My friend and I are both from the Uk and are planning on visiting America for 2 months next summer. We would like to see the big cities but also see the national parks and other places off the main routes.
Our original idea is to get a grayhound buss pass. However, we were wondering how easy it would be to get to the national parks with this. Would using local transport be easy/possible?
Annother option is to buy or hire a car as it would be more flexible and would be our prefered option. However we have a very limited budget and since we are both 21 it seems that we would have to pay a premium for the hire and the insurance.
Any advice on either Grayhound busses or cars would be much appreciated.
It would be hard to give you any specific information without knowing what places you're particularly interested in seeing.
In general, the US is not such a public transportation kind of place. There are a few major cities (mostly in the Northeast) that are centrally designed and have good public transportation (for instance, NYC or Boston), but most places in the US are victims of urban sprawl and have no real transportation to speak of (some city bus routes at limited hours, that's it) (Europe has us beat by a long shot) National Parks might be even more difficult as they are generally well outside of metropolitan areas. A hired car would definetly make your life easier.
Depending on your itinerary, you may be able to use a combination of rental car/public transportation/greyhound bus that may be a cheaper and less cumbersome option.
Greyhound can be an interesting experience. The trips will take 3 times as long as they will in a car, but you will see a lot of small-town America that you might miss on the highways. You'll also rub elbows with a lot of people that you never expected to, (and may never want to again!). It will give you something to talk about when you go back home, for sure!
You may want to look into Amtrak as well (our train system). Some itineraries go directly to National Park areas (like the Grand Canyon).
hey have you considered buying a cheap car? it will be cheaper than hiring and you can just sell it at the end of the trip.
that way you have the flexability you want without having to pay a bucketload for hiring.
or get the bus n hire a car on the days that you need it.
It will be difficult for you to rent a car due to your age. Some companies might rent, it will take a bit of checking.
I think your best bet will be to buy a vehicle and sell it after you are through with it. I checked for several TP members and it is not that complicated to buy, license it and insure a vehicle here. Buying a van that you can sleep in would be my choice. There are plenty of them around and you have your room with you at all times. This is really handy when you hit the National and state parks. Sleeping in the van or camping out could save you enough in motel/hotel fees to pay for the van.
If you have any questions, send me a PM.
Thanks for the suggestions. Buying a van sounds like a really good idea, we were just unsure about the cost of all the things involved (we don't really have much idea of the cost of things in America) and we had previously read that licensing a car wasn't all that easy for a non US citizen.
Could anyone suggest a rough estimate as to how much a van & insurance for 2 months (considering we are both 21) & licensing would cost.
hey, have you considered trek america?, i went in may new york-miami, but they do many more treks such as l.a- new-york, its a great way to explore america, because the tour guides know exactly where to take you and gives you the safty of being in a group (6-13). iv heard alot of bad stories about greyhound buses, i dont wanna scare you so i wont go there, but lets just say you might wanna carry a weapon!!. also try contiki tours!, the prices vary £400-£1500 per person excluding flights, but its worth every penny! hope this post helps
Have to agree with the above Trek America suggestion, especially if you're wanting to hit the NPs. I did a great Trek called the Rock Mountain High that took in 9 states on the east and included great stops such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Monument Valley and Mesa Verde. Treks are such good fun and great value for money, you'll get to do/see things you would'nt by going it alone. So, my ultimate suggestion would be to van it or the cities and join a Trek for the NPs. Have a great time