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  1. Default Driving from NY to California Summer 2011 B

    Hello Everyone,

    I am very very very excited to say that I and 3 more people are driving from East Coast to West Coast of America too!
    This is going to happen in summer. We are considering between June and July. Which month would be better? Prisewise- I have checked the prices of the flight tickets (Europe-USA) and June is much cheaper.
    At the moment I have a crazy plan and not sure how realistic it is! I would like to fly to MIAMI. To stay a couple of days there and then fly back to NY. From NY to rent a economic car for 4 people and drive all the way to California. Ideally I would like to visit all 3 cities: LA, LAS VEGAS and San Francisco. We are going to spend 3 weeks in USA. I think it is quite realistic to go to MIAMI for a couple of days and then to go to NY and from there start our driving towards the other coast. We would give it about 15 days to drive through America including lots of sightseeing and stopping by's.

    Also, we are considering good old and famous Route 66. Is it still something people do? I think it would be really nice to use this romantic route unless there is something we don't know yet.

    I haven't done my research yet, so apart from bigger cities like Chicago and so on I havent planned yet what other places are worth stopping by.

    I saw the rent price of the Cadical that was quoted by Norwegian Driver and it really scared me! You can get a good car for 2800 dollars! Not to rent it for 3 weeks. I hope I will be able to find cheaper deals.We are planning to take it in NY and return in California.
    I am so excited as I think it is going to be the best journey of my life.I dreamed about it since childhood. Not to forget to mention- I am from Europe and have never been to States before so it is going to be reaaaly exciting. I often joke that after exploring entire America by driving I wouldnt mind to die (as there is no better thing in life then the joy of travelling).

    Have you got any thoughts or advices to me?

    Thanks so much in advance!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-17-2011 at 09:48 AM. Reason: Moved posts into its own thread

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

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    A few key points:

    -The coast to coast drive is about 5 steady driving days (about 550 - 600 miles each day) via the most direct route.

    -There will be a one-way charge for your rental car, plus additional charges if you are under age 25. I'm not sure what the Cadical (Cadillac) price would be - but since it's a luxury car you might want to consider something else.

    -People still travel what is left of US-66. The route was decommissioned several decades ago, but pieces of it live un either in state routes, frontage roads, or underneath the Interstates. As with most things highway, by the time the romance emerged, the road itself was getting a bit overwhelmed.

    What is your budget for this trip (the 3 biggies: food, lodging, fuel)? What type of lodging will you primarily be using? Is there agreement among everyone in the group as to what this trip will include? Are there any medical considerations for anyone in the group?

    - June or July would be fine months to make this trip, keeping in mind it will be hot in the Southwest and temperatures will tend to be on the high side in most other places as well.

  3. Default

    MassTim, thank you for your reply.

    - So if the coast to coast driving is 5 steady driving days, so we will leave an extra 10 days for sightseeing and stoppings. I think to cross the continent in 15 days should be enough.

    - Yes, we will definitely consider a cheapest car option.We will have 2 seriuos male drivers but ladies will perhaps want to try driving on American roads too. We are all 25+. I have checked car hire prices and they start from 600 dollars.I am sure we can find cheaper deals if we would do more research.

    - If people are still using Route 66 and it is not a silly idea I think we might consider this option. Of course, it depens what we want to see on our way to California. As I mentioned it is extremely difficult to decide what cities, national parks and other attractions we must see. As a European I have heard of only the most famous US attractions, so will really have to do a good research of what else exciting is out there to see.

    - I have read that the fuel may cost 400 dollars and more depending on our route. We are going to lodge in cheaper (and hopefully safe too:) hotels/motels (again have to do my research about the costs- but I have heard that there is no point booking in advance as the prices are steady and you will not save much. Also not booking in advance may be useful as sometimes you just dont want to travel anymore and can decide to crash on any cheap motel's bed). How cheap the motels can get on the highways and small towns?
    We are going to buy food from supermarkets and eat in inexpensive pubs in the evenings to have some hot food. I am not sure how we are going to survive with the food from supermarkets and cafes. Has anyone travelled for that long and managed to eat healthy and hot food?
    There are no medical considerations for our group and hopefully will not be until this summer.

    -Well, if Southwestern states get very hot during the summer season, maybe June would be a better month to commense our trip? I am thinking about New York and Northern states, will it be ok temperature in June (20+) to have a pleasant trip and enjoy in sleeveless tops and shorts?


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

    Default not exactly

    A few things to keep in mind.

    5 days is driving direct, with no stops and no detours. 15 days total will be ok, but you'll have to budget your time, especially if you want to see things that might not be on a straight line.

    Its pretty normal for the one way fee on a cross country rental to be at least $300 alone (and often times more). $600 for a 3 week cross country one way trip is a very reasonable starting point, however, with 4 adults you will want to make sure you are getting at least a mid-sized if not standard sized sedan. Going with an economy or compact car is going to be very uncomfortable with the amount of driving you plan to do.

    Just to be clear, Route 66 is no longer an official highway, and it hasn't been for almost 30 years now. Yes, there are section of the road still around, and some of the classic places on the route still remain and are a draw for tourists. But other than for history and tourism, US-66 really isn't used anymore.

    Your fuel cost estimate is low, basically by half. It's quite likely you'll end up driving 5,000. A car that holds 4 people is probably going to get 25 mpg or less, and gas this summer will likely be at least $3.50 a gallon. That works out to $700, and that's really the minimum you should expect.

    Low end motel chains will generally run you about $50 a night, but will often be more inside major cities. You might look at getting a small electic "foreman" style grill or some other small electric cooking device that you could use inside a hotel room to both save money and enjoy some more healthy options.

    June is generally a pretty good month to travel, as it is before the peak summer travel season. Just keep in mind, you can still see some cool, and even cold temperatures in higher elevations the earlier you travel.

  5. Default Totally confused.Advices are needed!

    I had a long chat with my partners in travelling. Actually, we have got a plan B. We are coming to USA for the first time so spending so many days just driving in through the states is going to be so time consuming. We are interested in old Route 66 way and sightseeing and stopping by on the way from New York to California. However, we are afraid that we will not have enough time for visiting big cities like Las Vegas,LA,San Francisco.. Our time is extremely limited (we have 3 weeks including travelling from Europe to USA and USA to Europe). Originally our plan was to go to Miami first.To spend there 2-3 days and then to fly to New York. To spend 3-4 days in NY and from there drive down to California spending some time in each of the major Californian cities. However, we realised that to drive and visit so many places in 3 weeks could be a little bit too ambitiuos. Therefore, we have a plan B. We are not sure how much it is better but the point is that we really want to see the biggest US cities including Miami, New York, Las Vegas, LA, San Francisco and spend in each of them a good couple or more days. We are considering just do the flying and not driving. The plab B is: to fly to Miami and spend there 3 days. Then fly to New York and spend there another 4 days. From New York we would just fly to LA. In LA we would stay the longest (a week) as we could rent a car and drive down to Grand Canyon as well as Vegas visiting San Francisco too. So the driving would be just in California. And we would get back to Europe from LA or San Francisco. Sequence of the cities can be changed as we are not sure which cities we could visit first upon our arrival and which ones we could leave for the end. My question would be: is it worth replacing a long drive through Route 66 (with some alterations) with a proper visit to the most famous 5 American cities allowing plenty of time to explore each one? I do see the difference between just visiting those 5 cities and actually driving and admiring the country, however, the only thing whille driving we woould see is a wonderful nature and small towns on the way to California but we will not get much time to explore California which has a lot to offer. For us the main thing is to have enough time in the cities and I am afraid by flying we would save so much time. Any advices for a bunch of confused European adventurous travellers are welcome :) Thank you so much!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    That would certainly maximize your time considering the cities are your priority. However, from a budget standpoint internal flights for 4 people can add up very quickly. You may want to look at a plan "C" - fly into NYC or Miami, then rent a car to go to the other city, then fly west. Compare your expenses. You can drive NYC-Miami in 3 days with some limited sightseeing, probably no more than $250 for petrol. There will be a one-way drop charge for the car.

    On the west coast, check airfares to LA, SF, and LV - and relative car rental costs. Doing a "loop" trip would eliminate a one-way drop charge on the car.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Making it fit.

    It's what you want as a group that is most important, but if Miami and New york are both a must for you then I think flying West will make a lot of sense. As mentioned earlier, route 66 was decommissioned many years ago and replaced by Interstate and although parts do still exist it is difficult to follow and not a sound enough reason on it's own to drive across the country. Many of course may disagree but that is my opinion.

    The problem you still have is your time, you have 21 days in total. 2 days flying in and out of the US, 3 days in Miami, a day to fly to NY plus 4 days and then another day flying to LA plus a week in LA. That is 18 days out of 21 accounted for and you want to go to the Grand canyon, Las Vegas and San Francisco which is not going to happen in that time frame.

    Flying into New York and then taking a driving tour in the Southwest is a good idea, but you either need to half your time in LA or forget about Miami this time to make it happen.

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post

    The problem you still have is your time, you have 21 days in total. 2 days flying in and out of the US, 3 days in Miami, a day to fly to NY plus 4 days and then another day flying to LA plus a week in LA. That is 18 days out of 21 accounted for and you want to go to the Grand canyon, Las Vegas and San Francisco which is not going to happen in that time frame.

    Flying into New York and then taking a driving tour in the Southwest is a good idea, but you either need to half your time in LA or forget about Miami this time to make it happen.
    Actually, I havent put it right. I meant We would go to California for 7 days (we can probably make it longer). We would start from LA ( I pressume 1 or two days there would be enough to see the most important places). Then We would rent out a car and the rest of the week (5 days) we would like to travel to Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (stay there a couple of days) and finally arrive to San Francisco (2 days visit).

    So the plan would be the following:

    2 days flying in and out of the US
    3 days in Miami
    1 day to fly to NY
    4 days in NY
    1 day flying to LA
    2 days in LA

    1 day in Grand Canyon
    2 days in Vegas
    2 days in San Francisco
    Total: 18 days

    [?] extra days for driving in California

    So according to my calculations we can afford 3 days driving time around California (LA-Vegas-Grand Canyon-San Francisco). Is it realistic?

    We are considering to fly out to Europe from San Francisco so we will not have to come back to LA for a fligh back home.

    We have checked the flight prices and they are much much cheaper as we thought it would be. We would save a lot of money and time by taking a local flight rather than driving.
    We would book a multiply cities journey (from Europe to US and 2 local flights) from one airline. It comes much cheaper than booking separate US local flights.

    So, taking everything into account I think Plan B is worth considering as we would not only visit the major 5 US cities but also would have an opportunity to spend some time driving in California.

    Also, is it worth booking the hotels in advance?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default 10 Days in Cali.

    There are quite a few options but this is what I would do.

    2 Day's in LA > Day 3] to Grand canyon [long drive] > Day 4] in GC > Day 5] GC to LV > Day 6] drive across Death valley and head North on 395 to Bishop/Mammoth area > Day 7] Yosemite NP > Day 8] > Yosemite to San Fran > Day's 9/10 SF and home.

    I think that would give you a good taste of the City life, but also offer some of the best and most diverse scenery in the Southwest. The big consideration is that you also have the coastal route around Big Sur as an option but wouldn't be able to fit it into your plans with the above itinerary.

    If you know where you are going to be and when, which is most likely as you are flying into City's then I can't see any reason why not to book in advance. It will give you opportunity to research areas and find places that suit your budget and compare deals all prior to leaving. It will also save you all the hassle of coming out of the airports with all your luggage and not knowing where you are going. Most definitely book the National parks or towns close by as they are very popular.

  10. Default Money money money


    As for now our plan is following:

    Arrive to Miami in the evening. To stay there the next 3 full days.
    Fly to New York. To spend 4 full days in New York.
    To fly to Las Vegas. From there to rent a car and visit Gard Canyon, Death Valley Park, Los Angeles and San Francisco. We are going to give it 11 days in California.We would fly back to Europe from SF.

    Now the major question is HOW MUCH? We had a really big argument regarding how much does it cost and people calling me unreasonable! I have counted that if we will stay in budget hotels/ motels (I have done my research and think we can stay in 80$ per night (for 2) in New York, Miami hotels/motels are as expensive, In Ls Vegas and Los Angeles you can get really cheap accomodation for 40-50 dollars per night for two) and plan out journey in advance, book as many hotels as possible early, research and plan our routes as well as buy food in supermarkets as much as possible we whould not spend more than 1600 dollars each. That does not includes our flights. 1600 dollars include accomodation, sightseeing, travel expenses (car rent, local transport) and food for ONE person. Do you think it is REASONABLE?

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