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  1. Default Planning a trip next summer

    First of all, hi guys! Me and my friends, all 21 and from the UK are planning a month and a half long trip from California to Florida to New York with a route roughly of San Fran -> Santa Barbara -> LA -> San Diego -> Las Vegas -> New Orleans -> Orlando -> Miami -> New York.

    We will travel round with a combination of greyhound buses and internal flights for the longer journeys. We have worked out if we book it soon we will need roughly £1000 for travel alone. I have a few questions. Would this be the best way to do this route? And is it possible in a month and a half? And finally, I know It's hard to say, but roughly how much money do you think we'd need for the month and a half we are there? We previously visited australia and New Zealand so learnt to budget there, but ofcourse we will leave room to spend a bit more on nights out etc but there won't be too many of those. Thanks in advanced for your help,

    Last edited by Duality9294; 07-21-2014 at 06:19 AM. Reason: Forgot to include she

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


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I will warn you that bus travel is really not an ideal way to get around the US. You'll be dealing with long travel times, many times bus depots are not located in desirable parts of cities, public transit within cities is often very limiting, and there are many places where you simply will not be able to get to outside of cities -especially natural wonders like National Parks. If you want to see the amazing, unique, places that the US has to offer beyond major cities - places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Pacific Coast Highway, just to name a few near your route - it will be tough going by bus.

    Having said that, I'm not sure what exactly you are asking when you say "would this be the best way to do this route? What kind of information are you looking for.

    It certainly should be possible to do this trip in a month and a half, but even a rough estimate of costs is tough because it depends upon how you are traveling, and how many people you will be traveling with. Budget motels generally start around $50 a night, but without a car, you'll generally need to stay in downtown locations within the major cities you are looking at, and that could drive that cost up much closer to $100 a night. Food, I'd estimate $25 per person, per day, assuming you'll have to do much of your eating from restaurants, and won't be able to cook much for yourself.

  3. Default

    Hi, thanks for the quick response!

    Yeah that was my worry about bus travel. And by "is this the best way to do it" I mean would it be better to rent/buy a car and drive instead? That would mean more freedom ofcourse, but I worry it would be extremely costly. There are 4 of us in total so we could split all costs.

    Is the cost of renting high? And would this be too far a drive for 4 of us in that period of Time? Cheers,

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Buying a car, for a foreigner, is not a viable option. It takes awhile to buy and then sell, what you'll get for an affordable price will probably not survive a 2 month trip, and the headaches of registering and insuring it when you're a non-resident is major.

    Renting is easier, cheaper, and if you can use an overseas consolidator, they may be able to waive two expensive fees that you will incur: under-25-years-old (often $25/per day per driver), and a one-way drop off fee. To get around the latter, try to make your trip a loop where you start and end in the same city.

    Driving a car will allow you to go where you want to go, when you want to go. Buses and airlines don't give you that luxury. Then too, you're talking to a bunch of road-trip enthusiasts -- this is our preferred method of travel.


  5. Default

    Thanks Donna, I am being quickly convinced towards renting a car. My only worry is that from Vegas there is a huge drive to New Orleans, but I suppose the car would give us a chance to stop off at more places in between, seeing more than we would the other way.

    Would this huge trip be achievable in a month and a half?

  6. Default

    Sorry for the double post but I had a thought, we could fly to San Francisco, rent a car and drive down to San Diego through Santa Barbara and LA, then drive to Vegas and then fly to Miami, drive to Orlando and New Orleans then fly to New York? That is, if internal flights are reasonably priced?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Every time you rent a car in one city and drop it off in another one, you'll incur a one-way fee, often times around $500. Do that more than once and it adds up. That's why we always recommend loop trips.

    It is entirely possible to drive the country and sight-see in 6 weeks. My husband and I have done that several times. We are just completing a trip that was slightly over 7 weeks, though it could have easily been done in just over 5, since we stopped to visit family in 5 different places. This is the latest trip. Also, Here is one, two years ago. If you poke around the Trip Reports forum, you'll find other people's trip reports.

    Budget will be your biggest issue, and often is the biggest deterrent. The other issue we find has to do with your travel companions. Make sure you are really up to seeing the same things, build in some time to separate (going off for an afternoon separately). Decide what you are going to do if someone drops out of the trip before it even starts (as often happens), because if you are planning to split the costs of everything, it will affect everyone's budget.

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 07-21-2014 at 08:31 AM. Reason: grammar

  8. Default

    I see, thank you so much for your help! We are going to attempt to do some sort of loop system so we avoid those charges, and mix in renting a car with maybe one flight for a huge journey I.e up to New York.

    Thank you I will look at some of those trip reports now! And yes, budget is what I worry about, simply because there isn't really much guidance for this anywhere I have looked because everyone varies.

    Again thank you for your help!,


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Start on east coast for cheaper flights.

    You will find flights into NY a lot cheaper than flights to SF from the UK, simply put, it's a lot closer than the west coast. From NY you could do a complete loop of the US within 6 weeks quite comfortably and see many sights that you would otherwise miss by bus or plane. The biggest issue with renting will be the young drivers fee which is applicable to each individual driver who wishes to drive and not one fee for all of you.

    You need to check all your options and what the costs will be and see what you can afford. To be honest if I could afford 3 weeks with a car, doing a smaller loop or, 6 weeks on buses and planes etc trying to see a lot, I would take the 3 weeks everytime. You will see and experience much, much more with a car and having the ability to go where you want. Sometimes less is more. Skipping from City to City means that, well you will only experience one city after another. ;-)

  10. Default

    We will maybe think about flying into New York instead then. Thanks Michael, also is there a way to get round these fees for young drivers through websites as Donna mentioned earlier?

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