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  1. Default Little time so much to do


    I am a 22 year old who is trying to plan a 6 week road trip covering all of december and half of january. I am meeting my friend in LAX and would love to do a roadtrip from west coast to east coast so we could both end the roadtrip in NYC. We would rent a car at LAX that we can then drop off in NYC. Now I have quite some family living in the US which means I would love to be able to fit them all in our road trip.

    The states or cities we would love to see are California (LA, Sacramento, San Fransisco), Arizona (Phoenix), Washington (family in Seattle), South Dakota (family in Rapid City), Illinois (Chicago), Florida (family in Orlando) and last but definitely not least New York.

    This is quite the trip, especially for 6 weeks. So my biggest question is: Is this possible? If yes, that would be amazing. If no, no problem but what might be a better route?

    Because we're only 22 I would also love some advice on no too expensive hotels. It doesn't have to be hotels, we would love some fun B&B's or any fun, unique places to stay the night.

    Because my friend is a good piano player and sports fan I was wondering if anyone knows some fun music-piano/sports related places/museums/events in any of these states.

    I think I covered pretty much all of the topics I'm still struggling with (pretty much everything). All tips are welcome!

    Thank you!

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

    Default yes, but....

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    With 6 weeks, it certainly is possible to visit all the places you have friends and family. However, that does involve a lot of zig-zagging, and adding a lot of extra miles. It also involves a lot of driving in the Northern Tier of the US in the middle of the winter - where a lot of the attractions and things you might want to see will be closed. I would think about if seeing your friends/family are your top priority, and if its worth it to add all the extra miles to see all of them, or if you have other things you'd like to do with your time.

    As far as costs, you should be aware that traveling as a 22 year old is going to mean an expensive car rental, something that is going to be even more expensive if doing a one-way rental across country. An extra driver is also going to mean extra fees.

    Budget motels will generally cost you around $50 a night. B&B's in the US are generally more geared towards romantic getaways than cheap lodging.

    There are tons of possible music/sports/museum attractions, because right now, you've got a trip that could quite literally include 48 States. Until you've got things narrowed down a bit more about the specific places you're sure you want to go, and what things - other than family - you want to see, it's going to be hard to give much for specific recommendations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Michael has made several points. Renting a car, when you're under 25, costs about $25 extra PER DAY, PER DRIVER -- so with two of you unrelated people, that would be $50 extra per day. Then, if you drop the car in a different place from where you picked it up, it can cost between $500 and $750 for a one-way fee. You may be able to get a deal from an overseas consolidator (assuming you are from Europe) such as, which may waive such fees. But not always!

    Motels can be found for $50, and in mid-winter in the north, may be even less. However, zig-zagging all over the country will cost more in terms of fuel. So if money is tight, plan accordingly.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A round trip ?

    You could get rid of the need and expense of a one way rental by doing a round trip instead of finishing in NY. This probably wouldn't add as many extra miles as you might think considering the places you want to visit. Insteading of Zig-zagging all over the country simply head north through SF, Sacramento and Seattle, east through the Dakotas to Chicago and New york before heading south to Florida and west through AZ back to LA.

  5. Default

    I am a 22 year old
    Problem - young driver car rental surcharge, as previous posters have mentioned.

    > all of december and half of january
    Problem - winter in the north and in the mountains is severe, roads are liable to temporary closures (some roads are closed all winter), accidents are common, and it's generally a totally unpleasant experience (take a look at some of the trucking vlogs on YouTube for winter months to see just how bad it is). So IMHO stay south as much as possible and only start heading north when you're east of the Appalachians. That obviously limits your options, so you might want to consider exploring less well known places such as Big Bend National Park in Texas, as well as obvious options such as New Orleans and Florida.

    > I would also love some advice on not too expensive hotels.
    The obvious possibilities are the Motel 6 and Super 8 chains (safe, clean, comfortable and inexpensive - but Motel 6 is somewhat basic), and independent family run "mom and pop" motels, but standards vary with the latter and pre-booking is risky - you can view the exterior with StreetView but that might not tell the whole story.

    > would love some fun B&B's
    If you're from Britain, B&B's in the USA are totally different. They're expensive "boutique" establishments, definitely not a cheap option. Apologies if you're from the USA and know that, and prefer it - no probs, I'm just trying to explain the difference.

    If you haven't already done so, check where the places are on a map and the distances between them.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 05-14-2014 at 04:28 AM. Reason: Fixed quote format and added white space for easier reading.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A loop makes sense.

    Dave's suggestion would be mine as well. The mileage will not be that much different but saving the one way drop fee will be significant. I have heard of one way drop fees accross country running into four digits. The only thing you will need to keep in mind is that you won't want your car in NYC. There are however, places in NJ where you would be able to park it for a few days.

    You don't say from where you hail, but if it is Europe shop around the consolidators for car rental. I believe there are several serving the European market. See what deals you can come up with. It is by no means hopeless at this stage.... despite your age.

    If after a loop trip you need to fly back to NYC, it is likely to cost less than the one way drop fee.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I have to say, I completely agree with Dave, and I'm not quite sure why I didn't mention it myself. Since you have places you want to see in all 4 corners of the US, doing a big loop really does make much more sense than trying to drive one-way from LA to NYC.

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