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Author Topic: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months  (Read 6030 times)

mariaben

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We have plans to spend half a year in USA and half a year in UK/Europe.
We have travelled to TN and CA before in June-August so we know what the weather was like there then but wanted to run our travel plans past you all to see if we can improve.

We are 2 adults (42 and 38) and 3 kids (aged 15, 13 and 10 at time of travel). We homeschool so we do want to go to "educational" places and the kids have always wanted to do Disneyland and/or Disneyworld so history and fun and nature are our goals. The parts of Canada we want to see are Ontario, Quebec through to PEI so 2-4 weeks would be fine to tweek our plans to what suits best.

The parts of the States we want to see for sure are: Cali (3-4 weeks with friends, Disney etc...), Arizona, possibly Nevada. SD (Little House books), MN (friends and Little House books), Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania (Amish), maybe TN to retrace some of our last visit now that the kids are old enough to remember, Virginia (history), DC (10-14 days), florida (2 weeks)

We land in LA in August 2015 and fly out in February 2016. Our travel route looks like this at the moment:

Fly to SD (to obtain a drivers licence and register our purchased RV), from there we are going to MN then either into Canada for a month or across to Michigan to enter Canada for 2-3 weeks instead.

so it would look like:
August: LA, SD, MN
September: Canada (or MN, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan then Canada)
October and November: NE USA down to Florida by start if December paying special attention Penn, DC and Virginia.
December/January: Florida then across towards California.
January/February: California

questions are:
if we wanted to do Disneyland, Grand canyon, Redwoods forest etc... would we be best to do at start or finish because of weather?
we could possibly finish in Florida or at least SE USA and fly onto UK from there, what would work best for the autumn/winter season?
Are the months we have indicated suitable for RV travel (I am trying to work best with the Autumn/winter weather by travelling south in winter but can you think of a better way of doing it keeping in mind we do need to travel at that time of year?

we are eligible for a 6 month visa so that's fine. we know buying an RV would be complicated so we are hoping to avoid it by doing a buy back program or a cheap long term rental (not that they exist) and we will be travelling in an RV that comfortably fits us all, maybe a C class 27-30 foot so everyone has their own space.

Anything else you think might be helpful is always appreciated!!

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 05:59:10 AM »
    Welcome to the Forum.  Having traveled from Atlantic Canada to all of the areas that are on your list.  While it is doable, you will be spending a lot of time merely driving by sights, and little time experiencing them.  For example Ontario to PEI, furthest west to furthest east, is about 3,500 kms or 2,200 miles, with lots to see, and that excludes Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.  Overall, from what you say you want to do, you would be driving over 16,000 kms or 10,000 miles.  Most of us would prefer to do those areas over several trips.
    While New Brunswick offers a lot of excellent sights in the fall for the adults, I would not recommend an extended visit into October, the beaches will not be bearable, the golf will be cold, and many/most of the tourist locations clost early September.  You will find great seafood and lots of historic places & museums.
    As for visiting the US into the fall, you will need to similarly schedule your time to avoid the northern mid west or elevation as they get cold earlier than the southern states or even the far west.  So places like Yellowstone (a must see) & nearby Grand Titons are not a great late October/November visit.

Ed
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SeilerBird

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 06:31:00 AM »
I agree with Ed, you are biting off more than you can chew. I would suggest doing this is two trips. Divide the destinations up by west of the Mississippi and east of the Mississippi. When you say LA I am assuming you are talking about Los Angeles and not Louisiana (which is also abbreviated (LA).
Quote
if we wanted to do Disneyland, Grand canyon, Redwoods forest etc... would we be best to do at start or finish because of weather?
That right there is at least one month, better two months of exploration and travel. You would be much better off doing that part of the trip first since in February you would be probably running into snow at the Grand  Canyon and on the way to the Redwood Forest. Just the trip from Disneyland to the Grand Canyon to the Redwood forest is about a week of driving.

I think  you need to rethink your vacation.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 07:47:32 AM »
Are you aware you can visit DisneyWORLD in Florida instead of (or in addition to) Disney LAND in California?

Returning to California after visiting Florida seems a terrible waste of your valuable time - probably several days of constant driving or two weeks at a more leisurely pace. Suggest you end the US trip in FL and go to the UK from there.

The northeastern US and adjacent Canada gets pretty chilly by November, and often rainy as well. We've spent the last three summers in Maine and its already cold/damp/rainy by mid-September.  But there can be some spectacular days in October, clear & crisp with glorious fall colors on the oak & maple trees.

Virginia and Florida weather gets really nice by mid-late October - a great time to enjoy the sights there.
Gary
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Wavery

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2014, 10:37:47 AM »
While in CA, you may not want to miss Yosemite National Park. IMHO (after touring 57 countries around the world), Yosemite is the most beautiful spot on the planet....... just my 2 cents.
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catblaster

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2014, 12:07:32 PM »
January and February are the least crowed and moderate temperatures for Disney world, Universal and Sea World, all in central Florida.
Will and Jane
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mariaben

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2014, 11:40:41 PM »
Thanks everyone for the tips and advice.

To be honest, the only place that is a must on the list for Canada is PEI (and we were thinking of doing Niagara from the Canadian side) and that's me asking for it. We might go back to Canada at another stage but with the kids we wanted to make the most of going as many places as possible so not 100% sure. This is the only big trip the 5 of us will make and being away for a year we are trying to enjoy, relax, learn and experience. As much as we would like to split it into two trips or several, money and this big chunk of time is all we can allow.

We are aware there are both Disneyland and Disneyworld (and Euro Disney etc... but don't intend on going to those when on the other leg of our trip). Not sure if we will do both USA Disneys (the kids want us to of course) but maybe only one will be the way to go and if that's the case, which would you suggest with kids ours age? I'm torn between the traditional of Disneyland and the variety of Disneyworld.

We are only planning on being in Canada (if we go there) until the end of September. I have looked at temperatures in all the regions we want to visit over the years to try and avoid really low temperatures and having to winterise our RV.

We were thinking of being in the California area for 4-6 weeks so would this itinerary work better with time and weather? I'm concerned that August will be too hot there and any later starting the trip and we encounter cold weather elsewhere on the trip. We don't plan on driving more than 5 hours a day and most of the time we want it to be 2-3 hours maximum) Please excuse me if I get the abbreviations and terms wrong!! But hopefully you get what I mean :)

Roughly and not including all states we will travel through:
California to SD/MN - Aug./Sep. (Disney, Redwoods, grand canyon, national parks, Little house, friends)
NE USA and pop up to Canada - Sep. (NY - Niagara??, Maine, Canada, then down East coast)
Mid East USA - Oct. (PA, DC, VA)
SE USA - Nov/Dec (Carolinas)
Florida - Dec/Jan
Fly out to UK February

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 05:51:27 AM »
    Here is the PEI tourism website: http://www.tourismpei.com/index.php3  I say again, it is doable, but do you really want to do it, Los Angeles CA to Charlottetown, PEI is just short of 6,000 kms or 3,750 miles.  When you get to PEI many of the normal tourist sites will be closed for the season, although most campgrounds will still be open.

Ed
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SeilerBird

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2014, 05:56:27 AM »
We were thinking of being in the California area for 4-6 weeks so would this itinerary work better with time and weather? I'm concerned that August will be too hot there and any later starting the trip and we encounter cold weather elsewhere on the trip.
The only place in California that will be too hot in August is Death Valley and the Mojave Desert, the rest of the state has beautiful weather in August.
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ArdraF

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2014, 04:42:00 PM »
DisneyLAND and DisneyWORLD are quite different in my opinion.  Disneyland is the original of course and it has the Magic Kingdom.  Disneyworld is significantly larger and has the Magic Kingdom as well as Epcot and the Animal Kingdom.  Your kids are old enough now to appreciate Epcot.  I would choose Disneyworld myself.
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Tom

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2014, 04:52:30 PM »
... and Disneyland has California Adventure (next door). Any of the Disney parks will gladly relieve your wallet of $$$.
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thesmiths

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2014, 07:47:52 AM »
Coming to the UK in February isn't going to be great, it will be wet and cold for at least another 3 if not more months so it depends on what you are going to do when you are in the UK .... (from a Brit in Wales)

cnh23

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2014, 02:23:07 PM »
I'd only go to DisneyWorld (having been there over 20 times myself) but yes, it is WAY larger than Disneyland and you will really need at least one solid week to sort of "see it all" without also burning yourself out. With Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom as well as the water parks there is alot to do. Fall is great since the crowds are less and the temperatures are better,  but sometimes it may be too cool to swim, plus the park hours are shorter than at the peak times of the year. I prefer to suffer the hot month of August there and have all the extra hours of park time at night, plus you're always ready for a dip in the pool. I don't know how much it would cost to camp there but every one of the last trips taken in the past four years with my hubby and two kids has cost right around 4K with food (we brought tons of our own) and staying at a moderate priced resort. Park tickets are alot and the price of them goes down the longer you stay. We are planning to hit Disneyworld campground in May-anyone stay there? I've stayed at just about every hotel there but never the campground. Just saying that if you can't spend a good amount of time there DON'T go since the rushing to see everything will just ruin the experience.

mariaben

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2014, 12:03:26 AM »
2 months since I posted this thread and things have changed. We listened to your advice regarding time of year and with a few things changing here we have paid for our first lot of tickets. We are now doing the 12 month trip as 2 x 6 month trips. We are booked to arrive in Los Angeles on May 5th 2015 and we leave by end of October 2013. Then we will do UK/Europe the following May through October, can't wait!! We thought having 5 Summers in a row sounded like a nice idea plus time to process each adventure and come home to see family and friends who we are close to.

I know everyone is saying it's too much to undertake in 6 months and I know it will only be an overview each place we go but we've done the sums and distances and we are still going to tackle the trip. Some places we will stay 1-2 days, others a week. Am hoping to pop in here after it all and tell you what a wonderful time we have had! I'm sure it will be fabulous :)

Thank you for the advice re DL and DW. We are going to do both as we were gifted a small sum for the trip from family and that will cover one of those adventures so we plan on doing at least a week in both. This is now our general itin:

May: Land in LA and visit CA (Disneyland/San Fran).
June/July: Travel up towards MN and across towards NY
July/Aug: Spend 3 weeks in Canada
August/September: Travel down East coast into FL (Spend 2 weeks doing Orlando and surrounding)
Sep/Oct: Along bottom of USA towards LA and flying out.

We hope we've sorted the best time of year to be places and planned the best we could do with our time :) Any other advice much appreciated and we will hope to meet some friendly faces along the way!

SeilerBird

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2014, 05:11:04 AM »
Thank you for the advice re DL and DW. We are going to do both as we were gifted a small sum for the trip from family and that will cover one of those adventures so we plan on doing at least a week in both.
For five people to spend a week at both DL and WDW you better have more than a small sum. Have you checked prices lately? I am an annual pass holder at WDW and I go there several times a week. I am astounded at how much things cost there. A bottle of water is $3. The water coming out of water faucets tastes terrible. Considering how expensive it is you might want to forget
DL since it is basically a very small copy of the Magic Kingdom at WDW. Seeing both places would be redundant considering the time and expense.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 05:13:03 AM by SeilerBird »
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rvguy43

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2014, 12:00:16 AM »
That sounds like quite a trip.  Others have done similar excursions.

Check out the excellent eBook, "Small House, Big Yard" to get a sense of what is doable in six months.  Or six years.

mariaben

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2014, 03:15:45 AM »
For five people to spend a week at both DL and WDW you better have more than a small sum. Have you checked prices lately? I am an annual pass holder at WDW and I go there several times a week. I am astounded at how much things cost there. A bottle of water is $3. The water coming out of water faucets tastes terrible. Considering how expensive it is you might want to forget
DL since it is basically a very small copy of the Magic Kingdom at WDW. Seeing both places would be redundant considering the time and expense.

Thanks for that. I have been reading up on it and have decided just to stick to WDW. We do have $5,000 towards the theme parks type entertainment so now we can put some more of the DL money towards something else :)

Marsha/CA

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2014, 10:57:31 AM »
We went to Disney World in June of last year.  We were there for 4 full days and still didn't see everything.

One thing our travel agent suggested we get was a "meal plan/dining plan".  There are a couple of different ones and it worked out fabulously for us.  Saved a lot of money.  You do have to make reservations at some of the better restaurants.  Even the quick food places are very expensive.

Here is a link for more information:  https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/planning-guides/in-depth-advice/disney-dining-plan/

Marsha~
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SeilerBird

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2014, 04:47:41 PM »
I planned out an 8 day stay at Disney World for you and the total bill for an 7 night 8 day stay was $4113. That includes a premium campsite in February (the cheapest month to visit WDW), 8 day tickets for the five of you, a meal plan and Photopass, which will take care of all your photos while you are there.

The reason I picked 8 days is because there are four different parks, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and EPCoT. That gives you two days per park and while you won't see everything in that time you will experience just about every box you tick. The reason I have you staying at Fort Wilderness is because that gives you absolutely the best Disney experience possible.

Now naturally you are not going to follow this plan, you can make one of your own easily, I am just giving you a general idea of the cost of a Disney trip.

The Magic Kingdom at WDW is basically Disneyland on steroids. It has everything and more including all the best DL rides like Pirates of the Caribbean 8), Tiki Room 8), Space Mountain 8) and It's a Small World ::)
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mariaben

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2014, 03:44:28 AM »
Thank you so much everyone :) Ya'll (did I get that right? lol) are so helpful!

I have been on the Disney message boards and looks like 8-10 day pass is the way to go for sure. I priced it up in September next year at Fort Wilderness with the cheapest dining plan and it came to $4959 eeeek So although I like the idea of the dining plan, we will stick to packed snacks from home with one special item to sample each day. The kids are on board with that as that comes out more like $3500 and means we can spend the extra money at other theme parks and attractions. Packing snacks in our RV will make it much easier and we're not fancy people.

I have some great travel guides I am reading from the library here and I've already ordered them to be sent to friends in USA as they are invaluable in planning certain locations. We are spending 2 weeks in the Washington DC area too. We homeschool and so the educational value of this trip is out of this world :)

SeilerBird

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2014, 04:54:18 AM »
Packing snacks is a great way to save money at WDW. There are lockers for rent at the entrance to each park so you could pack a cooler, rent a locker and then find a picnic table when you are ready to eat. You are definitely not going to walk around with a cooler in tow, although I do occasionally see someone doing just that. Understand that returning to the motorhome for lunch is not really an option since that will take you at least 2 hours.

September of next year would be a great time to see the park since September is one of the least crowded months. You will need to make your reservations asap since it sells out quickly. Here is the crowd calendar for September of this year and you can see that there are a lot of days that are crowd level 2 and 3. Compare that to July when just about every day is an 8 or 9.

https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/
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mariaben

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2014, 03:05:35 AM »
Packing snacks is a great way to save money at WDW. There are lockers for rent at the entrance to each park so you could pack a cooler, rent a locker and then find a picnic table when you are ready to eat. You are definitely not going to walk around with a cooler in tow, although I do occasionally see someone doing just that. Understand that returning to the motorhome for lunch is not really an option since that will take you at least 2 hours.

September of next year would be a great time to see the park since September is one of the least crowded months. You will need to make your reservations asap since it sells out quickly. Here is the crowd calendar for September of this year and you can see that there are a lot of days that are crowd level 2 and 3. Compare that to July when just about every day is an 8 or 9.

https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/

Thank you, appreciate all the tips!

rvguy43

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Re: A Kiwi (New Zealander) travelling to USA/Canada for 5-6 months
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2014, 08:19:02 PM »
My wife and I traveled to all those places when we were doing our ten year road trip around the country.  I wrote a newsletter every month for family and friends, complete with pictures, describing what we saw and did each month.  I now have 115 emails sitting on my PC.  If there is some specific place, or event, that you would like information on, drop me a line and I'll send you the email about that place or event.
rvguy43, on gmail

 

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