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Best way to travel Coast to coast USA

Travel Forums North America Best way to travel Coast to coast USA

1. Posted by deanoson (Budding Member 21 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi guys,

Hope your all well!!

I am in the middle of a RTW trip, and the USA is the last leg before flying home.

We fly into L.A and out of New York, and we have open flight tickets, so no real time constraints, but we were thinking anything between 4-8 weeks and it will be March/April time and our budget will be around US$6,000-$8,000 for the 2 of us

Basically we are not sure the best way of travelling across U.S to arrive at NY.

Some places we'd like to visit are: Las Vegas, Washington D.C, Boston, Chicago, Tennessee (great smoky mountains), Yellowstone national park, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, wyoming- mt rushmore, new orleans. But I understand that its a lot to ask for. and open to criticism and suggestions on places to visit! also i havent ruled out spending some time in canada or mexico either!

One idea is to rent a car for a road trip going including, L.A, Santa Barbara, San Fran, Yosemite, Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Diego and back to L.A. but then were back to L.A and wouldnt know where to go from there .......

We was thinking that renting a car for the whole trip would just blow our budget, and have found that it can be tricky to buy a car.

have also considered doing the road trip as above and then flying but not sure where to?

I dont think the trains offer very much? nor do i think that some companies offer great value i.e trek america and greyhounds.

Sooooo im pretty clueless on the subject and any advice of any use will be much appreciated!

Thanks guys


2. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru 1851 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

If you rent a car, you're going to be hit with a huge one way fee (as in someone being paid to return it to the original depot).

Best to treat each destination as a separate trip. People in America tend to pick up a cheap flight if it's more than a few hundred miles. Bus or flight then when you get to a destination, hire a car for a day or more.

Driving around California is easy but local roads take forever so most use toll roads or freeways though these can become gridlocked in rush hour. If you see a motorbike in your mirror, watch your speed as there's a good chance it's a cop.

Mexico has very serious problems with warring drug cartels at present so best to avoid.

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

I agree with 'cyberia' on Mexico. When the drug wars have spilled into Puerto Vallerta & Acapulco, it would not be worth the risk to drive around Mexico IMO.

Now your dilemma. Readers of my posts will know I usually recommend renting a car if you are here for 6 weeks or less. The hassle of buying/insuring/registering/selling a vehicle is not worth it unless you are here at least 6 weeks. You are right at that break even point. Buying a van, using it to sleep on the road and camp when you are in our National Parks (NPs) can save serious money. A one way 8 week rental is out of your budget.

I want you to consider buying a van, driving for 8 weeks, then sell it in NYC. I have found decent vans in Vegas under $4K for at least 12 TP members. Most have been able to re-sell their vans for just a few hundred less than they paid for it. Not all. Several had repair bills over $500, others never told me what happened. Never heard from them again. Registering a used van will run about $125. Insurance is around $125/month for good coverage. You can use your driver's license to register a vehicle in NV. Not true in other states. Not sure about Calif. but will check.

The real savings of doing it this way is that you can avoid at least some of the costs of staying in motels while on the road. This can really pay off in our NPs. Camping is around $20/nite, rooms in the NPs are all well over $100/nite. Let us use $60/nite for motels on the road. If you use the van instead of motels for 20 nites out of 60, you will save at least $1.2K. Add at least another $100/nite in our NPs if you camp instead of using the hotels. A savings of $2K is very realistic for an 8 week cross country trip when hitting many of our NPs. This more than compensates for the costs of registering & insuring a van, figure $350. Let's say you sell for $500 less than you paid, total for using the van for 8 weeks is $850. This is much less than renting, or using the Greyhound Discovery Pass. 2 Discovery passes are over $1K. The bus will get you close to our NPs, but you would either have to book a tour or rent a car to visit them. A combo of renting locally and then flying is certainly going to be much more than $850.

I suggest you kick around your itinerary and decide how you want to travel across the US. Send me a PM if you want think the buying a van option makes sense. Good luck with your planning.

4. Posted by deanoson (Budding Member 21 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Thanks guys, gave me quite a bit to think about!

I will have a long hard think about it, and ill be in touch if buying is the decision Mike.

Thanks again!!