we are a family of four on our first trip to usa as a family. we are uk citizens, resident in and travelling from malaysia.having bought deep discounted non changeable tickets we plan to spend approx four weeks in the usa, arriving in new york on july 18th. we have a 12 year old daughter and a 13 year old son with us. both my wife and i drive.
we would like to tour the east coast over 3 weeks (including the closest canadian ponts) and spend the 4th week in new york.we would have liked to have rented a car and travelled overland to destinations where we can spend 2 nights at a time.i would have thought this is a standard expectation of many first-timers.
can someone advise us by
-suggesting a typical route to follw ,
-(clean but economic) hotels to stay at,
- suitable location to rent car
-suggestion of which car/ vehicle to rent that would be comfortable, maneuverable , economic to rent and maintain
this is quite alot of info.however i was unsuccessful in finding any web site that precisely answers these questions which i thought are common to many travellers.
i would appreciate your input/s
Are you flying into New York JFK or any other airport? Let me try to answer every question one by one. I hope I am helpful.
1. The route to follow will be I-95 (Interstate 95) through the entire east coast of the United States. It runs from the border of US and Canada all the way down Florida. It connects all the states of the east coast but you also have alternate routes to get into main cities.
2. http://www.aaasouth.com/travel.asp Here in the US, we have an auto club called AAA. You have to be a member to get discounts in hotels and car rentals but if you say you are when you book it, they rarely ask for you to show your card when you show up at the hotel or car rental place.
Check that website so you can get an idea on prices for cars and hotels.
For car rentals, I have always found Alamo Rent a Car to be the least expensive company. I just got a coupon from them recently too for their weekend specials. One slight disadvantage is that it is usually more expensive to rent out of any NY airport (taxes are higher there) so if you can help it, go into Newark Aiport (New Jersey) where the rentals are a bit cheaper. Check this link for Alamo's specials:
If you cant pull it up, go to www.alamo.com directly. There you can see the vehicle that fits your needs. I honestly think you can find a car for $29.99 a day without a problem (or less). Compared to Europe it is cheaper to rent here but remember that you have to add an additional driver and possibly get insurance which will bring the price up a bit higher. Ask for weekly rates and also let them know you will be traveling crossing few states.
By the way, the rentals you will get at the aiport where you land and you can return it there too. All cars are automatic so any car will be comfortable to drive.
Other companies will be Budget, Hertz, National, etc etc. Just ck their specials and see which one offers the cheaper rates. You can book it from where you are (hold it) without having to pay anything. Once you arrive at the airport, the shuttles will take you to the rental offices for the company you chose.
3. Good comfortable hotels to stay at can be:
These hotels are safe, clean and affordable. Since you have a car, I will try to stay at locations outside the main cities. These hotels can be very expensive in places like New York City, Washington. But if you stay outside the main cities, you will save a lot of money. Infrastructure is very good here so you will have no problem getting in and out of cities.
When you book the hotels just say you need double beds for two people. If you tell them you have four, you may get surcharged. Rooms are big here so you wont have a problem with the double beds for all four of you. (Sorry hotel brokers but this is true!)
Ok, I think this may be enough for now. Let me know if you need any more info. Good luck!
I forgot one thing...
I do a lot of traveling in the US throughout the year, I am going to NY myself in a couple of weeks, I used to live there so whenever I have to book a hotel or look up airline tickets, I go to two websites:
The prices for hotels are good there, you can find some to be very cheap but even sometimes it may be cheaper when you go directly to the hotels website. Meanwhile, this website can be helpful to you to get an idea on prices. In Orlando you can find a hotel easily for $29.99 (Comfort Inn) or $59.99 (Days Inn in Washington) or $39.99 (Comfort Inn in Atlanta). Just to give you an idea...
Well I think the best source for discount hotels and motels is www.roomsaver.com who have printable online coupons for hotels across the USA. Also try http://www.travelerdiscountguide.com/
July is a good time to travel to Florida (where I am) as its local low season (high season runs Nov-April)so accommodation is cheaper. If you are heading to Florida (and you should!) with kids Orlando will be a good port of call for the theme parks.
If you're travelling down the East Coast, you can pretty much stick to Interstate 95 all the way down to Miami if you so wish.Check these sites for routs and maps on i-95.
Book your car before you arrive, it'll be cheaper. With two kids you are going to want an SUV/Mini Van (a compact one for a family of 4 would be the Suzuki Vitara,Chevy Blazer,Ford Taurus Wagon,Dodge Caravan) the most popular choice for families and you'll want to arrange for you vehicle to be ready at your arrival airport.JFK I presume?
This should help some
Good luck !
i live in new york city and im 17, so perhaps i can suggest some things that might be fun to do with your kids.
if you plan on being in the city, do not use your car! since it would be the last week, return it and rely on the subway, which you can use to get to the airport easily. the subway is safe and simple to use. dont be afraid to ask questions, new yorkers are nicer than they are usually steretyped to be. traffic is unbearable in the city, as is parking. parking in a lot is at least 20 bucks a day, and its not worth it.
in terms of your kids, i would suggest walking around fun neighborhoods, like chinatown, instead of travelling to one specific location in a neighborhood that isnt very interesting. skip times square, etc, because they arent fun for more than half an hour or so, and by that time youve travelled a long time on the subway.
another nice neighborhood accessible by train is brighton beach and coney island, or riis park. feel free to message me if any of these sound interesting, and i can give you directions.
It looks like you have some good starting info here so far. I was born, raised, and presently live in New England, so if you have specific questions about this area, just let me know. States I know the best are Maine and Massachusetts; Vermont and New Hampshire a bit, and I know the least about Rhode Island (but its lovely!) and Connecticut. Since you will be here in the summer time, you must visit the beaches. I can recommend some -- I suggest you avoid Cape Cod. It is beautiful, but very crowded and overpriced, with infamous traffic jams. You will be able to see some gorgeous coastline elsewhere with less headache and more local people. Let me know where you think you will end up, and I'd be glas to offer more specifics.
Have a great holiday!
I forgot to include a couple of links to get started on New England.
there are alot -- just search for "new england travel" or "new england off the beaten path"