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10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

Perth, Australia
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10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

Hi,

My boyfriend and I are planning 10 weeks in the US, arriving into SF on 3rd March to out form SF on 16 May 2014. (we are Aussies)

We have to be in Park CIty utah from 8th March for week to meet friends for a ski trip. Apart from that we have no solid plans! WE are likely to travel with another couple for the rest of March but then we are on our own for the rest of the trip

We were looking at hiring a car or campervan, or possibly buying something for the time we were there but not really sure what the best way to go. It is a massive country and I know that the travel time will be high if we plan to drive everywhere and will lose a fair bit of time on the road.

We are outdoorsy and like to go hiking and adventuring so really keen for a lot of the NP (def grand canyon, yosemite, yellowstone, zion, redwoods to name a few) but also understand it may be a bit cold still at that time of the year? and some parks will be better than others given weather? WE would also love to get at least another week if not 2 of skiing in in either Colorado or wyoming.

In regards to cities we would like to get to New orleans, New York, SF (flying in/.out there), Seattle, vegas. We are not huge city lovers but know there are some cities you just have to go to!!

So yeah, any advice or help on best way to get around the US, and fit as much nature and the essential US cities in, would be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Deb

Wednesbury, UK
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1. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

Hi Deb and welcome to the forum.

10 weeks is a great amount of time for a US trip, in that time you can circuit the country and do a bit of weaving say through Utah, drop into Florida, maybe even a bit of Canada.

The main issue with your trip is timing.

Whilst its goof for skiing maybe, its not so good for access to the mountain west in particular. For instance, Yellowstone is only just starting to fully open up as your heading home to Australia, and you will really be too early for Glacier, and some other locations like Crater Lake and Lassen. Access to Yosemite may still be from the west only ( but a mild winter might help there).

So basically, after your intial Utah stay you want to head south and east, then up the east coast, and across the northern States, leaving the mountain West and PNW till the end. You certainly don't want to get to Yellowstone before mid April.

As for travel options, well buying a vehicle, whilst not impossible is hard for foreigners of you don't have an address in the US to register the vehicle to, and selling it may not be too easy either if you're expecting your money back.

There is a lot of info on RV's in the Top Questions on the right, but they are not the nest choice around cities amd for two may well not be economical over rental cars and motels. With rentals, you will need to look into extended rentals (Hertz do these) as many have maximum periods less than your trip, maybe meaning swaps outs and one way fees.

Tet may help there, he is a 10 week kind of tripper.

But, even with these considerations, as long as yopu factor them in, you'll have a great trip and we can help you put it together : )

Edited: 30 January 2014, 08:49
Wednesbury, UK
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2. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

This will be a good thread for you to read.

It will illustrate what you could do in your timeframe, taking into account the time of year.

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k70723…

Edited: 30 January 2014, 08:59
Wednesbury, UK
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3. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

Of course, rather than full facility RVs there are campervans lilke these too.

http://www.escapecampervans.com/

Wednesbury, UK
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4. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

A very very rough outline.

1 week SF to Park City and Ski ( 3-4 nights in SF, 1-2 on route maybe via Tahoe).

1 week PC to GCNP via Vegas and Utah Parks.

1 week GCNP to Big Bend in Texas via NM locations, Santa Fe, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns.

1 week Big Bend to NOLA across Texas, via San Antonio.

2 weeks NOLA to NYC.

1 .5 weeks NYC to Black Hills South Dakota via Chicago.

1 week Black Hills To Seattle via Yellowstone/Tetons.

1.5 weeks Seattle to SF, via Oregon Coast, Redwoods Yosemite and Hwy 1.

Not sure I see Florida or Canada in that, but maybe something at a stretch. If you want the skiing you suggest, then you'll need to cut some of that back, and probably put that at the front end (through Utah to Telluride maybe?)

Edited: 30 January 2014, 09:21
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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5. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

First, Fly to SLC ... And use transport to Park City, as a car at the resort is not needed. When ready to leave the SLC area then, rent a car and drive off to Southern Utah ,Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada ... After the other couple leaves the tour ... investigate a small RV for the South land portions of your visit ... Happy trails ... carracar

Edited: 30 January 2014, 11:31
Uden, The...
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6. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

Hi

Well yes, we are used to 10+ weeks travels both to USA and Australia but actually you'll have 8 weeks with 2 weeks of skiing already. And most of our trips were cross country trips and not loops in that timeframe.

Like Valiant said you can drive between San Franciso and SLC in app 6 days but I also think Carracar has a good option and fly to SLC and rent a car from there.

Now, we did this all by car and we could rent a car for 8 weeks with Alamo/National and Hertz but for our longer trips we had to change cars on the way. As there will be no dropoff charges between the states of Az, Nv and Ca we changed cars like in Phoenix or Las Vegas Also once New Orleans but that meant 2x drop off charges and they can be between $v 250,-- and $ 500,-- plus tax. although Nola to Atlanta only was $ 150,--

I'm also not sure you can add places like New York to your trip. That means driving in the northern USA and weather still can be bad. Plus between NY and Florida you easily can take a couple of weeks. April is a great month for Florida when prices drop and grey nomads are gone.

Buying a car in the USA and selling again means a lot of trouble if you can't sell the car and what will you do in case of a breakdown? And you'll need a homeaddress in the USA and expensive insurances. Bad idea for 10 weeks imo.

I also would not go by campervan that time of year. Rahther stay mom and pops motels along the way. maybe even cheaper then. Renting an RV or CV and drive those long distances can quickly add up to the costs because you'll have to pay for exra mileage.

We always rent full sizes SUVs ("rich" seniors as we are) but you can do cheaper than that but with 4 people and luggage a big car will be needed. With 2 people a midsize suv will be sufficient but don't rent a too small car because luggage won't fit in the boot.

8 weeks sound a lot of time but trust me, it's not very long for a round America trips with the countles places worth visiting. You'll have to cross USA through Plains and Midwest and not all people find that too attractive but we always enjoy states like Oklahoma, Kansas,Nebraska etc etc

Btw, think you are a bit late for planning this trip already leaving march 3.....

Tet

Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

Yellowstone and the Tetons is best to do at the very end of your trip. You just never know about weather in Mid May. We have been twice in May/June and had beautiful weather in 2007 and came back in 2008 to cold, snowy weather with road closures. Had a great time both years but had to be flexible in 2008.

Perth, Australia
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8. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

Hi

Thanks everyone for such quick and helpful responses!! I can't believe I haven't used the forum before for help!

Anyhow, I know I have a lot of work ahead of me to get this to pan out well. We are however the kind of travelers who just kind of go with the flow and follow a basic outline of what we want to do. But considering a lot of NP need to prebook accom etc, and esp if we hire a car it would be much better to have a pretty clear plan.

Valiantsontour - thanks for the link to the other thread, its perfect and has given some good insight into what I need to get onto for our trip. I also think we are similar to your style of travelling, much more inclined to nature and the outdoors, although we wont shy away from must see cities.

I guess the main thing I am interested in knowing is which NP are going to be worth visiting given the time of year we are there.

I'll have to have a harder think and put some serious time into getting a proper itinerary together and will then seek all your wonderful help and advice.

Thanks again

USA
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9. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

Good idea to forget buying & selling a vehicle.

Just to illustrate how challenging it can be in some states, a friend of ours has been staying in our NM solar cabin, he bought a car, but couldn't register it, even though he has a NM drivers license, because he has no utility bills for our all-solar cabin to prove residency!

I think your best bet after your Pk City ski week would be to head to Colorado for that week or 2 of more skiing of which you spoke. Lots of great choices for spring skiing & if on a budget check out some of the private rooms for couples at hostels. Here's a great one I can recommend in Crested Butte, Colorado & the skiing doesn't get much better than here:

http://www.cbhostel.com

Just another option to consider.

We used to spend spring break time in the canyons in southern Utah, which would be a good choice of national parks your time of year, although still quite chilly & even snowy, I enjoy them better then than in the heat of the summer.

Have fun planning! I'm sure you can make it all work out for a great trip. Be prepared to be flexible due to our notorious spring snow storms in the rockies.

Edited: 30 January 2014, 16:35
Penticton, Canada
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10. Re: 10 weeks in USA - need itinerary help!

Hi

this is a skiing loop after Park City. first stop could be Snow Basin east of Ogden for a couple of days. then go north to Sun Valley Idaho for 5-7 days from there go to Big Mountain in Whitefish Montana. Check the conditions at Fernie BC they usually have great powder, depending on whether or not you cross to Canada the are some good hills close to the border on the Canadian side - Red Mountain in Rossland.Apex near Penticton,

and tons of aussie working at Big White.

If you stay in the US the next hill to look for after Whitefish Mt. is Mt Baker Wa . the latter gets you in a position to visit Seattle and start a west coast leg of your trip. If you still need more skiing time there is Mt Hood east of Portland. http://goo.gl/maps/WfKny

Edited: 30 January 2014, 18:09