Location: Places >> North America >> United States
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Looking for a way to travel from West coast to East coast
Posted December 13th, 2013 - 10:10 am by from Wuustwezel, Belgium (Permalink)

I want to travel a whole month in the States. It can be somewhat expensive to rent a motel every night + car and gas + the plain tickets(I'm coming from Europe).

So i'm looking for some tips to travel, for places to stay and how i should plan a whole month of couchsurfing.

Also, can i like buy/rent a car for a month?

thank you

Posted December 24th, 2013 - 3:47 am by from Mount Shasta, United States (Permalink)
Hi Pieter:

Thank you for considering the US in your travel plans!

Obviously, check back on the forum for other travelers to join up with.

Regarding car rental/purchase: From my experience (someone else might know better) car rentals usually start ~$25/day and that is not including insurance, taxes and the fact that most rental agencies in the US have rules on how many miles or what states you can drive the vehicle in.

Getting around: a lot of the US is really boring to drive across. For instance: Texas and it takes two days to drive across! Consider cheap one way flights between major cities (check out southwest airlines) or the train, Amtrak (www.amtrak.com), or megabus (us.megabus.com). The train is easy to sleep on unless it is completely booked, but is annoyingly slow. Most major cities will have hostels and a lot of areas around national parks and california's coast do as well. Once you get to a major city it is easy to rent a car for a short amount of time to visit at National Parks or other rural areas. If you are headed somewhere like San Francisco a car would be pretty miserable.

Sometimes you can find rooms to rent on airbnb that aren't too expensive. Camping can be fun in the summer.

Couchsurfing is also great: contact some hosts in an area that interests you and see what they recommend.

Have a great visit!



Posted December 24th, 2013 - 10:44 am by from Wuustwezel, Belgium (Permalink)

thank you for your answer :)

I'll probably go by amtrak. I've got a very nice route that just needs some tweaking and then I'm ready to go.

The only thing that i don't like is that i have to book all the trains in advance. The same with the hostels or couch surfing. It kinda pushes me to keep going.

So i still have to figure that out ^^

Posted December 31st, 2013 - 11:21 pm from Winter Haven, United States
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Posted January 1st, 2014 - 4:05 am by from Wuppertal, Germany (Permalink)
Thank you very much for the advice.

I would like to travel from Los Angeles to New York starting in two weeks. I only have a certain budget for the travels so it shouldn't be too expensive. I would travel by means of bus and ride sharing.

During my travels I'd like to see as much as possible and to meet as many new people as possible.
Maybe I even find people who want to join me on my travels for a part of it.

About me; I'm 18 and I just finished school in Europe.

I would be very thankful for any advices.

Thank you everybody!

Posted January 2nd, 2014 - 9:54 am by from Wuustwezel, Belgium (Permalink)
Hi, it'll be probably something like this, although I'm not to sure about the last part.

A nice 7 day's around California.
The the "California Zephyr" train to Denver

From Denver to Raton, New Mexico

Raton, NM to Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff to Chicago

Chicago to NYC

Might be I'll won't go up, but down to Florida

Posted January 5th, 2014 - 4:51 pm by from Clarksburg, United States (Permalink)
Dear Pieter,

California is a beautiful place, it's good that you are spending a lot of time there. Around Northern California the City of San Francisco is wonderful and you can also check out the Napa wine country and make sure to go to Yosemite as well. It would be a bit hurried to do more, but if that is your style then you could certainly take an Amtrak train called the coast starlight to LA and then even the surfrider train to San Diego - both are also nice cities but it depends on how much time you have.

I have never ridden the California Zephyr train to Denver, however I have heard from others that it is the most beautiful train route on the Amtrak line, cutting through the Rocky mountains. Also you can save money by spending your overnights on a train (just in a regular seat, not sleeper car, that costs more) and it's not all that comfortable, but if you're young it is manageable. Make sure you have a blanket, or at least have a towel over your lap, it can get cold.

Denver is a very nice city, a good night life scene, national parks nearby if you want to check them out, and lots of good people. You will really like Denver I think.

As far as getting to Raton, NM - I'm assuming that everything you are mentioning is via Amtrak - and I'm not aware of a train between the 2 cities. Perhaps it is a bus? Either way, there is indeed a train from Raton to Flagstaff, though if I'm understanding this correctly you are going to take the same train back all the way to Chicago from Flagstaff.

Go to Flagstaff for the Grand Canyon - definitely a great idea and a must-do, however, why see the same landscape twice from the train? You can save time by flying direct from Denver. I don't know what your travel dates are, but certainly even if you can't find anything in your price range to fly straight to Flag, I'd imagine you'd find something reasonable at least to Phoenix.

Phoenix is 4 or 5 hours south of Flagstaff, would be another large American city which you could check out, and there would be many options for getting to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix, since it is so popular.

Once you have finished with the Grand Canyon then you plan to see Chicago. I see two options for you here: you could either take the train how you'd originally planned to, or if you didn't already see LA - perhaps you could take the train from Flagstaff the other direction and spend some time in LA before flying to Chicago. For me personally, I find every part of the country to be beautiful in its own way - but you will be crossing lots of similar scenery from about Raton NM until Chicago (which is 2 days of train travel to boot) lots of flat farmland. Anyway it is something to think about.

Chicago is very nice, and there are many options to get between Chicago and New York, flying, buses, trains. If from New York you have the time to make it down to Florida, there are many nice cities in between that you could stop on the way. Philadelphia and Washington DC would both be on the way. Or you could still do those cities, which aren't so far from NY (Philly is 2 hours south, DC about 4-5 hrs south) even without doing Florida.

All right, well I hope that this is helpful to you, enjoy the United States!


Posted January 5th, 2014 - 10:18 pm by from Kamloops, Canada (Permalink)
You can buy a bicycle and travel using www.warmshowers.org. It is like couch surfing but for people with bicycles.

Posted January 6th, 2014 - 4:42 am by from Corvallis, United States (Permalink)
I agree with Malcolm that a bike combines well with Amtrak. Most trains require a box, but they will provide an easy to use box for a small fee. A few trains will allow roll-on roll-off service for bikes.

A bicycle will allow you to move around from any train station with minimal cost. You'll see more detail and, because of the exercise, enjoy it more.

Posted January 6th, 2014 - 10:39 am by from Wuustwezel, Belgium (Permalink)

Thank you all for the very nice reply's.

The main thing I'm now concerned about is the weather.
I've been following the news and noticed that it's very cold in the states at the moment.

Is this going to be better in march?

Posted January 7th, 2014 - 1:25 am by from Corvallis, United States (Permalink)
I haven't heard any positive long term weather reports in a while, Pieter-Jan, but whatever you find, people will manage to be hospitable.