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  1. Default 1st time in US: Family Road Trip NY-Boston-Niagra Falls-Idaho

    Finally we are making our long awaited trip to the US in September this year. We plan to fly from Singapore to NY. We are travelling with 2 kids aged 10 & 11 and would like to make the best of the time we have and see whatever we can. My husband has exactly 3 weeks off work. I wonder if a road trip all the way from NY to Mountain Home in Idaho (my sister lives there) is a little crazy so I need as much help as possible.

    Here is a tentative plan:
    NY 4 nights (1 day to get over jet lag)
    NY - Boston 4 nights (to visit a friend)
    Boston - Niagara Falls 3 nights @ Niagara
    Niagara Falls - Chicago 2 nights @ Chicago
    Chicago to Badlands/Mt Rushmore (this is my worry as we probably need a stop along the way) 3 nights
    Badlands to Cody - don't know what is here but it seems a good place to spend the night
    COdy to Yellowstone 3 nights @ Yellowstone
    Yellowstone to Mountain Home Idaho - A few days rest before Hubby flies back to Singapore & I stay with my sister for a couple of weeks before flying home.

    20 days 19 nights for the whole road trip to reach Idaho.

    Please advice if this makes sense at all! We don't want to drive for more than 8 hours as it will be too much for kids & I have a bad back. Is it really worth the drive? We really want to go to Niagara & Yellowstone national park. Is there anyway to do it?

    Where can I find resources of stops along the way & places to stay. Would it be better to rent a car or RV?

    Sorry I have so many questions.

    Appreciate all the help out there!!

  2. Default

    Using a car and motels will almost certainly be significantly less expensive than an RV, although it depends on whether you will want to have a separate motel room for the children. RV rental costs are high, fuel mileages are poor, and the overnight rates for staying in RV parks approach those of budget motels. However, many people feel that the very different lifestyle offered by an RV is worth the additional cost.

    It would be a good idea to delay picking up the car or RV until you leave Boston. Any motor vehicle, especially an RV, is a liability in those cities, and there's a good passenger train service between them (Amtrak's Northeast Corridor).

    I would suggest that you check your daily mileages on a map (Google Maps, etc). In some cases the places that you've listed are too far apart to be travelled between in one day. Therefore you'll need to cut down on your times in the cities a bit.

    In the Yellowstone area, Grand Teton National Park (just south of Yellowstone) is also extremely excellent and well worth a visit. Personally, I would regard that as a much higher priority than Mount Rushmore but that's just my opinion.

    Bear in mind that your husband will probably need to take an internal flight from Boise, Idaho before his long-haul flight.

    BTW I'm just a normal forum member like you, not one of this site's official experts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Nice trip.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You will most certainly need a stop between Chicago and Badlands but that need not be a worry. If you want to keep to around 8 hours of travel then Fairmont MN would be the area to look at for an overnight stay. You should not take the word of a mapping program for accurate travel times, you need to add about 20% to the estimates to allow for real world delays and 'organic' needs such as eating, resting and bathroom visits and to let the Kids run around to let off steam. This means your days will be longer on the road and could be 10 hours plus from Niagara to Chicago.

    As John mentioned, the RV is a lifestyle choice and would be less economical than a family motel room and car rental. It would also be a slower way to travel.

    As a community of Roadtrippers I doubt you will have any one say the drive isn't worth it where ever you go, but getting to Niagara, Yellowstone and Mountain home without driving would be time consuming and expensive. Enjoy the ride, you have a nice amount of time for such a trip. As John also mentioned, the Tetons are quite wonderful, but you should have no problem fitting in a visit by exiting south from Yellowstone late afternoon and staying nearby on night 3 of your Yellowstone visit and look around the park before continuing to Mountain home.

    Pack some layered clothing as September in Yellowstone could see anything weatherwise, from warmth to snow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A little tweaking.

    As already mentioned, you will not want a vehicle in either Boston or NYC. Both places have good public transport, and parking is both hard to find and expensive. The train between the two cities is a comfortable journey.... or you could choose to go by bus. (My choice would be train.)

    Boston to Niagara could be driven in one long day on the Masspike and NYThruway - both toll roads. Or you could choose the scenic route, US20 for all or part of the way. The section between Albany NY and I-81 to Syracuse is full of signs of early European settlement. A lovely, but none the less, slower drive. It would mean a stopover, probably in the region of Rochester. I'm not sure I would devote three days to Niagara. The Falls, river boat ride, walk behind the falls (from the Canadian side) and the Falls from the Canadian side could easily be done in two days or less.

    It would then set you up to drive to Chicago via Canada - a shorter route. The best way to cross back into the US is at the Sarnia / Port Huron crossing. Time will determine your route to Chicago. I-69 to either I-94 or I-96 through Grand Rapids. It is also a cheaper route, as you will avoid all the tolls through the rest of NY and then OH, IN and IL.

    As you indicate, you will need a stopover on the way to Badlands NP. Probably best in western MN or Sioux Falls. Next day you will pass through Mitchell SD where you could make a brief stop at the Corn Palace.

    Even if you only have time for a drive through, Badlands NP would still be most worthwhile. It is a unique landscape. You exit I-90 onto scenic route 240 and return to the I-90 at Wall. This is another one of those places where you gotta stop, even if only briefly. Be sure to pick up your free iced water and your 5c coffee. The children might like the feeding of the dinosaur out the back. The place is full of history, if you can look past the 'tourist trap' part of it.

    Further along, when you head for Cody, if you have time I would highly recommend that you leave I-90 at Ranchester and take Alt US-14 over the Bighorn Mnts, to Cody. A wonderful drive.

    John mentions that he is just a normal member of the forum. Well, we are all normal members, who have driven these roads, visited these places and love to share our experiences with those who follow.

    Have a great trip.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Note that if you decide to enter Canada, you will need to have permission from the rental car company. The tolls may be a lot less but gasoline prices are much higher, fill your tank on the US side before crossing the bridge.

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