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  1. Default Washington DC to San Francisco - January 2016

    Hi! I`m an Italian Au Pair in Washington DC, I`m new on this forum so I hope this is the correct way to ask some advice :)
    My year will finish the fifth of January 2016 and I will have 25 days to travel across the USA. My plan is to rent a car from Virginia and across the whole country until San Francisco.
    I`d really like to visit New Orleans, San Antonio, Albuquerque, some National Park in that area, like Gran Canyon and Monument Valley, and then finish my trip to Las Vegas and San Francisco.
    I write you just to know if there are some other interesting places or cities where absolutely I have to stop and if you think we will have enough time to do everything.
    I appreciate every kind of advice and critics.
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    25 days to travel 3000 miles is a nice amount of time -- if you went by the most direct route, it would be 5-6 days of driving, so going via the cities and places you'd like to go to, is definitely possible. However, it will take time. Add in a day here, a day there, a couple of days elsewhere and it will add up.

    What I do is start with a PAPER map -- not the electronic kind -- and circle the places that interest me. I start jotting down where I need to stop (500-600 miles to drive in one day is best), where I want to stop (those places you mentoned, and more), then start planning. I do Day 1-drive from XX to XX, 550 m, overnight hotel, Day 2- drive from XX to XX, 550 mi, 2 nights at hotel. Etc. Make sure to allow time to actually SEE something, such as a full day to day and a half at Grand Canyon, extra day at ABQ to see whatever it is you'd like to do there. Once I reach my 25 day goal, if I am still not at my destination, I know I've got to cut back on something. On the other hand, if I have reached my destination and still have days left, then I know I can add something ( but I go back first and check my mileages). I do use electronic maps, to check mileage.

    That said -- by the stops you've mentioned, you calculate in at about 3600 miles. It's about 1100 miles from DC to NO, so you're talking about a two day drive if you don't stop for anything except an overnight and travel necessities. New Orleans to San Antonio is about a full day's drive, just under 600 miles (but going through Houston). San Antonio to Albuquerque is about a day and a half, at 727 miles. ABQ to the Grand Canyon is 400 miles. GCNP to Las Vegas is a 4 hour drive at 275 miles, and Las Vegas to San Francisco is 2 days if you want to drive through Death Valley, up to Lake Tahoe and over, or 1 day if you want to avoid Death Valley Natl Park and swing south of the Sierras and over to I-5. So there is almost 9 days of just driving there. That leaves you 16 days for sightseeing.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default So many options !

    There is just so much to see and do and with almost a month available you can choose from thousands of possibilities. You should certainly research your options and see what appeals to you, the RTA site has Mapping programs to help plan routes and find many attractions. Also check out the many links at the foot of this page for endless amounts of info. As your trip starts to take shape, we can certainly help fill in the blanks and answer specific questions.

    Travelling during January means there will be few crowds and lodging availability should not be a problem so you could consider just 'winging it' and not book in advance. This is also an option worth exploring as you could face weather disruption and that means you would have the option of changing direction, or just staying put for an extra day or two in the event of a storm.

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