Monday, September 13, 2010

RV or Car?

Hi Jamie,

We live in San Francisco and are planning to move back to Europe next year around the May time frame. Instead of just taking a flight from SFO, we want to travel by car to the east-coast and take the flight there (possibly from New York). The idea is to see as much of the US before we leave as possible. Neither of us have seen much (if anything) of the south and we are traveling with our son who will be close to 1 years old at that time.

We haven't made up our mind as to whether or not we should rent a mobile home or just go for motels or hotels along the way. Can you give us a recommendation for which route to take and any tips for a trip like this? We are thinking of using 3 to 4 weeks for this, but if need be we could look into making it a little longer.




Hi Red --

Thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA, and I hope I can help with your trip. Traveling with a young son, I think you will appreciate the comfort and convenience of an RV (I have twins boys, so I do know what I am talking about!). RVs can seem expensive, but once you factor in savings on lodgings, they work out as a good deal.

From SF, depending on how much of the USA you have seen, I would strongly recommend a drive east to Yosemite National Park, and maybe the other Sierra Nevada wilderness areas. Truly stunning places! Depending on snows, you can drive over the mountains to Death Valley, and then on to another wild wonderland -- the red sandstone sculpture park of the desert Southwest, inc the Grand Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands, plus countless other smaller parks. Again, stunning -- and unlike anything you could find in Europe, for sure.

Then you could follow Route 66 thru Santa Fe New Mexico, where there are many reminders of the Native American and Spanish Colonial aspects of America -- and lots of good food, too. Then I'd head back north along the Rocky Mountains, up to Yellowstone National Park, and All-American, must-see sight.

The possibilities are truly unlimited, and this "Wild West" region is one place where having an RV is really a great advantage, since hotels and motels are very limited.

In the rest of the USA, especially in the many fascinating cities -- Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans, and more! -- an RV is less useful, and hotels may be a better way to go.

Perhaps you can drive the RV from SF to, perhaps, Denver -- then switch to a more traditional car, and head on to do some hotel-based city-hopping for the rest of your trip ?

Just a thought -- like I said, there are truly unlimited possibilities. I cover all sorts of great stops, in cities and parks in great drives all over the country in Road Trip USA, so check it out and let me know what you think. Hope this helps gets you started,

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA


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