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  1. Default Comments please! 1st time road trip Deep South

    Hi,

    I'm planning a road trip for October 2016, just me and my sister.

    We've been advised by TA to fly to Atlanta from UK, then fly onto Nashville.

    2 nights stay in Nashville, then drive to Memphis.

    2 Nights stay in Nashville then drive to Natchez.

    1 night in Natchez then drive to New Orleans.

    2 Nights in New Orleans, fly back to UK.

    I am a confident driver in the UK, but have never driven on the other side of the road! Is this trip realistic? Can anyone see any potential pitfalls or suggest anything different?

    Many thanks,

    MM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default It's doable.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    You should have no problem in adapting to driving on the wrong, oops, I mean other side of the road, it's all very natural when you are in a car geared up that way around, unlike if we take our UK car into Europe and you are driving pavement side. Generally speaking driving in the USA is a whole lot simpler than on UK roads.

    Now presumably your TA is acting on your instruction of places you want to see. Does the itinerary laid out above include all the days available to you ? I would actually be tempted to drive from Atlanta to Nashville but you would need to spend a night in Atlanta after an International flight. Secondly, by dropping off the car in a different city you will more than likely incur a one way drop fee on your rental which can be significant. So to try and save money and see more from the ground it would be worth considering driving a complete loop and flying back out of the same city, it could help flight costs as well. It would of course work better with an extra couple of nights but not impossible as it is.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    eastern North Carolina
    Posts
    32

    Default

    I don't know anything about UK vs. US driving, but I do know that mileage-wise, that looks like a very reasonable trip. Looks like a lot of fun!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Let them know.

    As Dave mentioned, driving in the US is easily adapted to, even on the 'wrong side' of the road. That is how it feels at first..... for maybe 15 mins. Excellent roads on the whole, with signage to match. If you have any hesitation, what I have seen, is British drivers with a flag in the rear window of the car - even a hand drawn one. Let others know you are not a local, and hopefully they will forgive any little indiscretion.

    I always have a flag in my vehicle's rear window.

    I would also endorse Dave suggestion of a loop trip. When booking a vehicle be aware of all the extras - under age driver fee, one way drop fee, etc.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    Your travel agent's suggestion of flying into Atlanta first seems a bit strange to me. I would think it would typically be much more cost effective to book your flight directly to Nashville. Most likely you'll have a layover, and there is a good chance it would be Atlanta, it could really be any hub on the east coast (Boston, NY, DC, Detroit, etc). If you limit yourself to only Atlanta, you'd have a lot fewer airlines to pick from. Perhaps your agent was talking about flying to Atlanta and then booking a second internal flight, but that's another potential problem. I don't think it would save you money, and you'd really have to plan to overnight in Atlanta, because your flights won't be guaranteed if you purchase them on separate tickets.

    Now, noting the extra costs of one way flights and one way car rentals, it probably would make more sense to fly in and out of the same city. That would still be pretty workable with your plan. You could drive from New Orleans back to Nashville in one long day on the road. You could also do a look at flying to Atlanta and doing a loop too. Atlanta to Nashville is about a 4 hour drive, and New Orleans to Atlanta can be done in about 8 hours.

  6. Default deep south roadtrip

    Hi,

    Thank you for all the very helpful replies. They have given me lots to think about!

    I will definitely ask TA about hidden extras with dropping the car off at a different city.

    I was a bit worried about missing connecting flights from manchester -atlanta - nashville and on return new orleans - atlanta- manchester. I think TA suggested this plan to avoid a long drive after a long flight??

    Our flights go on sale in the next few weeks so we have a while to look at other options.
    I like the idea of the flag! like wearing L plates!
    Last edited by missmental1965; 11-01-2015 at 01:11 PM. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Jetlag.

    Quote Originally Posted by missmental1965 View Post
    I think TA suggested this plan to avoid a long drive after a long flight??
    Because of the affects of long haul flights on the body (jetlag), it is recommended that you not hit the road till the day after your arrival. No matter how well you feel, it is the body clock which needs time to adjust.

    Lifey

  8. Default Help! Drive vs Greyhound!!

    Hi!

    I am starting to freak out about driving in USA!

    I am an experienced driver in UK and don't normally freak out about driving !

    My sister & I are planning the holiday of a lifetime!

    We are collecting our hire car from Nashville airport and we are driving to Memphis, Natchez then dropping the car off at New Orleans airport!
    I have never driven on the right before and my sister does not drive so I am the sole driver! I am worried about getting lost, but we do have a satnav.

    I have done some research and we could do the journey by greyhound bus, it would cost us about $100 dollars each.

    How difficult is it for Brits to drive in the USA? I'm tempted to cancel the hire car and opt for the bus.

    Any thought or comments please?

    Thanks,

    Heather.

    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about the same trip in the same thread.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-15-2016 at 06:19 AM. Reason: Merged Threads

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    I've driven in plenty of other countries, but never on the other side of the road, so I can't tell you from experience how difficult it is to make the tradition, however, I can tell you there are plenty of visitors from the UK, Australia, and other left-hand drive countries on this forum and most of them end up saying they get used to driving in the US pretty quickly.

    I will say driving is the only way you'll really get to go where you want to go. If you take the bus, you'll end up just taking the most direct route between the cities you plan to visit - scenic detours like Natchez Trace Parkway aren't going to be possible. You'll also have the challenge of getting around the cities you plan to visit using public transit, which can be challenging to get where you want to go in a timely fashion, or using taxis, which can be expensive.

    I will say on the other hand, if Greyhound tickets will only cost you $100 each, that's likely quite a bit cheaper than what you'll pay for car rental - especially if you want to do a one-way trip, starting in one city and finishing in another - as that typically brings an drop fee that can add hundreds of dollars to a rental.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Relax.

    As a Brit who drives large RV's in the US all I can say is, "Relax". Honestly, as an experienced driver you will soon settle into driving on the wrong, Ooops, I should say, 'other side of the road'. It's not like going to Europe in a UK car where everything, including the driver is on the wrong side. Renting the car and having everything geared up so you are sitting where you should be and the passenger kerbside, makes it very easy to adjust to and in all honesty, it's a lot easier to drive in the US than it is the UK. In traffic you are guided by cars in front, if you are on your own just remember 'Long left' and 'short right' when turning at a junction.

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