help! i need tips for my first X-country trip...NYC-San Fran
I'm planning on leaving in two weeks for my permanent move to san fran and it just creeped up on me! any advice on which routes to take, cheap places to stay?, crazy sights to see? i need to take a southern route, stopping in st. louis for a day but after st. louis i'm a bit shaky on the best way to get SW. i know i want to hit cali down south, near santa monica and then travel north to san fran but right now it's just this little girl and a big map of the US...help!
You could take I-44 from St. Louis to Oklahoma City, then I-40 through Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, to Barstow, CA. This has the added benefit of taking you through/near much of old Route 66. From Barstow, CA, take I-15 into the LA area. You would be able to wind your way into Santa Monica from there. If you have time, take Highway 1/101 to San Francisco from there and enjoy the beautiful coast highway. Total about 3250 miles; about 55 hours drive time at 55-65 mph.
If you're in a bit more of a hurry once you get to LA, you can shave some time off by driving I-5 north to San Francisco and saving the coastal highway for a weekend getaway once you're settled in your new home.
For cheap places to stay, at this time of year you shouldn't have any problems finding rooms at cheap hotels. Super 8, Days Inn, Motel 6 are just three lower-priced chains that should have plenty of rooms along your route.
AAA might be a great thing to get if you don't have it yet. It not only gives you roadside assistance if you need it, but also gives you discounts on hotels, restaurants, attraction admissions, etc. AAA also lets you order numerous free guidebooks and maps. The guidebooks will give you lists of hotels where you can use your discount, with locations, prices, amenities, etc., listed. Heck, the guidebooks and maps you might want to order for free for this trip might be worth the membership cost itself.
There are lots of posts in various threads with money-saving ideas while traveling. I think the biggest savings is on food. Get a cooler and stock up along the route on sandwich fixings, fruit, granola bars, etc., and you can eat all day out of the cooler without spending money on restaurants...and eat healthier, too. Of course, camping saves money too but it might be too cold this time of year for that.
Cracker Barrel Restaurants have a neat program that allows you to listen to audio-books cheaply. Check it out at http://www.crackerbarrel.com/trip-booksaudio.cfm?doc_id=48
You can get locations of their restaurants at this site as well so you can plan when to stop, get a good bite to eat, and get a new book.
Hope some of these ideas help. Enjoy the trip and good luck at your new job.