Thursday, February 25, 2010

Great Southern Musical Road Trip

Hey Jamie,

My sister and I, along with a friend are looking at road tripping around the Southern States for about 1 month (maybe longer) across christmas and New years 2010/11. We're all very interested in the music culture and Southern styles and we're keen to head from around LA through Vegas and then down and across to just below NYC.

Just wondering if you could give us some advice as to how long we would need to do this at a comfortable pace and what we would need to budget for - we're not massive spenders but do enjoy a good night out and we're willing to sleep on a tight budget leaving our cash for the finer things like music, food, wine and hopefully a few festivals etc.

We were also wondering, would you recommend hiring a car or just buying an old second hand cheapie when we get there - we're willing to travel fairly on a whim but just want some general ideas and your advice seems great on the site, look forward to hearing it.


PS: Sorry I forgot to mention we're coming over from Australia so any extra advice that may help us get going smoothly would be exeptionally appreciated,

Cheers B


Hi there Beth --

Thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA, and I hope you are still planning to make the Christmas / New Year's 2010-2011 trip. Because of winter weather, it makes sense to concentrate as you suggest on the southern states -- especially around New Orleans, which has a great music scene, pretty much year-round (with two big lively highlights: late winter Mardi Gras and April's JazzFest!).

From NOLA, the "Big Easy," you can cruise up the Mississippi River, detouring a little west to Cajun Country (for all that zydeco!), cutting up across the Delta (via Clarksdale birthplace of the Blues), and continue on into Memphis, where you can play your respects to Elvis, Stax Records, and lots more music-cultural icons.

I cover all the Great River Road in a new mini-book, due out next month!

If you also want to do LA and Las Vegas, I might suggest you hop a plane rather than drive across the Great Plains in winter -- you'll be a lot more comfortable, and it'll save 4 or more days of driving (each way -- the USA is a big country, about the same size as all of Australia, but many more people).

The same goes for New York City -- where you definitely _don't_ want to have a car anyway, and which is about 3 days drive from New Orleans, and a week or more driving coast-to-coast -- you sure are packing a lot of miles into one trip!

As a rule of thumb, I figure 300-400 miles a day is the most you'll want to drive -- even less in winter, when the days are shorter and the driving conditions more challenging.

As far as vehicles go, for a short-ish trip the economics are in favor of hire / rental cars, which will be in better condition and involve much less hassle (insurance, registration, etc) than trying to buy a "cheapie". But if you're staying for more than a month, the balance starts to tilt the other way, especially if you know your way around under the hood, and could avoid getting stuck with a real clunker.

There's a lot to think about, but you have a good amount of time to finalize plans and dreams -- hope it all goes well for you. Drop a line again when the trip starts taking shape.


Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


Hey Jamie --

Thank you so much for all of your advice, we will definitely be taking a lot of it on board.

You've given us a few more things to think about and new ideas to explore so thanks for that.

We will hit you up again at a later date if there is anything else we're wondering.

Looking forward to your book too.



Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home