AZ to SC first time! Things to visit? ROUTE?
My friend and I are moving back to South Carolina after living in Phoenix for a year. We have never taken a trip this long before and don't know what to expect. I was trying to find out the best way to get there. We don't have much money but we would like to try and see some of the sites along the way. Leaving August 10th and need to arrive before Aug. 23rd for school. With limited time and money, what are some things we should do to get the most out of this trip? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
PS:Traveling in small Honda w/out a trailer hitch and we will have all of our belongings with us. Any advice on getting a cheap storage container for the roof or the cost to put a hitch on the car or trailer rental costs?
Check out the post "Lodging for the budget traveler" in the Gear Up section. For lodging try to stay clear of main cities if you want to pay less (El Paso is an exception). You can easily plan your trip so that you visit these big cities at daytime and get out of town by nightime to find a cheaper motel. Motels along highways are also usually cheaper than on interstates and you get to see more interesting things : attractions, restaurants, sceneries and local colors. But the interstate is faster...It's up to you! Apparently, when you stick to the Mexican border, everything gets cheaper : food, lodging, clothes,... Tucson and El Paso are particularly great for that, you can find motel rooms for as low as 21-25$/night and eat great mexican food for 3-5$ (important : if the menu says it's SPICY, what they really mean is : it's SUICIDAL!:-)Another thing, western FLA is cheaper than he east coast, you should pick a room in Pensacola instead of Daytona or Jacksonville.
I think I-10 would be a great route if you're in a hurry. If not, you'll find many interesting spots on Highway 60 in terms of sceneries (+ very long aray) and if you like ghost towns. You can also go all the way through Louisiana and Alabama, through swamps and bayous and stuff there was a great review on that area last week on the main page. Just do a search on RTA and you'll probably find it.
I-10 goes through TX, Mississippi, AL and FLA, then you just have to take I-95 North to get to SC. But, you absolutely have to visit the French Quarter in New Orleans and San Antonio. Try to find a parking space and just walk around, it's gorgeous, but don't even try to find very cheap lodging there, it simply doesn't exist I think. Maybe they have youth hostels though, I'm not sure.
If you're driving in a Honda hatchback leaving all your belongings in the car, at least bring a blanket to put over your stuff to avoid stealing. If you don't want to have your stuff with you, I believe there's a website where you can register and kind of "hire" someone to pick up your stuff and bring them home for you for a small fee. I think it's called UShip or something like that.
ship your things
I've taken many cross country roadtrips and believe me it's a pain to have your car crammed with things. If you have an address in SC already, go to UPS and ship your things. Ship them ground transportation (it'll take a week or so) with UPS and it'll be way cheaper than adding a hitch to your car and renting a trailor or (God forbid) putting a roof container on your car. Those things are the death of roadtrips. It'll cut your gas mileage in half and you'll constantly be worried about that thing flying off. As for the route, it sounds like you have a lot of time. I suggest I-10. It's not the quickest route but you don't need that. You'll hit San Antonio (great city - check out the Riverwalk) and Houston (nothing to stop for there - keep driving) and New Orleans. If you've never been to New Orleans, do yourself a favor and hit that town. Get a room in the French Quarter and spend a while. It's the BEST party town in the USA. You won't regret it. If you don't have a good time in the French Quarter, there's something wrong with you. From New Orleans, I suggest you head to SC on the back roads of the South and visit small Southern towns. They're fantastic and the people are some of the nicest you'll meet anywhere in this world. What school are you heading to? I graduated from Coastal Carolina University. SC is the best. I wish I was still there.
I just wanted to thank you for all of your helpful suggestions for the trip we have not left yet but we are planning to leave by the 13th. Your advise was truely helpful in planning our trip.
I really appreciate your advise about shipping my things. I did not have a clue how we were going to get all of our stuff there. Your suggestion was alot more practicle than our original plan! We are very excited about SC and look forward to checking out some of the sights you mentioned.
I will be going to the College of Charleston this fall but Coastal Carolina was on my list of possible schools. I hope you can make it back to SC someday. Thanks again for all of your help!