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  1. Default Boston to LA - Summer 2015, advice needed!

    The reason I'm here is because I have questions that I'm hoping to find answers for, and this forum looks a great place to get them.

    I'll brief you first to give you a bit more info; myself and two friends (2 x 21, 1 x 22 year old) plan on doing a cross country road trip from Boston to LA from around the start of June 2015 into midway July, we plan on renting a car and obviously using one way rental and leaving the car in LA.

    Reputable sites on the internet have given me various quotes from £1000 to £3500, we'd happy to pay up to £2500, anything less than £2000 would be fantastic considering our ages and the different drop off point.

    Using mapping software our trip will take 70H 18M, travelling 4510miles and costing $774 in petrol/gas, obviously this is very inaccurate and doesn't take into account so many variables but it's an alright rough guide.

    After a quick scan on the internet I found returns from Heathrow to Boston for £480, and then a flight the day before from LA to Boston for £100. To me this seems cheap.

    The experience we're looking for on our travels, is of course good nights of drinking in lively places, taking in great scenery, visiting exciting cities and towns, and general touristy places, good places to eat, good leisure, a bit of sport (playing and watching), maybe even some fishing! Of course this is all in abundance in the states.

    Our budgets are healthy, we're already putting away savings, this is a bit of a dream of ours! We could easily gather $5-7,000 dollars each, if this isn't needed, great! Also bare in mind we're happy to rough it out and scrape by!

    So here's a few questions....

    - How should we go about renting a car? Any good sites/ways to do it? The range in results has left me uncertain.
    - What time range would you give this road trip? We'd like to stop a few days in some cities and we're currently looking at 1 and a half to 2 months.
    - Is the information I've listed above accurate from roadtrippers.com?
    - How much spending money would you recommend? We're not going to be splashing cash on materialistic stuff (much, some souvenirs would be nice!), more experiences, maybe a few sporting events depending what's in season and other general activities.
    - We're happy to stay in the biggest dives going, but what's a good guide to cheap motel prices per night?
    - If the route is viewable for you all what kind of places and stuff could you recommend within distance of it? Any must sees or dos? We're up for absolutely everything!

    If there's anything else you can pick out or any advice you can offer it would be much appreciated. My minds gone blank right now which isn't ideal but I'm sure I'll think of many more questions.

    Moderator Note: Your map link didn't work, and the generic link to a competing website is not needed or allowed.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-16-2013 at 08:15 AM.

  2. Default

    General knowledge and tips you experts can pass on would be great. I've got the internet but hearing from the horses mouth would be nice.

  3. Default

    I'll list the cities we're travelling to as the link didn't work apparently,

    Boston, Providence, New York, Philadelphia, Maryland, Washington D.C, Buffalo, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Lexington, Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, Las Vegas, Los Angeles.

    We're considering finishing in San Francisco now after LA.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Good Start, But...

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Let's start with the car hire. In general our European visitors, especially 'underage' drivers such as yourselves, do better arranging this through European consolidators such as autoeurope, carhire3000, eurocheapo, etc. Often you can work it so that there are no or minimal underage and drop-off fees.

    As for your route, that's going to take a minimum of 9 full days of driving split up however you want during your stay in America. By all means avoid the impulse to measure such a journey in terms of hours, which is very deceiving, and think in terms of days and the equivalence in miles. For planning purposes, a good rule of thumb is: 500 miles = 1 day. That allows you to quickly calculate how much of a day you need to devote to any given leg.

    I assume that there are reasons for each of the cities you list on your itinerary, because there are certainly more efficient and more rewarding ways to see some of the best of America. If you are not wedded to those cities, and they are simply way-points entered into some mapping routine, then you should share with us what it is that you hope to accomplish and/or see on this trip and we can perhaps direct you to better routes and venues.

    You should not have any problems leaving the U.S. for a short stay in Canada and returning shortly thereafter, but you should verify this with your local U.S. consulate before your departure from England.

    As to your specific questions:

    A month or two is ample for a trip of this magnitude. Be sure, however, to build in a fair amount of alone time throughout the trip. No matter how close you all are as friends, after only a few days of being together 24 hours a day, you WILL begin to get on each others' nerves.

    I personally budget about $150/day for two people to cover food, lodging, entrance fees and the like. That's quite comfortable, but is after budgeting for planes, cars, gas, and other 'fixed' costs. Big ticket items such as a major sporting event should be budgeted separately. Low cost motel chains such as Red Roof, Motel 6, Budget Inns, Super 8 and others can be had for around $40/night, sometimes less sometimes more, and you can often fit four in a room, but see my note above about too much togetherness. Nicer chains and two rooms instead of one should fit within your budgets.

    As it stands, your route covers a very sizeable chunk of the United States and there is simply no way that we can give you specific advice about that long and winding a road. What we can do is point you to a few general lists of things to see and do in each state and along the major highways

    So, clearly you've got quite a bit more work ahead of you in planning this adventure, but you've got a good realistic start and we'll be happy to continue to help you as you planning progresses.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-16-2013 at 12:47 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default The loop ?

    Have you considered doing a complete loop ? With 6 to 8 weeks you would certainly have time and it would save you having to pay the dreaded one way drop off fees and would make your airfares cheaper. You could head out on a northerly route through Chicago, Denver etc to SF and then down the coast to LA and back via Flagstaff, Memphis etc on a southerly route. Not only would you save some money you would see a lot more of the country.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Have you considered doing a complete loop ? With 6 to 8 weeks you would certainly have time and it would save you having to pay the dreaded one way drop off fees and would make your airfares cheaper. You could head out on a northerly route through Chicago, Denver etc to SF and then down the coast to LA and back via Flagstaff, Memphis etc on a southerly route. Not only would you save some money you would see a lot more of the country.
    But wouldn't gas, living costs, food etc for a full loop come out to much more than the one way rental costs for a car?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    If you are keeping the time (6-8 weeks) the same, then most of your living expenses won't change at all. You'll still be using the exact same amount of food, hotel rooms, etc.

    Really the only difference would be gas, if a loop has you covering more miles. However, even that depends upon what you really want to see. If there are things in both the northern and southern parts of the country that you want to see, it is quite possible that you'd put on just as many miles zig-zagging back and forth as you would just making a big circle.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default You gotta eat and sleep, wherever.

    You would clock up more miles doing a loop which would cost more in gas, but even then it might not be as much as you think, as it often cuts out a lot of zig-zagging up and down the country to different areas. If you are in the USA for 6-8 weeks you are going to have to eat and sleep wherever you are, so I can't see how that would add to your living costs ? [ie. You wouldn't need more time] And flights in and out of NY from London would be cheaper.

    Edit] I see Michael answered while I was still typing.

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

    Default

    Gasoline costs per mile here are a fraction of what they are in the UK. Figure out how many extra miles you would be driving and multiply that by $0.15. That's a decent average figure, it could be as low as $0.10 and will not likely be more than $0.15 unless gas prices take a sharp spike upward and/or you rent a large vehicle that gets poor gas mileage. Balance that against the extra cost of a one way rental and the difference in airfare.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HenryLovatt View Post
    But wouldn't gas, living costs, food etc for a full loop come out to much more than the one way rental costs for a car?
    Perhaps I'm reading this question a bit differently than everyone else, but.....one way rental costs and one way drop off costs are two different things. A drop-off cost/fee is often invoked when you drop off a car in a different city than where you rented it (i.e. rent in Boston, drop it off in LA). These fees can be anywhere from $0 to $500-750. That is above and beyond the cost of renting the car itself. The fee is used to get the rental car back to its original spot, in the event that there is no one going the other direction to get the car back.


    Donna

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