My Road Trip Across The USA from coast to coast
Between May 29 and June 26, 2010, we crossed the width of the United States by car (and final flight). The journey of my dreams came true by visiting mythical places like San Francisco, Grand Canyon, Far West, Las Vegas, Aspen, Miami, or New Orleans. Twenty-eight days were touring endless roads, spectacular landscapes, and movie spots.
A highly recommended route, which every traveler should take at least once in his or her life if the occasion arises. The cost is high, but there are ways to save on accommodation. Here I leave you the planning of the trip, hoping that it may serve someone as a guide for preparing a trip to the United States. I have also collected useful information such as our budget, a video montage of the landscapes we toured or a summary of how tips work in American restaurants.
- Day 0: a one-way trip
- Day 1, 2 and 3: San Francisco and vicinity (CALIFORNIA)
- Day 4 and 5: Yosemite National Park (CA) rental cars
- Day 6 and 7: Sequoia National Park and Bakersfield (CA)
- Day 8: the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas (NEVADA)
- Day 9: Route 66 and arrival to Grand Canyon (ARIZONA)
- Day 10: Grand Canyon National Park (AZ): tour by plane and boat by the river and a visit to Antelope Canyon.
- Day 11: Monument Valley Tribal Park (UTAH)
- Day 12: Moab (UT): riding for the American Far West, John Wayne style
- Day 13: Arches National Park (UT) and arrival to Aspen.
- Day 14 and 15: The Aspen (COLORADO)
- Day 16 & 17: Denver (CO)
- Day 18, 19 and 20: New Orleans, plantation (LOUISIANA)
- Day 21, 22, 23: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Everglades National Park (FLORIDA)
- Day 24 and 25: the Florida Keys, Key West (FL)
- Day 26: Rest in Miami before returning (FL)
- Day 27: Trek back
More information to prepare a trip to the United States:
BUDGET: what we spend on the entire trip. Budget for two road travelers who saved the accommodation to spend more on leisure and visits.
DRIVING: Tips on how to drive in the United States. Electric cars, more common signs.
VIDEOS: The best way to get an idea of how roads and landscapes are.
RESTAURANTS: How much to tip in the restaurant?
DOCUMENTS: Documents and prior preparation before going to the United States.
BALANCE: our final balance on the return of the journey of my dreams.
Tips to save on accommodation:
On the go, improvise the route, and sleep in road motels near the cities. The further the downtown motel is, the cheaper it’ll be. It is not a myth: in the United States every town is full of motels, so, except in the most touristic and least populated areas (near Monument Valley for example), you should have no trouble finding a place. Several known chains offer reasonable last-minute prices, and you can even haggle for the cost of that same night. Something that you can do is to have reserved the first few nights and the last one (I guess in San Francisco or Los Angeles) and leave more improvised the rest, booking a few days or hours in advance according to go advancing in the journey.
Join Couchsurfing and take advantage of the trip to meet local people, who will personally explain how you live in the United States. Couchsurfing is an online Association where any traveler can sign up for FREE, create a profile, and host other travelers and be hosted. More than half of the days we spent in the United States were in Couch surfers houses like us, who welcomed us very kindly and wanted to share the excitement of road trip with us. The experience was simply excellent!
Make a house Exchange in a couple of “Base Camp” cities and move from there en route. For example, there are many offers in California and Colorado. Spending a week in Los Angeles or San Francisco with free accommodation (and cooking at home, saving on meals) makes the budget a lot easier. To exchange a house, you need to lend your house: you stay at another traveler’s home while he is in yours.