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First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

Sydney
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First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

Hi There

As this is our first trip to Canada and USA I wonder whether anyone can assist. We are 2 couples planning to start our trip from Montreal to Toronto hire a car there and drive to Niagara Fall, cross over to the USA and drive down to New York. We would like to stop over in NY, Washington and Philadelphia. Then fly down to Orlando hire a car and drive down to Miami. If time permits we will take a 5 day cruise in the Cribbean. Time allocated for the trip about a month.

Can anyone suggest a route with places of interest. Once we have the route sorted out we will go to the next step of accommodation.

Thanking you in anticipation

Aaron

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

Hi Persci,

Welcome to the CANADA TRAVEL FORUM.

Before we go into a lot of details... it would be helpful if we knew the following...

1- WHEN is this trip (time of year is especially important)

2- HOW much time do you have for this North American adventure? In particular how much time are you allowing for the road trip?

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 11 November 2011, 03:20
Sydney
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2. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

Sorry, it will be around May next year. Altogether we allocated a month EXCLUDING the Caribbean cruise. So any suggestions where is worthwhile stopping (or perhaps flying to a place instead of driving) would be appreciated.

Thanks

Aaron

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

Hi persci ~

My first observation of your plans is that it will cost you big bucks to do a one way rental from Canada to the USA. The car would have to be returned to Canada, probably deadheaded, and that cost would be down to you.

My second observation is to try to cluster your vacation. It would simplify the costs of a car rental first of all, and the use of your time. Montreal - Toronto - Niagara Falls - Toronto. Then fly to NYC for New York - Philadelphia - Washington. Then fly to Florida. Or you could slip across the border from Niagara Falls to Buffalo to rent your car from there, if driving to New York is something you would really like to do. It would likely take one overnight between Buff and NYC. Any one way rental would incur a drop fee.

I see 10 days in each of these clusters for 30 days. However, I do think 10 days would only scratch the surface for the New York leg. It would only give you 3 days in each city there and IMO not really enough at all. NYC could be experienced to a degree in 5-6-7 days all by itself.

Greater Sydney...
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4. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

G'day Aaron,

I read your post at work lunch time today but did not have time to reply. I am in the process of finalising our trip plans for late May and June covering similar ground with exception of Florida. I now see that Mufti has given some very good advice and perhaps I might add to that from my planning experience.

First, I agree that you will face huge problems hiring a car in Montreal to drop-off in NYC, as also advised by another in a post to your thread on the NY forum. You will probably also find that hiring in Montreal to drop in NF, before taking a coach over to Buffalo, will also work out to be very expensive for one-way fees. Montreal/Toronto may (?) be less so.

Secondly I wonder why you will start your trip in Montreal when Toronto is the hub airport? From what I have looked at, and keep in mind I am doing Washington and NY first then meeting daughter in Toronto, I would think hiring a car in Toronto, doing Niagara Falls from there as a day trip, then driving to Montreal with a stop along the way at say Kingston, might work well. You probably would not need a car in Montreal. Consider then taking the Amtrak Adirondack to NYC. I believe that this is a quite scenic rail trip from when I was researching and considered doing this, but then daughter, who lives in Calgary, decided we had to meet her in Toronto because of some baseball game, so we had to change plans.

We are now flying Porter Airlines from NYC to Toronto as Porter uses Billy Bailey field on an island adjacent to downtown Toronto, and if you follow the suggestion from Mufti about returning to Toronto after NF then Porter could be a reasonable option for yourselves as well.

As regard to keeping things in clusters for particular regions, that is what we are now doing after considering all sorts of options. Mufti, however, would freak out if I reveal the time frame for our trip which includes a 7 day cruise from Montreal to Boston. (Awaits PM from Mufti in response LOL)

Happy planning.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

:-)

psssst (sotto voce) Billy Bishop.

Greater Sydney...
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6. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

Whoops. That's right. Still waiting for Bill Bailey to come home. :)

PM's duly received as expected. :D

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

Hi there

I would greatly appreciate if anyone can help to refine my 32 days USA and Canada trip itinerary.

I will be traveling with my folks in mid Aug ex Melbourne. Our first stop is LA before flying to San Francisco for my cousin's wedding in Sonoma. The plan is to then visit a friend in Victoria, Canada before going to explore the Canadian Rockies (planning to drive as it seems more flexible given we only have limited time. Never driven on left hand drive vehicle and hope it won't be too difficult). New York is a must for me and Vagas is for my folks, but I would also like to check out Eastern Canada.

My dad is not keen on long distance travel, so this is probably his only opportunity to see North America, hence I am trying to cramp in the major attractions to give them a taste of the two countries.

After reading a lot of the posts from the TA forums, I have devised the following:

Day 1 Arrive LA

Day 2 LA

Day 3 Fly for SF in evening

Day 4 SF

Day 5 SF

Day 6 Drive from SF to Sonoma

Day 7 Somona

Day 8 Somona

Day 9 Drive back to SF

Day 10 Fly to Victoria to visit a friend

Day 11 Victoria

Day 12 Victoria

Day 13 Fly to Calgary & Drive to Banff

Day 14 Explore Banff

Day 15 Drive to Jasper -via icefieds (day trip)

Day 16 Jasper & surrounds

Day 17 Drive from Japer to Lake Luise (day trip)

Day 18 Explore Lake Luise and drive to Calgary

Day 19 Fly to Toronto

Day 20 Toronto & Niagral Fall

Day 21 Fly from Toronto to Montreal

Day 22 Rail to explore Quebec city & back

Day 23 Montreal & Fly to NYC in the evening

Day 24 NYC

Day 25 NYC

Day 26 NYC

Day 27 NYC

Day 28 NYC

Day 29 Fly to Vagas

Day 30 Las Vagas - Grand Canyon

Day 31 Las Vagas

Day 32 Dep for Aus

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Toronto, Ontario
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8. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

My first impression of your itinerary is Holy Cr@p! That is a VERY busy itinerary. It looks fun, but there is a lot of traveling in there.

Are you planning on doing anything in Toronto, or just using it as a transportation hub? Are you going to do anything in Niagara other than see the falls? Driving time from Toronto to Niagara Falls can vary wildly if you hit traffic in the Toronto area.

I'm not sure how long the train from Montreal to Quebec City is, but I would personally not really consider doing that as a day trip. If you really want to do it, its probably possible but may end up feeling rushed.

Sounds like the trip of a lifetime, but it feels a bit like my own trip to Ireland, where I felt like we spent almost as much time on buses and trains as we did in some of the towns we visited.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

LinAtMelb,

You should probably post your question on your own thread. You will probably get better response and it makes it easier to find answers later under your own profile (and is fairer to Persci).

That said, I have to agree with KJK, that is one hectic trip -- are you sure you'll enjoy it? I would suggest perhaps cutting out Toronto (and I live in Toronto) and going from Calgary straight to Montreal and extending your time in Quebec. Make sure you give yourself sometime time to breathe.

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: First Trip to USA & Canada Eastern Side

Back to the Original Post,

I think Frommy gives some excellent advice. You don't really need a car in Montreal or Toronto -- both cities are very walkable and have great public transport. You, of course, will miss a lot of scenery and wildlife -- but it lookslike you are interested in a city tour. You can take a train, bus or even taxi from Toronto to Niagara Falls and stay overnight. When you ready to leave Canada take a taxi across the border from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York (inform the taxi company that you want to cross the border first). Clear customs, hire a car on the US side and drive.

Also, just a small polite aside, although you are indeed travelling the "Eastern Side" of the U.S. you are actually also travelling "Central Canada". The US is big but Canada is bigger. In Canada there are still two more time zones to the east worth visiting. :-) You should come back and see them.