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1. Posted by monaztarapore (Budding Member 5 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hi all
We are planning a trip to US in december as my son graduates from MARYLAND UNIVERSITY and plan to go to the west coast by road.... So need advise as to how to travel.....
Need to go to Chicago aspen San diago and Las vegas and return to New york for new years

2. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

That's a lot of driving. Even by the most direct/boring route with zero sidetrips Maryland-Chicago-Aspen-Las Vegas-San Diego-New York is almost 10,000 km and 80+ hours of driving. That's not a trip I'd take lightly at the beginning of winter...

Good luck.


3. Posted by katzgar (Inactive 220 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

you really should flyover what we call flyover.

4. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1936 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

How much time do you have? Got enough money in your budget for hotel stops along the way?

As far as best route get one of the free maps that shows interstate highways. Major cities usually have interstate highways passing through or nearby. Long distance travel is pretty easy in the US - but USA is a big country! Do you have enough time to do all of this driving?

Look over a map of the US, find the cities of interest and see what highways are needed for your transit. A Google search for best route from (one place) to (another place) sometimes can be helpful.

Sometimes you use a more southern route to avoid pending snowstorms. So keep an eye on weather that may affect your travel.


I made it from Mass. to California driving alone. About 4 days. No stopping for tourist type things. Just shower and sleep and move on.

Consider flying to major cities and renting a car to get around tourist sites, etc.

Good luck.

5. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1936 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

You don't mention what country you are from.

You will probably need an International Drivers License.

December and January can be a little cold too.

Have fun.

6. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 939 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

If you're renting a car, you might want to take Interstate 95 from Maryland to Florida, then pick up Interstate 10 to California (I-10 ends in Santa Monica, one of the LA's many communities). San Diego and Las Vegas are within driving distance of LA. You can then fly to Denver -- either from LA or Vegas -- and drive to Aspen. Return to Denver to fly to Chicago, then to New York. The flights will cost, as it is the peak holiday travel season. Book in advance.

If your son is driving his own car, take the I-95 and I-10 route as mentioned above. It's scenic. Los Angeles to Las Vegas takes about five hours. Vegas to Aspen takes 9-10 hours under optimum conditions. The quickest way from Denver to Chicago is I-80. It continues to New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area. Monitor the weather reports; and take it easy. Lots of people travel these routes. In bad weather, the states try to keep the major interstates open as much as they can. If your son is a member of the American Automobile Association, or if he knows someone who does, he can get free maps and guide books. AAA also has a road-trip planning service, free to members.

7. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

To shorten the route mentioned by berner256 in the last post, I'd recommend you take the Washington Beltway (I-495) west to I-66 west to I-81 south to I-40 west. You can take this all the way through Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque and Santa Fe (a short side trip), past the Grand Canyon (a short side trip), then take US 93 out of Kingman, Arizona to Las Vegas and then take I-15 onto Los Angeles and then go north on US 101 to San Francisco.

Like most of the posters here, I strongly suggest you avoid trying to drive through either Chicago or through Aspen unless the weather is really mild. Both of these places are likely to take you on roads that could get entirely blocked by snow, as you are talking about going through a place (Chicago) where the weather in December high temps are likely to be about minus 20 Celsius or where (in Aspen) the snow may be 3-4 feet deep everyday on the highways. You can get through, but why go that route and take the chance when going farther south through Nashville (home of country music), Memphis (where the blues can be heard down on Beale street while eating great barbecue ribs and chicken), or heading through Santa Fe with its interesting southwestern culture and food are all wonderful alternatives.

Plus, once you get to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco you are likely to have fairly mile weather in the 20s-25s Celsius range.

P.S. I used to live in California, then moved to Baltimore, then back to California and took this exact route when moving both directions, so I've driven it all before. The route through Oklahoma and Arkansas is a bit boring, but the rest of the route is quite interesting. The route through Arizona and New Mexico is the old US 66 route, and the eastern part of this route goes passes near to some interesting caves and past a couple of national parks (Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains).


8. Posted by monaztarapore (Budding Member 5 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Thank you all for your prompt response.....We are changing our plans and flying over to San Diego from D.C....So no stress now

9. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I think that makes way more sense.

Have fun.


10. Posted by monaztarapore (Budding Member 5 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Yeah but we will miss Aspen and texas where we have family and promised to look up....

Sigh....Next time i guess