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Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

Sydney, Australia
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Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

Hi All,

I am travelling to the US on holidays with my wife, we had initially planned to do 4 weeks of travel across the US & Mexico. Unfortunately it is not geographically planned the best due to meeting friends at certain places at particular times.

Itinerary is as follows:

Miami 5 nights

New York 8 nights

Las Vegas 5 nights

San Francisco 3 nights

Mexico 8 nights

Note:all of the transfers above are flying

Due to change of work circumstances my wife and i have been able to extend our travels for an additional 3 weeks. We have decided to do a road trip back in the US, i know, i know we have already done both the east and west coast which is not ideal but i am not saying no to an extra 3 weeks of travelling just because we have already done parts of the US.

So our last stop is in Cancun, Mexico, we will fly out from there on the 1st August. The destination is still being determined as we of course do not know our start point to our road trip (hence the post). We will need to be back in LA on the 20th August in order to spend a few days there with a friend before departing back to Australia on the 23rd.

Based on some reading i have done on TA and roadtripusa.com i have put together 3 rough itineraries based on what we would like to see, I have listed them in the correct order.

I am unsure of how many days to spend at each destination or where exactly to stop between long trips, but i have asked for advise on places where i know i will need to stop in between cities/towns.

Keeping in mind i only have roughly 20 days to complete the road trip.

Road trip 1: Southern pacific

Fly into Orlando from cancun

Orlando - Savanahh

Savanah - Atlanta

Atlanta - New Orleans (Advise on place to stop between)

New Orleans - Houstin

Houstin - San Antonio

San Antonio - Austin

Austin - Dallas (want to see a NFL pre season game)

Dallas - San Diego (Advise of places to stop between)

San Diego - LA

Road trip 2: Route 66

As shown on roadtripusa.com.

Could someone please advise what this trip really consists of though as i dont know where is goes in detail.

Trip 3: Round trip LA - LA

LA - Grand canyon (advise on stop over)

Grand Canyon - Antelope Canyon

Antelope canyon - Colorado (advise on where to go)

Colorado - Oklahoma city

Oklahoma city - Dallas

Dallas- Austin

Austin - San Antonio

San Antonio - San Diego (Advise on stop overs)

San Diego - LA

As you can probably see i am not very familiar with what i would like to do at this point and not very familiar with the 'hot spots' so any tips or advise is welcome as this will be my first road trip in the US (besides driving from LA to Vegas once)

Some of our interests are beaches, famous sites, canyons, big cities.

We would also be looking to sleep in hotels if possible, unless there is somewhere which is highly advised to sleep in a cabin for a great experience. Budget is roughly $100-$150 per night which i am sure could get me great accommodation, even in the big cities.

CAR: not sure who to hire the car through or what car would be best to hire? Would an SUV be best or a regular sedan?

Happy for anyone to provide their advise based on my drafted itineraries or if there is any better ideas i am also open to suggestions. If there are any MUST DO's i want to know about them. Or Dont's of course.

If i can provide any further information to assist please let me know

Thank you for your help in advance

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

Also forgot to mention that my wife and i are in our late 20's.

If that makes any difference

Lewes, United...
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2. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

Hi

Welcome to the forum.

Your post is helpful in the sense that it describes the whole of your trip plan and puts some context to your 20 day road trip plan, what however makes it all rather confusing is some of your dates, sequences and trying to work out exactly what you want help with.

Do you want help with ordering the whole trip, or just advice for the road trip?

With just 3 weeks, unless you just want to drive for the sake of it, I'd not recommend you go as far east as OKC and Dallas, but confine yourself to the SW of the USA and do a loop from and to LA that encompasses the wonderful national parks of that area.

For car rental advice - book the car before you leave home, from Oz, and use a third party broker to ensure you get the best prices and insurance inclusive prices. For Aussies, Traveljigsaw seems to be the most popular of these as they quote in AUD and have a freephone number in Oz. However, for the full details and good advice, please see the car rental topic on the right of the full screen version of this forum, under TopQs - it's a boring topic but has good advice buried in the posts.

SWT

Norwich, United...
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3. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

In your last 20's you won't incur the hefty young drivers surcharge on the car rental. However, if you opt to use the car to do a one-way trip then depending on the permutations you might incur quite a big charge for that.

With two adults, a standard sedan should be fine.

I'd advise spending some time on Google Maps (if you haven't already) experimenting with various route options and checking the daily distances (there's an option to switch it to kilometres if you're unfamiliar with miles). You can also zoom in to StreetView mode to see places and the open road, and in addition you can search for accommodation options with it. Apologies if all of that's obvious.

Here's a good documentary style video about a trip along the entire length of Route 66:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuMxWHcs_pA

At the Grand Canyon you can stay in the national park itself but accommodation there normally books up months in advance. There's a small town adjacent to the park on US180/Az64 called Tusayan which has a range of motels. Further afield there's Williams (about 100km), and a huge range of possibilities in Flagstaff (about 130kn). However, a lot of people prefer to stay in the park so they can see the sunset and/or sunrise which is an excellent experience.

In Colorado there's a huge range of possibilities. In the southwest of the state there's Mesa Verde National Park (ancestral pueblo people/Anasazi cliff dwelling ruins, and great views as a bonus), the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (western-style steam train through the beautiful San Juan Mountains, a sub-range of the Rockies), the Million Dollar Highway and other roads through the same mountains, and near Montrose the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. There's more details about all these on Wikipedia and where relevant the US National Park Service site http://www.nps.gov and for the national parks this YouTube channel has great mostly short videos for each park https://www.youtube.com/user/58NationalParks I must stress that Colorado has a lot more to offer and I've only listed a few possibilities here.

Accommodation is available in various styles and at various price levels - just choose which you prefer. The budget Motel 6 chain has relatively basic but perfectly adequate accommodation at a good price and is ideal for overnight stops on the road (but probably not a good choice in city centres), then come the mid-price chains such as Super 8 and various more expensive options such as Days Inn. There are also independently owned family run motels which can be good value for money but standards vary considerably.

Hope this helps a bit.

Uden, The...
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4. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

August for the South and Florida would not be my pick. Hot and very humid and chances on hurricanes. Like SWT said I'd also skip OK and Tx that time of year and make a roundtrip LA-LA. Or start at another location like Phoenix and make it a one way trip. R66 for 3 weeks is an option starting Chicago and visit places on the way ending in LA but you must be a real R66 buff to make this trio www.historic.66.com We have done R66 both ways but never in one go. Too much R66 in one trip to our liking but we all are different.

So please tell us your decision where to go and we can help you with that then.

Tet

Cleveland
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5. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

Presumably this trip is for this year. If so, reservations for the major national parks and even the environs may be difficult for August, the peak summer school vacation season in the U.S.

If you could overcome your immediate lack of reservations, the famous Denver loop, inclusive of Grand Teton and Yellowstone NPs, the Black Hills, and Rocky Mountain NP, would be excellent given not only the excellence of the itinerary, but the cooler temperatures due to altitude and latitude. There are many threads discussing the Denver loop in this forum, as well as trip reports in the trip report thread at the top of the forum.

Reportedly camping sites are easier to obtain than other types of park lodging in the great parks such as Yellowstone. However, if you're willing to troll park reservation websites daily, you might be able to find in-park lodging even at this relatively late date. One of this forum's DEs managed to book lodging in Yosemite for May, one of the toughest lodging reservations in U.S. national parks.

tripadvisor.com/…58289874

If you were will to fly into, say Chicago, then back to LA, you could explore the Great Lakes region. Here's one thread discussing some of the possibilities. You also could do a loop that would include Tennessee (Nashville and Memphis), perhaps West Virginia (rafting, ziplining, bungee jumping in the New River Gorge) and Ohio, if that would more interest you.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k6170506…

Good planning!

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

Sussexworldtraveler,

Apologies if i wasn't clear on the help which I require. But i am looking for feedback on the 3 possible itineraries which i posted earlier.

Once i have chosen a route, then i would also ask for your assistance in helping me identify where are the landmarks to stop, along wit how much time to spend in each place.

So am i hearing that the general consensus among the group is that travelling from Florida to Cali is not a ideal option, reason being that it is too far and possibly too hot in most areas? If this is the case i will then rule out option 1 (southern pacific).

Tet14,

You mention in your post " R66 for 3 weeks is an option starting Chicago and visit places on the way ending in LA but you must be a real R66 buff to make this trio"

Could you please advise by what you mean that i need to be a real buff to make this trio? in what way?

Now based on all of the combined feedback I will put together a round trip LA-LA, but this will include going up to Yellow stone and coming all the way back through Denver, Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, SD and then back to LA.

Cleveland
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7. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

With your proposed LA-to-LA route, perhaps too long for 20 days without some marathon driving and/or too short stays at attractions, definitely consider doing Yellowstone before Rocky Mountain NP, Mount Evans, Pike's Peak, etc., in CO to minimize the risk of altitude sickness.

Tacoma, Washington
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8. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

Why did you pick those 3 routes?

In August see the national parks. Another option is look at pacific northwest and visit glacier.

These souther routes will not be fun in August.

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

DanP,

I picked those 3 routes because they all take me back to LA and this is what I thought would be good.

Could you please advise why the southern route would not be any fun in August? Please provide your recommendations and i would be happy to consider.

This is what i have currently put together based on previous feedback in the thread, needs work but its something:

Start:

Las Vegas – Hover Dam

Hover Dam - ……….. (1 night)

………- Salt lake city (spend 1 or 2 nights)

Salt lake City – Idaho Falls (1 night)

Idaho Falls – Yellow stone national park (1 night)

Yellow stone - …………… (1 night)

…….. – Denver (1 or 2 nights)

Denver – black canyon / Mesa Vere national park (take 2 extra nights in Colarado)

Mesa Verde – Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon – Gran canyon (1 night)

Grand Canyon – Pheonix (2 nights)

Pheonix – Sand Diego (3 nights)

San DiegoOrange County (2 nights)

Orange county – Los Angeles

Feedback welcome

Lewes, United...
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10. Re: Need help picking & developing 20 day road trip itinerary

I'm sorry, but the route you have now in post 9 is really still an awful lot of driving for a 3 week LA to LA loop. I've not mapped out the distances but it's probably no shorter than heading all the way to OK and TX.

I don't think I will be alone is thinking that driving all the way to Yellowstone (a serious amount of driving) for just one single night in that magnificent and interesting national park is a good idea at all. You really need to be prepared to spend several nights there, so sacrificing other stops on your trip, or forget the whole Yellowstone idea and concentrate on the SW of the USA, much nearer LA where there is still more than enough to fill every last second of your 3 weeks. And, if you really did still insist on heading to Yellowstone, forget any, let alone the 2 x 2night stops in the cities of SLC and Denver as they are nowhere near as rewarding as the national parks. However, that's my view.

August will be hot everywhere you go, except perhaps around Yellowstone where it will be warm. Everywhere will be busy, so once you have made a firm decision, do not delay in making overnight reservations, especially for stays within national parks.

SWT