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Old 07-20-2012, 06:30 AM
 
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Or you could break the trip up into two parts, East of the Mississippi one year, Continental Divide and west the next year,
Trouble with taking on such a big trip is after a while many of the memories of the trip turn into one big blur.
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:58 AM
 
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
141 posts, read 304,351 times
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Thanks everyone for your advice on our trip. Ive saved the websites suggested to our Favourites to look at more closely during our planning. To note a couple of points:-

We are traveliing from Christchurch, NZ and with airfares at about $1700 return to LA, this is likely to be a once-off trip looking around the States. Would love to do this in a couple of trips, but we have other places in the world to visit, the States is intended to be one of our major trips before we retire.

We are in our early 50's so the hospitality travel clubs may be a good option...will give us an opportunity to meet Americans and possibly return the hospitality one day.

Looking at some of the advice and the compexities around buying a vehicle, we will look more at hiring a vehicle (we dont have contacts in the States). A quick look at the Hertz site shows about $4000 for 100 days hire ($40 per day isnt too bad) although we would probably get a cheaper deal through other smaller companies. We will look more indepth at travelling to major centres by public transport and then hiring for short periods of time to look around the area. Possibly some 1-2 week mini-trips by car then move to the next city.

RVs - possible option to consider if we decide to keep a vehicle for the entire trip although there maybe some complexities of buying, licencing and insuring as an overseas resident. Slow-driving...yep, the same over here!

Cruise - A possibility still. The South Pacific is at our doorstep and we can do this at anytime relatively cheaply.

American Byways - dont send maps internationally but can get some good stuff from their site.

So obviously we have a lot of research still to do! We want to be as independent as we can and not be tied too much to an itenary, ie if we like a place it would be good to stay longer if we could. I did a Contiki trip in my early 20's so have a bit of an idea of what is around. My wife hasnt been to the States before so we are discussing what we both want to see.

In general, we are looking at some must-dos...
Fly into Los Angeles, San Diego (maybe), Las Vegas, Grand/Bryce Canyons, Monument Valley, Santa Fe, Houston, New Orleans, Orlando, Maimi and the Keys, Williamstown, Washington, New York, New England, Montreal/Quebec, Chicago, Calgary, Jasper/Banff, Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, San Francisco, Yosemite (possibly Yellowstone & Salt Lake City if we can find a way of fitting it in). There are going to be some National Parks also along the way that no doubt will be worth a visit.

StealthRabbit - Denver & Baltimore?? Ive been to Denver but cant remember too much about it, but do remember Durango & Mesa Verde in Colorado. Dont know much about Baltimore. Handy tip about the airlines .
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,360,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muir33 View Post

Cruise - A possibility still. The South Pacific is at our doorstep and we can do this at anytime relatively cheaply.
Air New Zealand flies to Tahiti--why not stop there on your way and do a luxury cruise on the Paul Gauguin?

I concur that you might want to seriously consider breaking the car trips up with flights or perhaps train trips. Have a look at what Amtrak you can offer you, or Via Rail in Canada. There's a nice trail trip, for instance, from New York to Montreal. If you spend time in the big cities, this is the natural time to let go of any rental car, since cities like San Francisco, New Orleans, New York aren't places for cars.

This sounds like a great adventure--I sure wish I could take three months to travel Australia and New Zealand!
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:45 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,605 posts, read 62,438,599 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muir33 View Post
A quick look at the Hertz site shows about $4000 for 100 days hire ($40 per day isnt too bad)
although we would probably get a cheaper deal through other smaller companies.
$40 per day is outrageous; even with the insurance bundled into it.

$20 per day is par for "walk in" 3 day weekend deals.
The airline combination packages will be the best you'll find.

Quote:
We will look more in depth at travelling to major centres by public transport and then hiring
for short periods of time to look around the area.
In the northeast (Boston south to DC) and on the west coast (Seattle to San Diego)
the train service is about as good as it gets in the US. It's still **horrible**.

There are some decent buses on those routes...
like megabus.com | Now serving over 18 million bus customers in North America
(the others are mostly used by a very low class traveler)

Quote:
In general, we are looking at some must-dos...
Be aware of the seasonal climate and possible weather conditions...
and as regards Canada the inconvenience of border crossings.

You seem to have a good handle on clustering destinations regionally.
I'll assume you have reasons for the places you've picked...
allow time for the waysides and backroads and even th delays.
They're often the best part of a trip.

Some suggested tweaking to your route/sequence:

(FLY) ->Los Angeles then drive ->Las Vegas ->Yosemite ->San Francisco
(with Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Grand/Bryce Canyons as side trips)

(FLY) ->Seattle then drive->Vancouver/Victoria -> Calgary/Banff

(FLY) ->Yellowstone (FLY) ->Chicago (FLY) ->Quebec
(you'll have to really wnt these to make them work)

(FLY) ->Boston then bus->New York bus->Washington then bus -> WilliamsBURG Va
(Philadelphia and Baltimore are between NY and Wash)

(FLY) ->Orlando (Fly) ->Miami then drive->Key West
(Fly) -> New Orleans (FLY) -> Albequerque NM; then drive ->Santa Fe
(FLY) ->Los Angeles
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
141 posts, read 304,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
Be aware of the seasonal climate and possible weather conditions...
and as regards Canada the inconvenience of border crossings.
Used to border crossings...cant get away from them when you holiday from NZ!
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