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  1. Default Need help to put my feet back on the ground =)

    Hi everyone!
    My name is Ricardo, I'm a 34 year old web designer from Portugal and in a couple of months I'll be going with my wife to travel across North America for a period no shorter than 6 months. During that time we want to see USA and Canada to the greater extent possible.

    When we saw Jamie Jensen's book, we were immediately caught by the romantic idea of road tripping America and focus on the trip and not on the destinations, contrary to most travel we do abroad.
    But after reading dozens of threads here I became aware that road trips are much more expensive than they seem and there's a lot of issues one doesn't take into consideration when planning for something like this, most times because we cannot see past the picture where we're driving down an open road on a sunny day and life is perfect =) hence my cry for help bringing me down to planet earth!

    Hope you more experienced folks can help us out!
    Here are the facts:
    - We have no time limit - kind of, no shorter than 6 months, no longer than 1 year;
    - We will work during the trip - our freelance jobs allow us to do that, we only require an internet connection;
    - We have family and friends in some states - where we can stay longer periods and work for a bit;
    - There's only one driver - I don't have a driver's license;
    - We tend to go with the flow - instead of following a strict plan.

    Here's my doubts:
    - Considering our time frame, would you advise that we buy a car?
    - Are there any other renting deals similar or cheaper than Hertz's Florida Drive Out?
    - Should we break it down to smaller trips (maybe in between the states where we have family or friends) instead of a huge trip?
    - Considering that we want to stay as longer as possible and see the most of it, should we opt for Greyhound coaches as our primary mean of transportation? Can we beat the $99 for any trip longer than 2800 miles on a car trip?
    - Last but not least, our trip will start in May, any advice on routes or starting point? I was thinking about working our way from north to south (following the summer).

    Thanks in advance! =)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a bold plan

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    You've got a very bold and exciting plan that looks pretty achievable.

    I'd say your biggest challenge will be the transportation aspect. If you are going to make this trip last at least 6 months, I think you would probably be best served by looking into buying a car. Greyhound is an option worth considering, especially if you plan to be stopping in places for a while. However, most cities public transit is fairly week, so even if you used the bus to get from town to town, you'd probably find a car is much nicer even within town.

    Of course purchasing a car as a foreign visitor has its own challenges, and there are a number of threads on the forum about the difficultly, but with the length of your trip, I think this might be a case where it is worth investigating.

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Another idea

    In addition to what Michael suggested, you could also rent an RV for part of the time.

    My idea of a perfect 1 year trip would be a mixture of sorts: Take a bus part of the time, take the train some, rent a car some times, rent an RV sometimes. If push came to shove and I decided to ditch the bus/train in a small town, I'd do a 1 way small moving-van rental to the nearest city with better rental services (as many small towns will have a U-Haul rental office, but not a rental car office).

    Really though, for a full effect, I'd just go wherever. Go to the Amtrak station and take the train to whatever destination is leaving next, and choose a stop along the route. Same with the bus. If you've got the money and time, I'd let the trip take you places you'd never even think about going. But, that's just me.


  4. Default

    Hi guys! Thanks!
    I'll be looking into buying a car but Brad's advice makes sense. Find the most suitable transport available instead of focusing on a single type.
    Saw some interesting car rental deals (from $8 a day) but pick up and drop off locations must be the same, usually an airport, so seems like a good idea to explore a city using the public transportation systems and rent a car to explore the surroundings.
    We can stretch our budget that way =)


  5. #5
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Transit Research

    Many communities in the US have bus service that is fairly decent (15-30 minutes between buses in urban areas, hourly service on rural ares), but it's not by any means a great system. It might be best to research transit availabilities in areas you're going to visit online, usually doing a search on Google for "{insert city name, state abbreviation} transit", for example if you visit Phoenix, Arizona, search "Phoenix, Arizona Transit", and you should come up with a link for Valley Metro. That way you have an idea what service is available and can decided whether or not to rent a car. I can say though that with the reliability of transit in some areas not being the best, a car will always be best.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default More on rural transit

    There are many areas where I live where the bus only goes by once or twice a day and doesn't run at all on the weekends. And where there is no bus service at all. So if you think you will want to use local transportation, heed Brad's advice about doing a web search for how it works in those areas. Or be flexible and find ways to enjoy yourself if you get delayed a day or two because of sparse schedules.

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