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  1. Default East Coast to West Coast

    Hey guys.
    This is my first post, so I apologize in advance if I'm in the wrong section of the forum.
    I have a road trip planned & would greatly appreciate any help or advice.

    I live in England, and this will be my first trip to the states.
    We will be starting in NY & finishing up in California. On the way we'll be visiting NY, Boston, NC, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, Vegas & Cali.
    The idea is to spend a full day & night in NY before moving on, however - the earliest flight we can get is at 13:30 from Manchester airport, flying to Keflavik, 2 hour connection, and then 6 hour flight arriving in NY 19:00 local time. My first question is, what are your experiences of JFK? Like, how long are we looking at it taking us to get out of the airport, providing we land on time having not been delayed on the way?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The first two big cities.

    Hi Dave, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Keeping in mind that the past is in no way indicative of what can happen in the future, I can tell you that the two times I have come through JFK have not left me with any memories of delays or holdups.

    Will you be picking up your car on arrival? You won't want it while in NYC. Difficult and expensive to park. In fact you will not want a car in Boston either. Both NY and Boston have efficient public transport. You could take the train between those two cities and pick up the car when leaving Boston. Do a little search to find out where you can get the best deal on rental cars.


  3. Default

    Thanks very much for your reply 😀

    I'm flying over with a friend, and meeting up with 2 of our friends in NY - one of which will be using his car, so we're not renting.
    If it doesn't take us too long getting out of JFK, we plan to go to a few bars around Times Square once we're checked in at the hotel.

    We're planning on 15 days - which I know is cutting it fine, but my friend is adamant we'll have enough time. He works cross country & is used to driving from state to state. I'm a bit concerned there won't be sufficient time, but he's sure there will be.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Getting out of JFK shouldn't be too bad. I had a layover there after an international flight last summer (ironically also from KEF) and our longest wait was to collect our bags to go through customs. It is a big, chaotic, mess around the baggage claim area and then the wait to get through customs, but the lines moved pretty fast. But keep in mind, it usually takes around an hour to get from JFK to Times Square once you are out of the airport. I'd guess you'd typically be looking at 2-3 hours total from the time your plane lands to get to your hotel, assuming the hotel is in Manhattan.

    15 days is ok for a cross country trip, but your route isn't going to make things any easier. Obviously, Boston is the wrong direction from everything else on your trip, and going down to the Gulf Coast, before heading back up to Vegas again also adds some miles. As it is, you're going to need a good 9-10 full days in the car to cover this route, your time for exploration beyond looking out the window is certainly going to be cut a bit short.

  5. Default

    Yea, Boston doesn't HAVE to be on the list, so I suppose if we took that off, then that would buy us back half a day at least. Seemed silly to me to start in NY, then effectively pass back through it a day later heading down to NC. Tennessee doesn't HAVE to be on the list either, so again, missing that out could buy us some more time back - which will be a bonus.
    Good to hear JFK is pretty fast moving. Just didn't fancy getting stuck there for hours after half a day of traveling lol.

    Out of the list of places I named - which ones would you advise are the MUST SEE ones?

    Your advice is much appreciated too 👍

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I will throw out the warning that my flight arrived late in the morning, so it is possible there would be more flights coming in around the time your flight lands, but I wouldn't see having to wait for hours as being very likely. There will be many others trying to make connecting flights, so if there are major delays, you'd have some very unhappy airlines.

    Cutting out Boston would save you much more than half a day. You need a half day just to drive there from NYC (especially, factoring in the very heavy traffic), so that's a day of driving round trip, plus whatever time you actually spend in the city.

    We don't really believe in "must sees" here, and that's especially true when the only thing you've given us to work with is a list of states. You really need to share more about the places you already know are your personal must sees, along with the kinds of things you hope to see and do along the way.

  7. Default

    My flight will arrive in NY at 7pm - so we'll spend a little time in Manhattan (once we've arrived at the hotel) before we bed down for the night.
    Very early morning rise, then spend the full day & early evening sight-seeing in NY. Then either, set off heading towards NC (and rest stop on the way) or spend another night in NY. Next stop is Smoky Mountains - then onto Louisiana to visit NO.

    Other than that, we don't really have any SPECIFIC sights we'll visit on the rest of the journey. Apart from Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Vegas strip etc.
    We're not going for a while yet, so plenty of time to plan for specific sight-seeing. Any good suggestions based on the route we're taking? Any hidden gems you know of?

    Thanks again for your advice. It's a great help!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would advise against leaving NYC in the evening and driving through the night. Get a good night's sleep and head out bright and early in the AM, before the height of rush hour. Otherwise, your body clocks are going to get screwed up. You CANNOT get good sleep in a moving car.

  9. Default

    Yep, that's probably the wisest option isn't it (staying overnight).
    Each morning will be a very early wake-up, so we can maximize our time spent traveling. I don't wanna waste any time if I can help it.

    I'll be 35 by the time we go - and this trip was originally planned 13 years ago. Then my partner fell pregnant with our eldest, so those plans went to pot lol
    Now I'm finally getting to do it, and I'm lucky to have a partner who is cool with me taking a few weeks out. I'm so excited!!! 😬

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