Las Vegas to The Florida Keys (or vice versa)
I'm currently dreaming of my first American road trip. My girlfriend and I are from the UK and have both been to the USA several times before. We have mainly visited Florida, but we visited Vegas last year.
Would it be possible to trek from Vegas to southern Florida? By saying possible, I guess that I mean feasible. Would it be too far? How far would we be talking? My American geography isn't great, but if my memory serves me correctly, Vegas is west side. Am I right? I'm thinking about travelling West > East, then East Coast > south Florida.
I assume we would fly to a major city on the west coast, hire a car [where can I find out more on this?], drive the journey and fly back to the UK from Florida. How much am I looking at forking out to leave a hire car at the end of a one-way journey like this? I understand that high premiums have to be paid. Car-wise, I guess a nice convertible would be great. Again, where can I find info/prices/etc on hire cars for road trips?
Thanks in advance for any help that I may receive.
Yes, there will be some major expenses for renting an auto one-way. Check out the websites of the major American companies for more information, or use a travel reservation system like you can find on this site or others. There are quite a few. You may have to CALL them to get a quote on one-way "drop" charges. You'll also find that convertibles come at a higher price than a run-of-the-mill sedan or coupe. If you're determined to do it by car, it's certainly possible, and a great experience. Last summer, one of the car rental companies (Advantage, I believe) was offering one-way rentals between the cities they serve -- so be sure to check with them also.
If cost is a big issue, you might consider renting a vehicle for local travel at Las Vegas and then again in Florida, but travel by air or rail between the two. Las Vegas to Florida is a minimim of 4 days drive time (roughly) unless you're into marathons. Also, a foreign citizen can get a rail pass for 15 or 30 days at a reduced rate. I believe you can easily get from Las Vegas to Florida (maybe via Los Angeles) on Amtrak (the American national passenger rail service). You can add sleeper car service for an additional charge, but it is possible also to sleep in the coach seats if you want to save a few bucks and if you're "flexible."
Consider adding New Orleans as an intermediate stop -- whether by car or rail, you'll find it a great place to visit.
More info on our "proposed" route
Thanks Bob. However, rather than flying from one place to another, or catching a train, we really want to hire a car.
We do have a few more ideas of the places we would like to see, and a possible route too. Our plan is - and it is very roughly planned - to fly to LA, head north to San Francisco, across to Las Vegas & the Grand Canyon, take Route 66 to Chicago, up to New York, then back down the east coast, around Florida and then across the pan handle back to roughly where we started. It is a very "general" route and we will, of course, want to see various places along the way. We may well start in a different place, perhaps on the east coast, but this is an approximate route that we would like to take. We anticipate that we will be away for about 3 months.
If anybody has any ideas or suggestions, please help ...
Three months is doable -- but not leisurely
Depending upon how much zig-zagging you do, you will likely cover 8,000 miles (~13,000 KM) and given current fuel prices will easily spend $1000 in gasoline.
How large is your budget? What is most number of hours you would prefer to drive on a given day?
Nothing is set in stone, we are hoping for loads of suggestions
We haven't seriously considered budgets yet. However, we want to keep the costs as low as possible, but still do the things that we want to do.
We don't want to be driving so much that we miss all of the things around us, but really, I don't mind how much driving we do - 8000 miles is a fair old trek isn't it? How much is $1000 in GBP? £600? That's not too bad - for us brits. We would expect to pay at least double that in the UK (at a rough guess) for a similar number of miles.
How much time would you recommend that we spend doing our trip? How much money would make for comfortable living - without being extravagant - for, say, a 3-month road trip across the states? What do you think of the route? We may take a few detours along the way of course.