dollars, and I can see where you would be liable for up to three such fees: One from Miami to Texas, one for the car you rent in Mexico, and one for the final US leg of your trip. Again, you may be able to get some of these fees waived by arranging the hire through a European intermediary, but the car hire is a major hurdle that you need to look into before you get too far along with your other planning.


  3. Default

    We are hiring a car from Miami and leaving it in Texas and then another for the east coast. Three of us will be 25, so we plan on doing the driving. We'll need to look into the additional driver fee though, thank you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Alright, Then!

    My apologies - I seemed to have missed the part of your itinerary description where you were flying into and out of Mexico. However, for some of the same reasons cited previously - namely violence along the border in Mexico - I would actively discourage you from visiting Tijuana.

    Now as to the rest of your questions:

    Your drives all seem quite reasonable and allow for plenty of sight-seeing each day. Your longest day appears to be Lake Charles to Austin at around 300 miles but even that will allow you to pull up in the early afternoon without too much trouble.

    For Plantations, perhaps the highest concentrations of such homes are in Charleston SC and Natchez MS although there are a few in the Selma area of Alabama. But all of those are a bit off your line of march. If you want to stay in one overnight your options are fairly limited, but you may want to consider something like Madewood in Napoleonville LA just west of New Orleans.

    There are over 100 horseback riding locations in the Napa Valley of California, so finding something that suits your needs ought to be quite possible.

    For the most part, it should be quite easy to find accommodations anywhere in the US on day of your arrival, particularly as you generally plan to arrive relatively early in the day. However, if you know where you'll be on a given evening it seems to me that you might want to do a little shopping on line before arrival rather than waste time that could otherwise be spent having new experiences.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Quote Originally Posted by Chlo88 View Post
    We are hiring a car from Miami and leaving it in Texas and then another for the east coast.
    You mean the west coast?

    I also want to thoroughly discourage you from crossing the border at Tijuana. It's just not safe. If you absolutely must, do it in daylight only, park the car in San Ysidro, and walk across.

  6. Default

    I did indeed mean the West coast. We were planning on leaving the car, but will rethink visiting at all. Online shopping is something we are good at, so we'll get booking some more accommodation soon!! Thank you both for your help.

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