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Solo travel in U.S.A.

Windsor, United...
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Solo travel in U.S.A.

I am planning a trip to the U.S.A. mid September for 2 months. My budget is approximately £8000 to include flights, travel, food, accommodation and entertainment.

My idea is to use Amtrak as much as possible as I like the idea of train travel. Will probably hire a car at points in my trip to get to places the train doesn't go.

I am thinking of flying into New York, then heading to Boston for a few days before heading into New England to tour around for a week. I will be here toward the end of September when the leaf peeping season is starting, hopefully see some colour before it gets too busy first week of October. Any suggestions as to best place to hire a car from or relatively inexpensive accommodation to stay at would be much welcomed.

After will then head south to end in New Orleans.

I would really appreciate ideas for stops along the way. Looking for cool landscapes, interesting towns/cities, good music, places to meet people - the list could go on. My main concern is accommodation cost for a single traveller. When I backpacked around the world it was fairly easy to find cheap accommodation on arrival, it doesn't seem that this will be the case in the States. Should I book in advance if I know where I'm going to be ahead of time?

I know its quite an open question but any help or ideas to make this trip as amazing as I hope it to be would be very much appreciated. Thanks

Liverpool, UK
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1. Re: Solo travel in U.S.A.

"Any suggestions as to best place to hire a car"

You should arrange your car rental (the US doesn't use hire for things like cars) before you leave the UK via the .co.uk website of any of the major rental firms or via a broker geared to the UK visitor such as the following.



This will ensure you have all the mandatory insurances required by visitors from the UK - don't use the .com version of the rental firm's websites as this won't include the relevant insurances.

As an aside I assume you are aware of the need to obtain an ESTA to enter the US which allows for stays of up to 90 days - it will cost $14 from the official website, don't use any others which can charge more.


Norwich, United...
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2. Re: Solo travel in U.S.A.

The cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC are connected by Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service. New York and Washington are best visited without a car. I don't know if the same is true for the other cities but the answer is very likely to be found in the relevant states' forum areas.

Beyond that, you'll probably need a car.

The least expensive national motel chain is Motel 6. It's a bit basic but in my experience perfectly adequate. However, in the vast majority of cases their locations are well outside the centres of towns, either on the main roads in and out of a town, or at one of the town's interstate exits if it has any. In other words, they're only a viable option if you have a car. Independent "mom & pop" motels can also be good value for money but standards vary greatly. At the next price level up there are chains such as Super 8. In most cases these establishments don't have on-site restaurants, except perhaps for providing a minimal free breakfast at a few mom & pops and some Super 8's. Because US towns are in most cases incredibly spaced out, walking to restaurants might involve quite a hike. Sorry, I don't have any knowledge of what might be possible with hostels.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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3. Re: Solo travel in U.S.A.

Hostelhandbook.com AMTRAK rail passes are available purchased offshore ... They however require a stated itinerary for the entire duration... I suggest bus services & rental car in the North East and exercising any "pass" upon starting cross country ... Say, from Washington DC. to Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans & fly from Atlanta ... carracar

Windsor, United...
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4. Re: Solo travel in U.S.A.

Thanks for your advice, I will check out the links supplied, I thought this may be the case but wasn't sure if there would be any good local rates to be had. Thanks again.

Lewes, United...
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5. Re: Solo travel in U.S.A.


If you can start your trip say in Boston and end it in Atlanta, you will get a more logical fit. I'd then suggest you visit Boston without a car, then rent a car and do a loop drive of New England to see the areas that no kind of public transport will reach. Then drop the car back in Boston and do the Boston - NYC - Philly -Baltimore - Washington, DC corridor by Amtrak (or even bus, which is cheaper still - see the websites for Bolt and Megabus, perhaps). You could continue by train to Atlanta or pick up a second car in DC to head towards New Orleans and finish in Atlanta, to fly back to the UK.

Once you have an outline of what you will likely do, revert for more detailed planning ideas on this forum. There are of course even more variations and possibilities that my general outline, but it attempts to combine a logical route with least cost of car rental (by keeping to loops, so avoiding pricey one way drop fees) and linking this up with trains and/or buses.

Oh, and for the 'locals' benefit, you should try and quote budget amounts in US$!


Windsor, United...
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6. Re: Solo travel in U.S.A.

Thanks for your feedback, starting in Boston was an idea but I wanted to try to be in the New England area last week of September to maybe catch some early fall colour. My available time is from 15th September so I thought I would start in New York and spend some time there before heading North. I would then have to retrace my route from Boston southwards. An Amtrak rail pass seems to be good value for 45 days but I will check out the websites for the bus companies suggested.

I like the idea of hiring a car in Atlanta to go down to New Orleans, looping back to Atlanta, any advice as to must see places would be very welcome. Thanks for your help.

Albuquerque, New...
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7. Re: Solo travel in U.S.A.

You can find coupon books for discount hotel/motel stays at travel information centers and truck stops. My wife and I use them a lot, but always check the room first--same goes for Motel 6.

8. Re: Solo travel in U.S.A.

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