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Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

Sydney, Australia
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Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

I have drafted an itinerary of the things we wish to see on our trip next year. We are a family of 3 (2 adults, pls our 15 yo son) from Sydney. This is our 3rd trip to USA (absolutely lovely visiting the USA!!) but we plan a bit of a different holiday from just flying everywhere.

I'd like some input to my itenerary and would love feedback on whether I am on the right track. Our plan is mid Feb to mid March 2014.

Day 1 - Fly Sydney - Los Angeles; fly Los Angeles to Phoenix

Day 2 - Day 3 - Scottsdale + Arabian Horse Show

Day 4 - Tuscon - Pina Aviation Museum + aircraft "boneyard" (by road car hire)

Day 5 - Fly to Orlando

Day 6 - Day 9 - Kennedy Space Centre; Orlando; Universal Studios; Daytona 500 (car hire all days)

Day 10 - Day 13 - Orlando Disney World

Day 14 - Day 17 - Drive Orlando to Kentucky (Lexington)

Day 18 - Day 22 - Kentucky Horse Farms + drive to St Louis

Day 23 - Day 25 - Fly & stay in Las Vegas

Day 26 - Day 27 - Drive Las Vegas to LA (stay at Palm Springs)

Day 28 - Fly return to Sydney

I've driven in USA before so no problem there. But never visited the East Coast before. So what should I look for in Orlando and especially the drive all teh way from Orlando to St Louis. I love motor racing (Nascar, Formula 1, etc) and we also have a horse farm, so that's the need for Phoenix and Lexington. Not big on hiking but love all teh US National Parks. Also like thrill rides wherever we go.I also have a passion for 1960's Muscle Cars so hope to do a bit of Route 66 near St Louis.

Flights are booked so the itenerary is in place, but not where/when we stop on the road segments.

We like being off the beaten track but don't want to miss much. I've heard of Smokey Mountain Natl Park and Nashville and thought they may be worthwhile, not sure what else. Whilst we can't travel 1st class, budget is not too much of an issue. 3 star is about the class we usually travel.

Appreciate any advice!

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

http://goo.gl/maps/rv4yr

This is a link for the Orlando-Lexington part of your trip.

Suggestions-

Savannah, GA- a great southern city with historic squares, Tybee Island, riverfront, southern food

Townsend, TN- great place to see and enjoy Great Smoky Mts. NP- drive the Cades Cove Loop Rd. for scenery and wildlife

Nashville, TN- great place for country music

Bowling Green, KY- Corvette museum

Lexington, KY- Kentucky Horse Park

Weather could be warm or could be cool. Just keep an eye on weather conditions because if winter type weather here in the south we just do not deal well because do not have the road equipment for snow removal.

Daytona 500 Nascar race is in mid Feb in Daytona near Orlando. You will love the Kentucky Horse Park. There are other things to see in Kentucky like the Shaker Village and Lincoln's birthplace if interested.

Good luck and let us know if you have other questions!!

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

Keep in mind Tucson in februari has its Gem and Mineral shows. It can get very busy there.

http://www.tgms.org/

Will you be renting a car from Phx and to Tucson (2 hours) after that dropping the car in Tucson and fly Orlando from Tucson. Pime air and Spacemuseum graveyard mostly by bus. A not to be missed place in Tucson is Arizona Sonora desert museum close to Saguaro NP west.

Depending on your flighttime from LA staying in Palm Springs brings heavy traffic jams in the morning. Without traffic it's still a 2 hours drive between PS and LAX.

Tet

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3. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

If you love car racing, you should get to Indy (Indianapolis) and tour the Indy 500 Hall of Fame. It is not large but it is pretty fantastic.

I would think you could steal some time from the theme parks to add to more general touring. We had kids friends along when we went to Disneyland with our teens. I think with too many days, time would get heavy on your hands in Florida. You're rushing everywhere else.

Lewes, United...
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4. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

I've not had enough time to study the details of this plan, but from a quick look, I really get the impression of something of an imbalance, as noted also by ainwa, of too much time hanging around the Orlando attractions and not enough for some of the fascination stuff in other places, especially given your big interested in horse and motorsport related attractions.

Also, you say flights are booked. All flights, or just the major transpacific ones? Also, is car rental booked (use the word rental, in the USA folk think a hire car comes with a chauffeur, you sit in the back!)? We can help with that if not as lots of short rentals is also another impression I'm getting.

SWT

Edited: 07 November 2013, 16:55
Cleveland
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5. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

Frank, welcome to TA and the road trips forum!

Check out the Canaveral National Seashore and the Cocoa Beach Pier.

Check out the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. Also, check out Mammoth Caves NP and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Chattanooga, TN, is a popular destination to experience Civil War history, especially Lookout Mountain.

Read through this forum for many months for relevant threads. Definitely read relevant trip reports in the sticky at the top of this forum. The search engine at the top of the forum also is useful tool.

Good planning!

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

Thanks for all the feedback so far. This is fantastic! To Tet14, yes we will be renting a car to drive Phoenix to Tuscon and return to Phoenix so only one day. I was hoping for a short vist to Pima and then maybe even get to Tombstone, but I think this may be too much of a stretch for one day, any thoughts?

To ainwa, maybe you're correct. Any other suggestions for the Orlando area? We also did Indy 500 a few years ago (nmotor racing heaven!) and we've now added the Corvette Museum, Townsend, Nashville and Savannah to the itenerary.

In regards to all the car rentals (ok - I'm learning to speak USA now...LOL) I've been fairly happy with quotes from Alomo, when looking at prices and availability. Any comments? Also is tehre anyway to waive the one way drop off we have for Orlando - St Louis and Las Vegas to LA?

Thanks for the tip on LA driving. We have a full day to do Palm Sproings to LA, flight doesn't leave until 10pm.

Any more ideas, please keep them coming, and I'll keep reading other reviews and watching other threads, this advise is invaluable.

One more question, what is the cost of fuel these days for the car rental? Here it's costing us around A$1.53 per litre which converts to around US$6.40 per gallon.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

I would also include Charleston South Carolina in the itinerary - one of America's most beautiful cities and if you're lucky it will be an early spring, when the flowers in the old town will knock you out. One note is that "Spring Break" - when the colleges and universities give the kids a week off - is going to occur right around your dates, and the Florida coast - all the way from Miami to Jacksonville - is ground zero for the breakers. Plan on lots and lots of noisy, possibly impaired youth in some towns. ;-)

I'm much more fond of Memphis for a musical side-trip than Nashville. Your timing would also be great for a trip up the Great River Road through the Mississippi Delta before Memphis, but that's a long detour from horse country in Kentucky.

Uden, The...
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8. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

For fuel maybe check www.gasbuddy.com Usually between $ 3.50 and $ 4,-- per gallon (Us gallon 3.8 l)

No drop off charges between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. There will be drop off charges between Orlando and St. Louis.

No time for Tombstone. Tucson-Tombstone is 1.5 hours and back plus the visit. Saguaro NP will be possible.

Take the aerial tramway in Palm Springs. Awesome!

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

Oh yes I agree if time be sure and add Charleston, SC to your trip plan. It is a great old southern city with historic plantations, military history, Ft. Sumter, and great low country food.

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Road / Flight Trip to USA from Down Under

Thanks Tet and BeachBelle, WOW Tet you have been on here a loooong time :)

Palm Spring Aerial Tram and Charleston now locked in and added!