3 Month trip to the USA and a bit of Canada
I'm looking for advice and suggestions on a trip I'm planning for July next year. The two of us are hoping to fly out to the USA and spend 3 months travelling around it (along with seeing Vancouver at the end). Essentially it is a giant sightseeing trip as we intend on going to all the major tourist attractions.
The general idea is:
Fly into Orlando
fly home from Vancouver
Obviously this is a very rough plan as we have no idea what will catch our eye on the way. I'm trying to avoid putting together too much of strict schedule as we don't have much of an idea wht we'll see between the major destinations - is this a wise move?
With regards to travel we've been told to avoid the Greyhound buses. A few people have mentioned buying a car, but then a lot of people have told us it's pointless having a car if we're going to be in a lot of the major cities, plus the cost of buying a car is too much for us. Looks like the best way to get around will be by train, and if we spot a destination we'd like to see more of we figured we could just hire a car for few days and drive it. We will also be hiring a car for Route 66. Thoughts/suggestions?
On the accomodation side of things we have been told to avoid hostels and where possible stay in chain motels (Motel 6 and Super 8 seem to be mentioned a lot) and hotels (if the budget stretches that far!). We'd be looking to average out about 40$ a night on motels, is this possible? What other alternatives are there? Buying an RV is out of the question as we don't hae the money to buy a vehicle AND pay for the trip, even if we will get some of the vehicle money back in the end!
I'm looking for suggestions on destinations that are along our route that we sould really be looking into more! Both of us would really like to see some sports games (Baseball, Basketball, American Football and Ice Hockey) along with some motorsport (Nascar and Drag racing) - what are the best spots to see these and how far in advance would we need to purchase tickets?
Lastly, cost - all in (flights, accomodation, insurance, travel costs and general spending) we were hoping to keep the trip to under £7,500 ($12,500). Are we dreaming with that figure?
Thank you in advance for any views, advice, suggestions and recommendations you all may have!
Welcome to the RTA Forum!
I think you are basically on the right track with your thinking and planning. Your budget seems to be within reason, and I agree with your thoughts that you don't need to get too specific with your timeline.
A few things specifically, first I'd be figuring $50 a night for motels. There will be times where you find places for around 40, but in some areas - especially since you are focusing on cities - where its going to be 50-60 or more for the cheapest place you can find. I also wouldn't rule out hostels. With 2 people you probably won't save much (they'll charge around $20-25 per person per night) and you'll be looking at staying in a shared dorm room, but for your visits within cities they often will be in better locations in the heart of a city, as opposed to a cheap chain motel near a freeway on the outskirts/suburbs of a town. Throw in your plan to use public transportation, and hostels could be quite a bit easier in this respect.
Speaking of transportation, you should know that most american cities have some sort of public transportation (usually buses) within their city. However, there are only a handful of places where I would call it a good system. Just be prepared that you're going to be dealing with some fairly confusing systems that will take you a while to get around. Getting between cities, Amtrak is a decent option, particularly in the east. The downside of Amtrak vs Greyhound in large part is that Amtrak doesn't go nearly as many places. I do think your plan of renting a car when you need one could be a good one. Buying a car is very difficult as a non-resident, so you are probably wise to avoid trying it, but renting for when you want to go to places like national park that aren't accessable via train or bus, should work out quite nicely and fit into your budget.
Sports wise, you'll probably be a bit too early for Hockey or Basketball as those seasons generally run from Oct/Nov into June. (American) Football games start in late August or September so you could likely fit in one of those. And you'll be in the heart of the baseball season. You can see most of those things throughout the country, although for Racing and if you go to a College Football game the southeast would probably be the place to go simply because of their reputation. These things you'll probably want to get tickets a couple months in advance if you can. For baseball, you can usually get tickets day of game except in some high profile case (like Boston or Chicago's Wrigley Field). And of course, for pretty much any sport, there are usually people selling tickets on the street, so even if a game is sold out, you can usually find a way to get in to the event if you are willing to negotiate and/or pay a bit more than face value.
Thanks for your help Michael.
With the costs (flights, accomodation, insurance, travel costs and general spending) have I listed more or less everything we would need to spend money on? Can anyone think of anything else I'd need to budget for with this trip?
Any more advice relating to my first post more than welcome too!
Thanks again guys.