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How easy is a Coast to Coast in Car across America?

Travel Forums North America How easy is a Coast to Coast in Car across America?

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1. Posted by si403 (Full Member 130 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I know this is a very vague/maybe a dumb question. I can have up to £1500 and 3 weeks. is this impossible? From New York to Cali seeing a few sights along the way assuming I could somehow get a car.

If not could you please suggest alternatives for this time/money.


2. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

If you are talking a one way trip and the car purchase isnt part of the 1500 pounds then its doable,if you are thinking of buying a car then selling it at the end of the trip remember that cars can take some time to sell.

[ Edit: Edited on 25-Jul-2009, at 10:58 by jambo101 ]

3. Posted by si403 (Full Member 130 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

cool. yeah was thinking gettin a cheap ass car and selling it at the other end, but then mite be too difficult.

thanks for the info tho.

4. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

You could compromise and do just America's east coast say New York to Miami and instead of buying a car you could do some research into renting a used car from some of the lower priced "Rent-a-Wreck" type places.

5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2012 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

You'll see more if you choose one or two regions rather than the entire continent. NY-LA is mostly a great deal of desert and places of little interest. If you stick to the NE or SE or NW you could see all the festivals, small towns and coastal areas much better. If you're talking about summer travel - it's hotter than hell right now in Texas and areas that you might have to cross, and the American Interstate Highways are fast and so boring you'll need one person just keeping the other from falling asleep!

6. Posted by DaveinMD (Full Member 199 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Boy this is a tough call, on the one hand I can see what everyone is saying. But if this is your first trip to the States I'm sure there are many things in both the east and the western part that you want to see. If you can give us more of an idea of what's important to you maybe we can give you a better answer. Just so you know driving across the country non-stop is maybe 4-5 days so that should give you a little perspective.

I'd be tempted to drive one way, in a cheap rental, and then look into flying back.

7. Posted by si403 (Full Member 130 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

do you have to be over 25 to hire a car in the US? i think you do. but thanks for the advice.

8. Posted by Derestanne (Budding Member 36 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

With the plan you mention there are three factors that could make the difference between an enjoyable, easy trip or a very difficult one. These are:

1) The condition of your car.

2) The Interstate Highways you pick.

3) The Weather.

You will want to keep close tabs on the national weather situation. We are now well past the dangerous spring / summer tornado season but tornadoes and severe thunderstorms can happen in the fall as well. Parts of Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska and the Dakotas are known for powerful sudden storms. Likewise, the Rocky Mountains can see sudden hailstorms and early season ice and snowstorms. Winds along the Plain States and the Rockies can flip trailers and trucks.

From the East Coast, Interstate 70 is a good choice if only to avoid more erratic weather farther North or South, but only until you get to Denver, Colorado. The steep climb of Interstate 70 west of Denver is tough on older cars and 4 cylinder cars. Be particularly careful on I-70 through the Colorado Mountains. Interstate 10 through the South is another fairly safe choice.

If you get an old clunker check the brake system thoroughly, make certain that all the lights and the horn are working, replace old windshield wipers with high quality wipers, service the transmission and inspect for wear, get the best tires you can afford and make certain the safety belts are good. Every one of those parts will be getting a thorough workout while traveling across this Country!

[ Edit: Edited on 07-Aug-2009, at 05:14 by Derestanne ]

9. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I have done Halifax to Vancouver by car which is further than NY to Ca. So many people told me it would take weeks to do. Not so. I did it in under a week but took a few weeks to come back via Toronto and Montreal. Didnt like Montreal but really liked Toronto. I havent done NY to Ca yet - YET! I have done North Dakota to New Mexico as well. It really is so easy. There are restaurants and beds every 30/40 miles at worst both E-W and N-S. and much closer than that at the easiest. Halifax to Vancouver is around 3,700 miles and such an easy drive. I would recommend getting a car with C.C. If you dont your foot starts to really hurt after a few hundred miles.

10. Posted by NomadicMe (Budding Member 10 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I have in my past and present been a driving fool.

I can get from Virgina Beach to Denver in two days and from Denver to LA in 22 hours. I can do Denver, NY in 3 days. This doesn't mean anyone should, never mind all of this is done on boring interstate Highways. I much prefer secondary two lanes roads, the problem here is speed.

AS said above there are many parts of the states from NY to LA that are less then exciting. The whole of Kansas comes to mind, the bit of space between Grand Junction CO and just west of LA is best done at night, ya don't realize as much how much of nothing there is.

Then there is the truly truly beautiful bit of space from Denver to Grand Junction. As said above it can be a challenge for some cars, a friend of mine hated the drive in her Prius.

What time of year are you going? This will factor in as well. The drive though Kansas can be a nail bitter in the winter, WIND and SNOW! I70 is often closed there and between Denver/Glenwood Springs.

If you are doing this just to say ya did then my all means....have at it.
If you actually want to experience the states ya may be better off doing a bit more research and picking a region.

In June this year I did Denver north though YellowStone, Glaicer Nat Park, into Canada, West to Olympic Nat Park, South to Redwoods Nat Park all on two lanes roads, then put the peddle to the metal in Reno screaming along interstates, hit Canyonlands in Utah and cruised in to Denver 14 days from start. Mind you there was more diving then anything else. 14 days, 5 National Parks, 4000 miles and one driver. It was a hoot, I have pics to prove it. :)

I tell you this to give you an idea of how massive North America is. Place is HUGE!! 14 days and I just did a corner of it.

What ever you choose will be great fun.