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  1. Default Best hire car site to avoid NOLA traffic when heading to Natchez

    Hi, we plan to travel fro new Orleans to Memphis, stopping at Natchez, Vicksburg and another couple of places on the way. All up we'll take around 5 days to complete the trip. My question is where in New Orleans would be the best site to collect a hire car from in order to avoid the most city traffic on our way out of the city? We'll be driving on the wrong side of the road (for us!), and so want to make the journey as stress free as possible. Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default The best deal.

    Kate, I would hire from wherever you can get the best deal, anywhere in NO. I would then concentrate on starting my journey after 10am and well before evening rush hour.

    Driving on the other side of the road, especially in cities is no big deal. Believe me, it took me about 15 mins to feel comfortable, the first time I hit the road in North America. What you do need to watch is not driving very early in the morning or late at night - times when you are most likely to see less traffic around, and when you are most likely to revert to old habits.

    One thing I highly recommend is that you bring a good sized flag with you, and put it up in the rear window of the vehicle. Blue tack or sticky tape will do it. Let them see that you are not a local. From my experience other drivers are more likely to be more forgiving when you make a mistake. I have a flag about 30cm x 20cm in the rear window of my vehicle.

    I was in NO only this week, and even though I hit it at morning rush, there was very little congestion, though I only drove through on the freeways. Make sure you bring your RACV or NRMA or similar membership with you. It will give you access to good quality paper maps at the AAA. Pick up the maps you need for all the surrounding States while you are in NO.

    Lifey

  3. Default

    Many thanks for this info Lifey. We had thought about the flag idea, but wasn't too sure whether we should or not - your suggestions shall be acted on. It's an interesting point you make about better to drive in a bit of traffic than very little - I can see the logic in that now. Thanks again, you've been very helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    If the costs balance out, the easiest place to get a car if you are going to Natchez is at the airport. MSY is in Kenner, a western suburb, and most of the car rental lots are on US-61. Take US-61 west a couple miles to I-310, take that to I-10, take that west to Baton Rouge, then I-110/US-61 to Natchez.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default The Most Troubling (for Me)

    I agree with Lifey that the transition from 'right' to 'wrong' side of the road really doesn't take very long. The mental conversion is greatly aided by the fact that you have a constant visual reminder: You're sitting in, and driving from, the 'wrong' side of the car! I don't know if Lifey will agree with me in return, but when I have made the transition, the one situation where I really have to think for a second is not in city traffic where there are plenty of cars around to remind me of which way the wind is blowing, but out in more rural areas when making a turn from one small road onto another. That's where you not only have to think about where you belong, but where the other cars are coming from, which way to think, which lane to turn into once you make the turn, etc. A word of warning: This can be especially unnerving for a passenger who is not getting the visual clues that you are as a driver, or thinking about it as much, and may try to 'correct' you.

    AZBuck

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

    Default Agreed.

    Buck's quite right. It is on more lonely roads and at quiet times that you are more likely to revert to the other side.

    I made a horrible mistake only a week or so ago, when I made a left turn from a one way street into a two way street. I was about to make the tight left turn I am used to making, when I suddenly saw the cars there waiting at the red light. Travelling slowly, a quick correction saved the day, It sorta happens at least once every visit. You just have to make sure you are concentrating on the job.


    Funny part is, I have had more trouble reverting back when I get home, after six months on North American roads.

    Lifey

  7. Default

    Thanks everyone, you've set our minds at rest just a little, sure we'll be ok. Just one more thing, I know Lifely mentioned to bring our auto club membership over to access cheap maps, but we're not actually paid up members of one as such. Is there a particular map book you'd recommend for travel on the East Coast? We'll be travelling from NYC down to NOLA and up from there to Memphis. As good as GPS's are (and we will be taking one), nothing beats pouring over an actual hard-copy map to get the lay of the land. Any recommendations?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    We very much agree a GPS is no substitute for a good paper map.

    The Rand McNally Road Atlas is my go-to atlas, and you can usually pick one up at a big box store in the US for under $10. Of course, if you'd like to get one before you arrive, you can order maps right from the RTA Store.

  9. Default

    Thanks Mike, I'll check it out. Can't wait for the trip to begin!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Both.

    Kate, I always have both, individual maps and the atlas. I like the individual maps particularly of the cities because of their scale. I always get a Rand McNally when I arrive and in it I hi-lite all the roads on which I travel. Then I take it home and have it as my souvenir of that trip. Each time I look through it somehow the roads appear before me.

    If you want any individual maps, especially when you are in cities, you can still get them from the AAA, just that you won't get them free. But they are still much cheaper than buying them at most other places. I think the ones I picked up today (free) had an average price of less than $5 each. But then, I got twelve maps today.

    Lifey

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