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  1. Default From Minneapolis to East Coast (North) and back.

    We are planing a huge road-trip for the summer. We will start from Minneapolis. The places we hope to see are as follows: Buffalo (niagara falls), Boston, NY, Philadelphia, Washington. We will stop in between, but are not sure yet where.

    First question is: Should we plan it out day by day and make reservations, or play it by the ear?

    Second: Can you suggest places to see between the big cities?

    Third: Traffic; is there anything we should be aware of on the road? (for example, we know that Wisconsin is very keen on speed-limits. In Minnesota you can take a right-turn on red if not otherwise posted)

    Fourth: We want to stay in a budget, any suggestions to how to find places to eat or attractions for less?

    I tried to plan city by city, but after a while it gets overwhelming and it would be good to get pointers about things that are advertised but not worth the dollar.
    Thank you in advance for any help.

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You don't need to plan everything out to the minute, but it is good to have at least a rough outline of what you want to do, so you can see how your goals for the trip match-up with the time you have available. The advantage of reservations is you know exactly where you're going to stay at the end of the day and you don't have to spend any time looking for a place, the downside is that you lose out on some flexibility.

    The RTA Map Center is filled with great ideas for stopping points and things to do throughout your trip, but without any idea on what kinds of things you are interested in, any specific suggestions would be complete guesses.

    Traffic rules are generally the same throughout the US. In any state if you are going more than 5-10 mph over the limit, you're taking the chance on getting pulled over. Right Turn on Red is pretty much universal throughout the US, with some minor exceptions, like New York City. You likely will be looking at quite a few tolls, so you might want to consider getting an I-Pass/EZ-Pass (I would assume I-pass, because Illinois will likely be your first tolled state, and works throughout EZ-Pass network.)

    Shopping for motels online can let you quickly compare prices, you can also look for coupon books available at many rest areas and truck stops. For food, if you bring a cooler you can save a fair amount by at least having sandwiches and snacks with you lunch and small meals. You could also look at bringing some kind of grill or other device to actually cook some of your own meals too.

  3. Default

    Hi-- Minneapolis (St. Cloud) has served as a starting point for many of the roadtrips I have taken over the years, including two that went to NYC. Were you thinking of dipping south first, (Pittsburgh, Washington, Philly, possibly Atlantic City/Jersey Shore, NYC, Boston, then Niagara Falls before heading back to Minnesota. Or were you thinking of hitting Buffalo first.) From experience I would suggest suggest taking different routes there and back, or as much of a different route as you possibly can.

    I would agree with Michael, having a general outline of what you want to see helps, such as particular things you want to see or majors cities you want to visit, that way you can kind of research ahead of time. Trust me, its no fun getting to a city and not knowing what you want to see.

  4. Default

    We are planing to start with Buffalo and go south. After we get to Washington DC, we will come back over Indianapolis and Madison. At least that is what we planned. We have 15-16 days. I am trying to get a sense of traffic and public transportation options, park and rides etc.
    We are hoping to stay out of the cities and use public transport to get into them.

  5. Default

    Cooler is a good idea, thank you. What is your take on buying tickets to attractions beforehand?
    Specially there is a Niagara falls tour that you can buy for less, that takes 3 hours. It sounds nice but we have a 4 year old with us and i wonder if it would be better if we bouth tickets 1 at a time?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Tickets beforehand....I've got a little experience with that. When you purchase them in advance, know what the policy is if you cannot use them. One summer, we purchased tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and then had to cancel because of a death in the family. That was about the only excuse that Statue Cruises would accept for refunding our money. Some places won't refund your money for ANY reason, so you take the chance on a change of plans (either because of circumstance or just because you decide you can't go after all).

    Motel reservations, as stated above, do give you the convenience of having a place ready and expecting you. But they can tie you up. We usually DON'T get reservations unless we are going into a tourist-y area (such as in Maine during summer season, or any place near a national park) or around a holiday weekend or time. That said, we usually get on the road early in the morning (6 or 7 am) and then get off the road around 4 pm. So finding a place at 4 pm is easier than around the dinner hour, or later. We use coupon books a lot, and find that they will fill their "coupon rooms" early, so getting in at 4 gives us more opportunity to actually get a "coupon room".

    These days, with and other places as close as your smart phone, one could have the co-driver look up a place online while the driver is still driving, and reserve it. We did that, this past summer. Making the reservation wasn't hard. I just found that I could not research reviews as easily!


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