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USA east to west coast roadtrip

Birmingham, United...
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USA east to west coast roadtrip

Hi all

myself and my partner are looking at doing this trip September next year, ive put together a rough itinerary to give a starting point but very open to ideas/suggestions off everyone. we have allocated the whole month so gives us 29 nights including flights back to the UK. we will have around £10,000 ($16300) budget for the 2 of us (not including flights)

the itinerary ive roughly planned is as follows including stop overs due to the amount of mileage covered:

New York - 3 nts

Washington DC - 2 nts (pick up car)

stop over - 1 nt not sure where at the moment

Nashville - 1 nt

Memphis - 2 nts

stop over - 1 nt not sure where at the moment

Dallas - 2nts

stop over - 1 nt not sure where at the moment

Sante Fe - 1 nt

Monument Valley - 1 nt

Flagstaff - 1 nt

Grand Canyon - 1 nt

Hooverdam - 1nt

Las Vegas - 2 nts

Los Angeles - 2 nts

Yosemite - 1 nt

San Fran - 3 nts

this leaves 3 floating nights to use wherever people recommend/keep spare in case we get sidetracked etc

we want to hire a car from DC as ive read its not worth hiring until then. we will stay in either motels/hotels whichever work out the best value.

sorry if ive missed anything obvious - looking forward to your help, thanks in advance

Birmingham, United...
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1. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

also can anyone recommend a car hire company to use booking in the UK & that doesn't charge silly money to pick up in once location and drop off in another

thanks again

Washington State
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2. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

The car rental firms charge "silly money" to US residents every time they pick up a car in one location and drop it in another. Foreign visitors are allowed a few partner locations for free! That sounds silly to me. But you won't need a car between Phoenix, Las Vegas, L.A., and San Francisco. So you have to pay that fee from the East Coast to the West Coast. The Top Questions on the right has info about foreign visitors renting a car in the US.

----------------

South Rim Grand Canyon - 1 nt

Hoover Dam - see on the way to Las Vegas

Las Vegas - 2 nts

Los Angeles - 2-3 nts

Pismo Beach - 1 nt

Monterey - 1 nt

Yosemite - 2 nts

San Francisco - 3-4 nts

N. Idaho
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3. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

I guess I am wondering why you have decided to stay 2 nights in Dallas? One thing people sometimes overlook in planning is that 2 nights in one place just gives you one full day for sightseeing.

Pam

Birmingham, United...
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4. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

thanks for that & ill check out the questions section on the car hire

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

Love to visit Texas but San Antonio is my favorite city in Texas!!

After you leave Memphis head down to Vicksburg and Natchez and then to Texas. Two beautiful old southern cities with lots of great food and plantations, Civil War history, etc.

Birmingham, United...
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6. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

The number of nights are not set in stone so the nights listed are flexible and as to why I'm open to suggestions on places as long as were in San Fran for the flights home everything is flexible. Someone had mentioned Dallas as a stop point but I'm still looking into what there is to see and do in each of the places as neither of us have done any of the states before. We both drive & are prepared to put in driving hours if needed. Thanks also for the recommendations peachbelle

Wednesbury, UK
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7. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

Hi.

That's a big trip in just 4 weeks so as you can already see you will have to skip some locations you could consider, like New Orleans for instance. Maybe around Roanoke for the overnight after DC, as that would let taste a little of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I think considering San Antonio or Austin over Dallas is a good call, and maybe Carlsbad (Caverns the next morning) or Alamogordo ( White Sands NM) for the next overnight. Not sure one night in Santa Fe, with a long drive to get there, followed by a drive to MV the next day is worth it to be honest, it really needs more time, but you don't need a night in Flagstaff as well as GCNP unless you really want to, so could use that night?

PNWF has already reordered and added in the nights I would have suggested from GCNP headed west.

Car rental. my guess is you willing the $250 plus tax one way with National the best through usrentacar for that trip, if you want a top rental company. Europcar have been offering fee free one ways ( must get a conformation) but they currently place their US business with Advantge who are in financial trouble.

Edited: 17 December 2013, 17:12
Wednesbury, UK
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8. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

The other suggestion we sometimes make for trips like this is a east west split with a flight, say from Memphis to Phoenix, to cut out the middle and allow a bit more focus in two two week drives. Not a coast to coast drive however then?

Sorry about the typos in post #7.

Birmingham, United...
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9. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

hi, thanks for that, so would you suggest doing San Antonio or Austin instead of Dallas then head onto Carlsbad or Alamogordo onto MV then GCNP?

if so would sticking to the same amount of nights suffice?

& yes were willing to pay the excess for 1 way on the car if necessary as we want to drive it

Lewes, United...
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10. Re: USA east to west coast roadtrip

Hi Macky

PNWF and Valiant have effectively explained that in reality for a coast to coast car rental, you will have to pay a one way drop fee. For the distance involved, anything less than US$250 plus tax is unlikely. Do you consider that silly money? The fact is it's the cost of doing what you wish to do, and barring only one seemingly barely viable option, other options are likely to cost more.

Your extra nights have also been accounted for by PNWF, and I'd not argue. The west is probably where you'd want to spend more time, plus, after that long in the saddle (or at least a rental car) the stops where you get to stay more than one night in the same bed will be more than welcome by then.

What I would say, is, is this your first ever trip to the USA as well as long road trip? Do you understand what you are letting yourself in for? As well as perusing the Top Qs section on the right of the full screen version of this website for car rental tips and advice, you might also want to read other topics like driving tips, etc.

A month in the USA sounds like a long time, but as you can already see, you need to keep moving to see the amount of destinations on your list. Almost nowhere will you get much chance to do more than briefly scratch the surface and get a rough idea of what somewhere looks like.

I've not done the maths, but I'd say your budget is adequate if you stick to budget motels, picnic or just snack for breakfast and lunch (although some motels include free breakfast), and only eat out in restaurants once per day. Do do some research on costs of some of your destinations. The big cities are always pricier from every point of view than the rural areas. Renting a car that long, the one thing that would perhaps break the budget, assuming that both of you will share the driving, is if one of the drivers is under 25 as a young driver charge will be made, and it's charged per day.

SWT