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First American Road Trip NYC - Portland, Oregon

First American Road Trip NYC - Portland, Oregon

Old Jan 14th, 2014, 12:56 PM
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First American Road Trip NYC - Portland, Oregon

Hello everyone.

Me and a good friend are in the process of planning a 3 week long road trip around America. We will be going on the trip in July. It's her first time in America full stop, and the only state I have been too was Florida (for the obvious reasons as a child).

We will be spending a few days with a very good friend of ours who lives in Portland, Oregon. We are quite flexible and this can either be at the start or at the end of the trip. I have never driven abroad ever! So I am trying to get the best advice on this as possible.

I was wondering whether it would be feasible to go either from Portland to New York (or vice versa), or is this distance just completely unrealistic? Remember we do have 3 weeks to do the drive but would like to spend a little time in each place to actually see it. Ideally if we were to do New York we would want 3 days there, and at least 3 days in Portland with our friend which takes nearly a week out of our travelling time.... cutting down the actual time we have to do the mammoth drive (and stop off places along the way) to only 2 weeks. Like I say we want to see a lot, but we don't want to be stuck in the car the whole time.

Other places we would like to try and include are: California - San Francisco, Seattle, and another person has suggested we drive from Miami?

Honestly any help, advice etc. will be very very much appreciated.

The only limits we have are:
1) No longer than 3 weeks!
2) Trip must start or end in Portland, Oregon
3) We are trying to do it on a budget..... I know this is irrelevant to places we stop off but if anyone has some good recommendations of places that are nice to stay, like quality/decent/nice guest houses, bed and breakfasts, hostels.
4) Also.. if anyone has any tips on hiring a car over there, what is best to do? I'm 24 and female, I want to feel as comfy as possible driving there and not feel scared that I am in something HUGE ....

Many many thanks.... again, in advance for all your help xx
chelseeicebun24 is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2014, 01:56 PM
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I would check on which would be better, starting in Portland or in NY. You won't probably need the car in either city, certainly won't want one in NY. There are often drop off fees on the car and they may be different at one end than the other. I would guess that airfare will be the same either way.

I would want to spend a few days in both cities, so that would cut the cross country time down to a week and a half or two.

As it is July, I would want to stay in the northern part of the US. I'm not a city person, so I would plan stops at the Badlands NP Yellowstone NP, Grand Tetons NP, and Glacier NP , and the order of visits would depend on if I started in NY or Portland. Get a good map and make a plan.

Some places do have hostels for less expensive lodging, but you can pick up discount books for motels/hotels along the way. If you are open to camping, you can buy or rent equipment to do this quite reasonably.

In any case, get a cooler and keep snacks, water, drinks, lunch materiel in it for your trip.
emalloy is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2014, 02:31 PM
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Thank you so much. Some fabulous advice shall have a look into that. xx
chelseeicebun24 is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Are you coming across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean to the US?
You could fly to Chicago and take the Amtrak Empire Builder from CHI to PDX. Stay the 3 days in Portland and then take the Amtrak Coast Starlight south to Sacramento California. Rent your car there to see what you want to see of California.
Return the car where you rented it and then decide if you want to fly or take the train from California to New York City.
Are you one of those people who learned to drive on the "wrong" side of the road?
tomfuller is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2014, 02:57 PM
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I would try to lay out a trip now that you can do with driving one way (it will be VERY rushed) and returning by air. Driving round trip in the time you have is not an option unless you want to stop only for naps.

Also do check car rentals - many companies charge significantly more for driver less than 25 years old and there will be a charge for a second driver.

Without knowing your budget it's hard to be specific - but this will not be an inexpensive trip - even if you stay in hostels (may not available outside big cities) and you eat fast food or things you pick up at supermarkets.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 02:59 PM
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My husband and I drove from New York to Oregon (and later on to San Francisco) in mid- to late June last year. We took the northern route and spent 11 days on the trip: a night each in Ohio and Wisconsin, a night on the Missouri River at the South Dakota border, 2 nights at Custer State Park in South Dakota (seeing the Badlands and Mount Rushmore along the way), 3 nights at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and 2 nights in Missoula, Montana (including a Glacier NP visit), before arriving near beautiful Bend, Oregon. For your trip you would skip Bend and head over to Portland.

It was a lot of driving (several of the days involved 8 or more hours of driving), but also a lot of fun. If you allot a full 2 weeks to the cross-country trip you will be able to have shorter days. As stunning as the coastal drive down to San Francisco (where I now live) from Oregon is, I would save that for another trip.

There's really nothing like a cross-country United States trip. I think you should do it!
aprillilacs is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2014, 03:18 PM
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you might try using mapquest.com to view any routes you might use...it will give you directions and mileage
Dukey1 is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2014, 05:29 PM
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As aprillilacs said, there is nothing like a cross-country trip...I did it many, many years ago and it was quite experience. Do it!
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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The daily charge for an under- 25 years old is usually around $25 per day, plus the extra driver fee. Each under 25 driver pays a separate fee.
By law, California does not charge the extra driver fee within the state.
Goldens is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2014, 12:11 AM
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Thanks for all the tips loads and loads to go off and research. I would be the only driver and yes I learnt on the wrong side of the road haha. She does have a driving licence but is rather nervous driving in the UK so does not want to risk driving abroad just yet. All good points to consider though thank you... and if we can bus/train to other parts and not have to just drive that's cool to know too xx
chelseeicebun24 is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2014, 10:00 AM
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I would fly or train from New York to Chicago, and then drive from there...the Western U.S. is easier to navigate with a car for someone coming from the UK, IMO. And keep in mind there are vast areas in the West that have very little in the way of sightseeing but take a long time to drive across.

Another idea is to save New York for a different trip and fly into Chicago instead. Chicago is cheaper than NYC, offers amazing skyscraper architecture and sightseeing and it would be relatively easy to rent a car at O'Hare Airport or in the Chicago suburbs and hit the freeways headed west. This would give you much more time to enjoy your trip and actually stop for longer at different locations.

By starting in Chicago, you could probably include the San Francisco or Seattle areas, maybe even both, and still end in Portland, a great little city. A fun thing to do when coming from the UK might be taking the Victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria, BC for a night or two.

Between Chicago and the West Coast, my favorite stop is the Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Park/Jackson, Wyoming area, which attracts international visitors for good reason.

Have a great trip however you decide to take it.
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