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some basic starter advice please...

Travel Forums North America some basic starter advice please...

Last Post This thread is marked as being about USA
1. Posted by stupidgirl (Budding Member 3 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

right - me and a friend are hoping totravel across america next year for 3-4 months. I currently know little else apart from places we would like to visit..

so what i need to know- what is the cheapest way to travel?
train? carhire? can winnebagos be hired? etc..

and in terms of money, what am i looking at for spends?
sorry to be so vague but im just getting my pipedream off the ground..asny suggestions welcome??!!!


2. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Welcome to Travellerspoint!
Can you give us a bit more information? Where do you want to start? East Coast? West Coast? Head across the midlands? (kinda borning) or take the Southwest route? Grayhound Bus is a cheap way to travel, but they are lacking in options of where to hire is expensive, but gives you the freedom to go where you want to go, WHEN you want to go. RV's can be rented, but the gas is expensive as they do not get decent gas miliage. Are you planing on doing any camping (which can really cut down on costs) Or do you want to stay in cheap motels? What kind of budget do you have to work with? Are there some major attractions that you just HAVE to see?
Ask away..this site is full of friendly helpful people!

3. Posted by stupidgirl (Budding Member 3 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

hi there, well i was thinking go from west to east..

i definatly wanna see: california,los angeles,las vegas ,i was hoping to do a spot down south but not sure but missisppi, memphis (graceland!!) new york..
thats it so far (without my map)
im particuarly interested in los anageles and may spend more time there..

i was hoping to travel independantly i.e with a car or Winnebago, but ist all about costs...I would consider camping but Id prefer as I said camper van/winnebago or cheap motels..

and looking at the time scale i have to save up in Id say we will ahve £5000 between us.. is that ridiculous?

apologies again for being vague...

4. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Perhaps a "Type C" camper van would make sense for you. Basically it's a van with a small kitchen, bed, toilet and sometimes even a shower. It won't be that much more costly interms of gas than a car. But be aware that it will get crowded in there with any more than 3 people.

The US has an incredible interstate system and is very much car oriented. I would recommend getting your own vehicle for the reasons of greater flexibility of where you can travel to, you don't have to carry around a lot of luggage, and you'll be much more comfortable on a 3-4 month trip.

Some other ways to save money are to stay at regular campsites rather than specialized RV sites. While the RV sites will have extras like common rooms, electrical hookups, and sometimes wireless internet, they are also more expensive. And if you don't need to stay in a campsite, I would just pull into a truck stop, library or shopping mall, turn off the engine and go to sleep. I did that while crossing Canada in my car. Another trick is if you don't have a shower on board, go to truck stops or RV parks (during the day) and ask to use their showers. It usually costs less than $5 or sometimes totally free.

Good luck with it. I've been playing with the idea of a round the lower 48 states trip for some time now. But, it looks like that might not happen for a few years.

5. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 615 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I'm a big fan of the motorhome lifestyle when travelling. You turn up, plug in and put the kettle on - that's it! That allows you to move on as little or as often as you want with no hassle, and you unpack your clothes into the 'van once and that's it. Also, it's comforting to know exactly where you'll be sleeping every night. But it ain't cheap.
If you go for motels, you will inevitably spend time every time you move on, looking for accommodation. And sometimes you will arrive late and have trouble, or have to put up with poor standards.
It basically boils down to budget, and it seems like you've got a healthy amount planned, so you should be OK.
We used this company for 3 weeks in California.

6. Posted by Twinkle (Respected Member 1112 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Your trip sounds fun!!!I used Greyhound buses whilst there and they were cheap and a good laugh!!!However I love your idea or doing it all independantly which sounds really cool!Just a few tips about LA and New York...In Los Angeles I would reccomend staying in one of the hostels in the Venice or Santa Monica area. as a rule accomodation in LA is pricey but you can find some decent places!I loved staying in Venice as its a pretty cool scene in the evenings and its really great in the day time also!!!Hollywood i found really dirty and a bit sleezy and was great for the sightseeing and stuff but i wouldnt fancy staying there!Oohh and try and see Malibu beach!!!Also make sure you check out Beverly Hills!
When your in NY, you can take the chinatown bus to Boston and Philedelphia for $10 so thats worthwhile doing!!!you dont need to book, you can just turn up on the day and seats go on a first come first served basis!

7. Posted by DocNY (Respected Member 438 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

You have plenty of money planned but you'll want to shop around for the best deal on transportation - everything has advantages/disadvantages, and winnebagos/camperd are probably not the way to go since you seem mainly to be headed to urban areas which will be congested and really tough to park in, unless you want to find secondary transportation into the cities from a distance.

Picking up a cheap used car, or finding a national company with a monthly rate is probably your best bet. You can find rental companies who are trying to move cars from one coast to the other and will cut a good deal on a cross country rental. You just need to do a lot of calling and asking.

hope that helps.

8. Posted by stupidgirl (Budding Member 3 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

thanks guys thats really helpfull.
i think i definatluy want to go for the camper van idea..
i like the idea of having a little home to go araound in!
will also def try the website recommeded. xxxxx

9. Posted by happysean (Budding Member 3 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

are you going in the summer time?
going through the south in the heat of summer can be brutal.
if you are going through vegas make sure you drive down through southern utah and colorado as the scenery is insane. you might try dipping from there into new mexico and texas. the mid west (i.e. kansas, nebraska, iowa, etc.) is flat and boring. roswell new mexico is a weird little UFO town and austin texas is a lot of fun.
you might look into getting a membership with hostel international[/url]
their hostels are in almost every major city and located usually in the heart of downtown districts. they are super cheap and a membership offers things like free nights and other discounts.
anyway, have fun!

10. Posted by Peter P. (Budding Member 35 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Being vague just opens more opportunity for discovery, right? So let me open a door for you right now. If you're travelling to NYC, then you should consider taking a quick jaunt to Montreal - it's only a short distance away and the landscape along the way is breathtaking especially in autumn.

From Montreal, thanks to VIA Rail (Canada's national railroad), you are basically within reach of several other great and historic Canadian cities - Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston... In Canada, the train is definitely the travel medium of choice, getting you from downtown to downtown in a few comfortable hours. It's affordable and convenient - giving you plenty of time for napping or reading - and plenty of leg room too.

Check it out:

Hope to see you down this way some day soon!