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  1. Default Boston - Texas(Irving) - Seattle

    Hi All,
    First post ever and first road trip ever :). I have around 10 days (29 Aug - 8 Sep)...maybe a day more or less. Effectively I need to get from Boston to Seattle, relocating for work. But there's a friend in Texas who I'd love to meet en route. Well, I say en-route but I'm pretty sure that takes me way way off route, but I'd like to know if it is possible :)

    Google says around 56-58 hours to do this. I am not a huge driver at all and bike/public transport everywhere (Boston :)). I don't have much luggage so a small car should fit all I have - that's not a big deal.

    Before I begin planning my road trip though, I want to know if the routes are very steep or are there plenty of mountain ranges or in short.. is it very tricky to drive? If yes, are there ways around it?

    I can drive fairly well so that's not a problem, but I have never done such a long trip ever ever, so I want to understand what I am getting into before I do it, that's all. Also are cars I rent from Hertz/Dollar/Enterprise whoever... good enough to make the whole trip? I'd rather not deal with broken cars and road service if I can help it.

    I'll wait for some feedback before any more detailed questions as they might not make sense at this time.

    Look forward to a few replies :)

    Thanks a lot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default For a first timer.

    Hi and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    First thing I suggest you follow the advice in this paragraph:

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process.
    At around 3900 this is a trip of 8 full days driving around 500 miles a day - 10 +/- hours on the road each day. Although there are many who will do up to 600 miles a day, it is not something I would recommend for a first timer. You will likely find that 500 miles each day can be quite tiring. Drink plenty of water. Try to lay off carbonated drink and caffeine.

    Besides the fact that times quoted by internet mapping programs are pure fantasy, and do not relate to real world conditions, this is a trip which is planned in days, not hours. Plan this trip as an athlete would plan a marathon - steady and easy, covering equal distances each day.

    The interstate system of highways is designed with easy maximum grades and gentle curves. If you stick to the interstates you will not have a problem. They are also your fastest way to get there.

    Rental cars are normally new, or next to new, and as such should not cause any problems. Should there be an issue, the rental company will take care of it. Just be aware that you are likely up for a hefty one way drop fee.

    Have a great and enjoyable trip.


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

    Default Thoughts.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    First of all you need to forget what Google says with regards to timing, a computer doesn't have a need for food, sleep or have to fill with gas or face road construction and congestion. Simply put, you have to think of this trip in days. To detour to Irving is going to make your trip an absolute minimum of 7 days driving with the correct amount of R&R along the way. So yes, it is possible to visit your friend for a couple of days which would then leave a small amount of 'wiggle' room on your travel days. To visit your friend will add a couple of days driving to a more direct approach. Be warned that not being a regular driver would mean that you run the risk of fatigue and a certain amount of stress setting in driving so far each day.

    A small car may fit you and your luggage but I wouldn't recommend a 'City car' as it could become slow and uncomfortable feeling, especially on mountain passes. I would look at a mid-size sedan for a healthy combo of price and comfort.

    All rentals are almost new vehicles and each company offers the same type of range so you shouldn't have any mechanical issues, but that doesn't mean to say new cars do not see the odd mechanical failure. The odds of a trouble free run are stacked in your favor, but not a 'given'.

    As you don't have much luggage and you are renting and given your inexperience of long haul trips, perhaps you should consider flying to Irving to spend a couple of days [or so] with your friend and then drive to Seattle in a much more relaxed manner with a bit of sight seeing. [?]

  4. Default

    Thanks for those helpful posts LifeMagician and SouthwestDave :)

    Sorry about the insane delay in replying, but got caught up with a lot of stuff. Anyway my plan has now changed as my friend is not in Irving those days and I'll be driving Boston - Seattle instead. Before asking anything more, should I post in this same thread or post a new thread instead?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Same thread, please.

  6. Default

    I started looking at car rates today and as predicted earlier the drop-off at Seattle is insanely pricey. For example: The rent for a week is around 150$ but "Taxes and fees" are 1693$. Wow. A flight is working out to be way way cheaper :(.

    I am looking at by the way. Do those figures look right or am I screwing something up? All rates I look at for a week are 4 figures - I'm not sure I want to pay that much this time.

    I think it is probably cheaper to buy a second hand car once I am in Seattle and then do a road trip. I mean, I can afford it - but it seems like a rip off (there's probably a reason) .. just that it feels like one.

    What are your thoughts? Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I would certainly start by visiting other car rental sites to compare. It's going to cost more to drop the car on the other side of the country but that sounds steep. You can start here at RTA's booking site. Another I have found to be good is

  8. Default

    Thanks. I checked both those sites out too. Boston to Seattle - 1 week - is around 1200$+ for a compact car. Just for a laugh, returning it back to Boston is around 240$ for the same 1 week - so a good 5 times more approximately.

    I will do some more research but based on reading for a while, it appears that many people have a similar complaint and that there are tricks to get your rate reduced :). Which really means, in essence - largely no way around a higher fee. Unfortunate and that means mostly - no road trip - though I will confirm this after some more work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    If you see it through the renter's point of view: the car has to get back to the state of origin, usually whenever the registration and license comes due. That isn't necessarily going to happen instantly, nor may they even be lucky enough to find somebody in Seattle that wants to rent a car and drop it off in Boston (and if they do, they often want a different TYPE of car). That means, somebody gets to be paid to take that car across country, and the rental company uses your "one way drop off fee" to pay them to do that. That's why one way drop offs between $500 and $1000 are not unusual, particularly when going between uncommon cities.

    You can always fly into one airport, rent a car, and do a loop trip. I believe that was mentioned before.


  10. Default

    That makes sense Donna. Thanks. SouthwestDave did say above that I could (as per my prev plan) fly into Texas and drive to Seattle. But I'm only doing Boston - Seattle now.

    Wouldn't I still pay a 1 way drop off? If say I flew to Minneapolis and then drove to Seattle from there? I get that it will be a lesser fee - but is that what you meant? What is a loop trip? Thanks.
    Last edited by live_dont_exist; 08-15-2015 at 06:08 PM. Reason: wrong name

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