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  1. Default Roadtrip in July in the US


    My girlfriend and I are organising a road trip in the US. We would like to visit California, Florida and NY and we're considering different options to travel inside the states. Of course, we will fly between those 3 States. We are 24 years old (I'm French and my girlfriend is Australian) and we book one ticket to New York the 22/06 and one return from Los Angeles the 31/07 so we're staying more than a month. We are planning to visit: NY, Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego and the Grand Canyon.

    We're also considering the option of spending 5-6 days in Cuba, so if you have any recommandation about the cheapest way to commute there and from where, they are more than welcomed!

    Could you advise me on different options and your experience with those modes of transport in the US:

    - Car sharing: Zipcar, Car2Go... Is it accessible to non-US residents?

    - Trains: I heard it was expensive and not really convenient, could you confirm?

    - Ride sharing: is there in the US an equivalent to the European BlaBlaCar ?

    - Buses: what are the major bus companies?

    - Car rental: do you know any cheap local car rental companies?

    - Car rental between individuals: is there a startup providing cheaper car rental between individuals?

    I am also looking for cheap accommodations options, do you have any ideas except AirBnB or of cheap options?

    Thanks a lot for your time :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A few answers for you.

    Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Expensive and cheap are relative terms, and do not really convey a price range. What is cheap for one person, may be too expensive for another, and vise versa.

    Addressing your transport questions first. If the cities you mention are your only interests, then train would work. Amtrak services both the east coast, and cross country trips. However, if you are interested in visiting the Grand Canyon and many of the other spectacular NPs, public transport does not really take you there.

    Buses would be a most uncomfortable way to travel cross country, especially if you were not interested in stopping off at intermediate points.

    Rental cars in your case would be expensive in my books. You would both be looking at an under 25 surcharge, as well as a hefty surcharge for dropping a car cross country. However.......

    We have heard from different travellers who have booked their rental vehicles through a consolidator such as etc. That would be your best bet. Sometimes we have heard of getting the one way fee, or the under age fee dropped. Which in your case would make a significant saving.

    Or wait another year until you are both 25!

    I have not heard of the car sharing companies you mention.

    As for accommodation, it is possible to get quite economical hotel/motel accommodation with coupons from the booklet picked up along the road. Coupons are normally only for walkins. It is also worth checking out hostels, as dorm beds for two can be cheaper than a hotel.... but not always. Many hostels also have budget private rooms.

    I do not have any experience with AirBnB, though I hear of others being quite happy with them.

    If you are travelling in July this year, you may be far too late to get accommodation at the Grand Canyon and other national parks. National Park accommodation is limited and much sought after.


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

    Default good thoughts tougher execution

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'll give you a lot of credit for certainly looking at every option to make this trip happen.

    First off, there is no regularly scheduled air service between the US and Cuba. While restrictions are changing, US citizens are still not allowed to visit Cuba as tourists. There are some charter flights that can be available, otherwise, you have to fly via Canada or Mexico, and in any case, don't expect it to be cheap.

    Car sharing: Just doing a quick look, Zipcar does seem like it might work for non-residents, however, I will warn that I have never found these services to be cost-effective, unless you are only doing a lot of short trips within a major city. The reality is that such services are just subsidiaries of major rental car companies, so keep that in mind.

    Trains and buses have their place. Train service, especially on the east coast, can be an good choice, but for cross-country travel it can get very expensive compared to flying. It's no where near as easy and effective as train service in europe. Greyhound is the major cross country bus carrier, although Megabus is a low cost option that focuses on trips between major cities.

    I'd never heard of BlaBlaCar before. It looks like Uber and Lyft are probably the closest thing, but still not quite what you'd be looking for, as the US ride share options aren't focused much on city to city travel.

    Rental cars will probably be your best option. There is no "cheap" company, as they all have different rates based on demand, so it makes sense to compare them all. A few of the smaller companies, like Fox Rent a Car, can have cheaper fees for under 25 drivers, but as Lifey mentioned, often you'll find your best rates by looking at European based consolidators who can sometimes get some of those fees waived or reduced.

    Car rentals between individuals aren't really possible in the US because of insurance and liability concerns.

    Don't discount motels for cheaper places to stay. Budget motels can generally run $50 a night, depending upon the specific area. Considering hostels can be around $25 per person, for 2 people, it's not much different - although hostels are often a cheaper way to stay in the heart of a city. Couchsurfing could be something to consider as well.

  4. Default

    Thank you so much!

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