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  1. Default Our first USA road trip!

    Hi Guys, been visiting and using the site for a while now and it has been so helpful. Got lots of great tips and ideas for our upcoming roadtrip.

    We are from Scotland and will be on business in Dallas next month. Only been to the U.S. once before (Orlando) but didn't have time for a roadtrip. Disneyland was as far as we got, lol. But I knew I had to come back, so this time we have set aside a weeks vacation after our business trip to go exploring a wee bit of your great nation.

    The plan is (although not set in stone) is to go Dallas, TX - Tulsa, OK - Branson, MO - Memphis, TN - Mississippi (somewhere) - Louisiana (somewhere) then back to Dallas to fly home.

    So excited about our trip but would welcome any advice or suggestions, even places we should avoid or safety advice for foreigners etc. Maybe you could tell me if we're biting off more than we can chew with this itinerary and the time we have.

    All help is greatly appreciated. :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some of What's There

    Ceud mle filte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Whether or not your itinerary is "biting off more than [you] can chew" is entirely up to you. I will note for your consideration that you what you've outlined will take about three days worth of driving, leaving you about four days worth of time to see the sites you'll be driving to. I assume you know what you want to do in Tulsa, Branson and Memphis as those are not your standard foreign tourist draws and will instead try to help you out on the Memphis back to Dallas portion which seems a bit less certain. I'll suggest a couple of things. If the reason that you're going to Memphis is to visit Graceland, then you might enjoy heading from Memphis to Tupelo MS and checking out the other end of Elvis' life. I would suggest that you go to Tupelo in any case and use the Natchez Trace Parkway to explore a bit of Mississippi's beauty and history. As its name implies, this road would take you down to Natchez, a lovely old southern town with some antebellum plantations homes open to tours. Finally, for Louisiana, take a look at just following the Red River from Alexandria back up to Shreveport on US-71 and/or LA-1 at a pace dictated by whatever time you still have left to you and checking out the natural beauty of Kisatchie National Forest and Saline Bayou National Wild and Scenic River.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Your automobile club membership.

    Are you a member of your local automobile club? If you are, ask if they have a reciprocal arrangement with the AAA. Most clubs worldwide have, especially english speaking clubs. If you take your membership with you, you can visit the AAA in Dallas, soon after your arrival and get free maps of all the States you plan to visit. .

    Spend some time studying these. They have many of the attractions and points of interest marked on them. You may see some not mentioned above which are of interest to you. Besides, good paper maps are essential when on the road. It is not wise to rely solely on your electronics.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    Tapadh leat guys.

    Yes AZBuck, I'm visiting friends in Tulsa, then Silver Dollar city in Branson and onto Gracelands in Memphis. After that was when our itinerary was pretty open. The Natchez Trace Parkway sounds interesting, I like historic sites so we might head down that way. I was thinking about visiting Vicksburg, which looks like it has some interesting Civil War sites, so it ties in with that.

    I am a member of the AA here in the UK Lifey, will I find AAA at the airport? We have a GPS booked but I never thought of getting some paper maps. Cheers.

    The Covenanter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Paper Maps are an absolute must when planning a trip. GPS is a nice tool, but using it as your primary way to navigate can really cause you some problems. You should really know the routes you want to take first (using a map), and then use the GPS to help you follow them. People who have put their blind trust in a GPS have frequently wound up in the wrong spot, and in some cases, potentially deadly situations.

    AAA is not right at the airport, but looking at google maps, there are a few locations near the airport. However, you might be able to get them from AA before you even leave - it's at least worth checking.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    How much is the rental agency charging for the GPS rental? If you have a GPS at home, it may be cheaper to buy US maps for it, or even buy one over here preloaded from Walmart or similar. Walmart also sells the Rand McNally road atlas, which you should get.

  7. Default

    I will check, see what they say. But I think I will definitely arm myself with some decent maps before I set off, just to be on the safe side. :)

    I will check the GPs price, not sure what they are charging me?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    You won't even need a GPS if you have an Android smartphone, they have GPS and Google Maps, that's all I use. If it's an unlocked phone, you can buy a prepaid SIM card over here from AT&T or T-Mobile to avoid roaming charges.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Getting maps.

    AA does have a reciprocal arrangement with AAA, so you will be able to get the maps there. From what I know, the AA branches do not stock the detailed maps of each US State.

    Having experienced some frightening moments with the gps, as described by Michael above, I have not used one for almost a year. My maps keep me much more alert and focused. It is far too easy, too tempting to rely on watching/listening to the gps.

    Each trip in the US I travel with my free AAA maps, a Rand McNally road atlas and wherever I can, I pick up free State issued maps. Often I find a feature on one map, which is not on the other two. The Rand McNally becomes my trip souvenir - each night I hilight the roads on which I travelled that day.

    You may find that purchasing a gps will be cheaper than including it in your rental.

    Lifey

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