Friday, December 10, 2010

All-USA road trip -- summer 2014!

Hi Jamie!

I'm looking for some advice. We are a couple planning on doing a road trip when I've finished my studying in about three years or so.

We have never been to USA and we thought New York would be a nice place to start. We are planning to drive from east to west coast and we will spend about six weeks, since we don't want to stress and maybe miss things.

This is what we have planned so far:

Starting out in New York, driving south via Washington DC and Outer Banks in North Carolina. Then driving down to Florida, visiting Miami and Key West.

We are thinking of maybe drive from Florida to New Orleans and then to Memphis (and maybe visiting Nashville for a day or two), since we are very interested in music, but after that we don't really know.

We have also thought about visiting Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam and spending a couple of nights in Las Vegas before we're heading to Los Angeles, and then ending our trip in San Francisco.

So, we don't know where to go between Memphis and Zion. Do you have any places to recommend? We would like to see great nature and visit small nostalgic diners
and so on. See the real America, not just the big cities.

We would really appreciate your help.

Thanks a lot!



Hi Emma --

Thank you for writing in to Road Trip USA, and sorry it took me a while to get back to you. That's what you get for giving me 3 years advance notice!.


I'm assuming you are coming to the USA from another country (England, perhaps?), and am patriotically pleased that you would want to celebrate finishing your studies by traveling around the USA. I think you'll have a blast, and think six weeks will be a very generous amount of time to explore and enjoy the places you mention.

I have lots of details on almost all of your destinations -- the Outer Banks, Key West, Memphis, New Orleans, LA, the Grand Canyon, SF, and Las Vegas et al -- in the book version of Road Trip USA, and also in an abridged format on the website, so what I'll try to do in this reply is give you some practical, advance planning advice. Such as this: I think it may be cheaper to think about getting a couple of rental cars to do the different parts of your trip, rather than have one car for the whole "shebang". It's usually about half the cost to rent a car, if you return it to the same place you started, rather than drop it off on the other side of the USA. ($800 a month compared to nearly $2000!)

So maybe you can link a couple of road trips with a flight or two in between. Or, if you have your heart set on a cross-country drive, you may want to consider making a full-circle of cross-country drives -- maybe heading west from NYC thru the Deep South, Texas and Route 66, then heading back east across Montana by way of Chicago and Detroit.

Road Trip USA is full of the sorts of things you seem to be looking for along the way -- small towns, roadside diners, wonderful scenery -- so I hope you get a chance to "test-drive" my routes on the website, and in the book as well. And please keep in touch as you get closer to your trip!

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

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