USA Trip in 4 Weeks


Jan 15th, 2017, 01:22 AM
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USA Trip in 4 Weeks

We are Planning our Honeymoon in America for 24 days. We are travelling from Australia, Queensland. Love site seeing and getting outdoors.
We would like to Land is Los Angeles and then get a Hire Car and Drive to New York.

Things that are a must on our Trip.
Los Angeles > Las Vegas > Grand Canyon
Monument Valley> Santa Fe> Dallas
New Orleans> Orlando> Miami
Washington> New York.

Is this too much for 24 Days?? Do you think we can drive.. (on the other side of the road)
kathnNikki is offline  
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Jan 15th, 2017, 04:34 AM
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IMHO, that's way too much driving for 24 days.
Check out the cost for renting a car in LA and returning it in NYC. Sometimes the drop off fee can be enormous.
We have found a car to be a liability, not an asset, in NOLA, DC, and NYC.
Those 3 cities are worth at least half of your trip.
Only you can know if you'll be comfortable driving on the side of the road that's different from at home; DH has done it easily, but we have friends who have found it intimidating.
abram is offline  
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Jan 15th, 2017, 06:31 AM
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As I understand it, the car hire is paid including insurance in advance with no extra drop off fee for non US residents.
For us US residents dropping in a city far from where we rent can be quite expensive.
My suggestion for what it's worth would be to do the trip as far as Dallas and then drive to San Antonio and catch the Amtrak Sunset Limited train early in the morning to New Orleans. The problem with the Sunset Limited is that it only runs 3 days a week.
See New Orleans without a car. Take the Amtrak Crescent from New Orleans to Washington DC (goes through Atlanta).
See Washington DC and take another train to New York.
After seeing New York, take one of the Silver service trains (Star or Meteor) to Florida.
Fly home from Orlando or Miami probably with a layover in Los Angeles.
My train plan saves you many thousands of miles of driving on the "wrong side" of the road and a lot of parking fees in several cities.
tomfuller is offline  
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Jan 15th, 2017, 06:43 AM
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When do you plan to do this trip?
Have you been to the US before?
Are you going to Disney World? If not, why Orlando?
Why Miami? Beach, Art Deco buildings?

If you are planning to hang out and take in some music in NOLA, walk the beaches of Florida, then OK, but be sure what you will do is worth all the hours to get there.
You have only 3&1/2 weeks. Does that include flight time from Australia? Your drives in that itinerary will sometimes be long and eat up tons of your time. The advantage of a road trip is to be able to stop and see interesting places, but you leave no time for that. Allow for driving time.

This is not the plan, just laying things out for you to see time facts. I don't see how you can fit it all in. Some is boring anyway.
Day 1,
Day 2, arrive US? Check into hotel relax
Day 3, see LA
Day 4, travel to?
Days 5 - 13. 9 days to drive and sightsee
Dow 14, driving someplace.
Day 15, NOLA
Day 16, travel to DC
Days 17, 18, 19, Washington DC (rushed)
Day, 20, travel to NYC
Days 21, 22, 23, NYC (rushed
Day 24, depart for home
Sassafrass is offline  
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Jan 15th, 2017, 06:54 AM
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Your title time frame of 4 weeks, and the mentioned 24 days don't match. For such a trip, it's a significant difference, especially if the 24 includes travel from and back home.

Assuming you have 24 full days, after arrival and before leaving for home, to answer the biggest question, yes, it's too much.

If for instance, you drive from Los Angeles to Miami, it's a bit over 3000 miles for the route you detail. Averaging 300 miles a day, 10 days driving to Miami. Add just 1 full day (2 nights) to see each location, 9 more = 19 days. Leave the car, fly to Washington, 20 days. 2 days in Washington, train to NYC, 22 or 23 days and a day left for New York. What do you think?
MmePerdu is online now  
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Jan 15th, 2017, 07:59 AM
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I think it is totally doable as long as you like to drive. Just curious-- what do you want to see in Dallas?
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Jan 15th, 2017, 08:06 AM
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We did not stay in the French Quarter when in New Orleans, and parking was not a problem. However, it is a problem in D.C. and New York; I would return the car first thing in the D.C. if following the original order of the itinerary. There are cheap buses fares from D.C. to NYC.
Michael is online now  
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Jan 15th, 2017, 11:28 AM
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Yes that's too much for 24 days. 11 of those days are just moving from place to place, packing unpacking, checking in checking out.
DebbieDoesDulles is offline  
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Jan 15th, 2017, 12:13 PM
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Is it possible? Yes. I've enjoyed many driving trips from coast to coast across the US in two weeks, including lots of sightseeing, camping, and fooling around. But I also enjoy going to a place, staying for a few weeks or month, meeting people, and travelling a little more "in depth". Both are very different experiences. A lot depends on what YOU like to do.

From what I gather from your description, the trip you propose would be much like this: 4,301 miles, 62 hour driving time (wheels turning, not including stops for sightseeing, sleeping, eating, or gas)- That's probably 10 driving days, assuming 6 hrs each day "behind the wheel" plus a couple of hours for short stops.

To put it in Australian terms, it would be roughly like driving from Brisbane to Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide to Uluru to Perth (~7,796 km = 4,844 miles).

*If* you like driving and seeing vast expanses out of a car window, and wanted to treat it as a driving adventure, it could be a great trip. But personally, *if* I wanted to drive across the US, I'd shorten the trip, certainly no more than (3,470 miles, 51 hour driving time) ... or ideally less.

Do recognize that at least half of your trip would be driving and looking out of a car window.

Alternatively, consider flying in & out of LA, touring some of the west. Or tour a bit in the west, then fly to the east coast. But 3 weeks isn't much for all of that.

(1) Get a guide book or two, (2) really think about what would most interest you (music? nightlife? natural environment? history? ... the list goes on and on) ... and (3) then sit down and start winnowing ... And then winnow some more. The more you hone in on what you'd really like to see and do, and the more you winnow, the more likely you'll maximize the enjoyment.

Re driving on the wrong side: its never been a problem for me when travelling to the UK, but others hate it. Only you know your tolerance. You'll be starting off in the city with the most congestion and the most intimidating freeways in the US.
elbegewa is offline  
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Jan 15th, 2017, 01:22 PM
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No San Francisco or Big Sur coast? Have you visited Northern California on a prior trip??? No National Parks - Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon????

In the late 1960s, I drove between LA and Indiana 8 times going to/from college. Very long & mostly boring. I usually took the southern route I had the tape deck at full blast just trying to keep awake.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 15th, 2017, 03:11 PM
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It sounds crazy to me, but then I remember that my family went round-trip NY-California-NY in the 60s in 30 days. Not not was it doable, it was a fabulous trip, memorable to this day (the trip started on July 3, 1963).
sf7307 is online now  
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Jan 16th, 2017, 01:02 PM
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First, ignore the Amtrak suggestion. There's no reason anyone should drive from Dallas to San Antonio to catch a train to New Orleans. Geez. Tomfuller never runs out of ways to shill for Amtrak on this board and the trains suck outside the northeast DC to NY to Boston corridor.

Second, you're trying to do too much. Do you drive from Cairns to Perth with stops in Brisvegas, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Yulara on the way? Would you suggest it to anyone else?
BigRuss is offline  
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Jan 18th, 2017, 01:00 PM
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kathnNikki: have you given any further thought about your trip?
We're in the midst of planning a trip to NZ and Oz and are in the paiful process of trying to winnow it down.
elbegewa is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2017, 12:18 AM
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Okay!! So we have most definitely tried to do way too much in one trip.
We only have 4 weeks leave, including travel from Australia and just wanted to get in as much as we can... in case we don't get the opportunity to return.
The reason behind the car was so that we could stop and go when we like depending on how much fun we're having in that city.
Would you suggest Los Angeles to Las Vegas > San Fran as a more suitable trip?

Just means we don't get to see very much.

Flights aren't out of the picture completely. We just didn't want to miss any great sites on the way.

Thanks Heaps for your help
kathnNikki is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2017, 04:04 AM
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"Just means we don't get to see very much."

No, not true. In a few places, the landscape might be interesting, but you would not see as much sitting for hours looking out a car window at the same highway landscape mile after mile after mile. Believe me, unless you are choosing some stretches of highway known for a pretty landscape, much of our highway travel is boring after a few minutes. You won't see anything new.
Sassafrass is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2017, 06:46 AM
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>>"Just means we don't get to see very much."

No, not true.<<

Double not true!!!

Like I stated earlier, you have no National Parks in your plans.

San Francisco, Napa/Sonoma wine country, Carmel/Big Sur Coast, redwood trees, LA, San Diego, Yosemite NP, Sequoia NP, Death Valley NP (not June to Oct), Grand Canyon NP, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon NP - even LV is a LOT more interesting than miles & miles & miles of flat highway driving. There are many other National Parks & Monuments in the regions I suggested also. Do some research. Purchase several Fodors books - that's what we used to guide us through the Southwest USA area a few years ago (I'm a lifetime Calif resident currently living in the SF are, before that in LA).

Stu Dudley
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Jan 19th, 2017, 07:51 AM
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You need to make some decisions for your very short 3 week trip.

1. Do you really want to "drive by it all" in 3 weeks and spend 70% of your time with "wheels turning" and very little time "being there"?


2. Do you want a pace where you can actually walk around, visit some popular sites (Grand Canyon, Golden Gate Bridge, Pt Lobos on Calif coast, Museums in NYC, etc)? If so, I suggest one of the following 2 options

a. Calif & the southwest USA including the National Parks I mentioned above.

b. Northeast USA including Washington DC, NYC, Boston, and New England.

Also - when is this trip? I would not suggest Northeast in winter, nor Death Valley in the summer.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 19th, 2017, 08:53 AM
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You will miss stuff, so in 3 & 1/2 weeks, concentrate on seeing the best things that spark your personal interest.

I asked earlier, and then Stu asked, a very important question. When? Some places will be extremely, melt down hot in Summer and some cold and snowy with difficult driving in Winter

That and your interests will get you the best advice.

Some choices with a few examples.
Big, very unique cities with history and world class art museums.
Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, New York City.

Lovely, romantic cities of the old South with magnificent gardens in Spring and plantations to tour, and music.
Charleston, Savanah, New Orleans.

The great National parks with unique landscape:
Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc.

There are other, out of the way towns and places that are not number one sights, but are very special and do not get much press:
Asheville, NC, Kansas City, St Louis, huge caves in Kentucky, Nashville, Memphis, Northern Michigan. See, you can't possibly see everything. You must pick what matters to you and take weather into account.
Sassafrass is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2017, 02:42 PM
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Personally I could do without extended time in Los Angeles and Las Vegas! But that's just me.

1 week
I would maybe fly into San Diego and spend a few days then leave very early and drive to San Francisco stopping along the way in Los Angeles (maybe the pier in Santa Monica), then up to Santa Barbara for lunch (swing by the beautiful old Mission built in the 1700's), then continue up the coast maybe stopping in Carmel for dinner and then into San Francisco. (San Diego to San Francisco straight through is normally an 8 hour drive + or -).

2 week
From San Francisco I would fly to Portland, Oregon spend a few days (maybe go to Mt. Hood) then drive to Seattle, Washington (straight through about 3 -4 hours+-).

3rd week
Then I would fly to Chicago spend some time then drive down to St. Louis maybe or New Orleans and stay in the French Quarter.

4th week
From there I would fly to the Northeast maybe Boston, NY City then down to Washington DC.
nanabee is online now  
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Jan 19th, 2017, 02:48 PM
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just a side note kathnNikki

When my husband and I were planning a trip to Australia we had two and a half weeks. I had us going to the Great Barrier Reef, The Gold Coast (Brisbane and Mermaid Beach), Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and then over Tasmania then off to New Zealand. (yes in 2 1/2 weeks!!)

Dear Husband reminded me that Australia is the size of the continental US. Had no idea!

We narrowed it down to Sydney, Brisbane, Mermaid Beach, and the Great Barrier Reef.
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