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is it to late to organise a trip for September?

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Aug 5th, 2011, 09:13 PM
  #1
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is it to late to organise a trip for September?

I've just found out a can have a month off work in September. My husband and 17yo son also have the time off.

We would love to spend the time travelling to the USA and would love your ideas on basically getting around (fly,bus,train or drive), and length on time in certain areas. We're not into hiking but love beautiful scenery, history and shopping! Suggestions for the 17 yo who's only interests are computers and WOW would be great!

I have so much to organise in basically 3-4 weeks so any help you can give would be greatfully appreciated. Accommodation especially we're not really fussy and don't need much we're really just planning on sleeping in it. Clean would be good though.

things we would like to see:
Los Angelas
Las Vegas
Bryce Canyon
Mt Rushmore, Needles Hwy, Fort Laramie, Medicine wheel, Crazy Horse and some more things around there
Memphis
Harry Potter World
Cape Canaveral

We're thinking of flying into Los Angelas, maybe bus to Las Vegas hire a car go to Bryce Canyon for a couple of days, flying from Las Vegas to Denver, hiring a car to see all the amazing things up from there. Then not sure how to get to Memphis, seems we have to fly to Nashville then somehow get to Memphis, then fly to Orlando then fly home to Sydney?

Thankyou for any suggestions
Sandra
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Aug 5th, 2011, 10:04 PM
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You might consider flying to and returning from Texas.http://www.farecompare.com/flights/S...citystate.html

Flying home to Sydney from Orlando does not make sense.
Head east from Texas through New Orleans to your Florida destinations. From Florida head for Memphis. From Memphis head to Mt. Rushmore. Work your way south Denver-Salt Lake City-Bryce Canyon-Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Head east over the Needles highway to get back to Texas.
Wherever you fly to should be the place you rent and return the car. You could take a train to Los Angeles if you wanted to fly home from there.
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Aug 5th, 2011, 10:44 PM
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Why would you have to fly to Nashville instead of Memphis? Memphis is the larger of the two cities.
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Aug 5th, 2011, 10:59 PM
  #4
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thanks tomfuller I shall have a look at that idea. I would love to go to New Orleans as well. I'm sorry If my questions seem stupid by my husband says I have an unrealistic sense of size. I look at a map and says "look its only that far" but its really a very long way. Would it be better to fly between these destinations to maximise time there or try to drive because theres so much to see on the way?

See Cranachin thats why I need your help I have no idea what bigger or smaller I could only find flights to Nashville mind you I've only had a quick look then thought I need help!

Thanks again
Sandra
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Aug 6th, 2011, 06:44 AM
  #5
 
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If it were me - I would focus on one part of the country (which is very large). My preference is west - so I'd focus on that - perhaps adding San Francisco, Glacier National Park, etc. and then leave the east/south for another trip (but these are my least favorite parts of the US - so take with a grain of salt)...
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Aug 6th, 2011, 06:58 AM
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With a month, you could easily do the drive. If a month driving from Sydney to Perth is doable for you, then you'd be up for this trip.
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Aug 6th, 2011, 06:59 AM
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You couldn't do ALL that's on your list, but most of it.
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Aug 6th, 2011, 10:21 AM
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I am with illnative. I would either stay in the West or stay southern.

One option would be going from LA to Vegas, up through Utah to Grand Teton/Yellowstone national parks, then up to Glacier National Park (assuming that the weather is still holding) then west to Seattle and back South. I assume that the 17yo will be able to play video games in the back seat of the car anyway You would have to drive pretty far east to get to the sites in South Dakota, and then drive back again, which would be a lot of driving, but if you are commmitted to seeing Mount Rushmore then I assume that it is worth it to you.

Otherwise I would do LA, Vegas (with Bryce and the Grand Canyon thrown in), then fly to Memphis and do the Southeastern part of the trip. Then you could thrown in New Orleans and spend time exploring Florida.

If you are staying in the southern part of the country, you might want to investigate the Four Corners area of Arizona and New Mexico, and a trip into Santa Fe etc. Then you could fly from Albuquerque (sp?) to Memphis.
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Aug 6th, 2011, 11:14 AM
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things we would like to see:

Los Angelas
Las Vegas
Bryce Canyon
Mt Rushmore, Needles Hwy, Fort Laramie, Medicine wheel, Crazy Horse and some more things around there
Memphis
Harry Potter World
Cape Canaveral


I would skip "Mt Rushmore, etc." for Zion NP and The Grand Canyon, and I would try to include New Orleans with the visit to Memphis.

HTTY
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Aug 6th, 2011, 12:25 PM
  #10
 
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Well you ceratinly have aneclectic list - and definitelynot the things that I would see/do- but to ech his own.

Since wat you want to see is spreadout you will need todo some flying and quite a bit of driving. Train is not a viable option in the US except for the DC-Boston corridor. It doens;t go most places - and it takes forever to get there. Buses are also something you don;t want to do - usually stations are in the wonrg end of town, they too take forever, and are often quite unpleasant (most people would not use them - except for students or others on super low budgets).

I would check with a local travel agfetn to see if there are any air passes that provide for multiple flights at low cost - might be cheaper than individual tickets.

You should rent a car in LA (practicallyimpossible to see it without one -it'snotreally a city but a larger number of spreadout semi-urban and semi-sburban areas) and drive from there to Las Vegas and Grand Canyon. (Way better than Mt Rushmore and that list of places from an old John Wayne movie.)

Fly from there to Memphis and rent a car to see some of the SE and Orlando - then fly back to LA.
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Aug 6th, 2011, 12:29 PM
  #11
 
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Oh - and sorry - don;t know if any of this is a "wow" factor for a 17 year old-none of these places would have been on the list of my daughters at that age. (That would have been SF, London, Paris and probably resorts in the Carib.)

This summer the 20 yearoldjust came back from a visit to the Pacific NW and Victoria area - but she's really into marine biology.
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Aug 6th, 2011, 02:19 PM
  #12
 
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Hmmmmmmmmmmmmph, what a project (and that is without feeling rushed by the time you have to plan)

NOT that it is a bad wish list, or bad idea at all. It just requires some thought and consideration.

I like that you HAVE ideas, vs. being so vague as to have nothing, and wanting somebody else to compose an entire itinerary for you.

Would it be very difficult to fly into Vegas and then do a "loop" that included Bryce Canyon, The GRAND Canyon, Los Angeles, and perhaps San Diego and maybe Death Valley...

... beFORE flying to a spot of ideal cost and convenience SOMEwhere near to your Wyoming/Dakota interests...

and THEN flying to Florida for the last leg of your trip.


I think Vegas makes more sense for a 'circular path' AND things might generally be easier when not caused to be immersed in Southern California's population base beyond merely for your interests there.

As for where to fly in the South Dakota area...

IF the cost factors are too great to smaller areas, DENVER, Colorado is about a SIX hour drive from Rapid City.

Other possible spots to fly into:

Billings, MT
Bismarck, ND
Casper, WY

(Those are all somewhat small by most U.S. standards, so you'd want to price the COMBINATION OF flying and renting a vehicle there)

Depending upon the spot in which you land on that leg of your journey, you might add YELLOWSTONE PARK, in Northwestern Wyoming. (much of the nearby area is like "The American Outback - only with giant mountains")

Finally, you might do well to fly to Atlanta for your final U.S. landing. Atlanta is somewhat near to 6 hours from BOTH Memphis (in one direction) and Orlando, Florida (in a completely different direction).

Plus, Atlanta's is among the busiest airports in the world, and it may even be suitable to base your return trip to OZ from there.

Indeed "Atlanta" would require a good little bit of driving to avoid another intra-U.S. flight, but perhaps you could add New Orleans, The Carolinas, or something else in the process.

As for dividing your time effectively... certainly the stop in the Dakotas area demands the least amount of time (maybe 4 or 5 days, depending upon into which nearby city you fly).

The southwestern USA probably rates the largest window, as you can keep filling your time with brand new ideas at will (San Fran, California coast, Yosemite, etc.).

You could almost say "TWO weeks", beginning and ending in Las Vegas, and then flying to SOMEwhere in the Dakotas/Montana/Wyoming area... for perhaps 5 days... and then flying from there to Atlanta for what could be 10-ish days in a circular path, before getting from Atlanta back to OZ after that.

Your options are so numerous that it will take you narrowing it down in order to bring the very best advice you might get here at Fodors.

I hope this at least helps you to focus your thoughts on some path.
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Aug 6th, 2011, 02:19 PM
  #13
 
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Hmmmmmmmmmmmmph, what a project (and that is without feeling rushed by the time you have to plan)

NOT that it is a bad wish list, or bad idea at all. It just requires some thought and consideration.

I like that you HAVE ideas, vs. being so vague as to have nothing, and wanting somebody else to compose an entire itinerary for you.

Would it be very difficult to fly into Vegas and then do a "loop" that included Bryce Canyon, The GRAND Canyon, Los Angeles, and perhaps San Diego and maybe Death Valley...

... beFORE flying to a spot of ideal cost and convenience SOMEwhere near to your Wyoming/Dakota interests...

and THEN flying to Florida for the last leg of your trip.


I think Vegas makes more sense for a 'circular path' AND things might generally be easier when not caused to be immersed in Southern California's population base beyond merely for your interests there.

As for where to fly in the South Dakota area...

IF the cost factors are too great to smaller areas, DENVER, Colorado is about a SIX hour drive from Rapid City.

Other possible spots to fly into:

Billings, MT
Bismarck, ND
Casper, WY

(Those are all somewhat small by most U.S. standards, so you'd want to price the COMBINATION OF flying and renting a vehicle there)

Depending upon the spot in which you land on that leg of your journey, you might add YELLOWSTONE PARK, in Northwestern Wyoming. (much of the nearby area is like "The American Outback - only with giant mountains")

Finally, you might do well to fly to Atlanta for your final U.S. landing. Atlanta is somewhat near to 6 hours from BOTH Memphis (in one direction) and Orlando, Florida (in a completely different direction).

Plus, Atlanta's is among the busiest airports in the world, and it may even be suitable to base your return trip to OZ from there.

Indeed "Atlanta" would require a good little bit of driving to avoid another intra-U.S. flight, but perhaps you could add New Orleans, The Carolinas, or something else in the process.

As for dividing your time effectively... certainly the stop in the Dakotas area demands the least amount of time (maybe 4 or 5 days, depending upon into which nearby city you fly).

The southwestern USA probably rates the largest window, as you can keep filling your time with brand new ideas at will (San Fran, California coast, Yosemite, etc.).

You could almost say "TWO weeks", beginning and ending in Las Vegas, and then flying to SOMEwhere in the Dakotas/Montana/Wyoming area... for perhaps 5 days... and then flying from there to Atlanta for what could be 10-ish days in a circular path, before getting from Atlanta back to OZ after that.

Your options are so numerous that it will take you narrowing it down in order to bring the very best advice you might get here at Fodors.

I hope this at least helps you to focus your thoughts on some path.
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Aug 6th, 2011, 05:50 PM
  #14
 
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I would fly into California, drive across country, and fly out of Florida (or vice versa).

I think this would make a great adventure and an experience you and your son will treasure forever.

HTTY
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Aug 6th, 2011, 06:59 PM
  #15
 
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At 17 I would have enjoyed all the sites on your list, except Las Vegas (but I was not into video games).

I think if those are the things you want to see, you should do what you can to see as many as possible. BUT - they are so diverse, and spread over such large distances from one another, that I would encourage you to look at WHY you picked the destinations you did. What about them captures your imagination? Is there some thread that ties them all together, or do they represent a mixture of interests?

That process might lead you to eliminate some and add others so that you maximize visiting places that interest you and minimize travel time between them (unless all of you love spending long hours in the car together!)

Also, what does your son think of the itinerary? It would be awful to be dragging a surly teen around the country for a month!

Building on the good advice you have received from others, it would seem to me that you might want to make two loops: one based from Las Vegas that includes Los Angeles, Bryce Canyon, and other destinations you select in the West/Southwest (such as the Grand Canyon), and the other based from Atlanta that takes in Orlando, New Orleans, and Memphis (and possibly other places in the Southeast). I would leave Mount Rushmore etc. for another time, unless yo just HAVE to see those sites (they are quite out of the way from the other things on your list)

The cost of a one-way car rental is likely to be very high, so by doing two rentals that you pick up and return in the same cities you should be able to save some money, and you would see most of what you want.

That's my opinion, anyway.
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Aug 6th, 2011, 07:01 PM
  #16
 
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Of course, what happytrailstoyou said

I would fly into California, drive across country, and fly out of Florida (or vice versa).

sounds good as well!

Again, everything except Mount Rushmore et al. is pretty much along the same trajectory.
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Aug 7th, 2011, 04:06 AM
  #17
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Thankyou everdyone for your great advise.

Our interests are so diverse thats the problem! husband has been to the USA in 1997 and did the Los Angelas Las Vegas and all the South Dakota things and now wants us to see it because he loves all the wild west type thing. I'm interested in seeing them too and the scenery from many of your posts looks so so amazing around the Black Hills. Husband also is an Elvis fan hence the Memphis visit.

Bryce Canyon because my dad, even though very sick and only a few days from death (just last month) kept telling me his favourite scenery of all time (he had travelled pretty extensively) was the Bryce Canyon, there was snow when he went which I know I wont get but still he made me want to go there. Out of all the things he could have spoken about in those few hours before he couldn't speak anymore this was it.

17 yo and I are Harry Potter fans plus no one in the world has a space program like the Americans ! My first memory of TV was the moon landing. I don't think the 17yo will tolerate a car trip across the country - he got sick of the scenery driving around one island of New Zealand. Maybe I could leave him at home.

If this trip was just for me I would be going down the East Coast Boston, New York, well everything all the way down to Florida.

So I think we'll cut this trip in half and do other things on the West side that like San Franciso, Grand Canyon.

Thanks too for the advise on the trains and buses I did not know about them so driving seems the best option for the USA.

I shall reconsider our plans and repost to get some more feedback,
Thanks again everyone - very much appreciated.
Sandra
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Aug 7th, 2011, 06:12 AM
  #18
 
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You can do it. With a month you can easily do it.
Driving would be the best option IMO. The drop charge for the rental car may be high, but maybe not so high if you consider the price of flights for the three of you a couple of times during the trip.

Google maps has the drive time to be less than 2 days. If those "days" equal out to several days of driving for 6 to 8 hours, then you could easily have 6 or so long driving days in the month with 2 to 3 days clustered around a location. Consider it a month of several mini-vacations with a drive day connecting the dots. In reality, it's my favorite way to travel. I used to be able to cover 25 hours of non-stop driving (with drivers switching off). Not so much now that I'm older. But I did it for years to get 1/2way across the country to spend more time in Colorado. With a month, you have plenty of time to include all of the sights you listed IF you don't mind some long drive days. And there really is no better way to see the USA.
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Aug 7th, 2011, 06:55 AM
  #19
 
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Dividing your trip in half so that you can spend a bit more time in each place instead of driving through to say "I've seen that" is wise.
Instead of Texas, you could fly to Chicago and ride "The City of New Orleans" to Memphis. Take CoNO from Memphis to New Orleans. From New Orleans you can decide whether to rent a car or fly to Las Vegas to rent your car.
Bryce Canyon/Zion and perhaps the North Rim of the Grand Canyon can be done from Las Vegas. You will have to decide what else you want to see with the time you have. Making a loop from wherever you rent a car and then flying or taking a train to the next destination makes sense to me.
The advantage to riding the train is that you are moving all night toward your destination without sleeping in a hotel room and tiring yourself driving all day.
One way car rentals are rarely a good idea.
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Aug 7th, 2011, 03:41 PM
  #20
 
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Geez, given the reported sentiments, I would definitely make an effort at Bryce Canyon. I can't know whether "snow" enhances the scenery there, or not, but MAYbe it will be easier to get around in the area given the HOT September weather.

Another factor worthy of your attention is how FAR you are from the U.S., and for that reason it definitely DOES make sense to cover what seem otherwise like far-flung American outposts. (Somebody I follow online just returned to OZ from her first trip to America, and SHE was most animated about having seen the "JERSEY SHORE" set and cast.

(that's downright laughable - but she went all that way, so let HER pick what matters to HER)

You COULD even make a wider western 'loop'... and stay on the ground while doing a wide circuit spanning from San Diego to the Dakotas. (Maybe price should dictate at which spot this wide circle should begin and end)

And then make one intra-U.S. flight, from Denver, Vegas, L.A., or San Fran? TO ATLANTA.

You just don't want to get BACK, knowing there were a couple of really meaningful spots that you JUST didn't go for... (because it is a huge investment of time and money to return)

You have so many possibilities open to you, that until you (show major determination in picking or eliminating some of them with confidence), we won't be able to offer our very best guidance.
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