USA Roadtrip - Horseshoe Bend [SOURCE]
Growing up in Hawaii, on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 2,467 miles away from the North American coastline, the thought of visiting Mainland USA inevitably conjured up mental pictures of cross-country roadtrips from New York to California.
At 17 years old, fresh out of high school, I caught a plane from Honolulu to New York City and finally discovered what it was like to explore America.
I lived in Long Island, New York for almost four years, and during that time we would take trips across the country whenever we had a chance to, up north to the lakes and mountains of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, down south through the Virginias, Carolinas and Georgia then down to Florida, and out west through Colorado, Nevada and Texas, all the way out to California.
During that time, I learned that there are many different ways to do a cross-country trip across North America.
If you are planning a trip to the USA and Canada, here are just three ideas on how you can go about exploring those places to the full.
Take a Train
California Zephyr Train in Red Canyon Colorado [SOURCE]
Although not as extensive and all-encompassing as the train systems found in Europe or other places, the USA's Amtrak railway system still does a pretty decent job at giving travelers options for exploration.
There aremany routes that cross the country from east to west, up along the coastlines, and even crossing borders into Canada, with rail passes and multi-city ticketing options.
Here are my personal picks for some of Amtrak's popular routes, roughly broken down by region:
Ride a Bus
Greyhound Bus Depot in Seattle, Washington [SOURCE]
The most budget friendly of my three ideas, riding a bus across America is becoming more and more popular as a way to explore the vast North American continent. One of the coolest things about taking a bus is that many of them now offer free WiFi and even electrical outlets.
When it comes to options on bus companies there's a plethora of them out there. Just Google 'bus trip across USA' for example and you will be presented with a ton of different options to choose from.
Some of them offer crazy, crazy low fares, like $1 special rates, whereas many range from $30-60 for roundtrip fares. It's worth checking out different companies and different options being offered.
Rent a Car
The Iconic Route 66 [SOURCE]
Both flexible and satisfying, renting a car and taking off on your own is obviously the most liberating and unfettered of all three cross-country options.
While initially the cost of long-term car rentals may be off-putting, if you consider the fact that most train stations or depots are in out of the way areas and still require additional expenditures for constant movement, then paying up front and having your own wheels the whole time will make the initial rate totally worth it in the long run!
There are lots of reasonable options for car rentals out there, just take some time to input your flexible dates, place of pick up and drop off, and check out the deals that pop-up.
The great thing about many of the rental car companies out there is that often times they let you pick up your reserved car at one destination, and drop it off at another place. With this option, you could truly have an authentic cross-country USA roadtrip experience tailored to your own personal whims!
I'm JR. I come from a long line of adventurers, some were nomadic explorers of the sea and others wandering cultivators of the earth. Ultimately, this legacy of drifters has deeply affected my view of travel. Read more...