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  1. Default Canyon to Atlanta - First road trip!

    Hello everyone! (Edit: And sorry for the long post...)

    I've just started planning a huge road trip and came across this site. Loads of great info on it so thank you to those who have spent their time compiling it!

    Anyway, I live in England, and have been ill for the last 10 years (I'm 22 now). FINALLY I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and am hoping to start a great treatment soon that should have me better in a few months to a year :D So, I'm thinking about what I want to do with myself! If all goes to plan, I'll get well, work for a year and save up as much as I can then probably come over in June/ August '10. I'd love to do it next year, but that would probably be too rushed.

    I can stay in the US for a max of 3 months without having visa issues, so I'll probably stay for most of that, funds permitting. So it'll be a summer into autumn trip, so I can see the leave changing :)

    This is my proposed route so far:

    -Starting at Grand Canyon,
    -Up through a bit of Utah (maybe Salt Lake? Not too bothered)
    -Across to Colorado. This place looks lovely so may spend a couple of weeks here, especially at Dunton Springs
    -Montana: Stopping at Glacier Park, then down to Yellowstone
    -Now heading down south through South Dakota
    -Hit Tennesse and Nashville! (Can't wait for that bit!)
    -Georgia (Atlanta and maybe the coast)

    And at the end I may pop down to Florida...

    It's a bit of a mammoth treck for a first go! Does that sound OK to you experieced trippers? Is there anything you think I should add in or take out? Also, how long would that take a normal roadtripper?

    As for transport, I'm probably hiring a car with Enterprise, as they offer discounted rates for long rentals. What sort of car is best to hire? I'm either thinking of a Ford Focusy type thing, or a 4x4. I don't really want the hassle of a gas guzzler but I think I'd probably feel safer in one. Plus there'd be more room for my junk ;)

    Oh, and how much does an average day's food cost? I'm trying to work out a rough budget for everything at the moment.

    I've looked through a lot of the help pages here and feel I've got a fairly good grasp of what I'll need. I'll obviously have to buy most equipment when I arrive - at least I've got a long time to plan!

    Thanks in advance for any help you can pass on,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default No apologies necessary

    Hi Steph.

    Welcome to R.T.A.

    Great news for you, I am glad you can see the light now and start looking to planning for future adventures, must be exciting times for you.

    As it's early days in your planning it is quite hard to for us to lay out any specifics, but with 90 days you certainly have plenty of time to explore. One thing that springs to mind is a coast to coast visit like San Fran or Los Angeles to Florida for example.
    Your places of interest offer so much diversity and there are so many options. The National parks of Colorado, Utah, Arizona could keep you busy in themselves.
    Here is there website, it's easy to navigate and has so much info to offer of what lays in wait.

    I notice you are 22 yrs old and possibly looking at 2 years time, now rental can be a problem for under 25's and the company's that will rent to you will do so at a premium, so that might be as good a reason to save a bit more and go the following year, maybe do a small trip closer to home to help you prepare for "The big one".

    Search the forums for my ideas as well there is untold amounts of info available here.
    Here is some info to help get yo started here If you are travelling alone This has good info. And one more for you it's R.T.A's very own Trip planning page.

    Your budget will depend on what type of accommodation you are looking for, where and how to eat and of course inflation.

    Have a look through and don't hesitate to come back and ask lots of questions and all the very best with your treatment.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default That's Quite a Mouthful

    But such a trip is also quite within the realm of reality. You could easily do the driving involved in around 10 days. So less than 15% of your trip will be devoted to just getting to places, the rest can be spent enjoying the great sights and activities you'll come across. What to spend is in fair measure up to you, but if you read through this thread you should get a good idea of what your range of expenses might be.

    One other thing you're going to want to look into before you come is health insurance. While the American health care system is excellent, you're going to need to rely on hospital emergency rooms and 'urgent care' clinics for any medical needs. So make sure what the British nationalized insurance will pay for and bring any documentation you will need to show that coverage.


  4. Default

    Thanks for your replies!

    I went to the travel agents today to get some help with planning etc. Still can't decide which route to take, but I'm getting there!

    Is there much to see through KS, NE, MO? If not I might dip down to Texas and along to the deep south that way.

    These are my draft routes so far:

    I'm leaning towards the second one, because Yosemite Park looks amazing!

    Flights don't seem too expensive. And as for carrying money, the travel agents can set up a visa electron (I think) card that I can keep adding money too (the £-> $ conversion happens immediately, so even if the exchange rate drops in the future I still get a good deal!), it will also save me using travellers cheques/ cheaper than a credit card.

    One thing I forgot to ask about is duties/ declarations (?) on things I buy and bring back? I've never been abroad before so don't know anything about it. Do I have to tell customs everything I buy and pay a fee for bringing it in? Can I just post things back instead?

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-01-2008 at 11:48 AM. Reason: Preferred URL format herein

  5. Default FL in autumn?

    What's the weather like at this time?

    For my trip I'm planning on ending in Orlando around mid October and staying for 2 weeks - so one of my friends from over here can come and meet me.

    Is the weather still nice and good for sitting on beaches etc? If not, what's the latest sort of time to visit?


    PS When do shops get all festive in the US?!

    (**This post moved to your original thread -- Generally we prefer that you keep all posts together for planning a single trip)
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-01-2008 at 12:38 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default If no hurricanes are present...

    Mid-October is past most of the hurricane season -- so weather tends to be in the "very nice" categories -- daytime temps in the mid-80's, cooler nights.
    PS When do shops get all festive in the US?!
    Do you mean for Christmas? This usually starts shortly after Halloween (October 31st).


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You've got lots of time to plan

    You don't need to get things set-in-stone right now. But it's great that you're doing some pre-planning. With the time you have for your trip, you really don't need to set your itinerary at all. You will want to schedule some time to "go with the flow" and explore new discoveries along the way.

    I suggest you plan with an idea to having a set general location of where you want to be every 10 days or so. This should keep you reasonably on schedule so you don't end up being rushed at the end of your trip....or, vice-versa, rushing at the beginning when you didn't need to and, thus, needlessly bypassing interesting places.

    Of your routes, I would be inclined to choose #2 but I would dip down into New Orleans while in Louisiana. After Tennessee, I would also add a visit to Washington DC. A most amazing city.

    Keep asking questions and Happy Planning!

  8. Default Essentials for travelling alone

    I'm going to do lots of exploring when I'm on the road, and as I'll be travelling alone it's going to be a bit more dangerous in that I'll have no back up, so what are the main precautions I should take in case anything goes wrong? (I know I should be ok, but I also know how accident prone I am!)

    - I'm going to get a cheap old laptop with Wifi, so I can keep in touch with family over here, so they know I'm ok, and roughly where I am/ what I'm doing (hopefully on a daily basis, if not I'd try to let them know)

    - I'll put together a survival pack for hikes (Compass, penknife, space blanket, mirror signal, flare? torch, first aid kit, energy bar etc)

    - A US SIM for my mobile

    - Carry limited cash, but keep some spare in the car.

    - Perhaps leave a note in my tent/ car stating where I've gone that day?

    - A note with all my personal details, contact numbers etc on, in my backpack

    Any other tips for lone travellers?


  9. Default

    Thanks Judy! I've never been abroad before so feel I have a little extra prep to do. And it also fills up the days when I'm sat in bed!

    I do have a further question regarding when I should go.

    If I leave middle of August, and travel roughly though route #2, (start CA, ending in FL) and depart middle of November, am I going to be ok camping out? What will the weather be like throughout my trip, and is it better to arrive a bit earlier?

    I'd like mild/ warm weather, and hopefully not too much snow or rain, as I'd like to explore a fair bit


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default The weather is whacky!

    In the past, I would have felt more comfortable giving more specific advice regarding what to expect with the weather. But, gosh, the last few years the weather in the US has been so whacky that it makes it hard to predict.

    In general, I think the Sept-Nov time-frame for camping in these areas should be fine. I think your chance of encountering any snow is fairly nominal as long as you are out of northern areas like Montana and higher elevation areas like Colorado and New Mexico by mid- or late-October. You will definitely have some rain, especially once you hit the Southwest and Florida areas but rain in those areas tends to fall hard but not last long.

    In summary, I think you need to be prepared for snow/rain and cold temperatures at night but I don't think any of these will be extreme enough to ruin your camping and sightseeing experiences.

    I would have extra blankets, clothes that can be layered as you might very well experience hot/cold, dry/wet all in the same day, and lightweight raingear. I would make sure my tent is rainproof and have a lightweight groundcover and tarp in case you do experience rain while camping.

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