Looking for some guidance on route/budget and any handy tips to help keep costs down for a roadtrip we are planning for September next year.
We will spend 2 days in San Francisco seeing the sights and preparing for the mammoth journey ahead. We will then drive down to LA, I've estimated that this would take approximately 7 hours, is somebody able to verify?
Day 1: Arrive in San Francisco, stay 2 nights
Day 3: Drive to Los Angeles in the morning and spend 2 nights
Day 5: Drive to Las Vegas, will take approximately 4 hours. Spend 1 night in Vegas
Day 6: Drive the 250-odd miles to the Grand Canyon, not sure whether to spend the night here as I hear it can be costly. Any advice much appreciated.
Day 7: Drive down through New Mexico (Albuquerque, Roswell) en route to Dallas. This is the longest drive of the trip, so would probably require an overnight stay somewhere like Albuquerque or even Santa Fe? Would it best to avoid Roswell? Is there much to see here? This is one place we could happily skip, it's just an idea.
Day 8: Arrive in Dallas. Stay here for 2 nights to recuperate.
Day 10: Move down to Houston, should take about 4 hours. Spend 1 night here.
Day 11: Drive to New Orleans to take in the sites, enjoy the food and drink. 2 nights here before hitting the road again.
Day 13: Head up to Atlanta, approximate journey time 8 hours. Spend the night.
Day 14: Day in Atlanta before moving further north. Overnight stay near Spartanburg.
Day 15: Drive up to Charlotte, spend the day (maybe visit Carowinds) and night.
Day 16: Drive to Washington D.C, spend the day here but move on in the evening. Spend the night in Maryland.
Day 17: Drive from Maryland to Philadelphia, spend the day and night here.
Day 18: Drop vehicle off in Philadelphia and continue our journey on public transport.
Day 19: Get train to New York City and spend 3 nights here.
Day 22: Fly home from New York City back to London.
There will be 4 of us in total on the trip, all aged between 26-28 so there hopefully won't be any Young Driver fees to pay on top of car hire. There will probably be 2 drivers.
My main question revolves around vehicle hire. I am leaning towards hiring a 7-seater SUV for duration of the trip, though some have said it would be better to hire an RV. Now, the RV hire cost is less than the SUV and, in theory, it would be more practical for sleeping, washing, eating etc. But, my concern would be that the route we are wanting to take goes through some major cities, so would an SUV be more convenient for things like parking and city driving?
Furthermore, fuel cost is a big factor. I am assuming that an RV would cost more on fuel of the duration of the trip, which would span about 4500 miles. Would this extra cost be less than the difference between paying for accommodation/SUV hire cost or more? I would prefer an SUV but the girls in the group are concerned about places to shower.
Also, we would like to keep costs down by camping as often as possible. What is the deal with camping in the areas I have suggested above? Quite a lot of the places we will be going to are big cities, are there normally good camp sites approximately 1-2 hours away from these where we can sleep or would motels, hotels and B&Bs be more suitable?
Food shouldn't be too much of a problem, will try and stock up on things like fruit, cereal bars and crisps when in San Francisco to last us at least until half way.
What do people make of this route, are there any amendments you would make? Definite destinations include:
1) San Francisco
3) Las Vegas
4) New Orleans
5) New York
Would love to find some way of incorporating Niagra Falls too, though not sure if this is achievable in the 3 weeks we have given ourselves.
Budget: approximately £2500 each.