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  1. Default Never Road Tripped... Advice Please :)

    Hi :) My partner and I are Australian and have never been to the US. Were thinking of Hiring and RV and travelling from New York to San Diego. We honestly don't know much about anything so just trying to start the planning and researching. Can anyone suggest best times of year, RV companies, camping rules, Visas anything really :) we have a list of all the places we want to see but no idea the mileage or how long it will take. Winging it may not be the smartest idea :) also if anyone can recommend good maps and where online I can order them. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default To help get you started.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    One common thing here is that there is no single 'best' of anything as the road trip is a personal and unique experience to each individual with differing tastes, that's what seperates them from a pre planned tour organised by a travel agent. To get you started I would recommend you research by simply reading around the forums [the Roadtrip field reports section shares other members experiences] and searching the tool bars above for planning tips, routes and maps etc.

    Now an RV can be a wonderful 'Lifestyle' choice but it's very rarely a budget friendly choice in the USA unless there is a big group of adults sharing the cost. A one way trip across country will almost certainly mean you will have to pay a huge one way drop off fee and your flights will cost more. This makes a round trip more desirable for many. You would also need to use a major rental company that has offices in both City's, those such as Cruise America, El Monte and Roadbear. With a search others will come up and you can compare costs but make sure you get a bottom line figure and not just the highlighted daily rental cost. Extra's include [significant] mileage charges, prep fees, bedding and kitchen kits, possible insurance [some include it], generator use and as mentioned the one way drop off fee. On top of that you will have campground fees and high gas consumption, as little as 9-10mpg. You can't just pull up by the side of the road and set up camp, you would be breaking the law or trespassing a majority of the time. Free camping, known as 'Boondocking' can be hard to find and way off track but you could use truck stops and Walmarts etc to get some sleep with the managers permission, but that would not be camping a such, just a place to sleep in your vehicle, no BBQ's or setting out your chairs etc. A car and Motels for two would certainly be cheaper. You say you have a list of places you want to go but untill we know where they are, it's impossible to say how much time you would need, how many miles it would be and what would be regarded as the best time of year to travel. My personal favourite time is September into October when the big crowds have gone, the desert heat is bearable and the mountains are still accessable in general. You will be allowed up to 90 days on a visitors Visa which is quite straightforward, [ESTA program] but beyond that things get trickier. Maps can be ordered in the RTA 'Shop' in the tool bar above, or you could probably buy them locally in good bookstores. If you are a member of a motoring organisation they should also be able to provide them.

    Have a look around and gather more info and keep asking questions 'as' and 'when'. Enjoy the planning, it's a big part of the whole road trip experience.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Starting with the basics.

    you don't say when this trip is to take place.

    By far the best thing you could do right now is to get a good wall sized map of the US - I prefer the National Geographic Map, for all the detail it has - and get a good idea of where everything is. Use post-it notes to locate all the places on your list so far. As Dave mentioned, it is nearly always more economical in every way to do a loop trip, rather than a cross country trip. It saves on rental and flight costs. See where the places you already have are, and see what route they show you. Use the map centre on the green bar above to figure out the distances and total mileage.

    If this trip is still some time off, you may like to get hold of a Rand McNally Road Atlas (probably the most used in the States). This will give you details of everything in all the States in one book (not quite as detailed as the Melway or Sydway).

    Follow the advice given above. Especially seriously consider whether an RV is the vehicle for you... other than the 'romance' of it. Only yesterday I was told by a relative that they wanted to do the American thing and travel across country in an RV. That is a perception which is not really reality. The majority of folk travel by conventional passenger car and stay in hotels/motels.

    Some things I have found very useful on my trips is having an Australian flag in the rear window of the vehicle. Let them know you are not a local. Bring your automobile club (RACV, NRMA etc.) membership with you. That will entitle you to free maps and tourism information from the AAA - the local clubs. And a box with small souvenirs (pens, keyrings, fridge magnets, post cards, etc.) to share with folk one meets along the way.


    edit:- added the link for a USAmap. I have the larger one, and find it most helpful in getting an understanding of what is where and how far things are from one another.
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 09-14-2014 at 06:10 PM. Reason: added infor

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