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  1. Default From Lousiana to NYC - Is our 3 months trip plan realistic ? :)

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Anaïs and my boyfriend and I are planning a 3 month roadtrip for our 10 year anniversary. We're from Paris (France).
    This is the first time for us travelling this long and we don't know if we are getting carried away or if our plan is realistic :)

    We would like to visit or to stop there :
    New Orleans // Bâton-Rouge // Lafayette // Austin // Big Bend National Park // Chihuahua (Mexico) // El Paso // White Sands National Monument // Tucson // Flagstaff // Grand Canyon // Monument Valley // Antelope Canyon // Las Vegas // Death Valley National Park // Los Angeles // San Francisco // Yosemite National Park // Portland // Seattle // Vancouver // Yellowstone // Mont Rushmore // Chicago // Niagara Falls // Toronto // Ottawa // Montréal // Québec // New York

    The shorter time spent in those cities would be 1 day and the longest would be 5 days (in big cities).

    It's a first draft, maybe we are missing a lot or maybe the route is not optimal. Of course I guess we will have to stop between some of the places to get some rest. Does it seem realistic to you ?
    We can of course try to do less, we don't want to be binge travelling but still would love to make the most of it.

    Sorry if this can seem a little bit paradoxical.

    And another question, is it cool to visit these places from the end of march to the end of june weather wise ?

    Thanks a lot for your anwsers and piece of advice, we're a bit overwhelmed :/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Possible 'Rule-of-Thumb'

    Bienvenue sur les forums de RoadTrip Amérique. Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    With three months to work with, you could do almost anything you want! But you're right, trying to do everything would result in a trip that was more hectic than enjoyable. What my wife and I have found works for us is to spend a week in a given area/city and then move on. This has a couple of advantages. It gives you time to really experience a place in some detail. It allows for days 'off' when you just want to rest or the weather isn't co-operating. And finally, it opens up the possibility of doing 'vacation rentals' rather than just staying in motel rooms. With a vacation rental, you get an entire house or apartment, complete with kitchen and laundry facilities, thus saving you from having to eat every meal at a restaurant, and might even mean that you can travel with a simple carry-on bag rather than having to check (and wait for) larger luggage.

    Such a schedule of a week here a week there, means that you can visit roughly a dozen places in three months, all the while working your way around a loop back to your arrival/departure city in North America. Also note that three months is starting to get you into the timescale where you might be able to do a lease on a car rather than a rental, perhaps saving you some money. Just make sure that you get the insurance/paperwork that will let you take the car each way across the US-Canada border.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default few limits

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    A 3 month trip really doesn't have any limits on where you can go. That doesn't mean you can see everything in that time (if you had 3 years you wouldn't be able to see "everything!"), but you don't need to put much in the way of restrictions, at least in the early stages of your planning.

    A few things to keep in mind.

    In terms of rental cars, I don't know of any rental car company that will allow you to take the car into Mexico, so that could be an issue. Going into Canada shouldn't be as much of an issue, but you'll still need to make sure that the rental car company allows it.

    It might be a lot cheaper to do a full loop for this trip, that will avoid the often expensive one-way drop fee that comes with one-way rental cars. For example, you could drive from NYC to New Orleans in 3 days, which shouldn't be tough to fit into a 3 month trip. It might also reduce your costs, by letting you start/end in the place with the lowest cost.

    It should be noted that 3 months does push up against the limits of how long you can visit on the VWP. As long as you don't plan to exceed 90 days for this trip total, that should be fine, just remember the 90 day limit starts when you touch down in the US and doesn't stop until you leave North America. Going to Canada or Mexico doesn't restart your clock.

    Weather wise, there may be some limits on what you can see by doing this trip in spring. There are some high elevation places that don't open up until relatively late. For example, Yellowstone doesn't really open up to car traffic until mid-may. Yosemite NP is open and worth visiting all year, but there are some areas that don't open until May or June, again depending upon the weather. None of that should keep you from having a good time, but it should be something you keep in mind as you work on your planning.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona

    Default Mexico


    Out of curiosity, what where you planning to do in Chihuahua? Michael is correct; you won't be able to take a rental car across the border; travel by car in Mexico is a complicated business, hardly worth it for a short trip. If there was something in particular you wanted to see, it would be simple enough to leave your rental car in a secure lot in the US, cross the border on foot, and take public transportation to and from your destination in Mexico. If you simply wanted to cross over into Mexico so you can say you've been there, Juarez should be your last choice; it's a very busy, very hectic crossing point, and still not all that safe. Since you'll be travelling along Interstate 10 (presumably) between White Sands and Tucson, you'd do better to go a little bit south out of your way from Willcox to to Douglas, Arizona, and walk over into Agua Prieta, Mexico. Safer, and not quite as crazy. On your way back to I-10, you could stop in Bisbee, a very cool old mining town, and Tombstone (the town too tough to die). There's a LOT to see in Arizona, once you get off the main roads!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I am going to completely agree with Rick; unless there's some unmentioned reason for Juarez, Mexico, you're better off in Agua Prieta, or one of the other smaller border towns. Even Nogales is a bit big for its britches these days. I live about 30 miles from the border and can say that I never go down to Mexico. It's just not safe! The most I've done in Baja California was to reach my foot under the (then barbed wire) fence at Campo to touch the Mexico soil. I know a few that make a trip to Tecate, but it's with a church mission group.


  6. Default

    You are starting your vacation quite early by US standards.

    The vacation season in most of the US is the 14 week period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, May 28 and September 3. That is when most of the attractions are open and when the national parks have their interpretive programs in operation. You MUST visit our wonderful National Parks! The high of the tourist season doesn't even start until the week of July 4. Exceptions are the extreme southern destinations, especially southern Florida which you are ignoring.

    I notice you are focusing on the big cities. To each his own, but you have big cities in France. You don't have the fascinating variety of the United States National Park system, and that is what most people come to see. There are 47 National Parks in the contiguous 48 states. There are also some unbelievable State Parks. Take your pick from over 10,000!

    With three months to visit, it would be economically feasible to do some camping. Make your first stop in America a Wal Mart or any other large department store, or even a sporting goods store such as Dunham or Cabelas and pick up a tent and camping supplies. You'll save a lot on hotel rooms and REALLY get to experience the wonders of America. When you're done, you can give it all away to other campers or drop it off at charitable organizations found throughout the country, such as Salvation Army.

    Good luck whatever you do. Few Americans ever even get three week vacations let alone three MONTHS, until we retire at 65 or older.

  7. Default

    Bonjour et merci pour vos conseils ;)

    I had trouble login again and I finally could today. We bought a lot of city guides that will allow us to define the number of days spent in each city better, but you're right we don't want to be tired all the time and jumping from one city to another :)

    Thank you for the recommandation about the lease, I guess we need to know someone in the US to help us with insurance and paperwork. I actually have a few friends in the US.

    What are the best "local" websites for a vacation rental ? We of course know airbnb but it could be great to have other examples if you have a few in mind.

    Thank you again !

  8. Default

    Hi, thank you for your reply :)

    We are actually doing research to buy a car in the US or do a lease on one if we can get through the paperwork and insurance issues so we can avoid the one way drop cost and go to Mexico and Canada (we have friends there we would love to see).

    Thanks to you we are also considering postponing our departure to be in Yellowstone in may. It would be really sad not to visit Yellowstone while on this trip.

  9. Default


    thank you for your reply. We have a friend and her family from France and who moved to Chihuahua, we thought it could be cool to drop by and say hello.

    We are actually considering staying more in Arizona, thank you for your advice !

  10. Default

    Thank you Donna, we have a friend from France who moved to Chihuahua with her beautiful family, that is why we wanted to go there.

    Thank you for your concern, we hear a lot about Mexico being not safe, but we also have examples of friends whose trip there was really cool and safe. So we are still thinking about this to be honnest.

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