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  1. Default Absolute novice needing any pointers in the right direction!! I'll be 50 in April and am looking to bring my husband and two 15 year old twins out to America. The thought of theme parks fills me with dread but I really love the idea of hiring a car and doing some amazing road trip. The problem is I have absolutely no idea where to start. This site is amazing but everyone seems so savvy already that I'm embarrassed to ask for the level of help I clearly need!! Due to flights, LA seems to be the best start and end point, and we'd like to see Vegas (maybe), drive on a great route, see a National Park ( see, I told you how little I know) and any other suggestions in between! If there are threads already on here, if someone could point me in their direction I'd be so grateful. We only have about 14/15 nights. ANY help would be really really great

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

    Default step one

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Really the first step is to figure out what you want to do and what you want to get out of the trip. Be it theme parks, national parks, sporting events, cities, beaches, etc...

    We can't really point you to any specific threads right now, because they are all about roadtrips and they are all filled with ideas (so feel free to spend lots of time looking around and browsing). The beauty of a roadtrip is that each trip is different and you get to build a trip based around what you want to do, and how you want to do it. There is no one-size fits all "best" roadtrip, where you can just say, I've got two weeks from LA here's the "ideal" plan.

    So step one, really is one of the most fun parts of roadtrip planning. It's called the daydream stage. Sit down together as a family and throw out all the things you've ever wanted to do or see in America. Get out a good map, and any other resources (books, websites, etc) you'd like to help you see even more ideas. Come up with a list of sorts. You won't be able to do everything, but if you figure out what are your families "must sees." Once you've got those, then you can start working on putting them together into a plan, figuring out what will work well together as a roadtrip, with the time you've got, and what other things are in the middle that you can also explore in between those must see spots. Those basic ideas of what you want to get out of the trip will then also make it much more possible for others to help you figure out what will work, and what else you could do.

    Of course, by the same token, there is also no wrong way to do a roadtrip either. There's no reason to be embarrassed. You could simply arrive on a plane, rent a car, and go - seeing where the road takes you. That would not be the approach I would take to a first trip in the US, especially with kids, but that might be the best fit with how your family likes to do things. and if you come up with a plan that won't work (like say trying to drive from LA to NY in 3 days), don't worry, one we'll let you know what you'd have to change to make it, and know we've probably heard worse ideas!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Making that start.

    As Michael states, it all depends on your interests and what you all want to get out of this trip. I would get a detailed map of the US (my preference is for the National Geographics Map) and with your family start marking things with post it notes as you learn about them, from magazines, books, websites, television and even radio. Amazing how many places you hear/see mentioned. For more detail it may be worth getting some maps or a road atlas. If you click on the 'shop' tab above you will find a link to order maps or atlasses.

    My first trip I landed in LA, two days later got in a car without knowing anything about where I was travelling. And whereas this can be a most adventurous way to travel, you do end up driving past sights without knowing they are there.

    You don't say where you will be flying in from, but if you are coming off a long haul flight, you will want to spend at least the first 24 hours in LA. It takes a little while to adjust to the local time and condition.


  4. #4


    I am like you, a novice. I plan on flying into Miami then down to the keys, up the coast to NYC then back to Miami via the mountains. The guys here have been a great help and have shown me the best way to plan. I bought a Marco Polo map of the east coast and I have started writing out a plan. There is so much to see but there is no point just driving to a place, jumping out, taking a photo and hitting the road again. Take your time, plan a route with everyone in mind but be flexible, there will be things that crop up that you want to see but if you are planning it down to the smallest degree then you won't be able to enjoy it. P.S check the distances on major roads and back roads, one day I was looking at an 800 mile drive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    Unfortunately, this thread was started almost 2 years ago and the original poster has not come back to say anything.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin



    Thanks for sharing your tips, however, it appears the Original Poster wasn't all that interested in going beyond a novice, as she hasn't been on the site even once since creating her post more than a year ago.

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