East-west coast journey, USA

Old May 23rd, 2010, 04:44 PM
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East-west coast journey, USA

Hello everybody!

I`m from Croatia and want to make an east-west coast journey in USA whit a car! I`m pretty new in that sort of things, so I accept all advices!

Here are few questions and details!

1. i want to travel from: NY to Miami (Florida), Cape Canaveral, Dallas (Texas), Las Vegas, LA! (i would appreciate if someone who drove already from one of the cities to another one, tell me, how long it`s take! (those are the cities that i want to visit most) if you have any oder suggestions, tell me!)

2. the journey would be in july or august, for 3 weeks (i don`t know if that`s enough time to do this...

3. Can i rent a car in NY and drive all the way till LA? How much it costs (to rent a car for three or four weeks?)

4. How much it costs all the journey? (if someone has already did that sort of thing; of course, i don`t want to sleep in a "5 star" hotels!!!

5. How is the weather at that time of the year (if it`s rains all the time or something...)

I`have read some of topics in this forum, but they are all describing the "northern route"!

Thank you for all advices! (and sorry for my english!)
Greetings from Croatia!
california1987 is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2010, 06:07 PM
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Please give a little more information about what you want to see and do. Are you interested in just driving through the area or visiting cities, national parks, seashore, mountains, museums, etc?? The distances you are talking about are very great, so if you could give some more focus on what you intend to do along the way we could be more helpful.
emalloy is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2010, 08:19 PM
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Yes, more information would be helpful. To do that long a trip in three weeks would make it very difficult to stop and enjoy any of your destinations. Four would be better (still too much driving for me, but not impossible).

Just for example, NY to Miami is about 1300 miles, or about 20 hours of driving. Some people do it in one long day; I would need two days. It's a similar distance from Miami over to Dallas, and from Dallas to Las Vegas. So if you want to drive NY - Miami - Dallas - Las Vegas - LA, you're talking about spending a week of long days in the car, before you even start adding in days spent sightseeing.

Can you rent a car in NY and drop it off in LA - yes, but you will pay a premium for doing so.

The weather - impossible to say except in very general terms. The later in the summer, the higher the risk of hurricanes. Here in FL it is very typical to have daily rain showers in the afternoon at that time of year, but the weather isn't bad all day long. It will be hot all along the route you are thinking of (temperatures in the 90s or even over 100F not uncommon).
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Old May 24th, 2010, 05:52 AM
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Yes, some more information...
O.K., the all idea is simple to have a sort of "the road trip adventure". Good music, good friends and miles and miles of road... The cities which I have chosen are approximately 1 day of driving far one from another one...(as Barbara said) That is the all idea, drive 1 day and than rest for a couple of days(3-4)in the cities that i have mentioned.
The way/route that i have chosen is pretty much (particularly the first part) along the coast. In that part of the journey i would like to visit some small cities along the coast, but more to make a small 3-4 hour stops to go swimming, to eat something and to stretch legs on the beach after ours of driving! I would be thankful for some suggestion (small cities at the coast approx. 400 miles far one from another one all the way from NY to Louisiana border, (5, 6 short stops)from where i would go to north, to Dallas.
At that point of the journey, after our visit to Dallas, comes the "mountain part of the trip". Perhapes after reaching Phoenix we would go to Grand Canyon or some other National park in that area, and than, from there to Vegas (one night to spend all the money that it`s left , and from there to California, LA...

NY, MIAMI, DALLAS, Phoenix, GRAND CANYON, LAS VEGAS, LA.
That`s the "main route".

I know, it`s lot of driving, but that`s the way we want to do it... That`s like: one - two days driving (small cities, short stops), and than for ex. Miami 3 days...

I have more questions like "how to organize that sort of journey, like: must I book the hotel/motel in every city already for the beginning of the journey
How much it costs a "rent a car"...
Or, if someone has already did that sort of thing, how much it costs all the journey (of course, approx.)

Thanks a lot!
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Old May 24th, 2010, 06:16 AM
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We enjoyed Savannah, GA and St. Augustine, FL along the Atlantic coast.

For car rental, look at the websites for Hertz, National, Avis etc. and see what they have. I have a hunch that it will be expensive because you are picking up in one city and dropping off in another.

Personally I would want to reserve my hotels ahead of time. You might want to look up a chain of hotels such as La Quinta, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Best West Western, etc. and see if they have deals where you get a free room after a number of nights. That might save you some money, although these hotels tend to not be centrally located or cute.

Does your insurance from Croatia cover you for driving in the U.S?
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Old May 24th, 2010, 06:28 AM
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For the NY to Miami part of your trip, the main road (I 95) is not really very close to the coast, although there are places where you could head to the coast for a day or two and visit a beach. The trip from NY to a bit past Washington DC has lots of traffic and is not particularly pretty. You might consider taking the Garden State Parkway instead of I 95 and stopping at Atlantic City for some glitz and beach or just going down to Cape May and taking the ferry to Lewes, Deleware. Then go down the Delmarva peninsular with a stop perhaps at Asseteague or Chincoteague to swim at the beach. Then down to the Bay Bridge/Tunnel to Virginia Beach. You could easily make it from NY to Chincoteague on this route in less than a day, take a swim, spend the night, then drive to Virginia Beach in half a day, swim, spend the night. Then head for I 95 and drive to Miami in a long day.

An alternative would be to look for a plane ticket to Miami which would probably be less expensive than lodging and car rental for the days and lots faster than driving, then picking up the car in Miami for the long drive west. Miami to Dallas is about 1400 miles, which for me would be two days drive, so I would look for a flight to Dallas and check on if this would be cheaper than the car rental and lodging along that route. Dallas to Phoenix is about 2000 hot, not too interesting miles. That would be two very long days drive for me, again I would look to flying and compare costs and time. Phoenix to Grand Canyon is about 4-5 hours, Grand Canyon to Vegas is 5-6 hours and Vegas to LA is 5-6 hours drive. If you really want to spend 3 days in the places you are stopping, then you will be out of days very soon.

Some airlines do let you take flights from city to city and if you have friends to visit with in some of the cities, you wouldn't need to rent a car until you got to Phoenix. Do a little research and compare the costs, time, including the cost of lodging, gas, food along the way. Do be aware that if you drop off your car in a different city than you pick it up in there will be a large added cost.

Best wishes for a great trip.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 12:48 PM
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I'd fly to NY, then fly to Miami. Renting a car in NY is very expensive. Your drop-off fees from Miami (or any other state) to California will be expensive. Check the car rental rates - you might get a better deal with a USA fly pass and renting a car for a few days in each location. You'll see a lot more (the drive through most of Texas is awful and the east coast drive is not close to the ocean and boring, too) and it might make financial sense as well.

I drove all over Croatia - you'll have no trouble in the states. Unlike your new highway in 2007, most of our major highways have hotels at each exit. You don't need to make reservations ahead for those places, but you do in the cities and cute towns.

Check Google maps for driving times. The US is huge and that will give you some idea of drive times.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 02:01 PM
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Emalloy, I don't know what planet you live on, but Dallas to Phoenix is nowhere near 2000 miles. It's not even 1100.

Hot? Oh yeah, especially in July/August.

Uninteresting? Depends -- the OP can sidetrack to Carlsbad Caverns, go another 75 miles or so to Roswell, and then cut northwest towards I-40 to go toward the Canyon and then Las Vegas.

That's a LOT of driving in the scorched southwest, though. I wouldn't do it, and I live in the scorched southwest.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 02:29 PM
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Sorry, I hit a 2 instead of a 1, still not what I would consider the nicest place to drive in the summer.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 02:32 PM
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OK, some more thoughts. emalloy's suggestion of avoiding I-95 is good. I would suggest stopping in Savannah, Beaufort, or St. Augustine rather than trying to drive all the way to Miami, especially since you indicated an interest in small cities. On the trip from Miami to the Louisiana border (and it's not really "north" from Louisiana to Dallas) I would normally recommend a detour along Florida's panhandle, but given the current uncertainty about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico I hesitate to encourage you to count on that. Still, there are spectacularly beautiful beaches in that part of Florida, so it might be worth keeping that option in mind.

Look into various hotel chains and see what appeals to you in your price range. Some hotels will let you earn points towards a free night, sort of like frequent flyer programs.
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Old May 24th, 2010, 06:17 PM
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You don;t say your age - but if under 25 it's very difficult to rent a car. Also, coming from outside the US you will be required to buy insurance, which will raise the cost considerably. (US drivers have the insurance covered by their credit cards). It would be better to organize your car rental through a local company where you live - who can offer special packages including rental, tax and insurance - versus paying all separately directly with a US company.

If starting from NYC you need to know that in the summer cars typically cost at lest $100 per day - with a drop off charge for leaving in CA. (CA can be especially expensive, since they havestricter emission standards from many other states - and so rental companies have to ship the cars back out of state to rent them again.)
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