US trip costs

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Andyph
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US trip costs

Post by Andyph »

When the lockdown is eventually over I was planning a trip to the US.

Just looking for a bit of advice on costs?

What costs are you looking at for car hire? And Insurance? I imagine it is a minefield in the US?

And what does a standard Motel cost?

Has anyone ever tried a small campervan instead?

And help much appreicated

Cheers

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Storm Shadow
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Re: US trip costs

Post by Storm Shadow »

Andyph,

I have sent you a PM (I hope).

I can let you have details from my two trips to the US last year.

All the best,

Hugh

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boff180
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Re: US trip costs

Post by boff180 »

Andyph wrote:When the lockdown is eventually over I was planning a trip to the US.

Just looking for a bit of advice on costs?

What costs are you looking at for car hire? And Insurance? I imagine it is a minefield in the US?

And what does a standard Motel cost?

Has anyone ever tried a small campervan instead?

And help much appreicated

Cheers


Costs are what you want them to be. The big thing to remember in the US is tax varies by state and is almost never included in the price you see which can come as a surprise at the checkout.

If you book flights and a car together (BA use AVIS) you are automatically ATOL protected.

Car Hire costs - you’re looking at around £230 for a week with full protection for a Ford Focus. A sat nav is extra if your car hasn’t got one.
Fuel costs - varies by State, California is expensive (still a lot cheaper than here), Arizona is cheap
Driving Law - be aware this changes from State to State
Travel Insurance - get what you can with the highest medical cover possible. I bank with Barclays and get my insurance included with my account via the “Travel Pack” for £12.50 a month which also includes full UK breakdown cover. It’s excellent insurance.
Motel Costs - again it varies from location to location, and the quality of the establishment. Cheapest Motel 6 last October cost me £35 plus tax per night, most expensive hotel I stayed in was £200 a night.

One good tip is that food portions tend to be bigger than here and as a Brit it’s a bit of a shock to the system first time. I’ve beenRegularly going out now for 12 years with friends and alone. A good idea is to eat a good Breakfast early and then you won’t need to eat again until early evening bar a light snack and plenty of fluids in between.

Hope that helps.

Andy

Andyph
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Re: US trip costs

Post by Andyph »

Thanks Gents,

Just the insight I was looking for

Much Ta :)

I'd still be interested to know if anyone has tried a campervan ? and how did that go?

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iainpeden
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Re: US trip costs

Post by iainpeden »

Andy
I'd be wary of booking flights at the moment.
I have (had?) flights booked for my wife and I with BA flying London to Denver then 3 weeks later back from Vegas in mid-June.
Those 2 tickets cost me about £2300 (with the homeward leg being premium economy.)
Currently that route is closed and I don't think we'll be going. However, out of idle curiosity I costed the same flights next March - quoted at £6500.
(Mark Twain: There are lies, there are damn lies and then there are statistics)

verreli
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Re: US trip costs

Post by verreli »

Not sure if this will help but a few years ago I did a 7000 mile road trip in the states to watch the total eclipse of the sun. I seriously looked at a campervan because I wanted the flexibility of being able to be locate in clear skies on eclipse day. Ultimately I decided against it on cost grounds (plus parking flexibility). Instead I hired a Mustang convertible and took a tent for when I needed flexibility. It was half the cost of what a camper would have been and a better overall experience (for me).

Flights to San Francisco seem to be good value. For the last few years I've paid c.£300 return in economy which considering the distance is remarkable value. I've used Alamo and Hertz from SFO and had no problems with either despite having a pine cone drop from a tree in Yosemite and crack the windscreen. It cost me 7p per mile in fuel for the Mustang and 12p per mile for a huge 7 seat 4x4 that I took in winter. If you plan to go in the national parks I can recommend you get an 'America the Beautiful' pass. It saves hassle and cost.

To echo the post above, think carefully about booking flights at the moment. My trip in three weeks time is likely off due to the current uncertainty. I also looked at doing something later in the year but will book at the last minute when things are guaranteed and only if the cost is sensible.

DOUGHNUT
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Re: US trip costs

Post by DOUGHNUT »

Had flights booked for Washington next month with BA. Flights were priced at £350 return. When the airline system is back up and running do not expect to see prices that low. All airlines will need to recoup their massive losses and that will mean higher prices. Also probably less routes will be flown thus lower capacity to save costs and higher seat price. That is before we consider the realignment in dollar exchange rates. Best of luck with your travel plans.

Zoom
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Re: US trip costs

Post by Zoom »

I also went for the solar eclipse in 2017; decided Denver was an ideal base as it also offered the Rocky Mountains. Booked BA flights a year ahead for £1200 each (which we knocked in half thanks to Avios) as I thought they would be booked solid nearer the time. Just checked for next Easter £925 return

Hired a car through Alamo, just a cheap little Toyota a few years old. They were very pushy and tried to get me to upgrade to something bigger at the airport. Campervan hire was ridiculous for 2 people, also you have to stay overnight in a hotel the first night I believe. Plus campground fees are high, as much as a cheap motel in many places.

Food was very cheap and huge portions. Petrol about £2 a gallon. Just be aware distances between anywhere are vast compared to Europe so don't plan too ambitious an itinerary.

As others have said I'd be very wary of booking anything at the moment, especially if it's not all one package that can be cancelled or rescheduled for no financial loss, also holiday insurance brokers are holding off new policies and saying that C-19 may not be covered.
Last edited by Zoom on Fri 17 Apr 2020, 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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iainpeden
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Re: US trip costs

Post by iainpeden »

The best thing you can buy if you are planning a trip to the states is the AA Road Atlas of America. Much clearer than anything on-screen because you can spot what is near what (for example Grand Canyon Village to Monument Valley is only half a day's drive). It also shows where the military bases are.
It was also very useful when we got fogged in at Front Royal intending to drive the mountain route and had to navigate to Charlottesville along the lowland road.
(Mark Twain: There are lies, there are damn lies and then there are statistics)

verreli
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Re: US trip costs

Post by verreli »

Although I too take a map, I also take an android sat nav app on a tablet for navigation. Pre trip I input all hotels, attractions, parking etc. When I pick up the car, I plug it into the 12v, get a sat lock and I'm away. Zero hassle. I've hired cars all over the world and to have the same user interface giving you directions is a HUGE benefit, especially in unfamiliar surrounding, often at night after a long haul flight.

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iainpeden
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Re: US trip costs

Post by iainpeden »

Verrielu
Take the point - but as a 62 year old geographer by training I LOVE maps!!!
The atlas is great for the planning stage as you spot things/places/possibilities which you will miss on electronic gizmos.
:smile:
(Mark Twain: There are lies, there are damn lies and then there are statistics)

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Mictheslik
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Re: US trip costs

Post by Mictheslik »

On the camper van question, we took a Jucy van from Oakland to Las Vegas in 2018. Really good service. Not the cheapest (but much cheaper than staying in hotels near Yosemite!). Just be careful as many work on a fixed price then mileage, so it pays to know how many miles you’re planning to do and getting a discount on a prepaid package.

It was also very convenient having ice cold water in the fridge for long days in the canyon watching the action!

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verreli
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Re: US trip costs

Post by verreli »

iainpeden wrote:...as a 62 year old geographer by training I LOVE maps!!!

Nothing wrong with a good map. I remember as an 18 year old flying out in the Nevada desert pre glass cockpit and GPS. I was flying by dead reckoning and could see mountains on the map that didn't look like anything the mk1 eyeball could see. At those times you learn the practicalities of radio navigation fast. GPS has made it too easy. I digress...

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pbeardmore
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Re: US trip costs

Post by pbeardmore »

Depending of the time of year, check out universities and colleges for a cheap alternative to hotels. You can get some good deals and facilities on campus can be very good. We stayed at a Uni in Dayton once and rented a 3 bedroom apt and it worked out way cheaper than other options. Just a thought
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Andyph
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Re: US trip costs

Post by Andyph »

Thanks Gents,

Some really good pointers there

Ta

stickshaker
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Re: US trip costs

Post by stickshaker »

As above, but avoid paying the car hire company a daily rate for excess waiver by getting a policy at home to cover what you need - worldwide/single trip/annual etc. Also I use TomTom on my phone - it is only £12.99 a year, way cheaper than car hire company rates and always up to date maps. No data connection required when overseas as the maps are all stored on the device - although you would need data for traffic etc.

rob68
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Re: US trip costs

Post by rob68 »

Was in Arizona, California and Nevada January, one thing to watch out for on hire cars is the lack of sat nav, I had to download the android app and link to the car. What I didn't release was that as I'd got power saving set on phone, the dam thing would turn itself off. ( Usually at a junction). Make sure you turn power saving off. The other thing was the glare on the in car screen, couldn't see a thing at times, wasnt angled to driver but one of those that stuck up flat from dash.

XP282
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Re: US trip costs

Post by XP282 »

Do you have any idea what apex of the US you'd like to visit / what do you want to see? I find the US such a vast country that there can be significant variations along the way. What do you want to see / whats your area of interest?

ZRX61
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Re: US trip costs

Post by ZRX61 »

My advice would be to NOT drive a vehicle that is identified as a rental. They used to do this in Florida until it became apparent the tourists were being targeted as they were unlikely to be armed. That green contraption sticks out like a bulldogs balls.

Moondance
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Re: US trip costs

Post by Moondance »

Very much a ballpark figure based on our last two trips to the USA, but we spent approx £1100 per week for two people (excluding flights, but including car hire, petrol, motels, food, attractions & shopping).

To give a bit more detail :

2018 - Los Angeles, San Diego & Planes of Fame Airshow. 13 days car hire $327, average motel cost $93 per night (lowest $80, highest $134)
2019 - Road trip round Texas, culminating with Wings Over Houston Airshow. 14 days car hire $455, average motel cost $63 per night (lowest $45, highest $82)

We always use Alamo for car hire in the USA, look for an all inclusive package that includes all insurances. Never fall for the hard sell to upgrade when collecting the vehicle, especially if you've booked a smaller car - chances are you'll get a free upgrade as they don't seem to have many small cars available. The motel prices in California are probably on the high side as it was a late decision to go, everything booked a week before travel.

ZRX61
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Re: US trip costs

Post by ZRX61 »

Moondance wrote:Very much a ballpark figure based on our last two trips to the USA, but we spent approx £1100 per week for two people (excluding flights, but including car hire, petrol, motels, food, attractions & shopping).

To give a bit more detail :

2018 - Los Angeles, San Diego & Planes of Fame Airshow. 13 days car hire $327, average motel cost $93 per night (lowest $80, highest $134)
2019 - Road trip round Texas, culminating with Wings Over Houston Airshow. 14 days car hire $455, average motel cost $63 per night (lowest $45, highest $82)

We always use Alamo for car hire in the USA, look for an all inclusive package that includes all insurances. Never fall for the hard sell to upgrade when collecting the vehicle, especially if you've booked a smaller car - chances are you'll get a free upgrade as they don't seem to have many small cars available. The motel prices in California are probably on the high side as it was a late decision to go, everything booked a week before travel.
Nope, Everything is more expensive in Ca.

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Archer
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Re: US trip costs

Post by Archer »

verreli wrote:
Fri 17 Apr 2020, 5:50 pm
Although I too take a map, I also take an android sat nav app on a tablet for navigation. Pre trip I input all hotels, attractions, parking etc. When I pick up the car, I plug it into the 12v, get a sat lock and I'm away. Zero hassle. I've hired cars all over the world and to have the same user interface giving you directions is a HUGE benefit, especially in unfamiliar surrounding, often at night after a long haul flight.
I agree, I use an app called HERE We Go, which is free, doesn't need an internet connection while on the road, and which works really well for me. Just preload the maps you need beforehand, and you can also input all your stops. I always bring my own 12V charger (just to be sure, most rental vehicles have got a USB connection these days, which has the added benefit of being able to play your own tunes from your phone) and a holder that fits on most ventilation grilles.

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BDL
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Re: US trip costs

Post by BDL »

One of the benefits of being a Three customer is being able to use your internet allowance abroad, so no issues with using Waze or Google Maps (unless you are in Hicksville Pop. 21).

Luckily the last three cars I've hired out there all came with Android Auto.

rob68
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Re: US trip costs

Post by rob68 »

Dont forget if want to go to AMARC you have to book at least two weeks in advance

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iainpeden
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Re: US trip costs

Post by iainpeden »

If you are near Gettyburg give it 2 days, one for the visitors centre, one for the batlefield and an evening in the pub on the town square where the beers are extensive and very, very tasty. There's also a bar near Fisherman's Wharf (SF) with 38 beers on tap.
(Mark Twain: There are lies, there are damn lies and then there are statistics)

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