Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mother + Daughter Road Trip

hi mr road trip --

some advice please

mother 60+ and daughter 30 + want to drive across the states say in september. possibly begin in california LA, los angeles & san francisco and also seattle, chicago and boston are a must - all other places would be a bonus.

neither of us has driven in the states before so will we be safe, where should we avoid, best places to stay, the best month to travel and would 3 weeks be enough. will fly home from new york.

any help, tips and guidance would be appreciated.




Dear Sue --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA.

Sounds like a fun trip you have in mind -- I will try to help you make it a great one. First off: the USA is a big place, and driving from coast to coast is a pretty big undertaking - farther than driving from London to Istanbul!

For overseas visitors, the hardest part (apart from the driving itself) is that car hire / rental gets very expensive if you don't return the car to the place you picked it up -- so maybe you can contemplate doing a pair of shorter "loop" trips, maybe one in the west, and one in the east?

The West Coast is a great place to drive at any time of year (apart from winter, when the weather gets very wet) -- but September is just about perfect. if you start in San Francisco, you could drive south along the Pacific coast to Santa Barbara and LA, then head north via Death Valley and Yosemite, maybe heading all the way up to Seattle (and Portland OR) before returning to SF (via the splendiferous coastline and Redwood forests of Mendocino, and the Wine Country of Napa and Sonoma?).

10 days would be perfect for such a tour -- then you could hop a flight to Chicago (where you might not need to drive, unless you wanted to cruise down historic Route 66!), and maybe have another stop in Boston & NYC.

Then again, if you really wanted to do all this by road, you certainly could -- my book Road Trip USA is sub-titled Cross Country Adventures on America's Two-Lane Highways, and I can think of no better way to get a feel for America than by driving across the continent. A driving tour is especially good for balancing out the big cities with a taste of "real" homespun small-town Americana (where every one will love your English Accent...) -- and you get an unforgettable sense of just how huge the continent is.

Wherever and however you go, rest assured that 99.99% of the USA is welcoming, safe and surprisingly inexpensive (one of the few upsides of the current "Great Recession" is that hotel/motel prices are much "softer" now than they were 2 years ago...) Food and lodging is way less costly than in the UK, and fuel prices over here are half what you pay: £2 a gallon in USA, vs £1 or more per liter in UK... (My wife is English, and we go over there for our "holidays" whenever we can...)

Hope these scatter-shot ideas help you plan a great USA trip; please feel free to write me again if you have more questions, and please check out my books!

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

RTUSA book on sale now:



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