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  1. Default Road trip from Nashville to LA in April/May 2017

    Hi everyone,

    My soon to be husband and I are trying to organise a holiday for our honeymoon (8 weeks total).
    We are hoping to go from Australia over to Ireland, spend a probably 2 weeks doing Ireland and maybe some Germany or Switzerland.
    Then across to New York and spend just under 6 weeks making our way across to Los Angeles for our return flight to Australia.

    I'm trying to do some research on the best way to get across the States and how much time we should be allowing to have a good holiday without feeling like we are on the move constantly the whole way across.

    An idea of what we want to do is as follows (all suggestions, comments or criticism is most welcome!)
    Arrive in NY, spend one week around the east coast.
    Fly to Nashville, pick up rental car
    Memphis
    (coould we squeeze in Dallas before Amarillo???)
    Amarillo
    Denver
    and then make our way to Los Angeles via Grand junction, Utah, Las Vegas?


    We are not into spending heaps of time in major cities or at the tourist attractions where everyone goes and you spend half your day waiting in line. We want to go to the hidden gems and really experience the culture.

    Would be happy to watch some sports - I'd much prefer to watch your football than baseball though.
    We love adventure so some activities suggestions and locations like kayaking, hiking, horse riding etc would be appreciated.
    We really like the idea of finding a cabin somewhere nice in Colorado and enjoying the scenery?
    We love going to a bar and having a few drinks, enjoying live music and just absorbing what is going on around us.
    We would like to have the critical components booked but have the flexibility of being able to stop and start where we like with what we see along the way (the reason why we thought a car would be best).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,913

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you're at a good start for your planning. 6 Weeks will be a nice amount to explore pretty much any where you'd like to go. If you'd like to add Dallas into your plan, that should certainly be possible, as would any other place you'd like to fit into your trip. A car will be your best bet to travel, although you'll have to be careful about one way car rental fees which can be quite expensive (booking through overseas consolidators is may offer better deals).

    April/May should be a pretty nice time to travel, as it is generally not a peak travel season. The biggest issue is that some mountain areas will still be in winter mode and may have not yet reopened for the season. You should also expect nights to be quite cool in high elevation areas.

    I will say for sports, Football won't be much of an option. That is a fall sport, generally running from Aug/Sept to Dec/Jan. Baseball season will in full swing while you are here. Basketball and Hockey would be your other options for the "big 4" American sports, with both BB and Hockey being at the end or their regular seasons/start of the playoffs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,257

    Default So Many Questions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Actually, I'm going to start off answering one you didn't ask. Although the name of this forum is RoadTrip America, I've done a fair bit of RoadTripping in Ireland as well and I'll tell you my favorite bit of advice for people setting out to do the same: Get a map of the island and draw a line from Dublin to Limerick; then stay north of that line. This also works on the far west side of the island. Want to miss the hoards of busses and vacationers on the infamous Ring of Kerry? Visit the Dingle Peninsula (the next peninsula north of the Ring of Kerry) instead.

    Now, back to the US. It would helps us to know some of your thinking that has gone into the plan that you have so far. For example: If you won't have a car in New York (no need as long as you're in the city) you're not going to get to see much of "around the east coast". So what is your thinking there? Why are you flying to Nashville, when some of the best scenery and history that the eastern US as to offer lies in between New York and Nashville? Why Amarillo, Denver and Grand Junction? There's nothing wrong with visiting those places, and there are things to see and do there, but they're not at the top of too many people's "must see" list. Sports availability will depend on the time of your visit. In April/May you'll have the end of the Basketball and Ice Hockey seasons and the start of the Baseball season. Do any of those sports appeal and if so are you interested in seeing the highest level of professional play, something at a slightly lower level or amateur/college level?

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-11-2016 at 06:25 PM.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the info on Ireland too!

    We don't need to see sports at all, if we came across a game for a bit of experience we would go but are not big sports fanatics so wouldn't drive out of the way for it.

    For the east coast - we had thought we could catch a train up to Boston and maybe around Vermont area? before heading back towards NY to make our way across? Do you need to allocate a lot of time travel between areas of NY and north or south areas of interest? Are the trains reasonably priced?

    We would like to see some cowboy country, hence Texas, we like country music (Nashville) and I'd like to see Graceland.
    We had thought of starting at Nashville with the car as it would have cut a bit of time off instead of driving from somewhere more East?
    We like the idea of Colorado to see some mountain country and perhaps rent a cabin for a few days and enjoy to wildlife?
    Grand Junction, doesn't have to be on the list, I was just trying to explain which way we had started to figure would be easier out of Colorado?

    We can potentially move the trip to May/june, although we were told that prices will start to climb in June as its getting towards summer?

    The other thought we had was just doing one week Ireland and dedicating 7 weeks to the States?
    OR do we do 8 weeks and do a loop? Would this be enough time though, without feeling like we are driving all the time?
    Last edited by Smithstakeontheworld; 07-11-2016 at 06:17 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,865

    Default Maps will help you a lot.

    The very best thing you can do right now is get yourself a good map of the USA and/or maps of the individual States. Paper maps have a wealth of information, besides roads and towns/cities. If these are not available locally, I suggest you purchase a Rand McNally road atlas from the RTA store via the link below. If you order it now you will have it in a couple of weeks.

    Studying the maps will give you some notion of just what is to be enjoyed in each and every State. You won't be able to see it all - that is not even possible in a lifetime - but in 8 weeks, or even six weeks, you could see a lot.

    Once you have a few major selections, you can look to see what there is to see while travelling between them.... and so on.

    Trying to plan some sort of a loop trip is a good idea, although we have found that many folk have had great deals and sometimes even had some fees waived by going through a consolidator. Keithg from Brisbane, got a great deal that way.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,257

    Default A Detail or Two

    Unfortunately, the train system in America (Amtrack) is not very well integrated. While it is possible to see Boston or Vermont by train from New York City, it is not possible to see Boston and Vermont without returning to New York in between. Indeed, America in general is not as set up for train travel as Europe is. It is possible if all you want to see is the cities, but if you want to get out into the country and away from the crowds then travel by car is essential. You will also, I think, find it easier to get a lower on way drop-off fee if you ret your car in a major metropolitan center such as New York, rather than Nashville, and while we're on the subject, you'll probably have better luck on that score if you rent through a European consolidator such as Europcar or Rentalcars.

    In any event, I'd recommend that you at least consider picking up your car in New York rather than adding the expense of an internal flight. And though it pains me to say so, I'd also suggest that you drop plans to visit New England on this trip and instead enjoy a drive down through the Appalachians to the Great Smoky Mountains before turning west to Nashville. I'm also going to suggest that you consider a small detour between Nashville and Memphis and that is to take the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville down to Tupelo MS and visit Elvis' birthplace. The contrast between this and Graceland will be amazing.

    For the western portion of your trip, Amarillo and the panhandle of Texas is as good an area as although Amarillo and on up towards Denver is a fine RoadTrip highway. North of Denver is perhaps the best place to see the Rockies, namely Rocky Mountain National Park. After that, US-40 and/or I-70 will take you into Utah where you should try to include at least Arches and Zion National Parks on your way southwest to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

    How you would like to split your time between various countries and regions of any given country is entirely up to you, but this is one trip where I wouldn't recommend a loop in the US. It's clearly to your benefit to just keep heading west.

    AZBuck

  7. Default

    I'm finding it hard to get a quote for car rental that I am comfortable includes all costs.

    Do you have any advice or threads on this?
    When I use something like rentalcars, it says theft and CDW is included but then one part of the T &Cs states $0.00USD excess and then another part states an excess may be payable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,257

    Default Before Renting/Hiring a Car

    When I rent a car, maybe two or three times a year, I never bother with their insurance because I don't care. I already have what amounts to triple coverage. My own auto policy covers me when I drive a rental. My roadside assistance package offers some coverage as well as quick help in the event of a breakdown. And my credit card automatically extends coverage when I charge the rental on the card. You should check what you have in those regards and you too may fined that any insurance offered by the hire firm is just frosting on the cake. If it's free, then fine, but don't pay for any of it especially at their inflated rates.

    AZBuck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,865

    Default Your travel insurance may cover it.

    Maybe you are putting the cart before the horse.

    Have you organised your travel insurance? Do you have your dates finalised?

    As soon as you set your dates in concrete, purchase your travel insurance, and see if they have cover for rental cars. I know one time when I rented a car I told them that my travel insurance covered it, and all they wanted was a copy of the policy.

    That was with Budget, long before I joined RTA and knew of consolidators.

    Lifey

  10. Default

    I have since enquired about travel insurance and it looks like it would cover any car rental excess. Thank you for suggesting it or I would never have known to ask.

    I've also been looking at the Greyhound buses - could this be a cheaper alternative for some legs of our trip? And not rent a car til further in?
    I was thinking we could perhaps catch a bus between Nashville and Memphis? Maybe even across to Texas? Although we had considered if we may have time to do New Orleans from Memphis?

    What are your thoughts on the buses? Would it be worth looking into for parts of the trip or would a car be much easier?

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