Deep South Road Trip… HELP!

Old Apr 24th, 2019, 03:07 AM
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Deep South Road Trip… HELP!

Hey all,

My mum and I are planning a road trip for early Feb next year and would love some input/tips! I am an overplanner, and not having visited these states before (I’m in UK and only visited NYC & FL), let alone driven them, I am trying to get as much insight as possible

So far I have the below plans (with an alternate for the ending) and a rough budget:

Arrive 1st Feb, leave 11th Feb
Car Rental - £300 / $390
Gas - £200 / $260 (how much in a midsized car (eg VW Jetta or Corolla) for 2000 miles? Our MPG differs in the UK)
Accom (mostly cheap motels) - £500 / $650
Daily spend - £75 / $100 (excluding attraction tickets)

Day 1: Houston, TX > Livingston, TX (long flight, so can’t drive too far)
Day 2: Livingston, TX > Jefferson, TX > Memphis, TN
Day 3: Memphis, TN
Day 4: Memphis, TN > Nashville, TN
Day 5: Nashville, TN > Lynchburg JD Tour > Birmingham, AL >
Day 6: Birmingham, AL > New Orleans, LA
Day 7: New Orleans, LA
Day 8: New Orleans, LA > Lafayette, LA
Day 9: Lafayette, LA > Houston, TX
Day 10: Houston, TX

Alternative Endings
Day 8: New Orleans, LA > Lafayette, LA > Pasadena, TX
Day 9: Pasadena, TX (visit Space Center)
Day 10: Houston, TX

Day 8: New Orleans, LA
Day 9: New Orleans, LA > Lafayette, LA
Day 10: Lafayette, LA > Houston, TX

We’d love to hit some small towns and weird sights along the way, even if just for a little leg stretch and breather, so any recommendations on those would be amazing! I’ve noted the main attractions/foodie places we will be visiting but anything you think I might have missed let me know… also, we are vegetarian *hides from BBQ joints*

Things we plan to do: Jefferson General Store / Memphis: Graceland, Sun Studios, Lorraine Motel, Civil Rights Museum, A Schwab, Beale St, The Beauty Shop, Overton Sq, / Nashville: Groove Record Shop, Nashville Broadway, Cash Museum, Tootsies, Third Man Records, Jack Daniels Tour / Bham: 16th St Baptist Church, Civil Rights Institute / New Orleans: French Qtr, Marie Laveaus Voodoo, Garden District, St Louis, Hurricane cocktails, Magazine St, Cemetery,

Things we’d like to see/do: old diners, abandoned gas stations, dive bars, strange sights similar to those of Route 66, possibly a small plantation (not too sure how I feel about these), strange museums, off the beaten track novelties.

SO MANY QUESTIONS AND PLACES TO GO

Thanks in advance!



hayleytpb is offline  
Old Apr 24th, 2019, 04:40 AM
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My husband and I were just in Memphis last week to tour the Civil Rights museum and I have been there several times before. Your plans for seeing so many things in one day there are not realistic.
Same for other stops, especially New Orleans
You are trying to cover a lot of ground very quickly and spending very little time in each place.

Why are you flying in and out of Houston?
Vttraveler is online now  
Old Apr 24th, 2019, 04:42 AM
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Your budget is very low, IMO. And your trip way too ambitious. Have you driven in the US before? This trip gives you an experience of driving in the US but not much else. You want to do some fun things but there will be no time for that.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Vttraveler View Post
My husband and I were just in Memphis last week to tour the Civil Rights museum and I have been there several times before. Your plans for seeing so many things in one day there are not realistic.
Same for other stops, especially New Orleans
You are trying to cover a lot of ground very quickly and spending very little time in each place.

Why are you flying in and out of Houston?

Hey @Vttraveler thanks for replying We won't be doing all the things I've listed for each place, but they're the things I want to do - once I have a list of all the things to do I will pick out the most important to us and plan them in.

There are only direct flights from near us in the UK to Houston or Orlando, so Houston seemed more feasible. If we wanted to fly direct into NOLA it would mean a 4 hour drive to a London airport here in the UK & hotel stays, etc.

I wish we could spend more time in each place, but we only have time for a 10 day trip, and I want to pack as much in as it's a trip we won't ever do again. I think we will stay in NOLA a bit longer and cut out Lafayette, or just quickly take a stop there on the way to the airport
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 05:07 AM
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Under $70/night for a hotel and $26/day for gas & the rental budget are too low (not sure if rental cars are more expensive for non-US licensed drivers. Have you mapped out your itinerary? Have you driven in the US, particularly in major metro areas such as Houston and NOLA? Your trip as it stands is simply not feasible. Start with what your "musts" are.....then realistically plan for that and then see what you can reasonably add.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 07:13 AM
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My husband and I found pretty reasonable hotel/motel rates in the south for some of the less expensive chain hotels and $70/night in more rural areas/small cities might work, but I don't think you could find places for this amount in cities.

One specific comment: during our recent trip we went to many civil rights sites in AL including the places in Birmingham that interest you. I don't think you would need to do both the excellent museum in Memphis at the Lorraine Hotel and the Birmingham sites especially on such a short trip.

Personally I would cut out at least the Nashville/Birmingham part of the trip and keep Lafayette but I really like Cajun music and am not much of a fan of country.
There are a lot of interesting things to do along the Mississippi from Memphis to NOLA if you get off the highway.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 07:20 AM
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Since you have to fly in/out of Houston or Orlando might I suggest something similar to the following if you truly want to experience the deep south.

Orlando --> Savannah, GA --> Charleston, SC-->Atlanta, GA --> Birmingham, AL --> Nashville, TN --> Memphis, TN --> Jackson, MS -->New Orleans --> Houston.

I don't really consider Texas as part of the deep south and you are avoiding a major portion of the deep south with your itinerary. These are the cities that most people think of when they want to see the deep south.
gmoney is online now  
Old Apr 24th, 2019, 07:30 AM
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What time does your flight land? If it's a night flight you should not drive . If it lands late in the afternoon you might as well sleep at an airport hotel.

I haven't timed all your drives, but according to google maps, which is usually too optimistic, Day Two requires nearly eight hours driving with NO STOPS.

The Corolla should get 30 mpg or better. Gas prices vary by state and have been rising, use https://www.gasbuddy.com/ to check prices In general I would say your budget for gas is too high and your budget for hotels is too low.

gmoney's itinerary is much, much better!
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 08:30 AM
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Consider taking the Amtrak Sunset Limited from Houston to New Orleans and rent the car there. You can also take the Amtrak "City of New Orleans" from NOL to Memphis. It arrives in Memphis late in the evening but you can hit the ground running first thing in he morning.
There is a FREE shuttle for patrons of the Sun Studio to the Rock'nSoul and out to Graceland. The shuttle leaves Sun Studio at15 minutes past the hour from 10:15AM until 6:15PM.
Next month I intend to take the Sun Studio tour and ride to Graceland and return. I have a hotel booked within walking distance of Sun Studio so I will not be renting a car in Memphis.
Please don't drive too soon after a flight where you may be jet lagged.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 01:41 PM
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I agree with gmoney's suggestion although I would visit Natchez instead of Jackson, MS instead, lots of nice plantations to visit in that area. I also really do not consider Texas as "Deep South", as it is more of a separate country but understand the flight dilemma.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 01:46 PM
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You will have to stay in some pretty sketchy places to stay close to your hotel budget, even in smaller towns. Probably fine for a couple of 20-somethings bumming around, but not for everyone.

Expect to pay 10-15% accommodations tax on top of the rate. I think your accommodations budget needs to be $1,200 minimum.
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 02:36 PM
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Yes, I doubt your mother will be happy with what $65/night will buy you. What research have you done? Have you checked booking.com?
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Old Apr 24th, 2019, 02:37 PM
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My mom and brother did a similar trip a few years ago (although they flew into New Orleans). Your hotel budget is probably too low.

The most challenging place to find a hotel might be Memphis, as it can be a dangerous city in certain areas. They ultimately decided on the Holiday Inn Midtown Memphis.

Good luck in your planning.
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Old Apr 25th, 2019, 03:02 AM
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If you look at Booking.com for your stops you may get an idea of what hotel prices you can get. And Bryan's advice is good--be sure to look at the add on taxes.

Gas prices are headed back up but most rental cars are fairly good on mileage unless you get the big SUVs, etc.

Have you looked at flying into Charlotte or Atlanta? You really aren't seeing Texas and it is LONG drives to get in and out of that state. It is adding both to your driving time and your overnight stays, thuss adding to your overall budget. Your loop from CHarlotte or Atlanta would be a lot better. If there is that much of a drive in UK to get to the right airport, can you fly or take a train to do it.

Taking a train in the US is a worthy hobby for some people but it is NOT the way to see the countryside, enjoy dive bars, save travel money OR count on being on time.
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Old May 7th, 2019, 04:45 AM
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I also agree that Texas isn't deep south, however it seems like you have to fly in there. I would limit my time there though. Houston does have a great art museum FYI though if you are there. I second the poster that said Natchez, it is very "deep south". Look at the Fork in the road there, which is where they used to have slave auctions. Of course not a pleasant place, but it was somber and an insightful portion of the trip. They do have beautiful plantation homes, southern restaurants etc. and is right on the Mississippi River, which oozes South.

Memphis and New Orleans really don't do much for me. I have spent a ton of time in both and honestly find them dirty and gross. New Orleans Down Town where a lot of the sites are especially. The Garden District and Cemetary might be interesting to you, but the voodoo, French Quarter etc. aren't for everyone. My 13 year old daughter cried and begged to leave last time we went. It's just creepy.

But enough of that. Mississippi has the Delta Blues Trail which has some neat deep south relics. You can find historic homes, restaurants, and hole in the wall blues clubs.
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Old May 8th, 2019, 03:41 AM
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Ahh, New Orleans. It is like no other US city--and not many would aspire to it--and its problems. But bypass it. No way. It just does have a seamy edge to it. But for cuisine and the music culture there is no other. When I have been there I just shake my head in amazement at its way of life.

I'm going to reiterate my recommendation of a different airport to fly in to. 4 hours (to use your UK reason for using your close airport) spent driving in Texas may not even get you to your next destination in the US--time "wasted" 'cause there may not be much to even see by the side of the road travelled (not kidding ;o) )

Last edited by Gretchen; May 8th, 2019 at 03:45 AM.
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Old May 8th, 2019, 06:49 AM
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We just finished that portion of a road trip in an RV. We started in Phoenix, and are now on the Florida Panhandle. In between we stopped in Gallup, Santa Fe, Lubbock, Austin, Houston, Lafayette and New Orleans (our “destination” was JazzFest so we had to make it to New Irleabs in 10 days from Phoenix). We had a great time - just did one or two things a day - didn’t try to see it all. Ate very well.

In Santa Fe, we spent time around the square, up and down Canton Ruad and did Meow Wolf (2 nights)

on the way to Lubbock, we stopped for lunch and visited the Billy the Kid Museum in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

In Lubbock we visited the Buddy Holly Museum.

We we had two days in Austin but didn’t do much (visiting family)

in Houston, spent the afternoon at the Johnson Space Center

in Lafayette, we ate in restaurants that had live music, took a swamp boat tour and toured the Tabasco farm/factory.

In between Lafayette and New Orleans we visited Oak Alley Plantation. We’d previously visited Laura. As a visitor, I think Laura was better, although both had plenty of information and artifacts.

In New Orleans, we spent time at the World War II Museum, Royal Street, Frenchmen Street. We ate and ate, listened to music it seems like nonstop. We’ve been 4 times in the last 9 years. Disclaimer - We LOVE New Orleans. We didn’t step foot on Bourbon Street this trip. New Orleans isn’t nearly as grungy in 2019 as it was even in 2010. Stay off Canal Street. Ladt year we took a wonderful bike tour.

That was 11 nights before JazzFest even started (16 including the 5 we were there once JazzFest started).



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Old May 10th, 2019, 05:18 AM
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"Day 1: Houston, TX > Livingston, TX (long flight, so can’t drive too far)"
After a long flight, how comfortable will you be driving on the "other" side of the road?
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