How To Plan An American Coaster Road Trip


Usually I focus this blog on travelling in Europe as it's the area I have most experience in myself, but every now and then it's nice to step outside the comfort zone! Theme park road trips in America are definitely among some of my favourite trips I've ever done, and having driven all over the States pretty much everywhere except the MidWest, I thought I'd impart some of that knowledge for anybody looking to head stateside on their quest for creds! Here are some of my top tips for planning an American Coaster Road Trip!

Bring friends
Travelling with a smaller group in Europe is fine, but in the US it's all about those huge cars. The bigger the car, the cheaper it is usually, so hire yourself a monster, fill it with your friends and set the SatNav for Cedar Point! Better yet, become even more of an American cliché and make it a convoy. Nothing strikes fear into the heart of the Americans like a rally of UK enthusiasts pulling into a theme park parking lot.

Grab a Season Pass
Especially for Six Flags. If the road trip you're planning hits up two or more Six Flags parks, you'll really benefit from becoming a passholder. Not only are they obscenely cheap (prices depend on where you collect your pass from, but back in 2014 I believe the pass we got set us back something ridiculous like $60 and included all the parks. Absolute bargain!), but you'll also benefit from passholder perks like free parking (amazing considering it's like $20 a pop over there), discounted food and merchandise deals.

Cedar Fair parks are slightly different for value. You'll not get it anywhere near as cheap as the Six Flags pass, but you'll benefit from similar discounts so it's worth sitting down and doing the maths to figure out what works out the best value for you.

Stay in Motels
Let's face it, you're only going to be sleeping in these places and you'll be up and on the road again in a matter of hours! And plus, it's the American way. Nothing says 'road trip' like cockroaches in your room or suspicious looking stains on the sheets (both have happened to me, avoid the Red Roof Inn!) What's great about staying in motels, apart from them being obscenely cheap, is you can literally pull up in the parking lot, book yourself a room on Booking.com or similar and just stroll in, so you can kind of go where the road takes you. That means you don't have to really worry about sticking to a rigid schedule so if the rain spites you out of some creds, just pull up to the nearest motel, stay the night and head back in the next day to mop any missed ones up. I'm looking at you, Cedar Point. Which brings me nicely onto my next point...

Beware of the weather
Make sure you've made alternate plans for if the weather is a bitch. American parks are the worst for closing coasters in the rain, or even in storms or if it's a bit windy. Oh, and checking the weather channel in the morning won't help. It's notoriously inaccurate, so it's best to just get up, head into the park and hope for the best!

Coast2Coaster is your friend
You guys know I bloody LOVE this website, but on an American road trip it really comes into its own. Finish a park early? Open up the site and check to see if there are any sneaky +1s in the area. There are loads of vintage wooden coasters dotted all over the US, so it's quite easy for them to slip under your radar. Always good to check and get a good scope of what's nearby just in case you do find yourself with a bit of extra time.

Do more than one park in a day if you can
For some reason, in my experience the operations at American parks are incredibly efficient. Even if the park is absolutely dead, you'll see a coaster running three trains just for the sake of it. Do not be intimidated by parks with a high cred count and worry if you'll get them all done in time, likelihood is there'll be queues for one or two of the newer attractions and most everything else will be walk on. I speak from experience: Dorney Park in Pennsylvania has 8 creds. We spent two hours there and got everything done, including rerides and rides on non-coaster attractions. It's really fab that way.

Don't visit during a special event
Kind of a given as this applies to UK and European parks too, but for the love of god do not visit on a holiday or special event. Make sure you do your research: remember days like Memorial Day and Labor Day exist, as well as special events like passholder bring-a-friend day. These are hell on Earth in my experience and can easily put a downer on a visit. From what I've learned, a great time to visit is the first two weeks of June. The parks are fully open for the season, any new attractions should now be open and the American kids haven't broken up from school yet. Perfect.

Embrace the road
Of course, it wouldn't be a road trip without a bit of driving! If you don't drive, find somebody who does and enjoy the sites of the wide open road by sitting up front. An American coaster trip simply cannot be done with public transport in the same way a UK or Europe trip can, and anybody who says otherwise is lying to you. It's absolutely essential, but fabulous with it!

God, I'm in the mood to get back over there myself now after writing that, it's been too damn long! As always, thanks so much for reading and if you have any questions about anything specific when it comes to booking an American coaster road trip feel free to message me!

Talk later xoxo,


CONVERSATION

4 comments:

  1. Simon Peachey27/03/2017, 13:26

    Me and my other half so badly want to do America in this way but it's getting enough people to go together :-( are the flights expensive? We want to do a few big parks but not Disney and universal. We want to do cedar point and some of the six flags.

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    1. Honestly it's not too bad! I've done a couple of them and never spent more than £1600 for flights, accommodation, tickets and travel for two weeks, which I think is a bargain! You can use SkyScanner to find the cheapest flights, I wouldn't pay more than £500 though. :)

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  2. As an American, I suggest focusing on quality, not quantity. Pennsylvania is, by far, the best state to visit. Any trip that doesn't include at least a full day each at Knoebels and Kennywood (and at least a few hours each at Conneaut Lake and Waldameer) is criminally negligent, in my opinion.

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    1. That's a good shout! The East Coast area is such a good place to start. It's where I went on my first ever road trip in America and there's such a great cluster of excellent coasters to ride. Although I'd disagree with the full day at Knoebels. We went on a weekday and had done the whole park (including rerides and a lengthy break to enjoy the incredible food they have) by just after midday. That's the day we paired with Dorney Park and we had more than enough time to enjoy both :)

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