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  1. Default From Toronto to the States

    My friend and I have booked flights to Toronto in October and then plan to head home from Toronto at the end of January. We're still planning exactly whereabouts we want to go, but its likely to include the east coast, althought we did want to head for the west coast for a while although we may not have enough time to get across there, short of taking an internal flight.
    I have just a few questions for now:
    1)How easy is it to cross the border from Canada into the States, particularly near Niagara Falls?
    2)Also, regarding weather conditions near Toronto, which I think will be more of an issue in January-would it be best to fly back to Toronto because driving could be abit difficult with the cold weather?
    3)Will it be best to fly across to the west coast, or do we have plenty of driving time to make it across there and then fly back to Toronto?
    Thanks, I will return with more questions as planning develops!
    Thanks again!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not an Easy Set of Questions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forums.

    To be honest, I'm a little unclear on your overall plan, so I'll just stick to trying to answer your specific questions.

    1) It can be anywhere from very easy to a modest hassle to cross the border, depending on traffic and the state of alert (if any). If you can, have your passport up to date and with you. This will become a requirement pretty soon, so if you don't have a passport but have time before your trip, by all means get one. If you don't and your trip is relatively soon, make sure that you have a government issued photo ID (Your driver's license will do.) AND proof of citizenship. This later REQUIREMENT can be satisfied by your birth certificate or a certified copy (Make sure that either has an embossed seal of the issuing state.) or a certified copy of your naturalization papers. There are a few bridges across the Niagara River, but the biggest and easiest for tourists to use is the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge that connects ON-405 and I-190.

    2) I love driving in cold weather through countryside that has a blanket of snow. Any weather that is going to cause you difficulty driving is also more than likely to wreak havoc with airline schedules. The main thing when travelling in winter is to remain flexible. No matter what mode of travel you choose, don't bank on travelling on day X for sure, but be willing to travel on day X+1 (or even X+2) if need be.

    3) I assume that 'home' is on the west coast somewhere? Without more particulars, this question simply can't be answered. Where on the west coast? How much time do you have for the journey? When are you planning on travelling? How do you plan to get a car in Toronto for the drive back to the states? Basically a cross-continent drive takes 6-7 days if you minimize stops and put in significant driving hours every day. That might help you set up at least a rough first plan.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ontario Canada

    Default more questions than answers

    Sorry but I am a bit confused as to your plans as well.
    You are from Canada? Or from overseas and flying in to Toronto to start/end your trip?

    Another easy border crossing if not heading to Niagara Falls is Sarnia/Port Huron (highway 402 Ontario).

    If you have literally October through January for this cross-country trip, you have plenty of time to drive to the west coast & around the country seeing things. I also question with AzBuck - what plans do you have for a car for that length of travel time & cross border two countries travel?

    Let us know more specifics. Do you plan to move around the entire three months? Do you have any specific destinations / type of interests? Are you familiar with winter driving / driving in snow & snow storms? (you will encounter this)

    Happy planning!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Fall must be here!


    Nice to see you back on the Forum --


  5. Default Sorry for the vagueness guys...

    sorry 'bout that guys...
    we're from the uk and we're gonna fly to toronto and start/end our trip there.
    think i kinda have a vague plan of action coming into play here-thinking of getting the maple leaf from toronto to new york due to cost of car rental, which im beginning to find is pretty expensive! From there its on to Maine possibly in the car which we'll drop back at NY n then onto chicago-from where, again to save on car rental costs, im thinking it mite b best to take the train to L.A and then rent a car for our time on the west coast before crossing back into canada at seattle and then head to toronto from vancouver-unfortunately i havent confirmed plans with my friend yet so i cant give a definate plan yet.

    we dont plan to stay in one place for more than 4-5 days so its probably gona be a case of hostels and motels-is there any sites or anything on the net that might have listings of hostels in the states?

    also is there any phone numbers in the states for keeping up to date with weather conditions-i imagine there is a website but im thinking it may be difficult to check that regularly. seen as we will probably be on the west coast around december time i presume snow storms will be more of a problem on the return journey to canada?

    Also, for a three month trip, moving around as much as we are im estimating that we'll need about 4,000 GBP each. Does anyone have a verdict on that?Thanks.

    Finally-we're thinking of booking hostels in the bigger cities, and that it would probably be a better idea to book a hostel/hotel for Christmas and New Year now.

    Thanks alot for all your help guys seen as i am feeling pretty wary bout this whole trip now!

    Last edited by Gingle; 09-04-2006 at 06:52 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ontario Canada


    I switched jobs in May to shift work & have been basically in cyberspace withdrawal ever since. Fitting the second job in part-time also between my shiftwork. Hope to get more internet time now that I finally have a computer at home!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ontario Canada

    Default hostels reservations

    Don't panic about your trip! Now that we have an idea what / where you are going, I'm sure many more will chip in with helpful tips.

    Yes, look into hostels/motels/hotels now for over Christmas in the big cities. There are a few major internet hostel sites. One is

    While in New York City, I highly recommend the "New York Party Shuttle" guided tour.

    You will be so close to Washington D.C. it would be a shame not to go there too. The Smithsonian museums are amazing and "free" admission. And of course you can walk "the mall" to see the many monuments, the Capitol, the White House, Arlington Cemetery.

    The subway and bus systems in NYC and Washington DC are both excellent and easy to figure out.

    If you are driving from NYC to Chicago, or from Toronto to NYC, you will want to see Niagara Falls. See it from both sides or at least from the Canadian side. Also a cute little town is Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Just west of the falls. Just east of the falls (about a mile or two) is the whirlpool overlook view.

    You will encounter some winter driving. But sometimes December still isn't that bad. It just depends on the year. I don't have details on rental cars and use between the USA & Canada, but I'm sure someone will. provides lots of info and past statistics on weather for various cities worldwide. Local radio stations wherever you are will have regular weather updates for that city & area. I'm sure someone also knows of other ways to find out weather (without going online). Some of the hostels & hotels have free or for a small fee internet use.

    Will you be going to any of the National Parks?

  8. Default

    hadnt really planned on the national parks-thought the annual pass at $50 sounded good but i imagine places like yosemite etc will be closed in the winter so thought we could have saved money there and then used that money to go and see other things really.
    thanks for the advice and tips Syv.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Open for Business

    Not only do almost all the national parks stay open during the winter, because of the smaller crowds and the different scenery, it can be a really great time of year to visit them.

    Yosemite for example is specatular with a snow cover, and there is even an outdoor ice skating rink that is available.

    The winter can force some changes, Tioga Pass into Yosemite and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon are some of the areas that will be blocked by snow in winter, but winter alone shouldn't prevent you from enjoying America's national parks.

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