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Proposed trip around the USA

London
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198 posts
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Proposed trip around the USA

If you were going to do a tour or trip of the USA (and maybe Canada) in a overland truck (or a converted bus, which they seem to use a lot over there)

Would you hire a car and go it alone ? (would you ask others from here or Lonely Planet to join you, share expenses)

(A campers isnt an option as they are just too expensive0

Where would you start from, finish and what places would you want to visit, see ?

Would it be the cities, the towns ?

...Would it be the parks and mountains ?

When would you start and finish ?

Would you camp or use hotels, hostels ?

Would you want to visit the usual tourist places ? (LA, NY, Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Orlando, The Florida Keys, Niagra )

How long would you spend in the USA ?

r c
Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Proposed trip around the USA

trip-traveller99,

just some comments/thoughts.

converted busses and such are great until they break down. changing tires can be a PIA and you may not have the equipment on hand to do it. Duallies in back can be a pIA too. If you need a tow, it won't be a typical pickup truck to do the tow either.

Driving one around on the open roads is a no brainer, but in a major city can be fun and a challenge.

An SUV can be rented and used to camp out of since you will usually have some space in the back if you don't pack it full of people. . You can get pods for the top or you can pull a trailer with stuff in it. Even a 15 passenger van can be used and if not packed with 15 people has some decent space in the back for belongings.

you can do a lot of camping around the USA but it will depend on what type. at one time there were places like Kampgrounds of America (KOA). Some were really nice some wherent. Don't know what they are like now. There are also state parks and such too and then there are private camp grounds. It would depend on what you want to do. If you look at "sams club" they are devoted to travel trailers and camping.

i just found out we have a hostel in PDX. i will need to check it out one of these days but in general there aren't a lot of them around.

as far as route goes, i would do the upper states during the spring/summer and work my way around. some place get a lot of snow/inclement weather and I'm sure you won't want to get stuck in that for a "vacation". And then try to get to the east coast when the humidity isn't sucky.

just something off my head when i think of what you want to do.

London
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2. Re: Proposed trip around the USA

Hello RC

Thanks for your reply

An RV isnt really an option, just too expensive by the time you add on the mileage at the end of a trip

I think a SUV might be ideal though, I wouldnt be travelling with a mass of others, just going solo

The converted buses I mentioned are used by various companys out there that call themselves OVERLAND or adventure tours, but dont actually go over land, just major roads with maybe a foray into a Park (Yellowstone)

I have never used any of these companys , only thing I know is what comes in their news letters, they show an ex greyhound bus converted (into what I have no idea, they never show the insides of them)

I dont know if they sleep in them or not, I dont know how many they take on their trips/tours either

This one gets across the US in 21 days

bambaexperience.com/CrossCountryUSAWays-n194…

Its not quite the trip I could imagine doing

You have given me some good ideas/thoughts about starting, doing the upper states then working South as the weather changes

I have done overland trips before, in big yellow trucks, Sth America, UK to Australia, used the only overland company in India (I was the only passenger, the others all pulled out)

Chicago's North...
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for Illinois, Chicago
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3. Re: Proposed trip around the USA

my thoughts:

post in the road trips forum---they got a lot of good info over there.....

how much time and $$$$ you budgeting for this trip??????????? the USA is HUGE, and there's tons to see in all 4 corners of the country (including alaska) and all around in between..... i think your max tourist visa is 6 months(?).... if so, take all of it, then request an extension!!

if you're going solo, and assuming you plan to see as much as you can on a budget, my advice is this.............rent (hire) a mini van and use that as your home on wheels... buy some basic camping gear (cooler, camp stove, sleeping bag, utensils, sleep pad etc) and use it for the duration of your trip... i'd skip the tent as it's a royal pain to put up/break down every time you move.... you can get all this basic gear for around $100-$150 USD----about what you'd pay for 2-3 nites in a reasonable motel (not a dump, but nothing really fancy, either).....

do as the other poster said and see the South during the spring and fall, and see the North during the summer----winter storms are a real threat in spring (may/ june) and fall (sept and later) up North and in the western mountain ranges... heck, it just snowed here in chicago today!! summer heat/humidity in the South can be brutal....

shop for food at discount stores such as ALDI...camping in state and national parks, as well as private campgrounds, can get kinda pricey..... other federal lands such as national forests, recreation areas and BLM lands tend to be cheaper, but usually more rustic with fewer services such as flush toilets and showers, but not always....

stay in motels when you really wanna sleep in a real bed and have a nice shower......and stay in motels that offer "free" breakfasts.... in the cities, try to stay in hostels.... hostelling isn't really that huge in the USA like it is in canada and the rest of the world, but it is there..... i've hear people do airbnb too, so that might be something worth looking into for city visits..... buy gas in the more rural areas---cities tend to be more expensive... check www.gasbuddy.com

need to go right now, but if you need more info, i'll post more later........................................

Edited: 17 May 2014, 00:55
Florida - Alaska...
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for Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Province, Outdoors / Adventure Travel
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4. Re: Proposed trip around the USA

There aren't that many overland trucks used in the USA, they are more Europe to Asia, across Africa, Australia, etc. Most long haul / long duration budget trips are in regular buses or full sized vans. There are a few hop on hop off services but again they primarily use older motorcoaches.

If you are making this a once in a lifetime see it all trip, you might consider buying a used mini-van, driving it around then selling it before you go home. Makes it easier to go where you want, stay as long as you want. But does have drawbacks like finding parking in downtown areas of major cities.

You might spend a bit of time looking through the Road Trip forum, as well as the general USA and Canada travel forums. There are lots if ideas about things to see and do. Probably so many you will be totally overwhelmed.

For a starting point, I might suggest someplace like Atlanta, Dallas Ft Worth or Salt Lake City. They are all pretty easy for finding used cars and easy to drive out of (as I assume this maybe your first time driving in the states).

r c
Portland, Oregon
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5. Re: Proposed trip around the USA

trip-traveller99,

Yes there are many place to camp/stay, but as stated you may have to "rough it". Also depending on when and where you go, any fire dangers may keep you to cooking with a camp stove (no open fires). Our state parks are sticklers for high fire season.

one thing i forget about, but if you happen to travel the truckers routes and come across a "truck stop" some of them have showers to use for a small fee. Its an option.

With regards to tents, there are some that aren't a big deal to setup. If you plan on staying in places for a while, you can also look at getting a awning for shade. There are some places in the USA where dogs go crazy since there are no trees around and many of those places are hot!

one thing to note too, gas has been less expensive than diesel for a while now. Also we don't pay as much for our fuel as you do in the UK. just something to add to the pot.

for camp gear you can google USA camping/sporting goods stores and see the costs. it will give you an idea on costs for any equipment.

one thing too, is that once you're over here you can hit some of the "goodwill" and second hand stores buying some pots/pans/utensils and if you're luck some camping supplies. Theres is also CraigsList too and if you have wheels, you maybe able to buy this stuff "on the go" or just after you get here.

good luck

London
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6. Re: Proposed trip around the USA

Another thing I have to consider is how long I can stay in the country

I have looked into buying a vehicle, it does seem not as easy as I thought it would be, insurance for different states (it is a lot easier in Australia to by a motor)this is the reason for renting/hiring a vehicle

As for kit, I have it all and can pack it into the one bag and I have a small wood burning stove (i would say its 'roughing it camping, but by american standards it might be considered that

My tent can be put up and down in less than 5 minutes and in winds/rain, I have used it all over the world, only problems I ever had was in India with the bloody cows wanting to eat it, also packing it all away if I want to just go on a day trip somewhere *I guess I could stay in a motel for a few days in the US and see what they have in the surrounding areas

Been on too many 'once in a life time' trips (some I have done twice, so not sure what that makes them)

Mr Cycling, nope not my first time driving in the US, but the first time solo over there, you are right about the trucks, and yes they are used a lot in Sth america, Asia, Australia, I guess you have different regulations for them in the US or maybe that isnt the preferred way of traveling in the US (whatever happened to the pioneer spirit/) once the intial cost has been worked out, I can go from there, yes I guess it will be a budget trip (arent they all?) but I will still have a monthly income (pension)

I'll have a shufti at these road trip forums (I never knew they were here)

RC, buying camping kit over there is an option, it would cut back on flying with everything, but I can get everything down to 24 kilos

7. Re: Proposed trip around the USA

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