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6/8 week trip - I need some help!

Travel Forums North America 6/8 week trip - I need some help!

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1. Posted by EllaLC (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hello! I am new to this forum. I hope you can give me some advise.

I am planning a trip to the USA with my boyfriend. We are going for approx 6-8 weeks in May/June of this year. We know the sort of places that we would like to visit, however we aren't too sure how much we will be able to see in the time that we have and we don't want to be too ambitious and end up spending all of our time on buses and planes!

Our rough itinerary that we thought of was:
Fly to New York - New York to Boston - Boston to Niagara Falls - Niagara Falls to Detroit- Detroit to Chicago - Chicago to St Louis - St Louis to Nashville - Nashville to Memphis - Fly Memphis to Seattle - Seattle to San Francisco - San Francisco to LA - LA to San Diego - San Diego back to LA - Fly home.
We aren't sure whether to go to Florida. We could fly into Florida and then fly up to New York.
We would also like to see some national parks along the way.

We thought that we would travel by grayhound for most of the journeys and stop at smaller towns along the way, that way we would get an opportunity to see some of the countryside as well as the big cities (unfortunately neither of us have a driving licence so travelling by car is not an option.) However some longer distances like St Louis to Seattle we would need to fly.

Do you think that this would be too much to fit in in the time frame that we have? I want to have time to take everything in without being rushed. Also do you think that travelling by grayhound is our best bet for the sort of thing that we want to do? Finally if anyone could recommend some nice small towns which we could stop off at between the big destinations, that would help to put some flesh on the basic itinerary.

If anyone has any advise or alternative routes that they think would be better, it would be very helpful and much appreciated!


Our budget is approx £4k.

2. Posted by rbyslipahs (Respected Member 349 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi! I'm so glad you're putting St. Louis and Nashville/Memphis on your itinerary. I live in StL, and it's actually a great city for visitors. People tend to be fairly friendly, and most of the major sites are free or relatively inexpensive. Going from Detroit to Chicago, and then to St. Louis, instead of Greyhound, check into Megabus. The earlier you book your ride, the cheaper the tickets are. I have friends who regularly go from StL - Chicago for well under $20. Chicago is one of the main hubs right now. Service is limited, but well worth it. Also, for getting back to Seattle, consider a shorter Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago, and then take Amtrak. Great way to see the country very comfortably and for much less than an airline ticket, which, generally from the Midwest can run over $400 easily. If you are students, STA travel sometimes has cheaper tickets and is worth looking into.

Megabus does have direct routes up to Chicago, and that might be one thing to consider, but I don't think there are lines between Nashville and St. Louis or Memphis and St. Louis. A lot of people I know will just take a Southwest Airlines flight between here and Tennessee. Memphis is probably a bit more visitor-friendly (my opinion; I prefer walking around there), although Nashville has a lot to offer. If you have a car, there is a great historic trail just outside of Nashville, the Natchez Trace. It started out as an animal trail and Native American path, but was then developed into one of the country's first highways, so to speak. You can still hike along most of its length. The terminus for one end is just outside Nashville, and is also the site where Meriwether Lewis (explorer) is buried. Very pretty area.

I will be out of the country myself in June, but particularly for this area of the country, let me know what you have in mind, and I can float some recommendations your way. The museums in St. Louis are not on the scale that you'll find in other cities, but because they are funded by city taxes and donations/aggressive development, they are very accessible and well maintained. The zoo is definitely worth a visit. One of the largest, and free! Most of the sites are in Forest Park, which is centrally located.

ETA: As much as I love Nashville, it might be worth your time to skip and just do St. Louis and Memphis for ease of travel between the two. Fly from St. Louis to Memphis on Southwest Airlines, and then Megabus back to Chicago from Memphis to either catch Amtrak to Seattle, or take a more efficient flight.

Hope this helps a bit!



[ Edit: Edited on 24-Feb-2009, at 14:19 by rbyslipahs ]

3. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

looks like a good trip- just one thing- if you are going to be busing it between all of those cities- be safe and watch your stuff- you're gonna pass through some rough neighborhoods in those cities.

squeeze philly in there- do a day trip from NYC- super cheap and quick

4. Posted by foggyidea (Budding Member 19 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Great Trip, I'm envious....
NYC to Boston is about 4-5 hours, while in Boston takethe ferry to Provinctown MA (Cape Cod) for the day, or take the bus trip out from Sotuh Station in boston. You'd like Provincetown and the Fast Ferry runs daily so you cuiold scoot out for a day trip.

Boston to Niagra Falls is going to be a 12 hour trip by car, or bus. but it's worth seeing. make sure that you visit the Canadian side, it's more fun and prettier...

Buffalo NY is fun little city. Be sure to find the Anchor Bar downtown for some origianal wings. They invented the buffalo wing. Be very wary of the extra hot ones!!! There is a reason they are called suicidle!!!

Nashville is also a very cool city. I lived the for four years in the early 80's....

So your east side of the Mississippi trip looks great and not to long in cars. It's about 12 hours from Buffalo to Nashville by car so your time in vehicles isn't excessive in my opinion...

Let me know if you're heading to Cape Cod and I'can be a little more specific about site in MA and surrounding areas. A side trip to the White Mountains might be fun for you too!!!


5. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Let's see - personally I'd hit up Cleveland as opposed to Detroit, but I guess that just depends on personal perference I'm not sure if it would be the type of place you were thinking about, but you could try to hit up Bloomington, IL in between Chicago and St. Louis. Not a real small town, but smaller than the other places you're headed. It's college town - don't know if it's what you were looking for, but could be. Good luck!