July 2014. At thirty-something, passionately in love and ready for an adventure: me and my husband had been married for two days, when we left for our honeymoon on the road. We had planned a coast-to-coast trip in the USA and couldn’t wait for it.
How did we manage to cover all these miles in 3 weeks and on a budget? I’m here to tell you!
We flew from Milan to New York. We’d bought all our flights in one bundle on Expedia to obtain maximum discount.
First stop: New York for 2 days. I know, it’s not that much time, but we managed to see all the important things. In order of appearance: Wall Street, Trinity Church, Ground Zero, St. Paul’s Chapel, Brooklyn Bridge, China Town, Little Italy, Empire State Building, Times Square (day one); Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, Central Park (day two).
In other words, we did as many free things as possible! We also chose an hotel in Brooklyn to save more money.
From New York, we travelled by bus (another cheap solution) to Washington DC. We had found a deal for a hotel in Arlington, VA, so we stayed there for 2 days.
Again, we only did free things here. The great part about Washington, which is absolutely our favourite American city, is that here you can really spend several days as a tourist without having to pay one dollar. We visited the Marine Corps War Memorial, the National Cemetery and the whole Mall, from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. We only had the time for one of the many great Smithsonian museums, so we opted for the Natural History one.
At this point, we took a flight to New Orleans (via Atlanta). We spent 3 days here (but in hindsight I’d suggest anyone to spend one day more in NYC and one day less in NOLA). Anyway, this is a nice city, too! We had some fun walking around the French Quarter and along the Mississippi river (day one), attending a Gospel mass and visiting the National WWII Museum (day two), and discovering the lovely Garden District as well as stopping by the Café du Monde for their famous beignets (day three).
The real adventure, however, started the following morning! We headed for the airport to pick up the car we’d rent from home (again with Expedia), and that was the last thing we had arranged before leaving, except from the flight back home. Yes, we were completely free to wander though America!
Each day, we chose a direction and stopped at a motel on the highway when we were too tired to drive. Here are the landmarks of our road trip:
- Oak Alley Plantation, Vacherie LA
- Austin TX
- Fort Worth TX
- Santa Fe NM
- Painted Desert AZ
- Williams AZ
- Grand Canyon AZ
- Hoover Dam NV
- Las Vegas NV
Of course, we drove on the old Route 66 in some traits!
Last stop: Los Angeles. One day was devoted to Santa Monica (Pier and beach for some much-needed relax), one to the Universal Studios and one to Hollywood.
We’ve loved each and every moment of our trip, enjoying the sights, meeting wonderful people and seeing so many places that had been part of our American dream for years. What about yours? I’d love to know your experiences!