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  1. Default Round Trip - LA to Boston

    Hi Everyone,

    Am so thrilled to have found this forum site!

    My partner and I are planning to go to USA for the first time from Sydney Australia in July 2015 for our 5 year anniversary! I have always wanted to road trip around USA as I find the whole country interesting and you see more when you travel by car.

    I originally planned on flying to LA getting a hire car and driving to New York or Boston and fly home from there but have found that airfares are almost double if not a direct return and the drop off charge from the rental company (we are 22 and already paying a lot). So have thought well maybe we do a circle to end back at LA to fly home.

    The main places I want to go to is in order of route:
    San Francisco
    Salt Lake City
    Kansas City
    New York
    Las Vegas

    I guess my main questions are: Is this even possible? How long should I allow for the whole trip? (I was thinking 3 weeks to 1 month) and how much spending/living/accommodation money should we bring so we know how much to save? ( I have no idea!!)

    Any thoughts and help would be much appreciated!

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    First recommendation - reverse the direction of the trip so you are traveling south along the west coast from Seattle to LA. This will put the scenic pullouts on your side of the road - remember we drive on the RIGHT side here.

    Now, for some possibly bad news. Just to drive from point to point using fastest routes is approximately 8200 miles. Driving 500 miles a day, which will eat up at least 8 hours, will take at least 16 days. You will need at LEAST a month, more would be a lot better.

    It looks like you are being very city-centric. To see some of our national parks and natural wonders will eat up your time really quickly.

    For fuel costs, the average rental car at today's fuel prices will burn through about $1200 by the time you get done.
    For lodging, figure an average of at least $75 a night, figure $100 to be safe.
    For food, $30 to $50 a day per person should cover 1 good restaurant meal a day with fast food the rest of the day.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Certainly such a trip is very possible. I would say, I'd recommend trying to get at least a full month for a loop of the entire US. It takes roughly a week, each way, to drive from coast to coast, but that's before you factor in zig-zagging north and south.

    I will say after looking at your list of destination, there is so much more to the US than just cities. I would strongly recommend you spend some time looking into the natural wonders that you can't find any where else on the planet, especially within the national parks.

    As far as costs, that depends on a ton of variables in terms of where you'll stay, what you'll eat, what you're planning for entertainment, etc. A very rough average number is $100 per person, per day, but you could actually do the trip for less, or much more, depending upon how you approach your trip.

  4. Default

    Thank you for your replies!!

    I've only chosen the cities because I have heard of them but our main attraction is food and we want to try all American foods! Any suggestions on a route for this?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default For your first trip....

    May I suggest you have a re-think. You are really not doing yourself a favour trying to cover all of the States in one trip. And yes, I can assure you...there will be more trips. Why not fly in and out of LA for this trip, and into Boston or NYC next time.

    You could have a trip of a lifetime spending a month in the south west. Otherwise much of your time will be spent looking through the windscreen, and not experiencing the places you are visiting.

    Consider making a loop encompassing LA, Pheonix, LV. SLC, SF, and back to LA. This would allow you to experience great cities, as well as some of the most spectacular scenery on earth... the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Canyonlands and Arches, Bryce and Zion, Death Valley and Yosemite National Parks, as well as the stunning routes between each. and finally drive the Pacific Coast Highway from SF back to LA.

    Right now to help you plan and get some understanding of the land, the best thing you could do is get yourself a good wall sized map of the USA. I particularly like the National Geographic Map for the detail it gives. Then you might consider purchasing a Rand McNally Road Atlas, which will give you even more detail of what there is to see and do..

    As an anniversary trip, something like I have outlined will give you quality time in both cities and the spectacular scenery of the west.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Less is More

    As you have outlined your RoadTrip, you'd need to drive over 8,000 miles just to connect the dots. And that's before you take the inevitable detours and side trips to get to those venues that aren't exactly on the highway. Just driving the most efficient route between your way points would take a minimum of two solid weeks of doing nothing but driving, pretty much all day, every day. That doesn't leave you a whole lot of time to actually get out of the car to see or experience anything. So ask yourselves: What would you rather do, burn gas or enjoy America?

    So, first some suggestions on what to cut. Just taking Seattle out of your itinerary saves you nearly a thousand miles or two full days of driving! By the same token, if you were to drop San Francisco and Boston and instead head northeast directly from Los Angeles and cut out a lot of congested urban driving in the northeastern US, you could also save quite a bit of driving while simultaneously adding some of the great red rock national parks of southern Utah. Remember, no matter what, you will have to drive a fair bit farther than any simple computer based mapping routine is going to indicate based simply on computing point-to-point distances from your itinerary. As an example: You are going to visit the Grand Canyon, no? That will add another 250 miles. So you should be seriously looking for places where you can make major cuts at this point so that you have time to enjoy the places you do decide are priorities.

    As for costs, that is a bit up to you. When my wife and I travel together, we use a rule-of-thumb of $150-200 day for everything that is not a separate fixed cost. So that number includes lodging, meals, gas, and admissions. It does not include airfare or car rental costs. We tend to travel in a moderate style, not fancy but not low-end either. So you can adjust that a bit to suit your own tastes and budget. Gas is currently relatively cheap, but it could easily increase in cost by 25-50% or more on very little notice. So as a rough target, I'd say you would need around $5000 PLUS the cost of airfare and car rental. Again, cutting back on miles and days is the easiest way to keep costs down.


  7. Default

    Thank you all for your input..

    I suppose the way we see this is that we wanted to make this the best trip ever and go everywhere we wanted because when we get back we will be saving, getting married, buying a house and starting a family.. So to us, this will be the only time we will have enough money to do this with no responsibilities..

    In saying that though, I do understand it is not realistic but hey thats just me, I always have big ideas.. So this is now what I am thinking: We will spend 3 weeks exploring the west doing a loop from LA and hopefully be able to travel as far as Texas as I really want to go there! Do you have any route suggestions for this? My quick thought is:

    San Diego
    Oklahoma City
    Grand Canyon
    Las Vegas

    As for costs, my rough estimate would be:
    Flights Syd to LA Return - $3000
    Car Hire - $2000
    Gas - No idea so will have $1000
    Accommodation at an average of $100 per night for 20 nights- $2000
    Food at an average of $150 per day for 2 people - $3150 (we are foodies..)
    Attractions, Shopping, anything that might pop up - $2000
    Total - $13150 to be safe.. (is this enough?)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    That cuts it down to about 4000 miles, gas shouldn't be any more than $600. $75 a day per person for food is very extravagant, I doubt you could spend that much without gaining 20 pounds in 20 days. You should be able to rent a car for about $1200.

    I really think you should look at getting in a few of the southern Utah parks, Death Valley, Yosemite, and a drive down the coast. I would give up Houston and OKC in a heartbeat for that.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Flights Syd to LA Return - $3000
    I hope that is for the two of you? I always get my flights for well under $1500.


  10. Default

    Haha yes that's for 2 lifey..

    As for the national parks, I'm a little worried because I am disabled which makes my walking restricted so I don't know if id be able to fully explore them without being in pain...

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