Skip Navigation

Opinions needed please...

Travel Forums North America Opinions needed please...

Page
  • 1
  • 2

Last Post

1. Posted by SoulAsylum (Budding Member, 20 posts) 8 Nov '07 02:33

So I'm planning this trip to America and I am just wondering how my travelling should be done...

should I hire a car? Or use the greyhound/bus/train services?

This is my plan, so if you guys can help out that would be great!

UK - Toronto - (see Niagra Falls) - Boston (quick stop to Salem also)- New York City - Washington DC - Nashville - Memphis - Little Rock - Dallas - Alberquerque - Roswell - Phoenix (passing through) - Las Vegas - Grand Canyon - Vegas - Los Angeles - San Francisco - Yosemite NP - Reno - Salt Lake City - Yellowstone - then turn around and go back to Seattle where hopefully I'll fly to Hawaii and end my trip...

so what would be the best way to go about this, I'm happy to leave a few places off if it's easier...

2. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member, 591 posts) 8 Nov '07 15:01

Depends on your budget. If you can afford it, I'd rent a car. You'll get to see more and do more that way, but it just depends if you have the money. I'd also recommend skipping Albuquerque and going to Santa Fe instead. Good luck!
-K

3. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3528 posts) 9 Nov '07 00:09

Rod,
My answer depends on how long you are going to be in the US and how many in your party. If you are alone and going to stay 30 days or less, then the bus is probably your best option. A 30 day Discovery Pass on Greyhound Bus is $522. It allows you to travel all around the US for 30 days.

If there are 2 or more, then renting a car/van will be a better option. Most auto rental companies require a driver to be at least 21 and have major credit card in your name. Unless you have someone over 21 with you, the rental option is going to be difficult and expensive. They add an additional fee if you are under 25. I will get a quote if you give me your arrival date & departure date.

One other option is to buy a car or van and sell it when you leave. This only makes sense if you are going to be in the US over a month. Buying a van allows you the option to sleep in it when on the road or in the National Parks. This can save you hundreds of dollars if you sleep in the van some of the time.

Send me a PM if you have any questions.

4. Posted by SoulAsylum (Budding Member, 20 posts) 9 Nov '07 02:38

Quoting vegasmike6

Rod,
My answer depends on how long you are going to be in the US and how many in your party. If you are alone and going to stay 30 days or less, then the bus is probably your best option. A 30 day Discovery Pass on Greyhound Bus is $522. It allows you to travel all around the US for 30 days.

If there are 2 or more, then renting a car/van will be a better option. Most auto rental companies require a driver to be at least 21 and have major credit card in your name. Unless you have someone over 21 with you, the rental option is going to be difficult and expensive. They add an additional fee if you are under 25. I will get a quote if you give me your arrival date & departure date.

One other option is to buy a car or van and sell it when you leave. This only makes sense if you are going to be in the US over a month. Buying a van allows you the option to sleep in it when on the road or in the National Parks. This can save you hundreds of dollars if you sleep in the van some of the time.

Send me a PM if you have any questions.

Thanks for the advice guys,

Well I'm planning on staying 3 months (thats the maximum time available right?) and I'm on my lonesome, some of my friends say the want to go, but I doubt they'll actually come so it probably will be me... The van sounds like a good idea, just wondering how good the road/map services are? I suppose half the fun of driving is getting lost and ending up in a few different places! And is crossing state lines a hassle?

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 9, 2007, at 2:42 AM by SoulAsylum ]

5. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3528 posts) 9 Nov '07 09:13

Rod,
I am going to answer in a PM.

6. Posted by geminedi (Budding Member, 6 posts) 13 Nov '07 02:00

crossing state lines isnt any hassle.just small changes between state laws come into effect.for example.dont speed in virginia.the state troopers there dont play around.and avoid dc at night and if u travel by greyhound dont trust anyone outside or near the dc greyhound station.i am from near dc in annapolis maryland trust me on this.

7. Posted by davidb (Budding Member, 23 posts) 13 Nov '07 11:27

I agree with geminedi, the US bus system is not even close to as good as European buses. They're sometimes dangerous, and usually late. If you're going for 3 months buying a van would work best. It's a lot more freedom, especially if you're gonna settle in one spot and work.

8. Posted by jekalo (Full Member, 118 posts) 14 Nov '07 18:09

I would recomend the self drive option. Crossing state lines is no problem at all, you might not even know you have done it if you are not on an interstate highway at the time. I would visit Hot Springs Ak. over Little Rock and Santa Fe in addition to Albequerque, lots to see in that area, petrified forest, painted desert and so on.
I would also recomend the Pacific Coast highway from San Francisco to Seattle, its a beautiful drive and there are some interesting places to visit along the way. Between Dallas and Santa Fe you might want to stop off overnight at Amarillo and see the sights at Canyon, a mini grand canyon just south of Amarillo where they present a production on the canyon floor that gives you an idea of what the life of the early settlers of the area was like, its quite a good presentation with actors from the local university drama departrment. Camping is an option you might give some consideration to as there are lots of campsites once you get out of the larger metropolitan areas and decent hotels are not all that cheap. Texas is huge and you will leave with a very limited knowledge of the state with the route you plan since you will miss the heavily forested east, the beautiful hill country, the costal plains, valley area with its citrus orchards, the real cowboy country of the south and west parts of Texas as well as the mountains and vast Big Bend area of far West Texas. I am a little biased, it is a great state, a whole other country, as the promotional literature says. Have a good trip.

9. Posted by SoulAsylum (Budding Member, 20 posts) 15 Nov '07 01:58

OKay cheers, looks like the car is the definitive option. Thanks. I thought the American Public Transport system was like Europe's, but I guess not? Well at least with a car I'll have my own space and freedom to travel anyway, and I can probably go to the places I left off my list (I left alot of places in Texas, and Florida off my list because I thought I wouldn't have time) Just worried about getting around in a car/having a crash...

Are the roads good in the states, are they scenic? And are they littered with signs so I know where I'm going? Anybody else done the drive across the States? Advice/Info?

10. Posted by Isadora (Moderator, 13924 posts) 15 Nov '07 04:35

Quoting SoulAsylum

OKay cheers, looks like the car is the definitive option. Thanks. I thought the American Public Transport system was like Europe's, but I guess not? Well at least with a car I'll have my own space and freedom to travel anyway, and I can probably go to the places I left off my list (I left alot of places in Texas, and Florida off my list because I thought I wouldn't have time) Just worried about getting around in a car/having a crash...

Are the roads good in the states, are they scenic? And are they littered with signs so I know where I'm going? Anybody else done the drive across the States? Advice/Info?

Hi Rod!

Years ago buses and trains were well-used modes of transportation. But, because of the size of the US, it did mean several long hours getting from place to place. As life became more hectic and airlines offered cheap fares to certain destinations, the bus/train services went into decline and out of favor with travelers - something from which neither have been able to recover.

As for good roads... It all depends on what you personally consider good. Seriously, the interstate system is quite good (usually 4-6 lane divided highways) and they are generally well marked. I do recommend purchasing either the Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas or the Rand McNally Road Atlas & Travel Guide. Both are spiral bound which I find quite handy. (We take ours along even for short trips to places unknown.) Individual maps used to be free at the gas stations but now they charge for them, if they have them at all. Many times I have been sent to the local WalMart to get a map.

If you decide to venture off the interstates to explore, you will encounter two-lane roads/highways. Again, generally these roads are quite good. The headache will be construction zones and in the more southern states, this can be a year round thing. Construction in the northern US runs from April to October. Basically, we have two seasons - winter and road construction. Again, these areas should still be well-marked. The scenery around interstates can be a bit dull in the midwest as it is farmland. Interstates were designed to get from place to place quickly. The secondary roads may be better for sightseeing depending on your timetable.

Here are two sites that you may find of interest:

National Scenic Byways Program - Explore Byways
Roadside America - Guide to Unusual Attractions

Have a great time!!