Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1

    Default Road Trip from Miami to Los Angeles via detour San Francisco

    Hi all,

    Me and my boyfriend are flying to the states in May and plan on doing a road trip from Miami to Los Angeles. I have family in Miami that I really want to visit, but also friends in California, so I figured this would be a great way of visiting everyone and get to see the most during our 1 month stay. Now we do land in Los Angeles on May 5th and probably stay there for 2 days or so and then fly to Miami. I would love to spend at least 5 days in San Francisco before driving down back to LA where our flight departs on June 5th going back to Australia.

    I would greatly appreciate any tips on accommodation etc along our route (see map link below) and if it's actually possible to do the whole trip with the time that we have or if it's a bit of a stretch. :)

    Oh and also...if you have any suggestions on rental car providers that are not ridiculously expensive (due to one-way drop fees) and how to drive on toll roads without worrying about paying (especially crossing states etc).

    I am so unbelievably excited I could leave right now :D.

    Thanks for your help.

    https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=M...,22,23&t=m&z=7

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some Info That Should Help

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your route back from Miami to Los Angeles via San Francisco is all well and good with one significant caveat. You have yourselves heading up US-395 from Las Vegas and then over Tioga Pass (CA-120) through Yosemite National Park. However, it is only a 50/50 proposition that the road will be open in May, so you need to be prepared to either drive in some snowy mountain conditions or to go around the Sierra Nevada to the south and west. The latter means coming within about 50 miles of Los Angeles on your way to San Francisco.

    Accommodations are nearly ubiquitous in the US, certainly along the major Interstate Highways, and will not be anywhere near capacity in the spring. You can travel without reservations except in cases where you plan to stay in or very near a major attraction or national park.

    As far as car rental firms in the US, the Big Two, Hertz and Avis, tend to be a bit higher in price, but have the most locations and are more likely to have cars available for one-way drives - at a cost. Some of the many other national brands include National, Alamo, Dollar, Enterprise, Budget and Thrifty. But there aren't really as many companies as that list implies. Hertz owns Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty. Avis owns Avis, Budget and Payless, Enterprise owns Enterprise, National and Alamo. The different brands are simply aimed at different customers. You should also check to see if there is a local consolidator in Australia who can set up the rental for you. Such outfits can often get the one-way drop-off fee waived.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,269

    Default

    You won't have tolls to worry about once you get out of Florida. Even there, you can pay cash everywhere except on the Turnpike in Miami-Dade County. I see you are taking I-95 north to Orlando instead of the Turnpike, wise choice to avoid a majority of tolls. The only other tolls you will encounter will be the bridges around SF, the only one that doesn't accept cash is the Golden Gate. However, I believe tolls for the GG can be prepaid somehow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Cheap car rentals.

    Are you looking at visiting the Kennedy Space Centre. Well worth it. However, it does take time, and for that reason, when you buy a ticket it is valid for two days. Be aware that the road from Cape Canarveral to Orlando is a toll road. A few years ago that was still cash. Not sure if that has changed.

    Along the Gulf Coast, between C and D on your map, you may like to pick up route 90, which is a lovely road along the beach and through the smaller towns.

    For car rental, check out Auto Europe car rentals. One of the Aussie members here used them and was very satisfied with the service and savings achieved. You might find this thread useful.

    Lifey

  5. #5

    Default

    Thank you so much for all the good advise...I didn't actually realise that I might still have to battle against snowy mountains :), just took the detour through the national parks as I thought it would be more interesting/fun than going up Hwy 99... what about the Mono Way ( 108)...is that a better option?

    Rental car wise I found Alamo and Europcar to be the cheapest as per internet serach, but was hoping to just get that organised once I'm there as we don't have the exact dates yet on when we will be in San Francisco and probably won't know until we are actually on the road and getting closer. Anyway...I'm sure I can sort that one out somehow :).

    Thanks again

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    You won't have tolls to worry about once you get out of Florida. Even there, you can pay cash everywhere except on the Turnpike in Miami-Dade County. I see you are taking I-95 north to Orlando instead of the Turnpike, wise choice to avoid a majority of tolls. The only other tolls you will encounter will be the bridges around SF, the only one that doesn't accept cash is the Golden Gate. However, I believe tolls for the GG can be prepaid somehow.
    Thank you for the advise...wasn't sure how it works in the states as it is a fairly simple process of getting an eToll pass here in Australia and than you're good to go :).

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

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by biancahro View Post
    Rental car wise I found Alamo and Europcar to be the cheapest as per internet serach, but was hoping to just get that organised once I'm there as we don't have the exact dates yet on when we will be in San Francisco and probably won't know until we are actually on the road and getting closer. Anyway...I'm sure I can sort that one out somehow :).
    I certainly wouldn't wait to reserve a car rental until you arrive. You'll almost always get a much better rate reserving in advance, and most of the time, you don't have to put any money down to hold a car rental reservation (although you might have to with a 3rd party consolidator like auto europe).

    Why would your arrival date in SF matter? It sounds like you'll be driving back down to LA, right? While SF isn't a city where you need a car, you'll almost certainly get a much better rental rate by renting 1 car for your entire drive from Miami to LA, even if it is parked for much of your time in SF.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Why would your arrival date in SF matter? It sounds like you'll be driving back down to LA, right? While SF isn't a city where you need a car, you'll almost certainly get a much better rental rate by renting 1 car for your entire drive from Miami to LA, even if it is parked for much of your time in SF.
    It's just because my boyfriend wants to rent a Mustang or some other nice Convertible for the drive from San Francisco down to LA :p (and I'm willing to grant him that one wish)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,747

    Default

    If you know when you are leaving SF to still have time to drive the coast and catch your flight then that would be the ideal time to pick up your rental, or perhaps a day or two before if you want to drive over the Golden Gate bridge etc. I guess what I am saying is that with a flight to catch it'll be easier to work out a departure date from SF than an arrival date. Plus if you are renting a one way rental from Miami they will want to know the drop off date or else you could face extra charges for late drop off. Almost all the mainstream rental companies rent out a class of car, not a specific make and model and it would be in their hands as to what convertible you end up with. Rentalcars.com usually have some pretty good deals.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,269

    Default

    Each state here has their own e-toll system, there's nothing nationwide. The closest to this is EZ-Pass, which only works in about 15 states, mostly in the northeast. There are still plenty of states that have no tolls at all. Some of our toll systems are on the license plate system if you don't have a transponder, if you try to do this the rental company will hit you with a hefty surcharge when they get the bill. This WILL be the case on the Golden Gate Bridge unless you make a one-time payment.

    Making a One-Time Payment is exactly what it sounds like: you make your toll payment, one payment at a time. One-Time Payments are suggested for drivers who infrequently cross the Golden Gate Bridge, for visitors travel in their own vehicles from out of the area, out-of-state, out-of the country, and for customers that want to pay using cash. One-Time Payments can be made up to 30 days before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge or within 48 hours after (if traveling in a rental car, payment must be made BEFORE crossing) and can be made using a credit card or cash/check/money order. There are no extra fees when you make a One-Time Payment.

    Online using a credit card: www.bayareafastrak.org.
    By phone using a credit card: Toll free 877-BAY-TOLL (877-229-8655), outside California at 415-486-TOLL (415-486-8655). Click here for hours of operation.
    In person using cash: At a Cash Payment Location.
    In person using cash/check/money order or credit card: Bay Area FasTrak Customer Service Center, 475 The Embarcadero (at Broadway), San Francisco, CA. Click here for hours of operation.

Similar Threads

  1. Road Trip - Miami to Los Angeles
    By Benji in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-30-2011, 09:58 PM
  2. Road trip 2010, Miami to Los Angeles, drawing board stage
    By GalaxyRanger in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-25-2009, 07:09 AM
  3. Road Trip Miami to San Francisco
    By ruddtim in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-05-2008, 02:50 PM
  4. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 10-19-2002, 12:19 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES