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Travelling US and A

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1. Posted by deadmanmoz (Full Member 92 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Howdy all,

Im continually adding and updating my planned trip to America for 2008.
Whilst researching i stumbled across this forum which seems superb and everyone so friendly and helpful, so thought i'd post my current travel plan on here and see if anybody has any ideas, tweeks etc they can make to my trip.
Here goes:

Fly into Toronto taking in the city before travelling to Ottawa and Montreal - How is the best way to do this?
From Montreal travel to Boston - Again what's the best way?
From Boston head down the East Coast, NY, NJ, Philli, Baltimore and Washington - I'm assuming the amtrak train is the best way to do this jumping off at each city on route?
Also are NJ, Philli and Baltimore worth seeing?
Then i will fly to Orlando for my sisters wedding.
From Orlando i'll fly across to SanDiego and begin my tour of the West Coast featuring LA, Vegas, Salt Lake City, Dan ran, Seattle, Portland and finally Vancouver - Should i drive this or use a train/coach?
Finally i'll fly from Vancouver to Chicago then home.

I will be travelling alone so obviously cost is an issue, hire car, room rental etc will all be on my own but i would love to drive as much as possible.

Any thoughts welcomed and much appreciated.


Post 2 was removed by a moderator
3. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member 385 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Quoting deadmanmoz

From Boston head down the East Coast, NY, NJ, Philli, Baltimore and Washington - I'm assuming the amtrak train is the best way to do this jumping off at each city on route?

You can definitely use Amtrak to go up and down the east coast from boston down through dc. The train goes all the way down to Orlando, so if you didn't want to fly, you could take the train all the way down. if you want to save money, you could also take a greyhound bus or other bus service.

Quoting deadmanmoz

Also are NJ, Philli and Baltimore worth seeing?

Well, NJ is a pretty big state and of course there's lots to see. It would depend on what you wanted to do and when you are coming. As for Philly and Baltimore, I think they are both worth the trip. Although I will freely admit to a Philly bias as this is where I am based! Again, what interests you? There is a lot of revolutionary war/colonia history in philly as well incredible museums and all that. But overall the city has a good vibe and is pretty layed back. Baltimore's inner harber is spectacular and is close to Annapolis which is a great little spot as well. I think it all depends on where your interests lie.

On the west coast I think i would take a cheap flight from LA up to Vegas and then rent a car from there to have the freedom to check out the parks in over to Arizona and Southern Utah...grand canyon, zion, bryce, arches...and you could always drop it off up in salt lake or drop it off back in vegas and pick up the bus to salt lake. you'll have to price it to see what works out the best. You can train it/bus it between portland and seattle vancouver.

Hope that helps and good luck with the planning! Happy Travels!

4. Posted by kezin (Budding Member 107 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hi deadmanmoz,

Re: Your upcoming trip to CANADA/ america.

- Not sure what time of year you plan on visiting; nor how long you intend to stay.
- I strongly suggest you contact both Greyhound and Amtrak. Both companies offer flexible and economical travel passes covering both general and specific 'zones', and periods of travel time. You could combine a bus pass with a rail pass; both in Canada and the U.S.
- For Ontario/Quebec, and then the Eastern 'portion' of the U.S. running south to Florida, travel by Greyhound. Beyond Florida- take Amtrak to the west coast, and then north towards Vancouver, Canada.
- The Amtrak passes only 'allow' a certain number of stop- overs, whereas with Greyhound stop- overs are unlimited.
- For 'scenic wonders' in the American west, renting a vehicle would be the preferred option.
- You could fly to San Diego from Florida and THEN commence travelling by rail, perhaps from L.A.
- Become a member of an international hostelling association. Or contact an economical motel/hotel 'chain' such as Best Western, and make arrangements well in advance for accomodations in the various cities and regions you plan on visiting. Work out your bus/rail and/or car rental schedule carefully and precisely. For the cities- try to acquire lodgings CLOSE to train or bus station ( sometimes same building ) and have a MAPPED ROUTE to lodgings ready.
- Figure out well in advance what you would like to see and do, for everywhere you decide- in advance- to visit.

- Best of Luck, Kevin.

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

For Canada, you said you would be "Flying into Toronto and then visiting Ottawa and Montreal..."

Taking your trip in this order is good. (Going to Montreal last would be preferable since then you are much closer to Boston than you would be from either of the other two cities.)

As far as travelling weather-wise in the US and Canada--the farther east you go and the farther north you go the more likely you will get snow and major storms in the winter months.

The farther west and the farther south you go, the hotter and drier it will be in the summer months (except for Los Angeles and San Diego which always have fairly excellent weather when they don't have giant wildfires--like they do now).

Anyway, take the weather into account--because it can be unbearably hot and humid in the whole south and southwest area during the summer--and frozen and heavy snow in the north and northeast in the winters. Obviously the best time to come here is during the autumns and spring--when the weather is pretty excellent across the whole country.

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 28, 2007, at 10:01 PM by Calcruzer ]

6. Posted by deadmanmoz (Full Member 92 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Thank you all for your brilliant responses, i'll try and answer a few questions you asked.

soupatrvlr: Thank you for your info, very helpful, i didnt realise the train went all the way to Orlando although i'm guessing that would be a rather long journey? How cost effective is that compared to say an internal flight, just roughly nothing exact.
Well i kind of wanna see all the classic tourist spots of course, coming to America means seeing all of those, beyond that i like history and national parks, basically all things beautiful i can take photos of. All the big cities are a must for me its the smaller ones i havent decided on yet.

kezin: I intend to come over at the end of May and travel for 90 days (If you travel for 90 or less days you qualify for the visa waiver programme which i guess is alot easier than trying to apply for a visa??)
Thank you for the excellent idea of contacting greyhound and amtrak and the wise words ref the travel itself.

Calcruzer: Excellent point about the weather, as above i am travelling from end of May till approx end of August. Thank you for confirming i'm doing the canadian cities in the right order, im starting to go cross eyed staring at maps and city names for hours on end

7. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Here's a few random thoughts in no particular order. Personally I would sick NJ and probably Baltimore, or maybe just spend a day or two. Another way of getting around between NYC/Philly/DC and probably Baltimore are the "Chinatown" buses running between $20 and $30 depending on the trip. There are a variety of companies, some better than others, but definitely the cheapest way to go. If you get a chance to while you are in Oregon, stop in Ashland, it's a beautiful little mountain town and two favorite places of mine in Cali are Davis and San Luis Obispo. Think you can hit all of these, or nearby on the Amtrak. If you were going to rent a vehicle for one "leg" of the trip I would suggest the West Coast part. Hope this helps you out - feel free to ask more questions

8. Posted by koenze (Inactive 1 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hi there! lotsa low cost carriers in the states...for the best deals you have to book far in advance...try their websites for ideas on pricing...try: southwest airlines, airtran, frontier, alaska... or just google low cost carries in the usa for more options

Amtrak and both greyhound has unlimited use 15 and 30 day passes...Greyhound very flexible as you dont have to make reservations, you can hop on and off the way you like. On amtrak, even though you have a pass, you still have to make reservations, which could result in the train being fully booked at times....amtrak very scenic and more comfy than greyhound...bottom line is...they are slow and takes forever to move between cities... which sucks if you dont have a lot of time...
For accommodation, dont know if you are into hostels...they are very cost effective and you meet loads of people from around the world....try the website of USA hostels...they have one in hollywood (just off hollywood boulevard - perfect location...the subway is minutes away from the hostel and you can easily get into downtown LA), they also have a hostel in san diego and las vegas...the las vegas one is downtown - not on the strip but for approx $25 a night....compared to hotels, its a steal....AND the hostels are very clean....there is a shuttle for $50 from USA hostel hollywood to USA hostels san fran...
OH and should you be taking the greyhound to hollywood....make sure you specify the hollywood station (which is just off hollywood boulevard and just minutes away from the hostel)....BECAUSE they have a stop downtown LA and one in hollywood...
In seattle you might wanna try the green tortoise hostel - its one of two hostels in seattle but the best one to stay at..
Once again you can take the greyhound/amtrak from seattle to vancouver

By now i cant even remember what you asked anymore! but...if you need further help, let me know...

Post 9 was removed by a moderator
10. Posted by katezufall (Budding Member 11 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

A few thoughts on your very ambitious trip (still, I'm jealous as I have not hit all these places yet myself)

Washington DC -
Try the National Museum of Women in the Arts for something not everyone sees. Housed in a restored Masonic Temple, it's amazing!

Montreal - the Old City, Smoked Meat sandwiches, the best bagels in the world at St. Viateur's -- baked in a wood fired oven, Whippets -- yummy chocolated-covered marshmallow cookies invented in Montreal.

Toronto - Hockey Hall of Fame, underground tunnels and shopping - best theater town after New York (I rate Chicago third, BTW)

Seattle & Portland - the Science Fiction Museum and Experience Music Project are a great day! Housed in the same building and with a joint/shared admission fee. Pike's Place Market. Portland - downtown and the riverfront and Powells -- an amazing bookstore. Coffee in both places at the local roasters/brewhouses -- not Starbucks which you can get anywhere.

BTW, you can take a train from Seattle to Vancouver. The only downside is it leaves Seattle VERY early in the morning but the ride is said to be beautiful. Alternatively, there is a very reasonable bus shuttle from the airport to downtown Vancouver. You can save 5% booking online. I took them in June 2007 and they dropped me in front of my Vancouver hotel.

Vancouver - the hop-on & off trolley is great. See Stanley Park, Granville Island, Chinatown, and the Library (we have to go back for the Library - a beautiful building! Eat at The White Spot -- inexpensive and very good.

If you are only flying through Chicago, too bad. But you can still have an authentic Chicago hot dog at O'Hare. Be sure to have it with everything: onions, tomatoes, sweet pickle relish, yellow mustard, celery salt, cucumber slices, and sport peppers (optional) on a poppy seed bun.

I could imagine spending a week in each of these places.