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  1. Default LA to NYC and back during August-September

    Me and a friend (both guys 24) were thinking flying into LA and doing a 4-5 week road trip from LA to NYC.
    General plan is to start by driving north (maybe reach Seattle) and then head east through the rockies, passing through Chicago and reaching NYC. Then we want to head back through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada before arriving back in LA.
    We are mainly interested in nature and maybe some historic points (so no time needed in the big cities) and we are planning to camp out most of the time and maybe couchsurf to save money as we are on a budget.
    Any ideas for must see? Nice routes along this way? General route changes? Also, and idea what would be the costs assuming we cook are own food and are generaly experienced budget travelers (although not in the US).
    Thanks alot fr all the help,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Items to Start With

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    It's going to be hard, and perhaps pointless, to start giving you specific recommendations this early in such an epic endeavor. The fact is that with a month or so on the road and an itinerary that includes two cross-continent segments pretty much everything is within the scope of your RoadTrip. So, the first step is really up to you, and that is to pick your own "must sees". There really aren't any such generic sites. Everyone's vision of what they absolutely have to include is different.

    You've already got an idea for and a start to your planning in that you have a rough outline for the ground you want to cover. You chose that route for a reason. The obvious next step is to get a large map of the US and start picking out those places that you must see. Usually, just doing that will start to define your trip a lot better than working from somebody else's idea of what they think you should be doing. Yes, there are place you probably should (but not necessarily 'must') see on such a journey like the Pacific Coast, Cascades, Rockies, Yellowstone, Great Lakes, Deep South, Red Rock Country, the Grand Canyon, etc. But again, the final list is up to you.

    Similarly, there are any number of great roads that you can check out. You have the time to get off the Interstates for most of your driving and travel some of the old trans-continental highways like the Lincoln Highway and the Oregon Trail (US-30 roughly), Route-66 (decommissioned, but parts of the old blacktop are still out there), and the like. As you plot the places you plan to visit, keep an eye out for roads marked as scenic (usually with a dashed green line alongside) and try to use those wherever possible.

    Keeping your costs down by camping, eating out of a cooler, and other methods is certainly a way to go. Your best camping values are generally in state parks and national forests - all marked on most good maps. Out west, BLM lands can often be free, if primitive. But as you plan and try to squeeze the most out of your time on the road, also take some time to figure out exactly what you both want out of the trip and set aside some significant time spread throughout your time on the road to just get some alone time away from each other so you don't completely fray each others nerves.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Costs can be exactly what you make it. To keep your gas costs down, choose a reasonable vehicle, not a "gas guzzler". Camping -- national forests, national parks and state parks are all the most reasonable costs for tent camping. AZBuck suggested BLM lands, which are easier found in the western states, but they are usually NOT right on the freeways.

    Food -- the more you can eat out of a cooler and some form of campfire or camp-stove, the cheaper you'll eat (not to mention, healthier). It would be hard to give you an estimate of how much to budget, because a lot will depend on what you buy. Meat is higher priced this year because of issues with weather, and that means both fresh meat as well as canned meat. Fish, OTOH, seems to be better priced (at least in our area). Shopping in an urban area may yield more choice and better prices. From experience, places like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are more expensive than your every-day supermarkets.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Renting a car under the age of 25 is not exactly budget travelling in the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by yarden View Post
    Me and a friend (both guys 24) were thinking flying into LA and doing a 4-5 week road trip from LA to NYC.


    ....what would be the costs assuming we cook are own food and are generaly experienced budget travelers (although not in the US).
    Yarden, will you both still be 24 when you plan to start this trip? If so, be aware that renting a car could be very expensive. You will be up for a hefty under age fee, on top of the rental cost, with most rental companies. That is one fee for each of you for each day. Typically this fee is around $25. Do the maths.

    You do not say from where you will be coming. From time to time we hear of visitors who have rented through one of the European consolidators - such as - that they have been able to have this fee waived.

    If you have not already done so, you might like to look into that before you get too far into planning your route.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Budget, transport.

    If you are planning on visiting a lot of the National parks then you should purchase the annual pass from the first park entry station you visit. It costs $80 for the vehicle and it's occupants and after visiting 4 major NP's would have paid for itself. If you want to camp in the NP's then booking in advance is recommended during the summer months, sites sell out quickly and it might already be too late for this summer. Of course there are other options but it's a great feeling to be there.

    If you are going to be under 25 years old, plan on camping and cooking a lot of the trip then you might want to consider one of these. Note they do not have a young driver surcharge.

    Another way to cut costs is to cut mileage and time if need be. As you seem to be more interested in the outdoors for this trip, you could leave Chicago and NY for another time and spend some real quality time in the west. Although 4-5 weeks is a nice amount of time to have, it soon dissapears in places like Yellowstone and Tetons, Rocky mountains, Black canyon Mesa Verde in Colorado and Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce canyon and Zion NP's in Utah and of course the Grand canyon in AZ.

    Of course you could spend a lot of time heading to Seattle, from the spectacular sections of coastline, to Sequoia, Yosemite and Crater Lake NP's to the Columbia River Gorge. As Buck said, it's pretty much impossible to give meaningful advice on specifics of a trip this size without having a direct question, but as you research different areas and those questions crop up, just ask. Enjoy the planning, it's a fun part of the adventure !
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-24-2014 at 03:22 AM.

  6. Default

    A couple of quick thoughts:

    With a trip like this a lot of people plan a northern route in one direction and a southern route in the other direction - good idea, but don't forget that states "in the middle" such as Utah and western Colorado have a great deal to offer.

    In the east, one way of transitioning north-south or vice versa is with the two great long distance parkways administered by the National Park Service: Natchez Trace and Blue Ridge. Both are free to use and no trucks are permitted on them. Both have numerous exhibits along the way and the BRP has numerous turnouts to admire the fantastic views both east and west.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Another.

    As well as Dave's link to Escape Vans, there is Adventures on Wheels. Their age limit I think, is 23. You might like to check them out as well.


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