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Driving? New Orleans-Austin -Vegas

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Hi guys, my friend and I are wanting to stay in New Orleans, Austin and then to end up in Vegas this June (this is only a small part of our trip) and we were thinking of driving some of it. Any suggestions on which legs we should drive and which leg we should maybe fly?! We are female and in our mid 20's - is it safe for us to do this? Also wouldn't want to drive in too much traffic as we are from Aus so will be driving on the wrong side of the car and road :-/ appreciate all feedback :-)

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    Welcome to Fodors, Bjdaus!

    You have posted this message on the Australia / Pacific board.

    You'll get some better answers if you try again, and nominate United States from the drop down menu under Step 1: Select a forum.

    Good luck with your travel plans, Di

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    Leaving aside any issue of "is this in the correct forum?" (which really doesn't matter if you get the answer you need), my question would by why you want to drive from/to your designated places? You indicate that this is only a small part of your trip but without knowing the rest of the trip, it is perhaps more difficult to provide advice.

    Presumably you drive from A to B because either (a) it is the most cost-effective way to do it (e.g., 4 in a rental car is cheaper than 4 on an airplane) or (b) there is something interesting on the way that you want to see.

    New Orleans-Austin-Las Vegas may have some interesting places on the way, though I'm not sure what they might be? Having once upon a time driven from San Francisco to Tampa (moving house), believe me there's a lot of boring countryside out there.....

    As for safety, that should not be an issue -- though the general 'big city' rules apply - keep your wits about you, don't look like an obvious tourist or target, don't go down dark alleys at night etc. etc.

    As for where you want to go, why New Orleans, Austin and Las Vegas? I suspect that you are younger than I am ... :-}. None of them would be on my "places to see in the U.S." list ....

    If going to the U.S, I would pick New York, maybe Boston, maybe Philadelphia, Chicago (a great city, particularly if you like Blues and definitely visit the Art Institute), San Francisco and, in that part of the word, don't miss Yosemite). Las Vegas is good for a night (just to see it - it has to be seen to be believed) but the real interesting part of the world in that area is the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, Bryce Canyon etc. etc. It would be easier to give advice about the 'best' way to get from A to B if we had a more complete understanding of how long you have, where you plan to go (and why), what your interests are (cities, scenery, nightlife, cathedrals, partying etc. etc.. - you get the idea...).

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    I'll agree that you'll probably get more responses from the U.S. Forum, but I'll answer here because I have made this driving trip a couple of times.

    The drive from New Orleans to Austin is not interesting at all, even for someone like me who loves Texas. I'd fly this leg. Check out Southwest Airlines (which does not appear on travel sites such as Orbitz or Travelocity). They often have good fares, especially for one-way routes.

    If this is your first time driving on the right, I would not rent a car to get around Austin. The traffic in the city is quite heavy and I don't like driving there anymore. (I let my son, who lives there, drive me around when I visit!) There are some neat side trips out of Austin, e.g. to San Antonio and Fredericksburg, but you could rent a car to visit those places once you are done with Austin.

    While the distance from Austin to Las Vegas is great (around 2100 kilometers), I find the desert scenery fascinating. There are so many neat places to see on this trip, if you have the time. You can experience the true Texas west in such places as Ft. Davis and Alpine, Texas which are just off of I-20. (I was in Alpine for the first time last year and ate dinner next to a table of real-live cowboys with cowboy hats and spurs!) You might also enjoy an evening in Marfa, Texas to see the mysterious Marfa lights (yes, I saw them) and the most brilliant night sky I've ever seen. If you enjoy night skies, visit the McDonald Observatory.

    From Texas, I'd head up to Carlsbad (Carlsbad Caverns) and Alamogordo (White Sands National Monument). I would definitely skip El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico! From Alamogordo, you can choose a northern route through Albuquerque and over to Flagstaff, Arizona and up to the Grand Canyon before reaching Las Vegas. Or you could go the southern route to Tucson and Phoenix. (Personally, I like the northern route better, but it's all good.)

    I have a daughter in her mid-20's and I would not hesitate for her and a friend to make this trip. (In fact, she will likely be making this trip soon when she moves to California.) Use common sense and you'll have no problems. Also, the roads are pretty empty in this part of the country so driving should not be a problem as long as you remember to stay on the right! You won't have a lot of cars around to follow so you are going to have to remember for yourself that you need to KEEP RIGHT!

    Have a great time. Texas, New Mexico and Arizona are probably my favorite places to go in the U.S.

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    Thanks guys
    Tt7 & Longhorn55- I visited the States for 6 weeks last year and went to the following places - LA, San Fran, Vegas- Grand Canyon ect, NYC, Miami and San Antonio. We flew to each place last time so i was hoping to see some of the countryside this time.
    I'll be over for about 9 weeks and will be starting off in South Carolina or Atlanta then to NYC. Whilst I'm in NYC my friend will be in New Mexico so we thought New Orleans would be a good meeting point as I know I def want to get back there and also want to show my friend how beautiful the city is. We would be in New Orleans around the 12th of the month and stay around 3 nights both there and in Austin and then around 4 in Vegas to do the whole party scene.
    The Mafra Lights sound like a great idea and I actually wouldn't mind going to a Rodeo either?!
    Thank you very much for the advice I really to appreciate it :-) hope its not too cold wherever you both are :-) here in Melbourne we've had our hottest summer on record and our hottest start to Autumn (aka fall) ever with our 8th consecutive day in the 30's and high 30's the past 4 days (around 100f) looking forward to some cooler weather and then a US summer :-) oh and I'll try my best to stay on the RIGHT SIDE :-) ill be the one driving very slow. Haha

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    We just came home from the US and visited all three of these spots. Loved them all but then I loved EVERYTHING we saw and can't wait to go back and see the rest!
    We drove Austin to NOLA but we took the long way round - Dallas - Little Rock - Memphis -Jackson- Baton Rouge because we wanted to go to Memphis. The drive was anything but boring ( except for the interstate Austin -Dallas). We drove parts of the Natchez Trace Parkway and it was beautiful.

    I loved driving through the desert too and Las Vegas was interesting but I think 4 days off faux everything would be too much for me!

    I'm 3hrs south west of Melbourne- it's finally cooler today!

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