I am heading on a 2 month travel trip with my girlfriend from July 3rd this year to August 31st. We are starting in Chicago for 5 days and then over the next 6 weeks we want to visit: California (Los Angeles, Anaheim (disneyland), San Fransisco, San Diego), Arizona (Grand Canyon), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New York. Possibly Las Vegas or/and hawaii.
What would be the best way to travel, we don't drive by the way. We have never stayed in hostels but are going to be on this trip for budget reasons (obviously!)
Any advice would be great!
If you dont drive how are you planning to get around? i'm guessing its going to be by plane,train or bus, between major urban areas but outlying scenic areas like the Grand Canyon etc are not accessible by public transit.
We are either flying or getting the amtrak train between major cities.
I travelled across the US for 9 weeks last summer, covered california (san fran, san diego, LA), las vegas, arizona (flagstaff - grand canyon), colorado (rocky mountains), new york, chicago, michigan (detroit), washington dc, south carolina (charleston), Georgia (atlanta), new orleans and finished in miami.
we got an 80 day greyhound pass for $600. the journeys are quite long, obviously, and you have to queue for a couple of hours before boarding, but if you dont mind that then it's perfect! it certainly added to the experience, never a dull moment with greyhound!
depends on what your budget it I guess...
(if you have any questions about where we stayed etc. feel free to ask!)
All of the places you plan to visit are accesible without a car by train/bus/local transit, even the Grand Canyon. Of course, you will have to fly between the mainland and Hawaii, but once there, there are bus systems on the major islands, but Oahu is the only one with extensive and frequent service. Much of North America is served by public transportation. While not as frequent or as many places served as, say Europe, there are a lot of locations in North America served by public transportation. Here's a web site on traveling via public transportation in North America with information and links to sites that have further information such as service operators, maps and etc:
You can also get metro information for many large cities in north America by googling "metro" and the city name.
Enjoy your trip.
[ Edit: Edited to limit promotional content. ]
What's greyhound like to ride on?.
Also did you stay in hostels?, we have been looking online but nearly all of them have varied reviews.
Our budget would be about $7,000.
Greyhound is generally safe, but can be boring as most of the buses travel on the interstate highways which are not very scenic. You do have to consider where you are travelling as with any traveling, some areas can be questionable. Some stations are fine, but others can be in bad parts of town. Most food stops are very basic fast food, etc. But all that being said, the price probably fits with your budget.
Amtrak is more comforatable and some of its routes are very scenic but is more expensive. Both Greyhound and Amtrak do have passes you can purchase and are more economic if you are doing many trips within the time allotment.
I have not stayed in hostels, but do understand your frustration with the reviews as can sometime run into the same problem lookin at hotel reviews.
Look at Tripadvisor reviews if you have not already. It has reviews on all kinds of travel - geared towards accomodations, but also has area reviews, transportation reviews and lots more. You may see conflicting views on the same thing, but you will usually be able to determine whether something is ok if most are good reviews or most are bad.
My experience has been especially on accomodations, that when most reviews are food and then you find a few terrible ones for the same property, the person has probably booked the wrong type of hotel, etc. For instance, a person booked a hostel or budget motel to same money where they really prefer 5 star luxury.
Hope this is helpful.
I have done 2 working holidays in the States, totalling 8 months spent there Its a great place to explore, and not driving won't be a problem for you. I used a combination of travel methods, including flying (on the plus side, the trips are short, on the down side airport security is RUDE all over the States in my experience!), the Amtrak train service, and organised tours. I suggest you use hostelz.com to help you in your search to find a decent bed each night. On the whole the standard of hostel accommodation in the USA is quite high...theres always the exeptions of course, but hopefully you can avoid these if you do the research If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me, I'd be happy to help if I can!