My girlfriend and I are planning a long road trip in the US next summer for 2.5 - 3 months (June - August) long.
I've never been to the US before, and we want to see many things (of course not everything!!!)
Having such a long trip in such a vast country requires careful planning ahead of time. And we want to get it right!
The question is - WERE DO WE START? We want to take a top-down approach (first select total trip time, which areas to see, transport options etc. and then get to the details of places to go to in each area, roads, timetables etc.)
We are still planning the trip in the macro level, so we don't look at specific points of interest yet.
We have such debates about stuff like:
- Round-trip USA or coast to coast? skip the center by flight or travel through?
- Take a R.V. or sleep at motels? maybe do both on different areas
- rent a car or buy one and sell at the end?
- areas where public transportation is better than car/R.V.? (in terms of ease of use, costs, parking etc.)
- given 2.5 months total, how much time should be allotted to east coast vs. west coast? spare time for the center part of the US?
- what is a good percentage of time riding the car vs. traveling and site seeing (so it won't be just a through-the-window trip...)
A bit about us and our preferences:
- We like to travel! we love hiking!
- We want to balance between sightseeing and museums to treks and national parks
- We love off-the-beaten-road sights!
- We are not rich in any way! we are looking to make smart decisions which will balance our cost/fun in the trip.
- We like motels, but R.V. are fine and couchsurfing is great!
How would you approach the planning of such a long and complex trip? Tips at this stage will help us a lot to find our arms and legs...