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  1. #1

    Default 3 months of road tripping during Nov-Dec-Jan?

    Hey Road Trippers

    My girlfriend and I are planning for, a hopefully, great road trip in the states. As i turn 25 early november, this is the earliest date to take off (to reduce rental cost substantial). To give you the rough idea of our plan it pretty much looks like this.

    - Rental car for roughly 3 months (preferably the same as several one-way rentals seems way to expensive)

    Route: Chicago -> Niagara Falls -> NY -> D.C. -> Miami -> New Orleans -> Grand Canyon -> Las Vegas -> San Francisco -> Los Angeles
    Naturally the route isn't complete, as we are planning lots of stop between the major cities, but it gives you the rough idea.

    Our main concern is whether we should crank up the trip early november or wait until spring, say march. Would we miss out on anything due to colder weather during Nov-Dec-Jan??

    Second: what can we really expect of the weather during that time, in the different parts of the country?? The statistics we've seen so far probably only tells half the story like temperature.

    As far as driving in cold conditions, we have sufficient respect/practice due to our own climate.
    Since we are from Europe, we don't feel we know enough about the different weather "over there" to make our decision yet, and therefore we seek help from you, the pros :)

    In advance thank you for your help. :)

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

    Default limits

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The biggest limitation of traveling in winter is that some things, particularly in mountainous areas, will basically shut down during winter, or simply be snowbound an inaccessable. Of course, a lot of those mountain areas basically see the winter season extend into late may or june, so spring travel doesn't necessarily change the equation all that much.

    The other big factor really ends up being your own comfort. It is going to get cold if you travel in the dead of winter, and it is very likely that you'll see some snow and ice that will force you to pretty much stay put for a day or two. Nearly every part of your journey, except for South Florida can and does see freezing conditions over the course of the winter. None of that means you can't travel, it just could make it a little uncomfortable (sightseeing in a blizzard with a -30 wind chill wouldn't be much fun!) and if you wanted to save money by camping that would be a challenge.

    On a positive note, winter will be the quiet season for a lot of places and with the exception of Christmas and New Years, you shouldn't have to deal with crowds. And of course, there are some things in the terms of holiday decorations that you'd get to see while traveling in December that you wouldn't get to see any other time of year.

    Personally, I'd probably wait until spring, just because the weather will generally be nicer and more enjoyable to be outside, but you can still have a nice trip no matter when you go.

  3. #3

    Default New Route?

    Thanks for your answer!

    Your thoughts upon comfort are spot on. Considering the amount of time we expect to spend outside, it seems like March-Apr-May might be better.

    Concerning the route: in terms of planning the route to accommodate the season better, would it then better so start the trip another place like LA or Miami??
    My estimation tells me that departure in LA early march would mean a visit to yosemite, grand canyon and other national parks in the area in late march or early april. The other way around that area would be visited sometime in may. I think my question really is about whether the northeast is a good place to start in March??

    Thanks again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    From a weather standpoint, I would start somewhere in the South and do a counter-clockwise loop.

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