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Road trip from NY to LA at the end of January...

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I'm planning on driving across the country from NY to LA at the end of January
3 years ago, November 25th 2015 No: 1 Msg: #194127  
I'm moving from NY to LA and will be traveling with my mom who is coming along to make me company and my 2 yr old Rhodesian Ridgeback 😊 I was hoping to get advice on routes to take, budget, tips and general advice. I will have from 1 to 2 weeks available to do this trip.... I've never done a road trip longer than 10 hrs (only down in Florida) so I could really use the help 😊
I know January-February is not ideal to do this, but it has to be that time of the year... any thoughts?

Thanks everyone!! Reply to this

3 years ago, November 26th 2015 No: 2 Msg: #194143  
B Posts: 1,945
Adriana,
Welcome to Travelblog, and the adventure of travel. Congratulations on taking the longer trip. Its similar to a regular vacation except for all the driving. Plan on no more than six hours a day to avoid burnout. Bring lots of music and a good book or two.

Traveling off season can be a challenge. Many attractions are closed or have reduced hours. City attractions and National Parks are most likely to be open. On the plus side, accommodation demand is low and prices are cheap. Unless you are prepared to camp (which will be cold), plan on staying in hotels. I found the best deals online. Alternatively, all state welcome centers have coupon books with deals, although you'll have to wait to the last minute and possibly accept a less-optimal lodging to use them.

Unfortunately, traveling with a pet can be tough. Many hotels won't accept them. There are several websites on the subject which are well worth reading. If you or someone close is a AAA member, get their PetBook of dog friendly hotels.

For routes, unless you are very good driving in snow only a few really work. They all start by driving south to roughly Richmond VA. From there. they pass through some parts of coastal North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, ending up in either Memphis or New Orleans. Avoid the southern Appalachians; the roads get very icy. From there, the route heads into Texas or Oklahoma, then New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Attempting to cross the Rocky Mountains any further north will lead to significant snow.

For what to see, the country is so varied that it depends entirely on your interests. Reading blogs from different areas and searching the forum will produce lots of ideas.

Your trip will be an amazing journey. Please remember to blog it. Reply to this

3 years ago, November 29th 2015 No: 3 Msg: #194212  
Thank you SO mucho for all the advice. I think I might post-pone the moving date to Spring... driving in snow really scares me, besides, my car is not 4x4 so I think I'll be really scared of doing this at all.

Again, thanks for your advice.
Reply to this

3 years ago, December 1st 2015 No: 4 Msg: #194242  
We've driven across the country nearly a dozen times - in all seasons; it can be done, so ask away 😊 You can avoid snow in most of the country by heading south, then cutting across I-40, although you'll still likely have to maneuver through the local snow in New York and thereabouts. You may get snow around Flagstaff, so if that's in the forecast you could cut even further south and use I-10. Pretty much guaranteed no snow on that route, and it can be interesting (White Sands NM, Tucson)

We're about to drive from KY to Seattle this Dec/Jan with our cat (and did a similar drive from KY - Seattle - AZ - KY two winters ago without the cat), so have been doing lots of research into pet friendly lodging. Our usual interstate hotel charges crazy pet fees (and we obviously can't camp like we often do), but Motel 6, La Quinta, Red Roof Inn and Econolodge have either no fees, or they're only $5 - $10/day rather than $75+. We've also learned that "pet friendly" ALWAYS means dog-friendly but only occasionally means "cat friendly," although that is neither here nor there.

Other road-trip tips:
* always keep emergency supplies, just in case (and particularly in winter). We always carry 1-2 gallons of water, in addition to some non-perishable food items. In the winter, this also includes flashlights, and warm clothes/blankets.
* We find that eating take-out gets old after a couple of meals, so keep a small cooler with the kitchen basics (a few condiments, bread, whatever you consider "essential") and then a plate/fork/knife/spoon/cup. That way we can always swing into a supermarket or farm-stall to get fresh fruits, cheeses or meats to complete the meal.
* allow for leisure time on the road and unexpected detours so that you get to experience the "road trip" part of the trip. You can always decide to keep driving and get there faster, but if you come across something really interesting, it's a bit obnoxious to have to think "I really want to see this, but there's no time!" because when else are you going to be driving through that way?
* take frequent breaks. We stop at EVERY state crossing as a rule (which on the East Coast is every couple of hours) whether we feel like we need a break or not. Stand up, stretch, walk around, let your eyes focus someone other than the road .... always useful.

What a great experience you have ahead of you!


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3 years ago, December 21st 2015 No: 5 Msg: #194568  
I second all the above advice, and will add that I suggest you take the full two weeks. The United States is BIG - almost 3,000 miles, and you won't be driving in a straight line. Break the trip up a little and plan a couple of "no-drive" days were you can just enjoy the town you're in. Reply to this

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