I am planning a trip to US...
Me and my girlfriend is planning a USA trip. We live in Denmark, along with our two children, they will be 2 and 3 years old when we go. We are planning to travel for 30 days, with start in April.
I don't really know where to start the planning, but it is also important for us to keep things a little improvised during the trip. We have therefore settled on renting a motorhome, and then drive, and hopefully get a broad impression of the US.
We will have a budget of approx. 15.000 $ to spend on this.
Flight tickets from Europe, approx. 2500 $
Rental of motorhome is approx 3000 $
Gasoline for approx. 4500 miles, approx. 1500 $?
Nightly rental on camping lots etc., approx 1500 $
I guess it can be kept in the budget, though I know these vacations are always much more expensive than planned. So we will try to keep a buffer in the budget.
The big question is really our route!
Currently our idea is something like this:
Here I can get the thought, that this is a little ambitious amount of driving every day, but there is so much to see.. :) I am though also afraid that the stretch between Houston and Alberqueque will be a pain, with not much to see? Well, what do I really know? :)
Since this will probably be a once-in-lifetime trip, I would not want to miss seeing both the east and west coast. Flying between these areas and rent two different motorhomes, will though probably be too expensive..
Any comments on our plans? Us residents are so welcome to provide input to us. ;)
And please bear over with me, if my English is not perfect..
You may get lots of opinions here on what route you should take instead of the one you've chosen, and that you're ignoring a very pretty part of the country. So be it; I'm going to assume that you have reasons for wanting to go where you are going.
I think you're trying to do too much. You could easily spend your entire time on one coast or the other, and feel like you've really SEEN it, rather than trying to do it all and not get more than a short look. The travel in between will be a bit of a pain, and may take longer than you think.
I know this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and that' you'd like to do everything. But you might consider doing one thing well, and not trying to do everything poorly.
Just my advice.
Looks like a grand trip!
Please don't take this wrong, but as someone who travels quite a bit - your trip sounds like pure hell to me!
It is everything that I try to avoid.
..Boston, Atlanta, N.Y., Houston, L.A. - Those are the places with the WORST traffic in America!
.. You are going to spend a lot of time in Interstates.
..The part of the US that you are going to see is Semi Trucks (lots and lots of them) and off ramps.
.. An RV , being a bigger vehicle, is going to limit a many places that you can go.
..Other than the Grand Canyon, you are bypassing all of the nice (scenic) parts of America.
IMHO of course!
Gas prices will also be very different depending on where you are in the country.
Just a quick figure for you for around NYC:
4500 miles / 8 miles per gallon = 562.5 gallons of gas
562.5 gallons * $4.19 per gallon (cheap around NYC) = $2356.88
I would expect to pay around $4.19 a gallon (if not more)for legs A, B, and C at the very least. Leg I-J might be closer to $5. I'm not sure what the national average is right now..
If you assume that the average motor home gets about the same mileage as a semi truck, you're looking at about 6 mpg - and that doesn't count the fuel you'll consume if you idle the engine for any reason. Mileage goes down in heavy traffic areas, so let's put you at a 4.5 mpg average - to give you ~1,000 gallons of fuel that you'll need for your trip. Today - national average on gas is about $3.30-ish (averaging from $3.08 to over $5.00 depending on region), but in April you're looking at the annual maintenance schedules on the refineries coming into play and I'd expect gas to be more expensive - probably around $3.50 - $3.60 per gallon at a minimum during the pre-Memorial day through post-Independence Day weekend. That would put you at roughly $3,600 in fuel for the trip.
Just a thought - as a mother of 4 who traveled with the kids by car - you will still have to restrain the children in a child safety seat while the vehicle is in motion in a motorhome. My children rode well, but at 2 and 3, keeping them cooped up in safety seat for the duration of driving that you're looking to do is going to have them restless and agitated for some parts of the trip. If you're lucky, they'll sleep some, but then they'll be awake all night when you need to be sleeping so you can drive.
I don't want to dissuade you from the motor home idea - it's an awesome trip and there are some really beautiful areas in the US to see and experience. But if it was me taking this trip, I'd probably do less driving and a little more flying in order for maximum enjoyment of the experience with small children.
Being a truck driver, I have taken this route many times. You will see how Beautiful the American Country Side is. Use Love's Truck Stops for your Fuel if you can. Most of them are very clean. Avoid Pilot Truck Stops if you can IMO. Get a Love's Card before your first Fuel Purchase and "swipe" it before Swiping your Credit Card. This will load bonus $$ on the Card toward purchases inside the Store for food & Necessities Plus Free stuff like dumping out the septic system. But....Make a Point to find Wal-Mart's along the way as the $$ for things is about 1/2 of Truck Stop prices. Plus Wal-Mart lets you park there hassle free IME. Please always be Safe & Careful while driving and keep the eyes in the back of your head open wide.
I would personally adjust your trip to go across the northern United States. The Carolinas are beautiful and the SE has some fascinating features and great 'American' food in places, but you'll miss the Badlands in the Dakotas and the Rockies and Tetons. Then you can check out Seattle and then drive down the west coast to LA if you really want to go there.
If you want to see cowboy country you will as you go through Wyoming and Montana on a northerly route. There are pretty parts of Texas, but mostly it is FLAT and basically featureless, and I can't think of any good reason to go to Houston. The red dirt and coastal pines of the SE are cool, but I would personally recommend going across the north on I-90.
Those who have suggested sticking to one coast or another have a point, because there is so much to see on either, but if your goal is to get an idea of the size of the United States and drive across it, I'd go north, unless there is a particular reason you want to see the south. Feel free to PM me if you like.
You should absolutely skip Atlanta and Houston. I'm sure to ruffle some feathers here from residents, but there is absolutely nothing redeeming about visiting either of these places....especially Houston.
As for Houston, it is home to NASA mission control. I don't know if it is open to tourism, but if it is, it would make for a cool trip.:)
Anyway, different strokes and all that. OP, do your research!
Growing up my parents planned long trips driving accross portions of the lower 48. The five of us would get in the car (a station wagon no AC or radio). We camped out in a four man tent and ate a lot of boxed mac and cheese (too much if you aske me) The time in the car was torture at times but we saw a lot of the country that way.
I guess where you go depends on what you want to see. A month gives you some time but also doesn't. The Grand Canyon is an excellent choice and there are lots of other wonderful things to see (Yellowstone, Glacier National park, the Tetons, the Rocky and Smokey mountains, the Badlands--all I can think of off the top of my head). There are some dinosaur sites in Wyoming and other places out west (thinking of the kiddies if they are into them).
I have found that every state has something to offer. I recomend that you and your family enjoy the adventure your are planning. There are plenty of things to see and do on the route you are taking.
Just listen to the classic song "Route 66" and follow that map!
If you do go down the east coast, make sure to hit Memphis and Savannah.
Honestly, I suggest picking a coast and riding it. Oh hey, the east coast just happens to be closer to you guys too ;).
+1 Go to a national (or state) park like Yellowstone or Yosemite. You could visit San Francisco and the rest of the bay area (plenty of museums, Alcatraz, Angel Island, etc). From there you could go up to Yosemite pretty easily. Or maybe start in San Diego and go up the Pacific Coast Highway (hwy 1), which is beautiful, and has beaches and wineries along the way. Go up to San Francisco on hwy 1, and cross the Golden Gate Bridge. That'd be a good way to do the West coast, and Oregon/Washington are nice, but you could skip those two. SD to SF to Yosemite (camping etc) would be a great week.
I don't know where you would go from there; lots of options. There have been plenty of good suggestions. You definitely want to see New York and Boston. Think about getting (free) tickets to a taping of The Daily Show/Colbert/Jimmy Falon/other things. I don't know if kids could do that, though. The Book of Mormon would be fun to see in NYC, but you could also do that in SF, if you can even get a ticket.
Camping is something you need to reserve well in advance. It will be completely booked on holiday weekends or even just any weekend.
I'm just not an expert on what to do with young kids.
I'd skip the deep South and go through Tennessee and Missouri instead.
I'd just do the West Coast, on a motorcycle. But then again I'm 20 and without a family :ninja:
Sorry, no help here.
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