Planning a USA Road Trip

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Are you heading to the USA for a road-trip vacation? Good choice, this country is perfectly set up for that kind of touring. Cheap fuel, great roads, affordable and plentiful motels and a million diverse things to see and do make the USA a brilliant driving holiday destination. Everything we know on travel USA after our incredible vacations discovering America

planning a USA road trip

Planning a USA Road Trip. Travel USA!

First a bit about us and our experience in driving around the USA, we’re not from the States, we’re a British/Australian family with a passion for travel of all sorts. When I met my husband, the Chef back in 2000 our first holiday together was a USA West Coast road trip, we had a wonderful time but we haven’t made it back to the States for that sort of holiday since.

Finally we got the opportunity to come back, with kids. We took an Atlantic Crossing cruise and disembarked our wonderful cruise ship into polar vortex New York City.

Planning a USA road trip. Arriving in NYC
Arriving in freezing NYC after an Atlantic Crossing cruise.

We had booked 4 nights in a hotel off Times Square (NYC is expensive, this was a great deal), and reserved 1 month on a US hire car before we left the UK. That was the extent of our pre-planning on the day we arrived in NYC.

We planned to road-trip our way around as much of the USA as we could, focusing on the East Coast. We had no fixed plans, no schedule, we mostly made it up as we went along and enjoyed that freedom. We hope our experiences can help you in planning your USA road trip

Planning to Rent a Vehicle for your USA Road Trip?

That’s what we needed to do, hire a vehicle.

We considered hiring an RV, it looked to like a wonderful way to see the USA but after a lot of consideration we decided against it. The big RVs are fuel guzzlers, fuel is cheap in the USA ( about 85c/L), but not that cheap!

We wanted to make our trip an A to B route crossing several states, not a round trip, that was going to up our hire car costs. We discovered that the best way to cut costs was to drop off and pick up at airports, so that’s what we did. We picked up in New York, dropped off at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale.

We booked an economy car, but, as usually happens, we were upgraded to a Toyata Rav 4. That’s a very nice car to get about in and a smaller version of our old 4 wheel drive back in Australia.

Car hire cost us $30 per day. If you have your own insurance that would cover you, it could be a lot less.

We didn’t bring our own car seats for the kids, we had previously for a Florida trip when they were younger. In all honesty car seat regulations didn’t cross our minds, we didn’t check and they weren’t supplied. You need to check each state’s requirements.

Do You Need a GPS for a USA driving holiday or tour?

The United States is pretty easy to navigate. My husband, the driver and navigator, suggests that you do not need to rent a GPS system from the hire (rental) car company. It’s not cheap, around $8/day. His solution was to buy a US SIM card ( from $2/day plus SIM cost)  and use his smart phone with Google maps app. It worked a treat.

Accommodation Costs For Our USA Road Trip and Finding the Best Deals

We wanted to keep our accommodation costs as low as possible so that we had more to spend on the big-ticket attractions, there was no way we were skipping Disney!

We found that overall, accommodation costs were the most expensive part of our USA tour.

The cheapest possible way to find budget hotel rooms, was to book online. We scoured all the usual booking sites, Priceline was often cheapest and we found those deals through Hotels Combined. We also checked and Agoda regularly. Hotels Combined is a good choice in a situation like this because they pull the best deals from multiple booking sites at once so that you know you have the best deal. Turning up at the hotel in person was always more expensive than booking online, the same deals just aren’t available. ( This is not the situation in most other countries we visit).

We signed up for hotel chain rewards programmes. Wyndham rewards was the most useful for us, they own loads of hotel and motel chains.

You build points by staying with them until you qualify for a free night. If you book through Priceline you do not always receive your points, so we always checked the Wyndham rewards hotel booking site too.

Sometimes they matched Priceline’s offer, sometimes they had special offers with significant numbers of extra points.

Planning a USA road trip to Amish country Pennsylvania
Amish Pennsylvania. We did plan this part, it was a beautiful place to visit.

Rooms were mostly very good. Outside of Washington DC, New Orleans and NYC, we found rooms for under $40, always below $50 ( before tax) for our family of four. Don’t forget to factor in the added tax and watch out for places that charge a nightly resort fee.

Finding a room for 4 is very easy in the USA, no problem at all, most motels and hotels have rooms with two double beds.

Hotels with free breakfast save you a lot of money. The breakfasts are often terrible, carbs only, it got as bad as frozen toaster waffles in one motel, but having something to eat and a coffee first thing in the morning is a big help.

Costs and Budgets

I always say that there is no point in scrimping. Sure, we’re not rich, but you have to spend enough to be comfortable and enjoy your trip. There is no point in doing it if you’re not happy.

We all have different priorities, our priority is seeing, doing and tasting as much as possible, we really don’t care much at all about accommodation or occasional bad meals so long as we’re all safe, relatively well nourished and seeing what we came to see.

We don’t have a fixed daily budget, we just do it as cheap as we possibly can, while paying for the things that are important to us.

There are hidden costs in a trip like this, don’t forget to include road tolls, costs of buying warm clothes and admission tickets.

Basic costs, petrol, car hire, accommodation and food, can easily come in at under $150 per day. The USA part of our first year of travel was undoubtedly one of the more expensive parts, our average daily cost for the year came in at $100. In Asia we could easily spend $50 per day.

Today, in year 5 of travel, we reckon on a comfortable $100 per day average even in Asia, the kids are older, they eat more, everything costs more and we treat ourselves more often.

Should You Plan an Itinerary for a USA Road Trip or Wing It?

To plan or not to plan? We like going with the flow, ending up where we end up. Our only fixed points were our arrival in NYC and our car drop off date in Fort Lauderdale, other than that we were free.

Planning a USA road trip Canada Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls from the Canada side. That was never in the plan but it was wonderful!

We had certain places we wanted to include. Must-sees for us were Amish Pennsylvania, Orlando, Washington DC and New Orleans. We ended up making it to Niagara falls and Canada ( see our Canada posts here, the border crossing is simple) and staying in some really interesting and unexpected places on the East Coast.

High hotel prices cut our stay in Washington DC short and the amount of fun we were having kept us in Orlando for over a week. We eventually made it right down through the Florida Keys to the southernmost tip of America. We never expected to get that far.

Planning a USA road trip Florida
We had so much fun in Orlando we stayed for over a week. Florida Legoland.

I would highly recommend not over-planning. Weather conditions, how you feel on the day, unexpected interesting events and festivals are all likely to change your plans at the last-minute.

We found it very easy to find accommodation, sometimes we booked online just minutes before walking through the doors of a motel, often from the motel’s own car park.

It’s a good idea to check for any big festivals that are approaching if you are planning a USA road trip in advance. We unexpectedly arrived in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, a bonus, but it pushed accommodation costs up.

Drive Times on Your Road Trip

Planning a USA road trip school
Sometimes we used hours on the road to do some back-seat school work.

The United States is a big country but the East coast or West Coast are very easy to explore in isolation. The distance from NYC to Florida is only about the same as Port Douglas (our old home in Australia) to Brisbane, that was our usual 24 hour airport commute.

Some days we drove for 9 hours, some for 2. You really can play it by ear. Sometimes we stopped in “middle of nowhere” towns just for a rest stop. We found some unexpected delights that way, such as the Darian Sea Monster.

I’ll publish our exact schedule in another post.

Visa Requirements for the USA

International travellers resident in countries which qualify for the USA Visa Waiver Programme will need to apply online for an ESTA. (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). Europe, New Zealand and Australia all qualify, check eligibility here.. This information was up to date at time of publication but always check for yourself, things may have changed.

We’ve had a wonderful time travelling around the USA, it’s been better than we expected, to be honest. We didn’t think we’d find so much diversity, history, wildlife, and great food, ( have a look at some of the amazing food in New Orleans).

If you are planning a USA road trip please don’t hesitate to comment below if you think we can help at all. What places would you recommend to people visiting the USA? While you’re here take a look at our favourite destination in the US, with this “family things to do” post.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

47 thoughts on “Planning a USA Road Trip”

  1. We are looking at doing Canada & Alaska on a tour as we are on a cruise in Alaska it doesn’t count to our 90 days in USA. Then driving from Vancouver to Toronto over 3 weeks, then coming to USA and driving around for 86-88 days finishing in New York for New Years Eve 2025.
    Where would you suggest we start from and what routes to take to see the most.

  2. Hello love your blog
    This is something we would love to do and doing my homework know
    Just wondering who you went through to get a car for $30 a day sounds great as I can’t find anything under $100
    Thank you

  3. Fantastic blog and some really great tips you offered after comments. Thank you for being so engaged. My question is you booked an economy car but “as usually happens” upgraded to a rav4.
    We are Australian family of four looking to travel in June Seattle to Vancouver and back down to lax. I was looking at hiring a Rav or other suv but would love to pay economy car $30perday.. How do you get an upgrade or how likely is “usually” ? Is this a USA thing. Or do you talk them into it? Love to get a better rate on our car hire.

  4. Hello
    I don’t believe I’ve stumbled across your blog. My husband and I are in the planning process of travelling from Australia doing a 4 week USA road trip in June 2020. I’m thinking I’m over planning after reading your info. Where would I find a more detailed itinerary of your route and accommodation? Basically I want to fly into Washington DC and travel up to nyc then through an amish community onto Nashville and fly out of Dallas. Thanks for sharing your very informative blog.

    • We never published it, but yes, we did a lot of that. We literally booked accommodation the day before or hours before, giving us freedom to drive as little as much as we wanted and stop wherever we wanted. It worked fine. For 2 people it would be even easier. DC and NYC were expensive hotels, NYC was about $150 I think, DC $70 ish. We were looking for the cheapest we could find. Still better than Australian prices. The rest were very reasonable, $50 and under. There was always plenty of availability but we did this in winter, January or February. June could be busier.

  5. Hi! I live in the US. I’m from Texas but live in New Mexico currently. For those of you that have a family size larger than 4 (we have 5), there are suite type rooms that have the standard double bed but that also have a pull-out sofa. That helps when trying to sleep more in a standard room. Hope that helps! Also Mexican food in Texas (Tex-Mex) is different from Mexican food in New Mexico, so be prepared! It was an adjustment for me!!

  6. Hi,
    I just found your great post?. We are planning a 6 week tour of the east and west coast. This will be late November and December, 2020. We will be away for Christmas and will hope to find a nice house to hire for a week or two over this period as we would like to create a Christmas atmosphere, Xmas tree etc. with our 2 children. Can you suggest the best way to find/book this type of accommodation? Is Airbnb the go? Or is there a better way to do this?
    Thanks. ?

    • We’ve spent 6 Christmases on the road and absolutely get a place with a kitchen – the one we spent in a hotel – it was Singapore – just didn’t feel right. Certainly have a look at AirBnb, see what they have, but also look at apartment-style hotels on the usual booking engines. We’ve often found accommodation with kitchens on them – I’m not sure how common this style is in the US though, in some countries it’s very easy. Absolutely be sure to check what cooking equipment is provided though, sometimes it’s in no way adequate.

  7. Hi. My husband and I and our 5 children are planning on doing a trip to USA in 2021 for about 3 months. The kids ages will range between 15 and 5. We are thinking of flying into LA and doing the must see sites there and then heading to San Fransisco then to Las Vegas across the middle seeing maybe Dallas, Houston to Florida then up to New York. My question is what do you think would be the most cost effective way to do this with a family our size? We are unsure if we should Air bnb, RV, rental car it and stay in motels or maybe try and house swap in a few places. Any help and ideas would be greatly appreciated. Kind regards Jo PS.

    • We found Motels were the cheapest and in the US it;s standard to have 2 doube beds in each room. So you’d need 2 rooms, so , roughly, at least $100, probably quite a bit more per night. We got the best deals booking last minute, literally last minute, on arrival, through Priceline. Have a look at AirBnb and see if you can find anything more cost effective. We found that cities added significantly to cost. Washington DC and New York cost us loads. It’s a long, long time since we did the west coast, but people say it’s more costly than the east coast. I’d say really, really shop around, see what you can find. You’ll probably need a combination of different accommodation styles to keep expenses down. An RV would be lovely, but the burn through fuel and you’d need a big one. Bit of a dream trip, enjoy!

      • Thanks so much for your reply Alyson. Yes it is definitely a dream trip but the logistics are turning out to be our challenge. We have looked at the car and hotel -v- RV -v- Air BNB and like you said I think that we will have to do a combination. The main reason we thought RV for the trip across from one side to the other was that we don’t know what sort of vehicle would hold 7 suit cases!! If you think of any thing else that may help us or any must do’s on the trip I would really appreciate it. Cheers Jo

    • Nice article Alyson, I enjoyed reading your perspective. I read it because I am starting to plan our family’s trip around the US next summer. my trip is different because I am from the US, we currently live in western South Carolina. We will be traveling with 3 kids ages 6, 8 and 10 and potentially our 2 big dogs. We travel domestically quite a bit now, and for us the cost of lodging and food is clearly the most expensive. So for our big trip next summer we are definitely traveling by motorhome. Benefits are being able to cook and prepare most meals in the RV kitchen and of course having a place to sleep included. also we will be able to drive while kids are sleeping/late at night, early in the morning. Checking in and out of hotels is tough since our kids are quite rambunctious and we are really cramped in a hotel room and a car. we are big campers and the US has remarkable state, county and US parks for reasonable fees to hop from. If big cities is your interest the parks are not so common and hotels may be the better option. depends what kind of trip you’re looking for. When I was going into 3rd grade my parents took the 6 of us by RV around the US. The memories are vivid and and helped shape my love for travel as I grew older!

      • Yep, 3 kids just doesn’t work with the typical US hotel room. It’s something I’d love to try, travelling with a caravan or RV, but the lack of internet would be tough.

      • Hi Katy,

        Was so good to read your story. We are hoping to do some big cities (and we thought that it would be best to do these by car and motel as I don’t think we would be game to drive an RV into a city or we just hire a car for a day and drive into city and then back out to the RV) but are really looking forward to travelling into the the smaller towns as we drive across from San Fran to Florida. I have read a lot of conflicting reviews about hiring an RV. I would love to hear your thoughts on the price of RV added with Park fees and Gas money compared to Motel and Car? I totally agree with your comments on being able to cook, sleep and have all your stuff in the one place. That is a big issue with us to as we will have 7 suitcases and I was unsure what sort of car would cater for this and I also thought that the RV would be more affordable as we would need two rooms and a large van to transport us. I look forward to our reply. Cheers Jo

  8. I really appreciate the work you have done, you explained everything in such an amazing and simple way.Good post. I was searched for this topic. Finally, I got the information on this blog. Thanks for the effective information.

  9. Hey guys! Me, my partner and 2 kiddies are wanting to sell our narrow boat in uk to fund an epic road trip in our camper van in the americas. We are hoping to spend a few years driving from Canada to Patagonia and back as many times as we like. I am however concerned that Canada and or the USA may reject us as we will not have any property/jobs/ties to the uk and the fact we won’t have flights back to the uk booked etc. Did you encounter any problems with entry at all? We have previously had trouble entering USA when we visited in the middle of a year trip from Asia to Peru but they did let us in after calling my Nhs employer and finding I was on a career break.
    Thanks for your help! You’re an inspiration!

  10. Great post Alyson, very informative and lots to take in.

    I could say I’m an experienced traveler but this will be the first time we as a family of 4 going on a road trip to the states. I would like to travel the months of March and April for 60 days. 30 days on the west side and 30 on the east driving and a little Rail on the east coast.

    And I’m just trying to get my head around the average daily cost. Is $100 AUD or US a day on average including hotel, car rental, fuel and food.
    Since this trip is planned for 2020 I like to do a bit of research so Ive planned the days spent at each location give or take a day or so cos we all have a huge wish list to cover.
    Would a Budget of $30,000 AUD cover it. We wont be staying in flash hotels and eat out once a day, Supermarket Food mostly, Fun Parks for sure.


    • When I wrote these old posts the US $ and Au $ were 1:1. All prices on this site are in US $ unless I say it’s Au $. I think $100 per day would be too low, our yearly average was $100 and half of that year we were in Asia spending around $50 per day, so I think you’ll probably need more. Also we get theme park admissions free, that will be a significant extra cost for you.

  11. Hi there
    Me and a friend are planning a 6 month road trip of the USA and are struggling to budget how much we’d need to save up before we can go, what would you suggest based on your experience

    • Off the top of my head $100 a day sounds safe. In that whole year, that was our average, but we had free press passes for the big theme parks and there were 4 of us, although in the US hotels have 4 beds as standard, and mostly came in at $50/night or less. It depends how much time you spend in big cities too. Washington DC was expensive, NYC was crazy expensive, so we only stayed 3 nights ( at $150/night). Are you are prepared to eat junk and snacks from supermarkets, or like to use restaurants? Do you like a beer or will you stick to water? It’s really hard to guess for somebody else with different needs. I’d say we spend more than absolute budget ecause we really like our food and drink. I’ve heard the East coast is more expensive than the West, bt we haven’t been over there since 1998, so can’t confirm.

  12. There’s some inspirational info here which is great. Thanks. Id love to up sticks and travel but for now I can only manage short stints!
    I’m planning a 3 week trip with my 2 kids (12 and 10) next summer (August 17) from Vancouver down to LA. Flights booked and now want to decide where to spend the time (as it’s pretty limited). I’d really appreciate any tips of best places to see with kids this age in Vancouver, Washington, Oregon and California. Also any advice on traveling alone with kids as I’ve not done it before. We have to be near Portland Oregon on day 14 of the trip but that is our only restriction.
    Thanks in advance

      • I totally understand! I’m just pleased I’ve found your site. Will keep following ur antics! Cheers

  13. Alyson, enjoying reading through your posts. My partner and I are looking at starting a family soon and are in the process of setting our selves up for exactly the sort of lifestyle you outline. We’ve recently returned from two years in the US and Canada and thought I would share some tips for camping through the western united states.

    Seriously consider buying a cheap rv for any trip longer than a couple of months. Not the big behemoths but a more reasonably sized truck and camper combo. These can be picked up for less than $4000 and sold on for at least half that when you leave. We spent $6500 on a small motorhome and got back $4300 of that when we left. It made the trip VERY comfortable and we never minded rainy days as we could laze around and read/ watch movies. We found that it was very easy as Australians to buy a vehicle in British Columbia, Canada. Road worthy checks are not required and rego and insurance is covered in one payment to ICBC. You can travel in the US with this vehicle insurance and rego so long as you’re not stopping to work or live in an area.

    Having a fridge and stove in your rv saves you so much money. In a six month period the money saved having a stocked fridge and stove vs the price of eating out will more than likely pay for the rv.

    America the Beautiful Pass: $80 annual pass that gives you access to all federal operated parks, national monuments and national historic sites. This little card paid for itself so many times over. It waives the entrance fee for the vehicle you are travelling in and all of the occupants.

    National Forests usually surround national parks and offer cheaper camping without having to book months in advance. you can drive into the national park for day trips.

    Dispersed camping, the magic words! Always ask at national forest offices (not national parks) about dispersed camping. You can stay for free in unestablished campgrounds for up to 14 days, then you must move at least 5 miles. These were some of our favorite camping experiences. We were also saved in instances where all other camping had been booked months in advance.

    We found that Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho were the cheapest to travel in. Very easy to find beautiful low cost and free camping in close proximity to attractions.
    This website is oldschool but has loads of info on campsites and they allow you to download the gps data for free.

    OSMand+ great offline gps app for android. I managed to upload the gps data from the camping website previously mentioned so we always knew where we could find a place to stay.

    We would typically drive for four hours max, then stop for two to four days. This would give us lots of time to explore on foot and cut down on fuel costs.

    The wilderness is so beautiful and accessible in the US, try new outdoor activities! I took up fishing for the first time in my life and we had a lot of fun going on short overnight hiking trips. There are plenty of wilderness hiking trips that are suitable for children. The number of families we saw camping out in the wilderness was inspiring.

    On average we spent $2 on accomodation per night over the length of our trip (was $0.70 until we got to the oregon coast) $70 a week on fuel and $120 on food for two adults traveling together. The initial outlay for the motorhome was definitely worth it and we got most of that money back at the end of the trip. The first part of our trip was a five month stint in Nepal and Sri Lanka and we found that we were spending a comparable amount in the US once we were set up.

    Thanks Allyson for all your fantastic articles, hope these tips will help a few people out.

    Regards, Sam

  14. Thanks so much for this information. We’re travelling from NZ to USA in Sept/Oct this year for 4 weeks. I’ve pencil booked accommodation but it’s costing us a lot more than what you managed. At the moment we’re in quite a few Best Westerns. I’d love to know what some of the motels/hotels were that you used to see if I can get our budget down. Thanks,

    • Michelle, would love to here how your plans are shaping up, we are also in New Zealand and saving hard to take the kids to the USA for 7 weeks in June/July 2017. We have 3 kids aged 3,8 and 10.

      • Hi Louise! Plans are going well despite a couple of hiccups (& the Kiwi dollar!). 7 weeks sounds amazing! You don’t happen to live in Millwater do you? If so, I’ll try Facebook messaging you!

        • Yes I do live in millwater! I am trying to work out how you would know that!!!

  15. Wow, what a fantastic write-up. And just what I was looking for. Pardon my ignorance but how can I email you? We want to do a road trip in the US next year for around 25-30 days – probably the summers. We have two young ones – 8 and 5, boys and so would love to get your thoughts on all that we can do.

  16. Planning on a 6 week road trip during late Dec/Jan on East Coast USA. I am wondering how likely is it that the weather will prevent us from driving on the East Coast. At this stage we will fly Syd to Dallas and then may be drive (or fly) to Orlando (do Disney) and then drive north to NY. all thoughts welcome

    • I put this question to the readers of our Facebook page Kylie. Here are some of the answers to your roadtrip weather question :

      From Florida to New York SHOULD be okay in December. January is iffy, but as long as your schedule isn’t too precise you’ll be fine. Better to have to pull of the road and stay in a hotel than have a flight cancelled and have to sleep in an airport somewhere. If a snowstorm is expected, you’ll have plenty of advance warning to prepare.
      Drive the gulf coast along from TX to Orlando. Dec/Jan risks some weather issues as you get to North Carolina and above. That said, it’s to late in the year to be shooting for leaves turning in the Blue Ridge… so it is possible to stay along the coast and you shouldn’t have road closures in that direction… .but stay away from the lake effect snow off the finger lakes. Stop in Atlanta and Savannah on your way up. Its a great time of year to visit the mouse. Good luck!
      I live just north of Washington DC. There could be snow from late October on however October/November/December are not big snow months (not enough snow to stop you from comfortably using major roads) and as someone else said you would have plenty of advanced warning for storms. January-March is when we get our larger amounts of snow.

      Our findings were that the roads were clear. We were up north in February, there was a lot of snow, but every road was cleared and gritted. Further south they had more problems because they didn’t expect, nor were prepared for, the snow that arrived.

      Have fun!

  17. Hoping to do a US road trip ourselves sometime in the near future! Impressed that you were able to rent a car for only $30 a day — would have expected the daily rate to be much higher!

    • Yes, James hunted around and got a really good deal. If you had your own insurance that would cover you for USA car hire it would be even cheaper. Getting the car from airport to airport saved us a lot. I believe he’s found us a cheaper deal for the few days we’ll be in Florida next month. It’s worth knowing that they won’t let you take a car for more than a month, they want to check it over after that time.

      • Hello! Picking up on this as my husband and I are also looking for a cheap car rental deal, but we can’t find anything significantly cheaper than $100 a day on the usual market comparison websites…. Could you or James point us in the right direction? Ta! Aurelie

        • Dollar, which is owned by Hertz. Also, we picked up at the cheapest place. New York City was the cheapest car pick up point for us. Car hire costs vary by state, Florida is really expensive for instance.

  18. I really enjoyed reading the post. We did a road trip on the West Coast: a customised fly n’ trip as we only had 3 weeks to play with. We did pretty well but the distances took longer than we expected and we went in the winter!

    We had a great time though and took detours all over the place. If we go again in the nearest future, I know who to contact LOL!

    • Hi Victoria
      I just came across your post about driving the west coast of USA.

      would you mind sharing your itinerary please as I am planning to travel there in March this year. Last minute decision so I dont have a lot of time to work out a driving plan. Flying into LA and want to drive to San Fran , Death Vally, Yosemite and Las Vegas.

      Any information will be much appreicated.

  19. I can’t wait to do more long road trips in the US. We have some ideas but need to make them a reality!

  20. We definitely need more guesthouses and backpacker type lodgings throughout the US. You can find these types of cheaper accommodations in some big cities, but they’re hard to find in small towns and the motel chains have the cheap accommodation market cornered. I find motel chains like Motel 6 and Super 8 to be so drab and boring. Purely functional, which works but you can’t expect much.
    There are a few great youth hostels scattered along the coast in California. I’d love to tour these some day.

  21. I literally JUST blogged about this today! I’ve got tips on finding a good one-way rental, whether you need a GPS and more.

    I’m a big fan of having a general outline but being flexible as you go. You never know what places will catch your fancy, what the weather will do, your own fatigue etc 🙂

    We stayed in a lot of $40ish motels (and a RV park in New Orleans!) and with friends along the way.

  22. Great post.

    I’ve done 2 road trips in the US – one down the West Coast, where winging it was fine – though the cost of accommodation in Big Sur is four times as much as anywhere else, so if you need the cheapest it’s worth sorting in advance.

    I’ve also driven from Denver to San Francisco, in a big curve to take in the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Las Vegas, Death Valley and Yosemite – and this needed planning, because some of the distances are huge and not every motel comes with somewhere to eat within walking distance. And carry food – it can be 200 miles between cafes and that’s a long way to do if you’re longing for lunch.


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