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Aussies roadtripping in United States

The plan is to hire a campervan and go roadtripping...but we need help
12 years ago, July 22nd 2011 No: 1 Msg: #140736  
My fiance and I are from Australia and we are planning to hire a campervan and travel The United States.
It wont be for a couple of years....but were just trying to organise it a bit. We were thinking of going in Dec/Jan so it will be chrissy and winter there. We will also have 2 young children.
Is this roadtrip possible ? Also what would be the easiest route ? Reply to this

12 years ago, July 22nd 2011 No: 2 Msg: #140755  
Hi Macka -

Certainly your road trip is possible. The American freeway and interstate system is safe with lots of convenient opportunities for rest-stops, food and fuel (essential when traveling with kids). It will be winter in the Northern Hemisphere, but winter weather conditions vary drastically depending on where you are in the country. So my first question would be "Where do you want to go?" Seeing the entire United States is impractical - but in 1-2 months you can see a great deal of it, or heavily explore one or two regions.

Driving across the mountain passes can be difficult if heavy snows close the roads. The west coast and the southern parts of the country are easier to navigate that time of year. And New England is beautiful, but road conditions can be hit or miss depending on the weather of the week. Reply to this

12 years ago, July 24th 2011 No: 3 Msg: #140857  
Hello Macka and welcome to travel blog.

It sounds like you are planning a great trip. You may want to check out Cruise America as they are one of the bigger companies who rent campers.

Yes it will be winter in the US if you travel in December and January but you should have a great time. Winter can be a fun time. I would recommend flying into Denver, Colorado to start your trip. That is a nice city to explore for a couple of days while you get over your jet lag if you have any.
I would do a couple of day trips out of Denver into the mountains. The highways should be clear because there will be a lot of traffic heading into the mountains to the ski slopes. Colorado has world class skiing. I would take a trip up to Glenwood Springs and Aspen or head over to Steamboat Springs. Both offer a lot of nature and are lovely mountain towns to enjoy winter.
I would go back to Denver and head south toward Colorado Springs to see Pike's Peak.

From there I'd go to New Mexico. It is amazingly beautiful in the winter. Crisp blue sky. I would explore Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands National Monument, and Sante Fe.

On to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon.

From there I would head to San Diego, California and drive north to Seattle, Washington stopping along the way. I can provide you an extensive list of things to do as you move north up the Californai coast if this is what you decide to do.

If you can afford it I would then fly from Seattle to Miami, Florida and spend your last few days enjoying some warm weather in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami or Key West, Florida. I'd fly home from Miami, Florida.

If you'd like to consider another itinerary let me know and I will make another suggestion. This is one option of many. As Stephanie said this is a very large country and you won't see but a portion of it in two months.

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12 years ago, July 24th 2011 No: 4 Msg: #140865  
Thanks for the replies guys, its good to know it is possible! 😊

Were pretty keen on this trip now and were looking at travelling for about 8weeks(all in the united states)
At the moment we really want to go to Washington, Calaforina, LA, Grand canyon, Florida and New York...and a few others along the way. Would you still suggest flying from Seattle to Miami ?

How much do you think this trip would cost..just an estimate ? My parnter and I are just making this trip up along the way..with not much idea how to go about it lol

thanks for your help guys 😊

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12 years ago, July 24th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #140870  

Ok, with that in mind I would make a different recommendation. Only because I am assuming that Washington is Washington, DC and not Washington state. Is that correct? I forgot to ask the ages of the children?

January temperatures in NYC range from 4 degrees C to -3 C. Bring a coat and gloves.

I would recommend flying into NYC and exploring there first. Once you rent the camper van you could do a short trip to Niagara Falls (both the Amercian and Canadian side) if you wanted.

From NYC I would travel to Philadelphia for a nice dose of American history (2 days) and then on to Washington, DC. It is one of my favorite cities. Then you would have to make some decisions about driving across country or flying.

If you meant Washington state I would stick to the original itinerary and fly to NYC at the end instead of Florida. Air fare from Seattle to NYC or Miami is about $300- $350 per person.

This is not a cheap trip-----Cost: depends on how much you fly vs. driving. Right now gasoline is selling for $3.75 to $4.10 per gallon. Most campers don't get great mileage. It will depend on the size of camper that you rent but I would guess they will get somewhere between 8 and 14 miles per gallon. (closer to the 8 miles. It is about 3000 miles from LA to NYC.

You will have the cost of staying in camper parks which I have not done in a long time but I believe they are $20 to $50 per night.

I will be happy to answer additional questions Reply to this

12 years ago, August 6th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #141547  
heya, sounds like a fantastic holiday - i am jealous! We are Aussie and lived in the US for a few years so did heaps of travel...but pretty much it is the same size as Aus so think about whether youd want to drive from Melb to Cairns in 8 weeks or go right around Aus etc. In Dec/Jan it will be snowing so from maybe Washington upwards will be difficult to drive...and very cold. We lived in Pennsylvalnia at one point (state to the west of New York) and it was below zero for the entire month of January ....bbbbrrrrr.
You could do something like start in Seattle in Early december then drive down to california and across the bottom of the US to Orlando....then fly up to NYC and back to Aus? That would miss most of the snow and there is still heaps to do. In seattle there is snow capped mountains and teh volcano, the kids would like the salmon ladders...oregan is the home of budweiser (sorry, thats all i can think of)...then you have san fran with seaworld, los angels with hollywood stars, disneyland and universal, las vegas is about 6hr drive east and then the grand canyon is 3 hours onwards and hoover dam, san dieago has the best zoo and you can go to tijuana and watch a bull fight. San Antonia texas is worth a visit with their underground restarants and the military thing (cant remember the name) then new orleans has amazing spanish architecture, above ground cemetaries, voodoo and lots of different food...oh and alligators, memphis has the whole elvis thing and lots of pig to eat lol, then florida has orlando with rockets and disneyworld and universal and lots and lots of tourist stuff to do.
The US is soooo child friendly it will be fantastic. Make sure you do all the theme parks although some will be closed over winter. We went to disneyworld orlando one xmas and it was about 28 degrees but it was soooo packed!
Oh with campervans you can stay for free in the carpark of Waldecks... and theyve always got a couple of campers parked there 😊
hope all that helps 😊
tam Reply to this

12 years ago, September 18th 2011 No: 7 Msg: #143456  
Since you mentioned the time frame of December and January I would say stick to the southern US. Leave all your heavy coats, sleeping bags etc behind and travel for sometimes cool but rarely cold weather. Most of what you may need can be bought in thrift stores and discarded or donated back to another thrift store when you leave.
I can say that in Texas it is T-shirt weather for December and January with a cold front coming in and getting cold a day or two then it warms up again. Light jackets and layering will do it.
The southern US is much too big to explore with any justice in 8 weeks. I would say start with San Diego on the West Coast and explore across the southern states to Florida. I would explore San Diego, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, skip Mississippi and Alabama and then explore Florida with the time left.
If you go through Texas make sure to visit San Antonio. There is more to see and do in San Antonio itself than you can see in 2 to 3 weeks.
If you have a campervan you can save a substantial amount of money by staying in BLM campgrounds or dispersed camping, or on National Forest lands or campgrounds. Also some but not all SuperWalmarts will allow you to overnight park in their parking lots. In New Mexico you can “park” in their Rest areas for 24 hours, In Texas overnight parking in Rest Areas is allowed.
If you want to stay in motels the Motel 6 chain usually runs around $50 a night depending on the city etc. Pretty much basic lodging at a basic price.
I usually mixed camping and hotel stays on my trips and it worked out very well.
Figure on spending more on gas than you expect as I have noticed most people tend to greatly underestimate the size of the US and the mountains, hills, and winds which will cut down on your gas mileage substantially.
I have just finished 3 different trips of around 6,000 miles apiece, one from Texas to San Diego and then up the coast to above San Francisco, and the other from Texas through Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia to Washington, DC and then up through Virginia to Gettysburg, The other most recent I just finished which took me though, New Mexico,Colorado, Utah, then Colorado again and into Wyoming into The Grand Tetons’s and Yellowstone. Then back on a circuitous route. So if you wanted to check my blogs you could get a good idea of what a camper trip through the US would entail.

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12 years ago, September 18th 2011 No: 8 Msg: #143457  
oops... i meant walmart not waldecks 😊 Reply to this

12 years ago, September 18th 2011 No: 9 Msg: #143476  
Two bloggers who do a lot of U.S. Traveling that I enjoy are below.
Both William and Bill have written about some interesting travels. Their locations and styles are very different but I enjoy following both of them around the country.


Hiking The Southwest Reply to this

12 years ago, September 24th 2011 No: 10 Msg: #143835  
If you are willing to do a bit more research read these two bloggers. They have recently done some tent camping in the US and have enjoyed their travels.


Overlanders Reply to this

12 years ago, September 27th 2011 No: 11 Msg: #144022  
Some fantastic suggestions here.

I personally love the Highway 1 run along the western coast. Even if you take the more direct route from Washington (state)-->California, the roads are less dreary than some others with constant changes in vegetation, color, and weather. Plus, California has Hollywood as well as famous amusement parks if your kids are old enough (Magic Mountain, Disneyland, Sea World, Knottsberry Farm--listed in terms of preference when my friends and I were younger).

Washington is one of my favorite states in the US. It's one of the few places in the world that has every geological formation from Mt Rainier, rainforests, waterfalls, lakes to sand dunes. Try the clam chowder in a bread bowl in Pike's Place--yummm!

Portland, Oregon is the only city I particularly recommend in the Oregon. It's a cozy city that's often overlooked, but equally lush as Washington. A good place to relax and have a coffee/meal before moving on. It also has a nice Japanese garden and one of the largest independent bookstores named Powell's if you're into that. Plus, everything's tax free, yay!

San Francisco would be my favorite spot in California. There's too much to do and always too little time. You can also use yelp online to look up local favorites--I once stood out at the break of dawn, under the rain (and umbrella), waiting for space to open up in a breakfast joint, and it was wellll worth it.

I'm biased towards the Colorado mountain ranges because I grew up seeing them every day and never grow tired of them. If your children are younger, there are places like "The House of Bounce" that my 3 year old nephew loved, or The Butterfly Pavilion, small, but educational and nice. But, as Dave & Merry Jo suggested, the mountain ranges and ski resorts are one of the most famous places to go. My favorite is Breckenridge (good for skiers and snowboarders), but you really want to check the weather before heading to these places as the roads can become blocked with snow/ice and traffic.

Route 66 is a frequent historical drive taken by locals and visitors.

I'd recommend the south to hear the southern drawl and try a big plate of tasty greasy food. The coast of Texas is also famous and overlooked for shrimp.

Washington DC for history and beautiful monuments.

I don't recommend driving in NY, so flying there (maybe from Miami?) might be a good idea. I don't even like taking taxis there, and would recommend booking a good accommodation ahead of time and trying to walk or take short taxi trips as the traffic (human and vehicle) is pretty crazy.

Places like Colorado, Illinois, NY and Washington will be cold or even freezing (Washington's roads occasionally get black ice). As long as you drive slowly and patiently with an ear out regarding weather you should be fine. Avoid blizzards. 😊

If you go here and look under the heading "The 1925 Routes," you will see many of the major highways you can take through the States today.

As for gas--big cities, especially the famous ones--tend to be more expensive. The Midwest is on the lower end. But, overall, I've noticed that gas prices tend to be lower than other places in the world, but I don't know how it compares to OZ. You can look up specific prices for states on this site,

As with any travels, budget shifts based on taste. My personal preference is saving on food and accommodation (I agree with Sojourner 1208 on finding a Motel 6 in most states for about $50/night) and then splurging every once in a while. Reply to this

12 years ago, September 27th 2011 No: 12 Msg: #144053  

It sounds like you got quite a trip mapped out, and yes it is possible! Renting a camper and taking a road trip is a very typical American thing-most of us have done it and most American children going on one so I would say for that reason this will be a special trip for you and the family.

However, I will give you a cautionary note about traveling in Dec./January along the East Coast because this is when it starts to snow. The snow and ice are going to be more intense in the New England region (RI, CT, NH, MA, ME, VT) because of the Northeasters (huge snow storms) that will come in sometimes like every 2 weeks! Even though cities will clean off the snow and people function during the winter time, it's still hard to keep up with and the accumulating ice and snow can be dangerous unless you know what you are doing. However, all around the Northeast like in NY, Pennsylvania etc get really good snow, but not like New England. Good news is from Washington DC to Georgia, the snow is not as intense, however the South is notorious for not knowing what to do in snow and ice. Therefore how cities react is that they close everything down and don't clean up after the ice and snow, so I would check the weather before driving down there. What I would recommend is if you want to see NYC, fly in there maybe, spend a few days and then maybe fly into Miami, and then pick up the camper there maybe and just stick to states where there is not going to be a threat of snow and ice. However it looks like that you want to see a lot of states/sites out west, so maybe you might want to fly in to California, pick up your camper there and start your road trip, and maybe end in FL. I would save NYC for another trip maybe because it's going to be really cold, there will be snow most likely so driving from there would be crazy and hectic. I would suggest you leave from another airport in FL like Fort Myers or Fort Lauterdale because Miami International Airport has insane traffic (as does Miami in general). There's lots of great beaches and places to see all over FL-St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Fort Myers, Naples, Marco Island, Sanibel Island, Estero Beach, Pensicola Beach, there's beaches in Ft. Lauderdale I believe there's lots to see and do. I don't know anything about the Western US, however the states you are going to I know shouldn't have snow and ice issues, however I would use this Dec./January to research the weather in different states on www.weather.com to get an idea of which states you want to drive through and which ones you want to skip all together. I hope this helps and good luck to your trip planning. Happy travels! Reply to this

9 years ago, June 22nd 2014 No: 13 Msg: #182780  
January temperatures in NYC ambit from 4 degrees C to -3 C. Bring a covering and gloves.

I would acclaim aerial into NYC and exploring there first. Once you hire the camper van you could do a abbreviate cruise to Niagara Falls (both the Amercian and Canadian side) if you wanted.
From NYC I would biking to Philadelphia for a nice dosage of American history (2 days) and again on to Washington, DC. It is one of my admired cities. Again you would accept to accomplish some decisions about active beyond country or flying.

If you meant Washington accompaniment I would stick to the aboriginal beat and fly to NYC at the end instead of Florida. Air book from Seattle to NYC or Miami is about $300- $350 per person.

This is not a bargain trip-----Cost: depends on how abundant you fly vs. driving. Right now gasoline is affairs for $3.75 to $4.10 per gallon. Most band don't get abundant mileage. It will depend on the admeasurement of camper that you hire but I would assumption they will get about amid 8 and 14 afar per gallon. (closer to the 8 miles. It is about 3000 afar from LA to NYC.

You will accept the amount of blockage in camper parks which I accept not done in a continued time but I accept they are $20 to $50 per night.

I will be blessed to acknowledgment added questions

[Edited: 2014 Jun 23 11:59 - traveltalesofawoollymammoth:258356 - No commerical links please, thank you]
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6 years ago, January 28th 2017 No: 14 Msg: #199492  
N Posts: 2
We are two Aussie's ourselves that have been road tripping the States. It is a lot bigger than you think so trips will be twice as long as you think! Also the kids may get antsy sitting for such long periods so definitely advise road tripping west coast and then flying over to the east.

Washington is the best! So lush and green and the people are super friendly. If you love the outdoors than this is the place for you. Here are links to two driving itineraries for Washington: <snip> and <snip> We have done both of these. North-western Washington is beautiful with lots of cute small towns and beautiful green bays. You can visit Mt Baker and Anacortes. The Olympic Peninsula will take you to the Hoh Rainforest, Port Angeles and Ruby Beach.

From there head down to Portland which is a of fun and a really inexpensive city. Food is cheap and so is beer. You can visit the Portland Saturday markets which are still open in winter (just a little wet) eat at the many food trucks and if you have time drive out the the Columbia River Gorge area which is known for its pretty waterfalls. Here is a link to the Columbia Gorge area with a list of waterfalls to check out along with other things to do (some fun stuff for the kids too such as the fish hatchery and seeing giant sturgeon) <snip>
From there you can drive down the Oregon coast (be sure to stop at Eugene) or just take the I-5 straight to California. You can then make you way out to the California coast and visit the Redwoods (Avenue of the Giants) Mendocino, Glass Beach, etc. Here is a link to an driving itinerary for the coast which has a little more detail about where to stop: <snip>

From there you will end up in San Francisco where you could spend a day or two. Here is a guide to the top things to do in San Fran which include Fishermans Wharf, watching the seals at pier 39, the crookedest street and visiting Fort Point: <snip>
Then it is up to you whether you want to head inland to Yosemite National Park is AMAZING!! But being winter you probably wont get to explore as much as most of the trails will be closed. So you could drive down the PCH until you reach LA.
Here is a guide to making the most of your time in Los Angeles: <snip>

After visiting LA, Vegas is an easy 4 hour drive but you could stop at Joshua Tree national Park on the way or Death Valley National Park. They are both pretty cool!

Fuel is cheap compared to home! Also if you cook your own food, it is super cheap. Nothing like Australia..

[Edited: 2017 Jan 28 08:44 - traveltalesofawoollymammoth:258356 - No URL's allowed]
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