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Dream Road USA Trip Planning

Singapore, Singapore
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Dream Road USA Trip Planning

Hi guys,

I am planning a holiday to the USA in a year or 2. My dream is to take a 30 day or more road trip in a Mustang from Coast to Coast. I am not much of a shopper and the aim is mainly to visit the great natural landmarks in US.

Can you guys suggest sights, and landmarks I need to see? Off the top of my head, I have The Big Sur, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Mount Rushmore which are must sees. I would like to end or start my trip in Florida so that I would also get to see the Glades. I dont plan to spend much time in the major cities along the way. Maybe just a day or 2 to rest and see the major sights. I am not fussy on hotels and plan to stay in motels along the way.

AS of now I plan to fly in to LA or Las Vegas, rent a car and go to the Grand Canyon, Big Sur, up to Yosemite, on to Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore. I am researching on what to see after that. Its all in the infant stage of planning and any tips on the itinerary would be much appreciated.

Lewes, United...
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1. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

Hi Shamus

Welcome to the Road Trips forum

That's a great dream, and as it's a year or so away, plenty of time to plan, chuck the plan away and start again or whatever, and planning well with ensure you have a great trip.

To help you decide what you really want from your road trip (not a road trip suggested by all the friendly and helpful folk who are bound to chip in to this topic) you need to do your own homework, too. If you don't already have a guide book for the whole of the USA and a paper map to lay on the floor and stick pins in, get these! Also, please may I recommend you use the search function to trawl this forum. There have been many coast to coast road trips planned via this forum!

What I will comment on for starters is that 30 days is not a lot of time for such a long trip, so if you can add extra days, so much the better - especially as you are likely to want to go by a much less than straight, direct route to enable you to visit iconic destinations.

Now the car. Of course everybody want to rent a Mustang convertible! However, unless it's just you, they don't have much luggage carrying space for a long trip, so be warned! Also, they come into a premium car category and can only be rented from a few rental companies, if you absolutely want to ensure you get a Mustang and not some other, disappointing convertible, so this will work out expensive. Add a one way rental drop fee and you are talking about quite a lot of money. That fine, if that's what you want and can afford to consider this, but not all folk appreciate this, hence my comments.

Before you commit to your start and end destinations, I'd recommend you look into where the best flight deals get you to or from, as your base is Singapore. As it's a coast to coast, you can be more flexible with the driving route at little difference in cost rather than flight route where low volume routes can cost more.

BTW I love the way you start your post with "I am not much of a shopper", as only a Singaporean would think that way to may the comment! They may not let you back home after the trip!

Just some initial thoughts, I'll let others chip in with their comments and revert later.

Enjoy the planning to make the dream come true!

SWT

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

The places that are on your must see list are going to take a bit of time to see.

For example-

Yosemite- 2-3 days

Grand Canyon- 1-2 days

Yellowstone- 3-4 days

Grand Tetons- 1-2 days

Mt. Rushmore/Black Hills- 2-3 days

And these are minimum times and I have not included travel time.

Just my opinion but I would focus on either California area (Big Sur and Yosemite) and the Grand Canyon or either focus on Yellowstone, Tetons and Black Hills. Then you can take an internal flight to Florida and visit the Evergaldes, etc.

If you focus on Yellowstone, Tetons and Black Hills you could fly in and out of Denver and there are plenty of other places that you could see in the area like Cody in Wyoming and Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mt. NP in Colorado.

Let us know your thoughts and good luck!!

Lewes, United...
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3. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

PB - you share my thinking. I just didn't want to the be person to say so! I'm always told off for poo-pooing folks plans and putting the kibosh on ambitious ideas!

SWT

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

SWT,

Trying to be realistic- until you travel here just do not understand travel times and size of the US.

PB

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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5. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

I agree with the posters above. I think you should plan a big round trip road trip in the western USA, then fly to Florida and do a short road trip there :-)

I'm not sure a month will be long enough, though.

Tampa, Florida
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6. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

What is it about the Everglades that you want to experience - An airboat ride?

Seeing alligators, snakes and other wildlife?

It might be more reasonable to focus on the National Parks in the western United States and skip driving coast-to-coast.

If you must see the Everglades, then fly to Miami and rent a car.

When do you want to visit Florida? In Summer, it is very hot and humid, accompanied by rain and thunderstorms. And mosquitoes - bring insect repellent. Timing is important. I would suggest late November to early April as good months to visit the Everglades.

But November to April may not be optimal for visiting many of the National Parks in the western United States due to some roads closing in mountainous areas due to snow.

Singapore, Singapore
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7. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for your advice. I really envy you guys over there. There is so much to see and do there, it will probably take a lifetime to see it all. I am actually listing down destinations I want to go to and seeing which ones I can squeeze in. If its too much then I would probably break it up and concentrate on the western side like some of you suggested. I had thought to make the trip in autumn, (maybe starting mid-September?) to enjoy the cooling weather. You have no idea how enjoyable cool air is to a Singaporean..haha. Would mid September to mid October be early enough to visit most National Parks before the snow closes some of the roads?

My last trip to the US was to San Francisco, Gilroy, and Yosemite and my wife didnt enjoy the long drives, but for me, it was the best part of the trip. (In Singapore, any drive longer than 30 mins is considered long).

So this trip is just for myself. Luggage space is not an issue as I travel light and plan to do the necessary laundry on the way plus I don't shop much. I am aware that a Mustang would be costly. From my checks, it looks like the best rate would cost me USD2.5K and even then its not a guarantee that it will be a Mustang. I like PB's idea of taking an internal flight but that actually works out to be more expensive.

Atlanta, Georgia
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8. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

Check out Southwest airlines and go directly to their website. They have really good internal flight prices- easy to change and no fees and no baggage fees.

Lewes, United...
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9. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

Just a quick comment re the car rental. If you really do want a Mustang, then be prepared to pay for it, and chose a rental company that guarantees it. To pay so much money to a rental company whose websites say merely 'Mustang or similar' invariably results in disappointment as the 'or similar' cars offered may well be considered similar to the rental company but rarely so by renters! Plus, somehow those renters set on a Mustang often seem to get the other types of car, inevitably!

Another couple of points you may not have considered, or encountered in your car rental research so far. Always use a website that allows you to let them know you are a foreigner, not a US national, so that all the necessary insurances get added. Also, your quote may not have included the one way fee, which means comparing costs of loop trips versus one ways plus a domestic flight need to be considered in your maths. For more car rental info, please look at the Top Qs on the right of the full display of this forum.

I don't know where you are getting your pricing for domestic flights from. Apart from anything else, you cannot book now for a year away, let alone 2 years. So prices found now for travel in September/October time would be priced for short notice travel. However, airfares, international and domestic are only likely to go up overall with time. As suggested, do your research using the various USA based no frills airlines, most of which don't show on the like of Kayak or similar searches. The one with the best reputation and most generous luggage allowance is SouthWest.

September/October would be fine for most national parks. However, logic suggests you start in the north and make your way south.

Regarding weather, several folk always point out how hot and humid Florida will be in mid summer. As a Singaporean, you'd find it just like home! However, I totally get the appreciation of cooler temps and dryer heat found over on the west.

Please may I suggest you post a few possible options of very rough itineraries and the regulars here can offer some comments and suggestions. Then you can tweak it to incorporate what works for you to shape it for your taste.

SWT

LA
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10. Re: Dream Road USA Trip Planning

Get ahold of the Lonely Planet USA guide. It will have suggested itineraries.

A Mustang is not a very good choice of car. Too high a fuel consumption. Too visible for theft purposes. One-way drop off charge a nightmare.