Thought I’d write a review of the Coast to Coast USA trip as the only review I found on here before I went was pretty negative.
I was a solo traveller, our bus was half couples, another third friends travelling together and the rest of us solo. I was the only Kiwi on bus with the rest being Aussies but it wasn’t too bad
Coast to Coast is comprised of two tours, from LA to New Orleans and then New Orleans to NYC. We had a half full bus for the first leg and a full bus for the second. Luggage allowance only became an issue on the second leg when the bus was full. Suitcases are what most people had with them, worked perfectly fine as most hotels had elevators. Only annoying when you had to take yours up stairs.
Hotels were great, all were at least 3 star quality with only 2 stops being the exception. On the 2 stops were staying in places that were not the usual hotels as we paralleled with a Road Trip USA tour until New Orleans.
The included activities were really enjoyable. We were there Dec/Jan so missed out on a few summer ones but our tour leader always replaced them with something that was available in winter. Optionals were awesome. Our tour leader collected the cash off us before we went and we just showed up with everything ready to go. In winter the Snow mobile is a must. You didn’t have to go to the included or optional activities if you didn’t want to. Our group got along really well so we enjoyed doing activities together.
Spending money - I had budgeted for roughly $150 usd per day. This was a fair amount as I didn’t drink on the tour so I came back with money. Others who did drink found $200 usd a day was a more realistic budget for them. Some days you would spend hardly anything and others would be quite expensive. Tipping ups the cost of food quite a bit and sales tax when shopping became a hassle. They add it on at the till so something that is tagged as $89.00 would be closer to $100.
Having cash is really important. I took about $1800 usd cash and found I needed it all plus more. ATMs all had different charges for getting cash out, Vegas was the worst ($7.00 per transaction). So be prepared.
Bus days - our tour leader made a real effort to stop at whole foods when it was available. After a few days of Maccas for lunch, the novelty wears off. This was great as we were eating healthily and it wasn’t expensive. They had a awesome prepared foods section with anything you could think of plus the fruit/vege section of the supermarket.
I took a neck pillow with me all the way from NZ and regret it. The planes have their own and I didn’t really need my one until after NOLA. We stopped at lots of Walmart’s and you can pick one up cheap from there if you need it.
Clothing - I found I had over packed as I thought the weather would be terrible. We ended up having mild weather and being from the bottom of NZ I found it not too bad. Only at the Grand Canyon on the first leg did I break out my jacket and puffer vest together. The Aussies on tour struggled a fair bit more and were always in puffer jackets and thermals. I didn’t crack out a thermal until Nashville. The tour who went back from NYC to LA at beginning of January had heaps of snow and found it freezing.
We ended up doing washing about once a week. We would just pick a night to head to a laundromat close by and have a quiet one. The washing and drying machines at hotels got taken pretty quickly and took forever unless you were the first one there. They all usually had powder and fabric softener available to purchase for a couple of dollars each. Shoes - I mostly wore runners or ankle boots. Lots of people had Timberlands and found them great. Lots of us just got what we needed from Walmart if we didn’t have it with us and then left them behind.
Over all a bloody awesome tour. We had a bit of a different experience by paralleling with another tour as we were one massive group of 75ish. I met amazing people and have made friends for life. Highly recommend as a brill way to see USA.