We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First USA Trip

Johannesburg, South...
Level Contributor
31 posts
Save Topic
First USA Trip


We are planning a trip to the North Eastern States and plan to visit the following cities:

Detroit MI

Brighton, MI




Des Moines

Kansas City









Washington, DC


New York City






Please help with advice on when to do this trip, how many days in each city and if it would be advisable to do this by car.

Also what type of accommodation would you recommend?

Look forward to hearing from you



Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
Level Contributor
1,141 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: First USA Trip

Wow.... what a trip! A couple of questions before any advice: What time of year are you coming? What's your budget for lodging?

My first suggestion would be to look at a U.S. map, and plot each city you plan on visiting, and then work from one end to the other. Depending on what time of the year, this is definitely doable by car. In fact, that's how I would do it if I were you. Maybe fly into the starting city, rent a car, and work your way to the end.

I have some suggestions for the portion of your trip that would involve Milwaukee through Buffalo, but you also have a few cities in there that I would recommend staying at for longer than others (Chicago, NYC, Washington, DC, Boston...maybe even Milwaukee).

Maybe get your route a little more solidified then come back for pointers? Also, I'd separate your "areas" and post each in the various forums on here for more specific ideas.

There are hotels in every city you mention, so you will have no problem finding lodging. It's your budget that will dictate where. You may want to even consider some hostels in the bigger cities, if you're trying to save $$.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
Level Contributor
1,141 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: First USA Trip

More thoughts:

If you can, come in the summer months - anywhere between April and October. You will run the least risk of hitting any nasty weather. My preference would be June-July, and you could easily make your trip a month long... maybe longer...

Just looking at the cities you mentioned, I'd fly into Minneapolis, then go south from there to Iowa and Missouri. Then shoot back up north to Chicago/Milwaukee. From there, you'd have two routes: South to the Indiana-Kentucky portion, then east towards Pennsylvania and the east coast... or from Chic. east to Michigan-Ohio-(northern) NY-Canada, then back down to the east coast. I'd end in the east.

That's such a rough suggestion, though....

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Madison
Level Contributor
1,258 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: First USA Trip

I wouldn't do a trip like this in less than two months and three would be better, if you are really planning such a trip.

Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
Level Contributor
10,254 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: First USA Trip

Your itinerary does seem very ambitious. Travel by car would probably be cheapest and most practical in most cases. Air travel may be the only other option in many cases. Public transportation in the US is woefully inadequate. There are exceptions, like Amtrak trains on the east coast and between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Is there any way you can prioritize and eliminate some destinations? It seems like you should at least decide what you want to do in each destination to figure out how much time to spend in each place.

Mapquest is a good tool to figure out travel times between cities.

Chicago's North...
Destination Expert
for Illinois, Chicago
Level Contributor
6,587 posts
267 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: First USA Trip

i noticed you posted in each and every state you plan to visit...

in a way, you're putting the wagon before the horse....

first, like i said in my other post, i suggest you eliminate some of the cities... then, post in the road trip forum... they could give you a better overview and advice for your entire trip... once you get your areas nailed down, then post in the individual forums and find out more about the local areas....

Level Contributor
5,099 posts
145 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: First USA Trip

I agree this is a bit too ambitious, unless you're thinking of just driving through some of these cities. To narrow it down a bit, are there some particular interests you have? If you want areas known for history, food, nature and hiking. Also, many of us have traveled quite a bit, and as nice as some of these cities are, I'm not sure if they'd be on our "to do" list for a visitor to the US.

If you're interested in the early years of the US then you could group Washington DC, Philadelphia and Boston together. Those alone could be a 10 stay, then add New York and it's a few more days. On the opposite spectrum, you're mentioning Midwest cities that are actually in the center of the US, Kansas City, Des Moine, Chicago and Milwaukee. Is there a specific reason you mention KC, Des Moine, Belleville (I assume you mean Belleville, Illinois, but I'm not sure) and Columbia? To be blunt, those are not high on the must see list.

There is also a Trip Advisor Road Trip forum that a lot of Europeans use to get advice, often from each other. You may want to read some of those posts. Tet is one poster who's an absolute whiz at this.

Jackson, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
544 posts
175 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: First USA Trip

While traveling between Chicago and Milwaukee stop for an hour at the Bahai temple inWilmette Illinois. It is an architectural gem and interesting little known religion. Also stop for cheeses curds at the Mars cheeses castle in Kenosha WI.

In Milwaukee a tour of Miller brewery, and a visit to the Harley Davidson motorcycle Museum are a must. Even if you don't look at an exhibits stop in our Art Museum lobby cafe for a drink and look at the architecture.

8. Re: First USA Trip

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 07 June 2013, 10:19