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  1. Default New York to San Francisco

    Hi there! I've been looking at these boards for a while, but this is the first time I have posted on here. Me and 1 other guy are planning a trip next July from New York to San Francisco. This is the route we are planning on taking. Initially, if anyone can help us establish if this is realistic within 16 days, then it would be much apprieciated.

    New York - Niagara Falls - Detroit - Chicago - Kansas - Colorado - Salt Lake City - Grand Canyon - Las Vegas - LA (up the West coast to San Francisco) and then fly back to New York.

    Any advice on how rushed we'll be, and also how much you think we should budget in for fuel, would be great. Thanks.

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

    Default keeping moving

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    Your trip is within the range of possibilities for 16 days. You will have to keep moving, and you probably won't be able to linger for more than a day at any one place, but I don't think you'll be so rushed that you can't stop to appreciate places either.

    Your budget is a factor of too many variables to just throw out a number. It will depend upon what you are driving, where you are sleeping, what you plan to do for food and entertainment, etc. However, if you are just looking for fuel costs, check out RTA's fule cost calculator located on the left side of the page.

  3. Default

    Thanks very much! We are still in the very early days of planning. Basically, we have booked our flights from the UK, and now we are working out the exact routes/attractions we want to visit. On the money side of things, we plan to sleep in motels mostly, we thought roughly:

    $1500 fuel allowance for the 4500 miles
    $1200-1300 motel budget
    $600 food budget for 2 (roughly $19 a day each)

    Plus the price of the hire car, and one way fee. And the cost of seeing attractions along the way, etc.

    Does this seem reasonable?... Thanks again for your help.

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

    Default fine

    I think your budget is looking pretty good. In fact, unless you are going with a large van or SUV, I think you've got a pretty sizeable pad for your fuel costs.

    Of course, considering the recent history of fuel prices, that's certainly a good thing.

  5. #5


    looking at your username, does the 1986 represent you age, if so, have you taken into account the young driver fee you'll have to pay when hiring a car for being under 25? just a quick thought as im in the same boat.

  6. Default

    Yes it does refer to my age, but I'm travelling with someone over 25 so he'll be doing the driving. I'm just looking at hire car costs with Hertz. As we are doing a one way trip, does the quote they give you online include that one way fee, and taxes, or are they likely to charge us more money when we arrive to pick up the car?

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

    Default Double-check to be sure

    The quotes I've seen on the websites for the car rental agencies have breakdowns and tell you the one-way drop fee, etc. But if you are getting your quotes verbally, I would sure double-check. Heck, a triple-check doesn't hurt just so you don't get some surprises. In fact, if you're going with a verbal quote, I'd want something in writing. At least an email confirmation with a breakdown.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Live in SW England, Work in Dubai, Travel in USA


    Have you tried Budget for your car rental - they are consistantly cheapest when I do rental comparisons.

    The prices given on any car rental website do not include one-way fees.
    These will likely be in the region of $600 (may in fact be more, as the last time I looked at a one-way was a few years ago and that's what it cost then)

    You have probably overstated the amount you'll spend on gas - I recently hired an SUV and averaged 20mpg - a 4500 mile trip would cost $850 approx

    Motel wise, depending on how luxurious you want (and I'm assuming you'll have one twin room?) you should budget $65 a night, some nights will be more, some less.
    Remember to stop in the first rest and information area after each state border as they have a huge publication giving discounts off most motels in the state - these little books have saved me a lot of money over the years.

    I would suggest that your food budget is probably a little thin though.

  9. Default

    Hi there.

    I posted here a while back when I was in the initial stages of planning. I've been looking at the forum since then, and I thought I'd share my planned route with you and see if anyone had any advice before we leave on 5th July for a 16 day trip.

    5th July: Land in New York
    6th July: Get hire car (young persons insurance) and head to Niagara Falls
    7th July: Niagara Falls
    8th July: Detroit
    9th July: Chicago
    10th July: Omaha
    11th July: Colorado/Colorado Springs
    12th July: Salt Lake City
    13th July: National Parks (i.e Zion NP)
    14th July: Grand Canyon
    15th July: Las Vegas
    16th July: LA
    17th July: Santa Maria
    18th July: San Francisco
    19th July: Fly back to New York
    20th July: New York
    21st July: Fly Home.

    We've planned a few things, such as a helicopter ride in Grand Canyon, A Yankees game in New York, all the touristy things in New York (e.g. Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty tour, etc), Sears Tower and alot of the touristy activities in Niagara Falls.

    We are struggling for ideas of things to do in Omaha, Colorado and Salt Lake City. Any ideas? In places we haven't booked anything to do we thought we'd take a look around and find something when we arrive.

    If anyone has any suggestions or thinks we should know anything before we leave then I'd be very grateful! It seems like alot to squeeze into 16 days, so we're a bit worried, but I hope it'll all be fine!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default thoughts

    A couple things that you'll want to consider.

    First, I'd cut out Salt Lake City, as it is quite a big detour from the rest of your destinations. Instead, I'd follow I-70 through the rockies and maybe stop around Arches. Or maybe instead head through southern Colorado, stop around Durango/Mesa Verde, go down through Monument Valley, stop at the North Rim of the Canyon, and then go back to Zion on your way to Vegas.

    Also, I would keep in mind that the direct route from Niagara Falls to Detroit would be through Canada, and most of the real touristy activities are on the Canadian Side. That means you'll need to make sure your car rental agreement specifically says that you can travel into Canada.

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