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  1. #1

    Default Roadtrip western USA 2014

    Hello everyone,

    First of all a little introducing, I'm Nick im currently 24yrs old and im living in Holland,
    we're planning to make a roadtrip in USA with 4 friends next summer july/august.
    We're planning to make the trip with 4 guys in total, 2 of them are 24 at that time and the other to will be 25,
    Our plans this far are to rent a car in LA where we will land from our flight ot of Amsterdam.
    From LA we've been planning towards San Francisco, total of the trip will last 3 weeks.
    We've have been pretty busy trying to make a trip in mapquest with all places we'd like to visit and to get them on a map.
    so some isues this far, since just 2 of us will be 25 at the time of our trip, will this get us into an problems cause of age ?
    ive been reading car rental might be quite a bit expensiver when you're younger than 25 ?
    What would you guys recommend us to do with that ? just rent the car in name in the 2 25 year olds, and still let the 24 years olds drive.. or do we need to sign it up and rent the car in theyre names to ?
    next question, we all have a European/Dutch drivers licence but will this be enough or do we need a International drivers licence's ?
    Since we're all new to makin a roadtrip our biggest issue at the moment is planning, like how much time to spend on each location, and we have our doubts on the locations we want to visit, we have a lot of parks in our minds but we dont know if its possible to visit all of them in just 3 weeks, thats why i signed u for this forum. ive been reading a lot lately about other trips made here.
    Here is a list of the things we want to do or visit :

    Start in LA, hang around maybe for a few days to visit hollywood, downtown city or beaches >

    LA > Hoover Dam
    Hoover Dam > Grand Canyon National Park
    Grand Canyon National Park > Monument Valley
    Monument Valley > Bryce Canyon National Park
    Bryce Canyon National Park > Zion National Park
    Zion National Park > Las Vegas
    Las Vegas > Death Valley
    Death Valley > Yosemite National Park
    Yosemite National Park > Sequoia National Park
    Sequoia National Park > Pinnacles National Monument
    Pinnacles National Monument > Santa Cruz
    Santa Cruz > San Francisco

    Ending in San Francisco.

    Note * Between the long drives we planned to visit some little towns for sleep etc.


    So as you can see these might be some major plans, which might not be posible to make in just 3 weeks ?
    Again we're just short in roadtrip experience, and we kind a just made up everything we would like to visit,
    but we have no idea if all these places are worth visiting when times is short..
    I hope you people can help us a little by sharing experience and like how many time you might wanna spend on each park/city ?

    Below here ill try to add a link of the roadtrip we have planned out in Mapquest so you people can have a look and see if its posible to drive these miles and visit all these parks without rushing trough them in just 3 weeks.

    The Link * http://mapq.st/1c2AYJ3


    Hoping to hear from you soon.

    Best Regrads from a tiny little country called Holland,

    Nick,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NickNL View Post
    so some isues this far, since just 2 of us will be 25 at the time of our trip, will this get us into an problems cause of age ?
    ive been reading car rental might be quite a bit expensiver when you're younger than 25 ?
    What would you guys recommend us to do with that ? just rent the car in name in the 2 25 year olds, and still let the 24 years olds drive.. or do we need to sign it up and rent the car in theyre names to ?
    It will be much more expensive if you want the 24 year olds to drive. You'll be looking at an extra fee of about $25 per day, per extra, underage driver.

    Letting the 24 year olds drive, without having them on the rental contract to avoid the extra fees is a terrible idea. Legally speaking, they would be driving a stolen car, and thus you would have no insurance coverage and would be 100% responsible for paying for any problems you have out of pocket.

    Basically you have 2 choices: don't let the 24 year olds driver, or pay the fees.
    next question, we all have a European/Dutch drivers licence but will this be enough or do we need a International drivers licence's ?
    You don't "need" an international drivers license, as all it does is provide a translation of your current license. However, if your license is printed only in Dutch, then it might be worth it just to make everything easier. If it already includes English on the license, then I wouldn't bother.
    we have a lot of parks in our minds but we dont know if its possible to visit all of them in just 3 weeks, thats why i signed u for this forum. ive been reading a lot lately about other trips made here.,
    I think it would be possible to do this trip in 3 weeks, but it depends upon what kind of pace you like, and how much time you want to spend in the cities. I'd recommend you sketch things out day-by-day just to get an idea for yourself what it would take to fit everything in.

    One idea for your route that you might consider, instead of finishing in SF, you might want to complete the loop and end in LA. Doing a round trip typically will lower your airfare and car rental costs. It would also give you a chance to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 08-05-2013 at 10:02 AM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I believe Michael meant to complete the loop in LA. Other options would be to start and end a loop in SF or LV. Check out airfares and car rental costs in all 3 cities, take whichever is least expensive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default RV. [Motorhome ?]

    As Michael has said, do not let anyone drive the rental who is not permitted to do so ! I'm fairly sure that your license must be readable in English and if yours is not then you will need an International license, but it's best to talk directly with the rental company you are dealing with for any questions/doubts you have.

    You have a nice plan laid out and with 3 weeks will be reasonably relaxed. As there are 4 of you travelling and you seem to be concentrating your time mainly in the National parks, have you considered renting an RV [Motorhome] for your travels. It won't be any cheaper with all costs considered, but it can be a great Lifestyle choice and camping in the parks is good value [$20 per night average] and is an amazing experience, NP's are also where lodgings are quite costly. The same will also apply for 'young driver fees'.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks for your reactions allready!
    We're gonna talk about the RV idea, might be nice afterall, thanks for the idea!

    Thanks for the advice about the rental and ages, haha we are deffinatly gonna drive with just the 25 year olds now! we dont wanna get into trouble so far from home,

    People are also talking about getting a so called "AAA-Card" is that a recommended thing to get during a roadtrip ?
    And we have also been reading about a National Park Card ? I know in holland we have such cards for some parks too, but over here so many people buy such a card that the waiting cue is sometimes actually longer than just to go trough the regular entrance.
    What would recommend about that ?

    Last thing we will consider about replanning our trip into some kind of a loop :) gonna search for flights/rentals in those 3 cities, would you recommend any of those city's ?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    AAA is roadside assitance which you will not need as you are in a rental vehicle, the rental company deal with any mechanical failures.

    The NP pass is $80 and will be good value for your trip. You simply purcahse it from the entry kiosk of the first park you visit in the same queue as if you were buying a single pass.

    It won't include camping fees and with an RV you would need to reserve your sites as soon as the booking windows open. All info can be found at nps.gov.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    You might get some ideas here if you decide on the RV. Although a few years ago it's still relevant and includes many places on your list.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    If you were to purchase an auto-club membership in your home country, you would bring it with you. The American Automobile Association (AAA) honors most non-American auto club memberships for free maps, tour books and tourist materials. You'd simply find a AAA office along your route and stop in.

    With all of the NP's you plan to visit, you should definitely purchase the $80 parks pass.
    Yosemite=$20
    Bryce=$25
    Sequoia/Kings Canyon=$20
    Grand Canyon=$25
    Zion=$25
    Pinnacles=$5

    So you can see, if you don't purchase the $80 pass, and do all of the parks you intend, your cost would be $120. This only pays for your entrance fees...no camping, lodging, food fees can be covered.


    Donna

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks for all the info, its helping us a lot allready,

    We're gonna skip the AAAcard and go for a rental car/suv.
    Alse we have made our trip into a loop from LA to LA, but we can change the staring city into Las Vegas or San Francisco if we want to, guess this would just depand on the costs.

    For us the hardest part is trying to make a schedule of how much time to spend in each park, We've decided to take 2 days at the starting city just to adjust a little. and thats about it haha we got 3 weeks so 21 days, -2 days leaves us 19 days to drive 2552.90 Miles and visit all the parks, this seems a lot of driving to us ?

    Could you give any idea of how much time its worth visiting in the parks ?
    We also think we might have to skip some of the parks because of time and distance ?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default What I might do.

    To be honest your trip us pretty relaxed compared to most roadtrips, but whats important is that you are travelling at a pace that is comfortable for you personally. Yes it's quite a bit of driving, but driving in the US is a whole new experience with wide open spaces and quieter roads [ away from the City's] than we are used to in Europe.

    You can tweak the schedule to suit your personal tastes, but I would work from something like this with 19 days on the road.

    1]LA to Grand canyon. You could do a long day on the road and go direct, or stop on route and finish the journey next day.

    2] Grand canyon

    3] Grand canyon to Monument Valley.

    4] Monument valley to Torrey UT and visit Capital Reef NP on route.

    5] Torrey to Bryce canyon via Utah scenic By-way 12.

    6] Bryce canyon, possibly leave afternoon for Zion NP

    7] Zion, the town of Springdale would be ideal for 2 nights lodging.

    8] Zion to Las Vegas, possible detour to Valley of Fire.

    9] Vegas.

    10] Across Death Valley to Bishop.

    11] Bishop to Yosemite Valley.

    12] Yosemite [Valley, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove]

    13] Yosemite to Sequoia NP.

    14] Sequoia to SF

    15] San Fran

    16] SF to Monterey.

    17] Monterey to Cambria via Big Sur.

    18] Back to LA or stop over in Santa Barbara depending on departure time on day 19.

    The above doesn't include the Pinnacles and if I were to drop anything else as a time saving measure it would be Sequoia. It's a wonderful place but its a slight detour and you can visit the Giant Sequoias at Mariposa Grove in Yosemite. Like I mentioned, it's what you want to do that is important but hopefully that will help you get started.

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