Travel USA travel tips and tricks

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Thread starter Moderator #1
We figure the last thread is going to be closed soon as it has reached 1000 posts so we may as well have a proper introduction for the new thread.

This thread is for people to share memories, tips, photos and advice regarding travelling to the United States, including flight information, attractions etc.

For newcomers, you can find extremely useful information in these threads:

http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/showthread.php?t=728527&highlight=Things+to+do

http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/showthread.php?t=788754

It would be useful if people could try to contain their US travel tips to the same thread as they have been a very useful resource for all of us.

If you want to quote something from one of the other threads, just quote it, copy and paste into this thread.
 

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#2
Subscribed.

Been 4 or 5 times over the last 10 years and most resent trip was 2 weeks ago.

Hopefully trying to get back to Vegas August or September 2013.
 
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#3
Let me just say this - driving on the freeway is crazy as ****.

They are very useful and time saving but 95% of drivers are crazy nut jobs who fear nothing.

Average speed: 120 KPH

They have no speed, red light cameras or side of the road radar guns as most states or their laws can not enforce them. A law enforcement officer has to pull you over and issue you with a citation.

So if you are planing on driving in the US on the freeways, have your wits about you and if it's your first time or even the 20th trip, make sure you get a GPS as you will get lost without one. :thumbsu:
 

WALL-e

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#4
Haha, did some freeway driving on my brief trip last year as we went from New Orleans to Nashville. We bought a portable GPS (uually cheaper to buy one rather than hire one from the rent a car company....) and that was helpful.

It is rather chaotic at times as AIOF said, but road trips are fun as all hell.
 
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#5
Haha, did some freeway driving on my brief trip last year as we went from New Orleans to Nashville. We bought a portable GPS (uually cheaper to buy one rather than hire one from the rent a car company....) and that was helpful.

It is rather chaotic at times as AIOF said, but road trips are fun as all hell.
Ha ha ha yeah, but I was talking about and should have been more specific but about LA, Vegas, Hollywood and San Francisco.

Get onto the I-05, then onto the I-10 and stay left onto the I-110 east before taking the A3C ramp exit in 300 Meters. The freeways in LA do your head in.

Up in the north East (Portland, Seattle, Vancouver) and across the smaller states, a GPS isn't as critical, but I'd still get one.

and Yes - don't hire one. Never hire a GPS from the rental companies. Find a Wall mart or even a Best buy and buy one a brand new one. You can get a good one for $60 no trouble. Where as, a GPS from a car company can almost be $25 a day.
 
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#7
Luckily didn't venture onto LA's freeway, though driving through the ghetto of NO was 'fun' enough :)
We got lost (pre GPS) looking for the Staple Centre in Los Angles and ended up in Compton.

Not as bad as it looks - even if we did have a red car. :p

Downtown LA was far grottier than Compton.
 

FootyJunkie

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#8
Downtown LA was far grottier than Compton.
I shake my head when it comes to Downtown L.A. I know businesses have spread out from L.A. into the surrounding counties in Southern California, but you look at Downtown L.A. and go wtf? A ghost town compared to how it should look... a Manhattan on the West Coast with all the bells and whistles of its New York counterpart. L.A. is the second largest city in the States after all, yet its downtown area does not reflect that at all.
 
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#9
I shake my head when it comes to Downtown L.A. I know businesses have spread out from L.A. into the surrounding counties in Southern California, but you look at Downtown L.A. and go wtf? A ghost town compared to how it should look... a Manhattan on the West Coast with all the bells and whistles of its New York counterpart. L.A. is the second largest city in the States after all, yet its downtown area does not reflect that at all.
Agree. Downtown LA has 2 very vast extremes, very wealthy and dead poor. No middle ground.

Just one example is the fact they have a Lexus, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and Lamborghini car dealership on one street and the very next one is shops with bars across the windows that look desolate with squatters and homeless people living in them.

Didn't feel fearful or anything like that whist in downtown LA but wasn't keen to get out and walk about.
 

Bombers_Forever

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#10
The freeways in LA are crazy but if you have a GPS, it is easy. I think the key is to stay in the right hand lane, the left lanes move quickly but if you aren't sure where you are going, stay in the closest lane.

One thing I will say is at least they merge onto a freeway better than us - some people here have no idea.
 

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Upgrayedd

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#14
Heading to the US in March.

Total for about 21 days.

Wondering how much spending money to allow myself to be comfortable.
Same

However im going for 6 weeks and i've got roughly 8 grand saved up so far, everything mostly is paid for (hotels all done, lots of the hostels have the 10% deposit done, car hire done)
 

cammania

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#15
I to would love to know.

However, you really can't put a figure on it. For spending money that is.
You going to be buying souvenirs or are you a shopper etc

Are you the type who travels light or heavy.

Is your idea of a souvenir a 3$ sticker from places you go, a 20 buck Tshirt or a $100 momento etc. you eating large at good eateries or doing a 7.49$ buffet every night.

As I am after alot of info myself around these traps as I'm planning on heading there myself in sept/oct in 2013 or 2014, I'm hoping the dollar is still good, and I'm aiming for 20k to be my goal to go to the USA. that includes everything, flights, accommodation, and spending money. I'm planning 6 weeks and includes time in London. But these are very early predictions and desires.

And for the record, I plan on buying heaps of souvenirs and many sporting momentos for the USA cabinet I have penned in to have when I get back.

But that's just me.
 

Cuzz09

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#16
Same

However im going for 6 weeks and i've got roughly 8 grand saved up so far, everything mostly is paid for (hotels all done, lots of the hostels have the 10% deposit done, car hire done)
Yeah that sounds about right for me.

Going for about half as long as you and have about half as much saved. Should be fine i think... If not then what can ya do haha

Im not planning on buying many souveniers - definately not expensive ones. Im thinking more fridge magnets if anything and seeing as Im only going to 4 places (LV, NY, SF, LA) then a couple at each wont cost the earth.

My main worry is tipping, eating and of course.... BOOOOOOZE :D
 

WCErevival

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#17
I'm going for 4 weeks in June and planning around 5k. I'm not a shopper and going off what people I know have spent it should be enough. I'm also going on a contiki for 2 of those weeks so won't spend as much on food and other stuff then.
 
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I've only just started my USA exploration, hoping to do allot more this coming year.

I've done New York a fair but so will comment on that

1. New York is one of the few things in life that live up to expectations, the place is incredible.

2. It almost doesn't matter where you stay in the city, you can get anywhere relatively easily and its safe (I'm including Brooklyn in this)

3. Save your money and find somewhere out of the centre of Manhattan to eat, its better food and more genuine,

4. You can lose a day in the Park, I haven't been there in summer yet but even in Winter you can spend a day wondering and chilling out.

5. Three days minimum for this place, in fact I'd say closer to 5.

6. Museum of natural history is shit, Museum of modern art is not (This is coming from a finance guy who finds most artistic ventures a pile of meh).

7. New Yorkers on the whole are nice people, I'm yet to get the whole pushy or self centered vibe I keep hearing about.

8. You have to climb Empire state building as its part of the New York experience but Rockefeller and top of the rock are better view wise.

9. Wall street is a little underwhelming

10. Any bar you walk into in New York is good fun, unlike the rest of the world you don't have to look up where to go on particular nights.

More will come to me later.
 
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#20
Great view of lower manhattan from the Booklyn Bridge too .

My tip would be catch the subway to Brooklyn and walk the bridge back to the city as you are looking at that awesome view the whole way . No point walking across to Brooklyn with the city at your back .
 

-WWJD-

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#22
I was in the States last year in September and going back again this year in December. Absolutely loved it. It was my first time overseas so I did a Contiki for the first 14 days (Best of USA) which as a solo first time traveler was great and then stayed on in New York for an extra few days.

I'm a bit of an NBC comedy nerd and would recommend the NBC tour at 30 Rock and getting your hands on some free tickets to a taping of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon - so much fun. We got to see Pearl Jam live which was an amazing experience.
 

WCErevival

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#23
I It was my first time overseas so I did a Contiki for the first 14 days (Best of USA) which as a solo first time traveler was great and then stayed on in New York for an extra few days.
Im doing that tour. Good to hear its ok.
 

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#24
I enjoyed the fact that we were in each city for a few days - you weren't jumping on and off a bus all the time and it also means you get plenty of time in each city to do your own thing. The only downside is the accommodation in LA - its a pretty nice hotel but in a really terrible location - really far away from anything of interest.

If you have any questions or anything yell out, happy to answer anything.
 

WCErevival

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#25
I enjoyed the fact that we were in each city for a few days - you weren't jumping on and off a bus all the time and it also means you get plenty of time in each city to do your own thing. The only downside is the accommodation in LA - its a pretty nice hotel but in a really terrible location - really far away from anything of interest.

If you have any questions or anything yell out, happy to answer anything.
Thats the reason I chose it because of the multiple days in each city thing. How did you find it going solo?
 
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