Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fly Drive -- East Coast and Southwest

Hi Jamie

My boyfriend and I were hoping to road trip across America this summer we have 21 days and were hoping to start in Washington DC and finish in Las Vegas going a southern route I know that 21 days isn't enough time, so was wondering if you had any advice about where to focus on, and where we might drop the car (we are happy to finish with a flight!)

Thank you



Hi Vicky --

Thanks for writing in to Road Trip USA -- and don't worry, three weeks is plenty of time to have a fabulous trip. Even if you had 21 years instead of 21 days, you couldn't "see everything", so don't mourn what you might be missing, and just make the most of being in these fascinating places -- DC, Las Vegas, and a whole wide world in between.


While a cross-country drive is a solid achievement, the downside of doing one in a rental car is that it can cost you a lot of money to "drop off" the car at the end of your trip, rather than return it to where you started. Have you thought about maybe doing a couple of discreet trips?? -- flying into DC, explore the city for a few days (DC is fascinating -- and mostly free, since the main attractions don't charge admission fees), then hit the road?

You definitely don't need (or even want to have) a car in DC, but you could pick one up to start your road trip -- down the Appalachian Trail, if you like mountains and wilderness? Or maybe down the Atlantic Coast-- if you prefer beaches to rivers, the Outer Banks of North Carolina can be lovely, then you could loop down thru historic Charleston and Savannah, all the way to Key West at the tip of Florida.

If you wanted to do a loop back to DC and hop a airplane west, you could also make it as far west as New Orleans, and maybe follow the Mississippi River up via Memphis. One big advantage of doing a loop trip, rather than a cross-country one-way, is that without the distant goal you don't tend to feel such a strong magnetic pull, so you can stop and enjoy places rather than get glued to the highway. Just a thought...

I have pretty recent "mini-books" on both these routes, plus my big book -- and the website, which I assume you've checked out.

Money-wise, an cross-country flight home often works out cheaper than the week of driving it can take to get across the USA.

Then again, if you have your heart set on seeing all the places in between, a cross-country road trip is definitely the way to go.

If instead you took a plane west, you could get another rental car and do a great big road trip loop out of Las Vegas -- cruising Route 66 across Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, then meandering around to see the other amazing national parks of Utah, plus maybe even Death Valley...

Lots of possibilities -- let me know what you get up to!

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen
Road Trip USA

Appalachian Trail book

Great River Road book


Post a Comment

<< Home