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6-8 Weeks Trip Coast to Coast

Travel Forums North America 6-8 Weeks Trip Coast to Coast

1. Posted by Shane1987 (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!


Me and my fiance are 24 and looking to travel america for 6-8 weeks. We are unsure of how to get around at the moment because of money and convenience. I have linked a rough map on the below link.

Our basic plan is as below.

Miami - Orlando (Florida 5 days, most likely going to rent a car for this)
Then either fly up to Washington DC or drive up and see what is on route or anything interesting (Does anyone know if there is? Possible 1-3 day trip if driving)
Washington 2 days (Either still have the rented car or get a rented car if we flew) - Philadelphia 1 day
Philadelphia - New York 3 - 4 days
New York (driving 1 day travelling) - Niagara Falls 1 day
Niagara Falls (driving 1-2 days travelling) - Chicago 1-2 days

We are going to organise a tour here 14 days route 66 to Las Vegas. The tour for your interest is Chicago - Springfield - St Louis - Joplin - Oklahoma City - Amarillo - Santa Fe - Gallup - Gran Canyon - Las Vegas. <-------- Tour Link (If any one has a better tour from Chicago to Las Vegas please link)

Las Vegas 3-4 days (Flying) - San Diego 2-3 days
San Diego (Renting car for California) - LA 2-3 days
LA (1 day travel) - Santa Cruz 1 day
Santa Cruz (1 day travel) - San Francisco 2-3 days

Total travel days = 42 days - 50 days

We have a budget of about £6000 each, do you think all the above is possible on our budget?

Is renting a car mixed with flying a good idea or just driving. We would like to see america and think that driving has got to be the best way?

When driving on my route I plan to just drive straight to the place stated, is there anything on the way that is a must see?

What is a good car to rent (pretty much which one has the best mpg)?

When staying in a hotel or hostel is the price $35-50 per person or is that for a room?

What month is a good time to start our travels, are there any festivals we not miss :) or any ones we should miss?

We have family in Boston and San Diego so we wont have to worry about cost of staying at either of them.

I know this is all a bit messy :) lol sorry, my first trip im planning.

Thanks in advance for any help :D

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Sep-2011, at 07:43 by Shane1987 ]

2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2012 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

$35-50 - where did you see that, the average motel room in the States is more like $80. a day per room ($60. per room in remote areas, but good deals in LV with a casino package). Central SF and NYC hotel prices can average $150. a room - suburbs will be half that price. Check out room rentals at for shared accommodation at good prices.

I do recommend a mix of flights and car rentals because the car rental drop charge will blow your socks off (astronomical)! Southwest Airlines is a very good, low cost, airline for one-way flights and they fly to many destinations. Car rental agencies also like to limit your travel to neighboring states only (this policy will vary with the agency). I think the best agencies are Budget and Enterprise.

You will probably want more like 2 or 3 days from LA to Santa Cruz - the coast is spectacular there and you do not want to rush past + several excellent places to see and stop. The Pacific NW north of SF is far more beautiful than Springfield - St Louis - Joplin - Oklahoma City - Amarillo, by the way! I suggest you keep traveling north to Oregon and Washington.

A better, more scenic route from Chicago to Santa Fe would be through Colorado - the Rockies are spectacular!

From Florida to DC, an alternative to flights would be Amtrak train service.

I like early spring for travel, but fall is also pretty good. Stay away from summer or winter - extremes of weather and crowding.

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Sep-2011, at 11:44 by Daawgon ]

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2012 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Let me make a suggestion - maybe this would help to save a few $$?

Why not break the trip into 2 parts - East and West:

East - rent a car in Florida for a circular trip around your choice of the eastern states

fly from Florida to Denver (Frontier, Continental or Southwest Airlines)

West - rent a car in Colorado for a circular trip around your choice of the western states

this would save quite a bit in rental car fees (you will be paying more because of your age already, and with a round trip, there will be no drop charges)

[ Edit: Edited on 12-Sep-2011, at 12:20 by Daawgon ]

4. Posted by Shane1987 (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I thought about changing it a bit now to what you have said. Maybe flew to New York and stay there for 4 days. I can rent a car and do the east coast that way with dropping the car back off in New York.

We want to do a tour of the middle part of America.

Pretty much to the same on the other side. Rent a car in San Diego and do CA.

Cheers for the help.

5. Posted by jp92007 (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I agree that once you get to California, you will wish you had more time. I would cut some of your middle america time and add on more of central and northern california.
Some of the great sights to see heading north from San Diego would be: Big Sur/Monterey Area, Santa Cruz, the hwy 1 drive from santa cruz to san francisco, yosemite, napa valley (if you like wine), and lake tahoe.

Middle America- Branson, MO may be a better option than Joplin

And not sure if I missed this, what time of year are you traveling?

Good luck!

6. Posted by travelgirl87 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi there.

I think you're starting out properly with the notion of a car rental in Florida for a visit of 5 days or so.

After that, I'd suggest flying to the DC area -- there are plenty of discount airline flights if you look at BWI and Dulles airports. You could also fly to the NYC (including Newark) area and work your way southward to end up in the DC area. I'd figure another 9-14 days for this portion of the trip. Skip Niagara Falls -- trust me, it's really not worth going the hundreds of miles out of the way and not worth the time away from other sights.

Once you start the East Coast portion of the trip, I'd ditch the idea of a car and make sure you stay near public transit options (Metro, SEPTA, Subway) in DC, Philadelphia, and NY. To get between the cities, you can take Amtrak (train), Greyhound (bus), or one of the less expensive DC/NY/Boston bus lines. You won't want a car in any of these cities -- traffic and parking are more of a hassle than its worth. You also won't have enough time in any one city to need to explore more than what's easily accessible anyhow.

To get to Chicago, I'd suggest flying again. The bus or train will take quite awhile and you should be able to find relatively cheap airfare.

Once in Chicago, your tour appears to include the car rental for the Route 66 trip. This will bring you into Vegas two weeks later.

From Vegas you can either drive or fly to do the West Coast portion of the trip. You are probably going to want a car in California -- although public transit exists, the locals are really wedded to the notion of driving and many of the sights you'll want to see are inconvenient to reach by public transit. Figure at least 2 weeks of sightseeing here. There's plenty to see and do and you're talking about many major cities. You'll barely scratch the surface if you only have a day or two in each place. Also, with a car you can stay a bit outside the main areas to look for more reasonable accommodations. Don't forget to check the traffic patterns, though. Driving from one side of LA to another during rush hour is a matter or hours, not minutes.

Accommodations may be cheaper if you go in "off season" or "shoulder season" but you won't have as many things happening and the weather may be more "iffy". You can also save money by using one of the web booking sites to look for deals on hotels. Another way to keep costs down is to try the nicer restaurants for lunch instead of dinner -- much, much cheaper. Food trucks are also cheap and a great chance to try new cuisines. Look at the local newspapers (online versions are also usually available) for events that look like fun. Most cities have great festivals, events, and concerts that are free or cheap. The Smithsonian museums in DC are free (although there is a charge for IMAX movies). Take the Staten Island ferry in NYC to get good pics of the Statue of Liberty from the water for free.

Happy planning!

7. Posted by Shane1987 (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!


Thanks for the help all. At the end of a long think and talk we have decided to buy a car now and drive all over America.

Can any one help on how we can go about buying the car?

I have an Uncle in California, will this help.

Thanks in advance!

8. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3579 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I sent you a PM on buying a vehicle. Mike