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  1. Default from SYDNEY to CHICAGO to LA - HELP.....

    Hey guys,

    I'm from sydney australia & I'm flying to chicago in feb to hook up with some friends, then i got 12 days to get to LA.
    Thought it was the perfect opportunity 4 a road trip...

    I would love to see some of the major US cities like, Vegas and San Fran etc. But i understand it's a huge place and i'm not going to see everything. I must say i am a kinda urban pop culture guy, though i love nature I really wanna pass through some vibrant place. Also never driven in snow.... should i be concerned?

    I have a few questions if you can help it woud be much appreciated....

    Route 66, worth sticking too all the way?
    Driveaway car deals... as good as they sound?
    Accomadation, do i need to pre book?
    12 days, how many hrs a day driving?

    thanks so much guys...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The best place to start planning is here.

    Your concern for winter driving is definitely justified, especially if you've never done it before. Find some good tips here.

    Have you ever taken long road trips before? That will help determine how many hours a day of driving you can do. It also depends on if you have somebody travelling with you or not - a co-pilot helps to extend the hours of safe road time you will be able to handle - but even then it still pays to be aware of your personal condition.

    This trip is a little over 2000 miles given the most direct route. If you figure an average of 53mph, that's around 38 hours. You'll only have to travel a little over 3 hours a day to get to your destination in time. That gives you plenty of time to get around and explore the different areas that you are passing through - maybe not in depth, but at least to get a feel for the area. I would recommend taking a couple days in there to do more driving than that, leaving you breathing room on the last couple of days.

    Quote Originally Posted by josh78
    Accomadation, do i need to pre book?
    Not necessarily, since this is generally off-season and rooms/lodging are quite available. If you stick to primary roads, the chances of finding a place that's closed for the season is significantly lessened as well. By NOT pre-booking, this will give you more flexibility in where to go and what to see, as you will not be committed to being in a certain place at a certain time (other than Los Angeles).

    Route 66 is no longer. It was decomissioned years ago. As such, it still exists in piecemeal form either as frontage roads to I-44 and I-40, or, in some places, replaced by these roads. That's not to say there isn't anything left of it or to detract any from it. Just be aware that over the years, there were several alignments of the road and in places you may not be able to find it.

    I must say i am a kinda urban pop culture guy, though i love nature I really wanna pass through some vibrant place.
    New Mexico and Arizona have some of the most gorgeous natural beauty of anyplace on the planet. You won't be disappointed!
    Last edited by Mass Tim; 01-19-2007 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Addes some Route66 information

  3. Default Sounds like a great road trip opportunity

    Hello josh78, and welcome to the RoadTrip America forum!

    Sounds like an interesting trip -- from one of the web-based mapping engines, it looks like route will be at least 2000 miles. That's going to be at least 4 days of driving -- but with 12 days, you won't have to push things. How many hours a day you spend driving is going to depend upon where you want to spend the night, or where you want to visit -- you have enough time to do a bit of sightseeing along the way. The rule of thumb is about 50-55 miles per hour on *average*, including gas stops and "stretch the legs" stops, but not including major stops for sightseeing and the like.

    If you're an urban pop culture kind of guy, you might want to select a route that goes through major towns or tourist-type areas, just to look at the culture and architecture. Route 66 is a good baseline for this, but you could also cycle a bit north to go through Denver, and then down to Albuquerque and turn west on old Route 66. That will give you two major urban areas with somewhat different cultures, plus setting you up for visiting the grand canyon and Vegas before hitting LA.

    From an accomodations standpoint, in February you shouldn't have any problems getting a room with a few hours notice, excepting the usual high demand/ low availability of rooms areas. For example, if you want to stay right on the rim of the Grand Canyon where there are only a few places, then you'd probably want to call ahead a couple of days and book a reservation -- but there are numerous other hotels within 30-60 minutes of the rim, which will most likely have rooms.

    One thing you might also want to consider, since you're coming from the opposite hemisphere is that this will be mid-winter in the western US, and you may see snow or ice along the way. (I'll lay odds you'll see it somewhere along the way along the side of the road as a near certainty.) The roads are very good, and the services on the roads very good, but a major blizzard coming through can shut sections of the superhighways for a day or so -- plus you want to be safe on driving. Just be prepared... You've got plenty of time to make the trip so its not like you're pushing to go 500 miles a day every day to hit a schedule deadline.

    12 days, how many hrs a day driving?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by josh78 View Post
    Route 66, worth sticking too all the way?
    66 has its charms, but personally, I think its a bit overrated. I think you might get a better mix of urban fun and natural beauty by taking I-70 through St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver, before cutting down to Las Vegas.
    Driveaway car deals... as good as they sound?
    I don't think a driveaway would work all that well for you. While you get a free ride, you also have a tight deadline to get the car where it needs to be. Usually that means your time for sightseeing and exploring is extremely limited.

    Here is the RTA section on driveaway programs, which includes a Frequently asked questions page.

    Accomadation, do i need to pre book?
    This is a common debate, and depends a little on your risk tolerance. This article takes a look at the pros and cons of prebooking rooms.

  5. Default

    thanks so much for all your replies (love you guys!!)......

    I am a bit of a road trip junkie, i usually do trips from sydney to brisbane (bout a 1000km) in a day, so the driving aspect dosen't bother me.... btw, I will be doing this leg of my trip alone. Ur tips on weather warnigns, alternative routes and ice are a huge help-thanks....

    Yeah i was kinda sceptical bout the driveaway deals aswell. When i was initally making inquires bout car hire (almo, dollar, budget, avis etc) what tipped the scales was the 'one way drop off fee' which was more then the actual cost of the rental, anywhere between $400-$1000US. Is that normal? By way of car rentals are there any other options/tips?

    Loved all the suggestions about whats worth seeing that were posted... keep them coming, it gives my a good point of refference and would much rather hear it from people who have one the trip....

    Sorry for all the questions, but as u can tell i'm pretty clueless, i usually just pack my car, head into the sunset and see what happens... How much do think Petrol/Gas will cost for the journey (obviously will depend on route) but a rough guide?

    Thanks again guys....

    btw anyone ever travelling to OZ and need some road trippin advise drop me a line....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Fees and Costs

    Drop off fees are a fact of life for one way rentals. There really isn't a good way to avoid them, you just need to shop around and try to find the best deal.

    As far as fuel costs go, check out the Fuel Cost Calculator on the Left Side of this page. Gas Prices have been falling over the past few weeks, so that's some good news. $250 should be the ballpark of what you'll need, depending on where you exactly go, how many side trips you take, the kind of car you end up with, and where gas prices are when you make your trip.

  7. #7


    Hi Josh!

    Oneway fees for rental cars is often at least $500 when you leave the car on the other side of the continent. That is normal. Itīs more common to drive from east to west, so I heard of some people who have been going the other direction that it is possible to negotiate about the fees. But, I donīt think itīs possible from Chicago to LA.

    And, donīt forget insurances, they can easy be as high as $25-$30/day.

    I also will just tell you that if you fly directly from Australia to US, then you problably have a heavy jetlag in the body. When time is 10am in Chicago itīs something like 2am in Sydney. Donīt push too hard with driving long distances the first days.

    Gasprices... $3 for every 20 miles will make you on the safe side.

    Bernt Bergkvist
    Stockholm, Sweden

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Current and actual fuel costs

    Quote Originally Posted by josh78 View Post
    How much do think Petrol/Gas will cost for the journey
    We can make it much more finite than that. If you go to our Fuel Cost Calculator, we provide (via links from a partner) for current fuel prices for virtually all postal codes in America and Canada.


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