Welcome to the TravelPod forums
This is the place where TravelPod bloggers exchange travel tips with each other. Have a question? Ask one of our Local Experts by clicking "new topic" in any category.

2 Pages V  1 2 >  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Where to start?? Florida? New Mexico?, This is just the beginning of a RTW
mynetdude
post Sep 27 2008, 11:42 AM
Post #1


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




I already live in Oregon, been to some states in the US haven't been to them all and so why not see all the states first?

I'm going to keep this extremely short unlike my uber legnthly introductory post (for any of those who saw it, probably only read the first paragraph and then quit! biggrin.gif).

I have travelled when I was younger, and would like to travel again but this time travel and see everything (although I'm not really into the arts, culture, festivals, cookouts, crowds, parades, etc all that much).

I have about $2,000-$2,500/month to spend and I'm having difficulty trying to figure out how people are actually able to spend $1,000 per month to travel along with that difficulty I'm having trouble figuring out how to get tour/hotel packages so I can get cheaper hotels. Ever since the idea stuck with me I've been getting less sleep but this is what I've figured out so far:

On the cheap side I figured a hotel will cost me anywhere from $40-$75/night plus tax (actually if you start going $65 upwards I'd say we're talking about not so cheap anymore) granted if I could find a decent hotel for $40/night I'm looking to spend roughly $1,100/month in lodging plus some change for tax so I based it on some averages about $50-$55/night plus tax I'll look closer to spending $1,300-$1,500/month in lodging on average for hotels and thats rediculously high! Hostels only let you stay 28 days max, but I'm not necessarily staying in one place every 3-5 days and extended stay hotels are just as costly as regular hotels.

Hostels will only let you stay 28 days, but I haven't found a hostel in the south/southeast sad.gif, I could also stay at an extended stay hotel although after some brisk research some brands are just as expensive as a regular hotel (though I did find extended stay rates in Panama City FL for $28.43/night plus tax which is considerably better than $38-$55).

To be honest I want to do things at my own pace, pick up tours when I want them as I need them rather than not get a full package even if I have to buy myself a self guided tour package to get cheaper hotel rates that is fine with me.

I thought about starting off in Florida, but I can start off anywhere really as I plan to do this all year long and Florida for the winter sounds warm enough for me smile.gif. I don't want to start off in Nevada because there are certain attractions I want to see but they only operate during the spring/summer and so I didn't want to backtrack (and that seems to be likely to happen no matter where I go).

If anybody has ideas/options that I haven't considered please throw them on the table, it will help me put it together smile.gif. Thanks in advance! smile.gif
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
jacquesl
post Sep 27 2008, 12:23 PM
Post #2


Journeyer
*******

Group: TP Staff
Posts: 3560
Joined: 12-September 06
From: Ottawa Ontario, Canada.
Member No.: 17335




Have you thought of checking couchsurfing?



--------------------
support@travelpod.com
Can't figure it out ...we can! Just ask us!
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mynetdude
post Sep 27 2008, 12:41 PM
Post #3


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




QUOTE(2olives @ Sep 27 2008, 12:21 PM) *

I feel for you. The US just seems so backpacker unfriendly. I don't know of any hostels in Kansas City.

Have you thought about camping and couchsurfing to help stretch your limited funds?

How are you planning to get around?


I've looked into the couchsurfing idea, but I'd probably do that when I'm in go between because one can't stay that many days as I want to see as much as possible even if I go see some small unusual podunk town that is different than the others.

As to getting around that will depend on where I am at the time, what I want to see and what is reasonable. My initial get there will be Greyhound/Amtrak, I will fly home in July and November of '09 and of course getting back will be by ground again.

I figured that depending on where I want to go/see will determine whether I will need to rent a car or not or hire a taxicab (again, depends on how far I'm going, if its too far then a rental car will be the norm).

So you're saying $2,500/month is really not enough for a US tour? Remember I'll be living randomly not in a house, so by not having a house to pay rent for and all my bills that $2,500 is now no longer allocated.
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mynetdude
post Sep 27 2008, 12:46 PM
Post #4


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




looked at the couchsurfing website, only two couchsurfers in FL if thats where I choose to start but they are not anywhere near where I'd begin.

So it looks like this could be more expensive than it should be, can hotel/combo package deals make it cheaper for me? LIke hotel/tour or hotel/car/tour etc. The thing is I don't want to rent a car unless I absolutely have to and if I have to get a "throw away" car then I've just wasted the opportunity to use a car (as I don't really see the need to while in the big cities).
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mmbcross
post Sep 28 2008, 10:16 AM
Post #5


Tripper
******

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 2002
Joined: 4-June 06
Member No.: 2195




http://www.hostelworld.com/

http://www.hostels.com/us.html

http://www.hiusa.org/

http://www.usahostels.com/

http://www.hostelusa.com/

Surely one of these could help you find lower cost accommodations. I know even in South Beach Miami there are inexpensive hostels. I'm not so sure about Kansas City though.

Greyhound would seem the way to go, but surprisingly enough sometimes the airfare is lower for longer distances.

Never ever take a scheduled tour! Always first visit the local tourist office who generally have free maps for walking tours and experienced staff to give you advice.

Renting a car is not a bad idea. It's certainly cheaper than a taxi. For example the taxi fare from Miami Int'l Airport to Miami Beach is US$ 32.00. An inexpensive car rental for 24 hours from MIA runs at about US$ 30.00. You don't need to tip anyone if you rent a car! I spoke to a friend yesterday who was staying in Miami Beach. He told me he had taken a taxi from his hotel to South Beach and had paid US$ 10.00 each way, which he considered quite reasonable. When I told him that a public bus did the same route every 15 minutes for US$ 1.50 each way, he was horrified. "But no one told he" he protested! If he had taken two minutes to get online he would have found the bus route, timetable and price.

The secret? Be creative and investigate all your options prior to arrival.



--------------------
.
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mynetdude
post Sep 28 2008, 12:07 PM
Post #6


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




QUOTE(mmbcross @ Sep 28 2008, 10:16 AM) *

http://www.hostelworld.com/

http://www.hostels.com/us.html

http://www.hiusa.org/

http://www.usahostels.com/

http://www.hostelusa.com/

Surely one of these could help you find lower cost accommodations. I know even in South Beach Miami there are inexpensive hostels. I'm not so sure about Kansas City though.

Greyhound would seem the way to go, but surprisingly enough sometimes the airfare is lower for longer distances.

Never ever take a scheduled tour! Always first visit the local tourist office who generally have free maps for walking tours and experienced staff to give you advice.

Renting a car is not a bad idea. It's certainly cheaper than a taxi. For example the taxi fare from Miami Int'l Airport to Miami Beach is US$ 32.00. An inexpensive car rental for 24 hours from MIA runs at about US$ 30.00. You don't need to tip anyone if you rent a car! I spoke to a friend yesterday who was staying in Miami Beach. He told me he had taken a taxi from his hotel to South Beach and had paid US$ 10.00 each way, which he considered quite reasonable. When I told him that a public bus did the same route every 15 minutes for US$ 1.50 each way, he was horrified. "But no one told he" he protested! If he had taken two minutes to get online he would have found the bus route, timetable and price.

The secret? Be creative and investigate all your options prior to arrival.



Thanks for all the hostel links, actually I didn't realize that there were more than one hostel organization and indeed there are a couple of hostels in south/central Florida.

Indeed airfare is just as good if not cheaper over long distances, so I know I'll most likely fly to my starting point since its a long ways and I'll tell you why: If I want to start in Florida I would start in Pensacola: Greyhound $239, Amtrak $296, Delta/Alaska Airlines $281 so for $40 more than the bus/Greyhound I can get there faster and I don't have to spend as much on food on my way there (and I won't have the agony of trying to sleep for 2 1/2 days on the bus).

I agree that while a taxi for $10 from the airport to the hotel is actually reasonable, at the same time public transportation can also do it for a whole lot less but I'm more inclined to take a taxi on my first day there A) heavy luggage and cool.gif it just saves you the headache when you've got luggage with you. Once you've got all your stuff taken care of though, then you take public transpo as much as possible unless you're going to state parks and stuff (then you have to decide whether you need a rental car or taxi because I don't think there is public transpo to state parks).

I have been looking at the camping option, its a lot cheaper (almost as much as the average hostel that isn't in a major city) but camping presents a few problems A) transportation (I'd need to rent the car, and I don't really want to do that in a major city) cool.gif Food/cooking and C) gear (and it'll get almighty heavy!)
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
starlagurl
post Sep 29 2008, 10:10 AM
Post #7


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 14509
Joined: 5-November 07
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Member No.: 103914




How come you aren't just going to start from Oregon? If you're going by bus, that would be the easiest.

As for cheap hotels, check out the "Specialty Lodging" section when you are searching in TripAdvisor. There are usually hostels in that option.


--------------------
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mynetdude
post Sep 29 2008, 01:38 PM
Post #8


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




QUOTE(starlagurl @ Sep 29 2008, 10:10 AM) *

How come you aren't just going to start from Oregon? If you're going by bus, that would be the easiest.

As for cheap hotels, check out the "Specialty Lodging" section when you are searching in TripAdvisor. There are usually hostels in that option.


Well if I had started earlier, I would have just done just that and besides I've seen most of Oregon already on the coast, all the way up to Tillamook Cheese factory and the Evergreen Aviation museum, I've travelled on the well known I-5 corridor probably 200 times (I lived in Washington for a time) so I've seen most places around there, the only place I haven't been to much is Bend/Redmond (I've been there 4 times but on a very limited basis).

The only other place I would REALLY like to go see actually is Pendelton, they have an underground city that was made during WWII I believe can't remember who made it but I want to go see that at some point.

My ultimate reason for starting in the southeast is weather, its going to get very cold in Oregon, snow, etc the idea is to make travelling less hazardous and a bit less difficult (sure I know travelling won't be easy anywhere I go regardless of weather but its not practical in the winter time).
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
starlagurl
post Sep 29 2008, 01:45 PM
Post #9


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 14509
Joined: 5-November 07
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Member No.: 103914




When are you leaving? This year???


--------------------
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mmbcross
post Sep 29 2008, 03:24 PM
Post #10


Tripper
******

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 2002
Joined: 4-June 06
Member No.: 2195




Most airports have van shuttle services that will drop you off at your hotel. For example Miami uses Super Shuttle. If you are travelling by yourself they come out much cheaper than a taxi.


--------------------
.
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mynetdude
post Sep 29 2008, 10:49 PM
Post #11


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




QUOTE(starlagurl @ Sep 29 2008, 01:45 PM) *

When are you leaving? This year???


January '09 I'd like to begin my quest, but I'm hitting plenty of roadblocks from my mom and others they have a different suggestion and while they have VALID suggestions/points I'm not all exactly sure I want to do it their way.

QUOTE(mmbcross @ Sep 29 2008, 03:24 PM) *

Most airports have van shuttle services that will drop you off at your hotel. For example Miami uses Super Shuttle. If you are travelling by yourself they come out much cheaper than a taxi.


Well yeah, I forgot about the shuttle and some hotels offer free shuttle others charge or you have to use an airport shuttle that does hotel service which may charge as well. I remember using Blue Star shuttle out of Vancouver, WA it was $20-$25 per person and I believe a taxi was around $40-$60 so even for two people on the shuttle isn't a bad idea.


User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mynetdude
post Sep 29 2008, 10:55 PM
Post #12


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




Ok here's the gist that I discussed with family and friends:

How am I going to get around: I explained I would use public transit within the city provided its decent (and hopefully it is, at least major cities have decent transportation).

I'd like to check out Pensacola and Panama City Florida as they are close by, and I explained to family that getting from city to city would generally be by Greyhound and if Greyhound isn't available I would rent a car and drop off when no longer needed, etc.

One of the suggestions made to me was to start from where I am at like Louise asked. I suppose I could do that, but I really didn't want to try to deal with wintery travel as it can be more difficult and safety hazards increase and since I don't have 20/20 vision and I have far less vision than 20/35 so that doesn't mean I can't see it just means I have to get closer to see the real deal.

The other suggestion made was that I should book me a $2,500 tour package somewhere and then come back for awhile and then go again in the future to some place else... but then you're no longer doing "backpacking" type travel and being on a tour wasn't exactly what I had in mind although the fact they do the planning, booking, transportation puts a lot of it out of your hands and then you can get on/off the bus as you please (if it is that type of tour, as there are some like that).

What would YOU do as a FIRST timer traveler?
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
starlagurl
post Sep 30 2008, 10:02 AM
Post #13


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 14509
Joined: 5-November 07
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Member No.: 103914




If I was from North America, and a first time traveler in the US, I would not book a guided tour.

If you were going to another continent and expressing these same fears, I would say yes, absolutely book a guided tour.

You are already deeply familiar with the culture in the U.S. It seems like you are doing tons of research and that you have the confidence to do it yourself. Even though your mom is expressing doubts, it's "only because she loves you" and she's worried about you. I'm sure she wants you to fulfill your travel goals as much as you do. It seems like she's just criticizing you because she wants you to look at the challenge from every angle. (Like you are already doing anyway)

For you, I would recommend you try it the way you initially wanted to. Hopping Greyhound buses and figuring out public transit when you get there. I find that usually, my first impulse is the best one.


--------------------
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mmbcross
post Sep 30 2008, 10:06 AM
Post #14


Tripper
******

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 2002
Joined: 4-June 06
Member No.: 2195




Oh! I like the free and cheap beer. What more can you ask for?

Without doubt I think everyone on this forum would be against you taking a US$ 2,500 inclusive tour. Planning is half the fun!

2olives is right. List the cities or areas you want to visit, and then link them together as best you can. When you mark everything on a map, it will all fall into place. You know that us nosy people on Travelpod will always be here to give you their $0.02 contribution, and some may actually be of help.

Regarding prices in different areas, we just did a trip to Yellowstone Park, and found that accommodation prices in Jackson, WY were easily double those we found in Cody, WY. So always be ready to compromise.


--------------------
.
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mynetdude
post Sep 30 2008, 01:02 PM
Post #15


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




QUOTE(2olives @ Sep 30 2008, 08:31 AM) *

I get why you want to start in Florida. I would do the same, I think.

Here is my $0.02 contribution - I think it is going to be super important to identify your trip priorities and investigate the details of your options in terms of accomodations and transportation. If you stick to hostels most of the time, and stay on a route that will easily lend itself to use of public transportation, I totally think you can pull it off. But sweeping generalizations won't help you.

You need at least a basic plan: what are you priorities on this trip? Meeting other people? Going it alone? Quiet contemplation? Adventuring? What are you after? What is your timeframe?

Next, you need to pick your route. Only then can you really investigate, bend, and flex to accomodate your priorities to your resources. For example, maybe there is one place you're keen on visiting that has no apparent affordable accomodations (hostels, budget motels) so in that case, you can look into couchsurfing or camping. I think you'll find that once you have a structure in place, find a way won't be so hard.

Hope that helps!

P.S. Right after I posted this, I saw the thread on free things to do in NYC, including a link to free and cheap beer. I think you'll find that once you identify your route, we can be a VERY helpful bunch smile.gif


Priorities: Well see thats the thing, I honestly think my priority is just getting out there. While I won't say meeting people isn't on my priority list (well it is) but who am I going to meet? This isn't New Zealand where everyone says Hi every 3 steps you take (Ask Scott Woz, damn I love his blog I've been addicted to reading every single one of his entries esp the NZ part of his trip).

Route: I have a route picked out within the state of Florida, I also have a general route plan for the entire continental US at least I think I am fairly sure. I don't have any particular place I have in mind I really want to see. I've been to NYC 11 years ago, been to Pensacola 10 years ago, been to Mobile by bus (only changed busses there) 10 years ago, Atlanta, Charleston (at 2am, pitch black nothing to see) Richmond VA (stayed there almost 2 weeks) Virginia Beach/Wash DC (I'm not exactly sure I want to go back there IMHO I spent literally an 14 hour day just walking nonstop and man I'd kill my cousin for that).

I've researched ALOT of state parks in Florida some are very awesome, found some caves to go see, kayaking, snorkeling (I love kayaking but I noticed they don't offer ocean kayaks sad.gif as most of it is for river kayaking. Florida seems to have a lot of airboat tours all over and I definetely would like to check one of those out and I'm not going on every single one of them because the idea is to see something unique you're not going to find anywhere else.

I've checked the couchsurfing idea, I'm looking into the matter as I "speak" the last time I checked there didn't seem to be hardly any but 4-6 in Florida although my very recent search showed a lot more so I'm going to investigate further. There are definetely only 2-3 hostels in Florida but they are much further south and won't be staying with them until I get closer obviously.

Camping is pretty much out of the question, it isn't feasible unless I have to rent a car (and I probably could get away with renting a car for less than $180/week (a LOT cheaper than a hotel for the week!!!) because camping means going just 5-10 miles away from civilization and there are no public transit. Again, couchsurfing isn't such a problem as they are closer to the city and I could get close enough by public transit and again I have to be reminded that I do have a walking limit so walking 5-10 blocks from the bus stop to someone's house isn't going to work but I don't mind taking a taxi at the beginning/end of the day to get relatively closer to the city and just have the taxi drop me off at some random point and off I go (and I am aware it could cost $5-$10 to do that each time).

There are actually some free stuff out there in the NW region of the panhandle, namely museums there are a at least 3-4 them (almost 1 in every city at least has free admission). I am not into the beer, thats the other thing I'm seeing around here seems like 90% drunkards! tongue.gif lol j/k!!!
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
starlagurl
post Sep 30 2008, 01:18 PM
Post #16


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 14509
Joined: 5-November 07
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Member No.: 103914




Drunkard is quite a harsh term, I prefer aficionado.

I think you're doing really awesome work researching. Seems like you don't need too much of our help anyway.


--------------------
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mynetdude
post Sep 30 2008, 03:21 PM
Post #17


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




QUOTE(starlagurl @ Sep 30 2008, 01:18 PM) *

Drunkard is quite a harsh term, I prefer aficionado.

I think you're doing really awesome work researching. Seems like you don't need too much of our help anyway.


Haha I don't mean drunkard as a derogratory statement, but you are right its a pretty stiff word to use. Hey its not like I haven't tried beer, I just don't particularly care for beer (I don't mind doing beer tasting if they ever come in a pint) FWIW I do like Mike's Hard lemonade as it has alcohol in it but its not classified as a beer. And some beer isn't so bad either.

Well, I wouldn't say I needed help exactly but each area has different options and if someone knows that area can point out something I might like/need to know then thats usually a good idea to make sure I didn't miss anything.

BTW for some odd reason the first time I looked for couchsurf hosts, there were not that many... now all of the sudden there are tons of them in Pensacola.

This thread has gone wild... oh well its so lost.. who cares! biggrin.gif

hyper.gif
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
starlagurl
post Sep 30 2008, 03:31 PM
Post #18


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 14509
Joined: 5-November 07
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Member No.: 103914




I know you're joking...

Yes, I would be surprised if there were only four results for a search of Florida, maybe you accidentally clicked some kind of weird box and then searched the wrong thing...There should be tons of results.


--------------------
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
mynetdude
post Sep 30 2008, 03:38 PM
Post #19


Voyager
**

Group: Members
Posts: 86
Joined: 26-September 08
Member No.: 245111




QUOTE(starlagurl @ Sep 30 2008, 03:31 PM) *

I know you're joking...

Yes, I would be surprised if there were only four results for a search of Florida, maybe you accidentally clicked some kind of weird box and then searched the wrong thing...There should be tons of results.


Found lots of couchsurfers in Pensacola and Ft Walton Beach and a few in Panama City. I would probably have to stay at a hotel for the first night then meet up with a host sometime during the next day then try to arrange meeting a few more hosts so I have a string of them for a week (Pensacola will take at least a week to see/do things and ofc some of the surrounding areas where I would need to drive to due to no transportation).

Once I would leave Panama City, thats where I would end up in hotels as there is only one surfer, but she is traveling wink.gif So probably none until I got to Tallahassee for example.

OTOH I'm still debating on the campervan idea... its a very nice idea and I'm almost tempted to do it I just don't want to have to try to drive it through major cities and trying to read all the signs making sure I know where I'm going smile.gif and I think I would have LESS stress trying to drive such vehicle and let the train, planes and busses handle it biggrin.gif

We'll see though... one BIG advantage to having a campervan... is I can bring my dog!
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
starlagurl
post Sep 30 2008, 03:51 PM
Post #20


Rolling Stone
********

Group: Local Expert
Posts: 14509
Joined: 5-November 07
From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Member No.: 103914




You could try a GPS maybe, to help with the directions?


--------------------
User is offlinePM
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

2 Pages V  1 2 >
Fast ReplyReply to this topicStart new topic

 


- Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 24th April 2014 - 02:51 AM
Top Hotel Destinations in USA

Albuquerque Hotels
Anaheim Hotels
Atlanta Hotels
Austin Hotels
Boston Hotels
Branson Hotels
Charlotte Hotels
Chicago Hotels
Columbus Hotels
Dallas Hotels
Denver Hotels
Fort Lauderdale Hotels
Honolulu Hotels
Houston Hotels
Indianapolis Hotels
Jacksonville Hotels
Kansas City Hotels
Kissimmee Hotels
Las Vegas Hotels
Los Angeles Hotels
Memphis Hotels
Miami Hotels
Miami Beach Hotels
Myrtle Beach Hotels
Nashville Hotels
New Orleans Hotels
New York City Hotels
Orlando Hotels
Philadelphia Hotels
Phoenix Hotels
Portland Hotels
Saint Louis Hotels
San Antonio Hotels
San Diego Hotels
San Francisco Hotels
Scottsdale Hotels
Seattle Hotels
Tampa Hotels
Tucson Hotels
Washington DC Hotels



Copyright © 1997 - 2011 TravelPod.com, a proud founder of travel blogs on the web. All Rights Reserved.