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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Jakarta, Indonesia, Indonesia
    Posts
    6

    Default Clueless Newbie: Road Trip from Chicago to Yellow Stone

    Hi all RTA Forum members,

    My name is Aziz, I am from Indonesia and still clueless about arranging roadtrip in the US.

    My friend and I are planning to go to US on April-May 2015. We are planning to have a roadtrip from May 2-May 11, started from Chicago and if possible, driving to Yellow Stone. Before going back to New York by plane.

    I have lots of questions in my head that anyone of you might be able to help:
    - Is it possible to have Chicago-Yellowstone roadtrip with such time frame?
    - is it possible to use public transportation for such trip?
    - What are the must-see stops along the way? We love anything related to nature and food.
    - What range of budget we need to prepare? We are planing to have a modest budget trip.
    - I also saw that there are numbers of road trip planner services available on the internet, is it something we should consider? If yes, do you know any recommended agent?

    If you have any experience having road trip from Chicago to Yellow Stone, or anywhere with beautiful scenery, please let me know. I believe it will be very helpful for me to arrange the trip.

    Thank you everyone!

    Aziz

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first challenge for your trip is the dates you plan to travel. Yellowstone is just opening up for the season in early May, and most services and lodges, and even some roads, will still be closed. It doesn't mean you can't visit, but it will impact your trip. Make sure to check out the Yellowstone website for what will and what will not be open.

    What is your plan for getting from Yellowstone back to New York? It requires at least 3 days to drive from Chicago to Yellowstone, so if you are thinking of returning to Chicago, you will be a little rushed to do this trip on your timeframe. It's not impossible, but it would likely be easier to do a one way trip, and fly back from someplace like Salt Lake City. You might also consider flying to SLC and do a loop from there, instead of starting from Chicago.

    If you do start from Chicago, one popular option would be to travel via I-90, which goes through South Dakota, where you can explore the badlands and black hills along the way. Of course, you should also consider exploring the Grand Tetons, which are just south of Yellowstone.

    Public transportation would not be a good choice for this trip. You would have very limited options to get to Yellowstone, you would have no ability to pick what you see on the way there, and once you arrive, there wouldn't be any good way for you to get around the park - which is a huge place.

    There are too many variables to discuss budget at this time, because it all depends upon what you do for transportation, what kinds of places you plan to sleep, and what you are going to do for meals. $100 per day per person is a very rough number to start with, but it could go up or down significantly based on how you are actually approaching the trip.

    This forum is focused on helping people build their own trips - based on the idea that what makes a roadtrip great is that you get to decide which places and things look most interesting and are must see to you. The danger of "trip planner services" is that they often build a trip based on a generic list of attractions - or in other words what other people think are must sees, and at that point, you're really losing the freedom that is a big part of the roadtrip experience. That's not to say you can't use such services, Id just make sure they are helping you with the trip you want, and aren't just getting you to do a trip that they've built for dozens of other people.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Jakarta, Indonesia, Indonesia
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Hi Michael!

    Thank you for your kind and insightful reply. Your answer makes me feel like I am on the right place to ask questions.

    - I will check the Yellow Stone website later and see whether it's still a good decision to go there or not.

    - Basically I have free time betweeb May 2-May 11. I will be in Chicago in May 2 and could leave the city on that day and will need to be back to New York in May 11.

    Based on my initial research, one of the best roadtrip from Chicago is to Yellow Stone. My earlier plan was to start my road trip from Chicago-Yellow Stone- SLC. and then fly from SLC to New York.

    Or is it better to fly from Chicago to SLC and then roadtrip from SLC-Yellow Stone-SLC? Then fly back from SLC to NYC.

    What do you think is better with the time frame I have?

    - Do you have another road trip route suggestion beside to go to Yellow Stone from Chicago? Or probably is it better to just take the road trip from Chicago to NYC, take stops in several cities in between?

    If you have any links and suggestions, I would be more than happy to read through.

    Thanks again Michael! You are really helpful.

    Aziz

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    With your time frame, I'd rent a car in Chicago and take a scenic roadtrip to NYC, drop off the car when you get there. You have enough time to take a leisurely trip between the 2 cities, seeing both cities and nature. There will be a one way surcharge for the car, but it shouldn't be too bad.

    You are just a bit too early to fully enjoy Yellowstone but the mountains in the East will be in full spring mode.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Jakarta, Indonesia, Indonesia
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Hi glc,

    Thank you for your suggestion. I will consider that too.

    I will start my research on scenic road trip from Chicago to NYC, however if you have any suggestion on the city and road we need to take, please let us know.

    Thanks!
    Aziz


    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    With your time frame, I'd rent a car in Chicago and take a scenic roadtrip to NYC, drop off the car when you get there. You have enough time to take a leisurely trip between the 2 cities, seeing both cities and nature. There will be a one way surcharge for the car, but it shouldn't be too bad.

    You are just a bit too early to fully enjoy Yellowstone but the mountains in the East will be in full spring mode.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    What would you prefer to see? Are you more into cities, scenery, mountains, small towns?

    The first thing you need to do is get a good paper map of the US and start looking at it for ideas. You have time to go to the Deep South if you want - basically, anything east of the Mississippi River would be doable. When you see something on the map that looks interesting, research it on the Internet. Don't worry about specific routes just yet, that's the last thing you do after deciding exactly what you want to see and do.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Jakarta, Indonesia, Indonesia
    Posts
    6

    Default

    I prefer to see scenery and mountain, small town might be a good addition I guess. Please let me know if you have any recommendations.

    Thanks for your suggestion. Yes I will start to research from seing the map. Noted on the east of Mississippi river.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    One possibility is drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, then take the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive into Virginia, then on to NYC.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Jakarta, Indonesia, Indonesia
    Posts
    6

    Default thank you

    Many many thanks!

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