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Best way to get around the USA, any advice?

Travel Forums North America Best way to get around the USA, any advice?

1. Posted by becky552 (Budding Member 27 posts) 7y

Hi there.

My friend and I are currently in Australia and will be going to USA for 6 weeks in November.

Ideally we would like to rent a campervan/small RV but it looks quite expensive and the mile limit is really annoying.

Does anyone have any ideas or know any companies that rent cheap campervans or does anyone know a cheap way to transport ourselves and also getting cheap accomodation?

The campervan hire came to under the amount we have budgeted for our accommodation and greyhound transport. Only problem is the 200 mile limit per day on the van and the thought of 'boondocking'.

We like the camper idea as we can use it both for transport and also accomodation.

We might end up having to go by greyhound but this is a last ditch attempt to see if anything else is out there. please please help us lol

Thanks guys

2. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 7y

Short of hitch hiking the bus is the most reliable way to go,Some less reliable ideas might include=.
You could buy an old van for under $1000 and hope it stays together for your trip
http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=63915
Or a car and a tent, check Auto Trader or something like Craigslist
http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites
There are also companies that get people to drive cars to various parts of the country,they are called
Auto Drive Away
http://www.gonomad.com/transports/0012/javins_driveaway.html
Also staying in Hostels might save some lodging money
http://www.hostelusa.com/

[ Edit: Edited on 18-Sep-2009, at 01:11 by jambo101 ]

3. Posted by bazzlevi (Budding Member 16 posts) 7y

I would say it depends on where you are going. If you are planning on visiting the major urban areas of the northeastern U.S., then you will probably want to stick with public transportation (bus, plane). Parking is difficult and expensive in these areas, as well as in Chicago and San Francisco. If you are planning on visiting other cities, or the national parks, then I would recommend finding a good deal on a rental car and driving yourself.

When I go on road trips (in the U.S.), I stay at inexpensive chains like Red Roof Inn and Motel 6. Another option would be to try "couch surfing". I've never done this, but I have a friend who swears by it. Google the term to find out more. And while I have stayed at several hostels in Europe, I have never done so in the U.S. I've always been skeptical of the quality of them here, but I admit that I don't really have any rational basis for thinking that.

4. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

Becky,
I have helped 4 separate TP members buy vans/cars here in Vegas. All the vehicles were under $2K. If you buy a Dodge Caravan, Ford Windstar or Chevy Astro van, you get the best of both worlds. Decent mileage, easy to drive, big enough to sleep in.

If this sounds feasible, send me a PM and I will walk you through the buying a van, sleeping in it while touring the US.

5. Posted by geeadamg (Budding Member 23 posts) 7y

I was travelling the USA earlier this year solo and I used a combination of hire cars and planes.

And although I didn't, next time I think I would mainly use trains (Amtrak). I've been doing research and although a lot of the natives don't like the trains and kinda dismiss the idea because they can be slow and are always late, the experience is apparently amazing and I've yet to find a negative blog on them when you are travelling around. And the advantage that is relatively cheap if buying one of the passes, you get to see lots of the country you wouldn't see via roads or planes, plus america was built of railways and I get the impression that the once loved network is precariously balanced in losing its fight with the airline industry - it all adds to the romance of doing such travel.

So, if I was to do this again I would use a combination of trains and hires cars - but mainly trains.

6. Posted by DaveinMD (Respected Member 198 posts) 7y

OK I don't have a lot of info on the deal but I heard that RV rental companies will let you have them for free as a way of transporting the RV to the appropriate destination. The company sees it as a way of getting free shipping. I believe the company is Cruise USA or Cruise America or something like that. Sorry, wish I had more info.

7. Posted by DaveinMD (Respected Member 198 posts) 7y

OK here is the company but obviously they are not going to advertise this or they'd never rent an RV. You may need to contact them. Good luck and if it does pan out PLEASE get back to us.

http://www.cruiseamerica.com/

8. Posted by cyntiast (Budding Member 7 posts) 7y

Where are you traveling? In November, late fall - there are certain sections of US that will start experiencing snow storms, etc. which will impact your travel decisions. If you are comfortable hiring a car; that would be a good option. Again - depends on your travel agenda, time schedule, budget. I love to travel for the least amount of money as possible if that is what you are looking for I can offer advise.

9. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 7y

If you are travelling in November i'd forget the campervan idea as 90% of the campgrounds are closed for winter,if you stay to the extreme south of the US you may have better luck,but i think ultimately when you research the cost for renting and feeding gas to an Rv for a month or more you'll probably drop the idea.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Sep-2009, at 04:02 by jambo101 ]