Epilogue - US Coast to Coast

 I am extremely grateful to Lukasz, Sunny, Sathya & family, Vaishnavi, the people of America, British Airways, American Airlines, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Amtrak, various hotels and the wonderful people of America for making this trip such a wonderful success!



Planning a trip like this is hard - the frequency and availability of trains is somewhat limited. In most other countries, a rail network would be a lot more used for passenger travel, but in the US, the rail network is largely used for goods movement, while the passenger trains are occasional and only form a small proportion of the travelers in any given segment. The US is primarily an aviation and road traveling country.


Nevertheless, there are a few available routes and making this work is not all that hard. However, the more variables (stops, segments, modes of travels) you add, the more likely it is that you are going to get something wrong.


For instance, in our planning, I can notice quite a few mistakes that we wish we hadn’t made. For instance, I am not sure why we stopped at Albuquerque where all we did was to pick up the car and drive westward. We could have taken the train further west to Flagstaff and enjoyed more of the Arizona land OR we could have spent a bit more quality time in New Mexico checking out the local hotspots. In the event, we ended up over-paying for our rental car (as we picked up and returned at different locations) and made very little use of that extra payment. 



Similarly, the day we spent in Kansas, also happened to be a day when there was a concert in town. All the hotels ended up being significantly costlier. We could have easily landed up a day late or early and saved a bunch of money. 


I also felt we spent too little time in Chicago. I know that whatever time we planned for was curtailed due to poor weather, but I can see myself spending a bit more time enjoying the architecture of the city. 


In terms of expenses, the trip cost a total of £3,522 (expected to be accurate within 1% margin of error). I used Monzo for the vast majority of my foreign expenditure as it offers favorable forex compared to other cards I have, and we used Splitwise to track all shared expenses. In fact, Splitwise was so easy to use that I used it to track my individual expenses too. 



Section

SUM of My Share of Spend

Accomodation

£626

Food & Beverages

£646

Fuel

£105

Miscellaneous

£149

Tourist Entry

£139

Transportation

£1,857

Grand Total

£3,522



As mentioned above, it is possible that we didn’t optimize our spending all that wisely. Between the additional rental car fees and the overpriced Kansas Hotel, we could have easily saved about £200-£300 for each person. I also paid £230 in extra leg room seats which I imagine most readers won’t require. In all, it is possible to replicate this trip within about £3000 or thereabouts, but better to budget £3500 to be on the safer side. Needless to say, it is the best £3,500 I have spent in a while. 


The United States of America is a blessed land. It is an enormous stretch of land bestowed with fantastic terrain and natural beauty. The coasts are beautiful, the rivers serene, the lakes noteworthy, the mountains spellbinding, the deserts are artwork and all in all, everything about a trip like this is memorable.


 

The result is an eminently wonderful visitor experience. Having gone through the trip - 15 states and 15 days feels too little. I am hopeful that I will return to see more of this country in my future lifetime.