Travel USA travel tips and tricks

revo333

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Yeah agree, it's not really a hot take to say that passing through LAX can be a fairly unpleasant experience.
I know some Americans that even avoid LAX when they go back into America.

I usually go through customs in Hawaii but last year I had to go through LAX from Tokyo and the customs officer was very intrigued on how I could afford 3 weeks in America.
 

00Stinger

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I know some Americans that even avoid LAX when they go back into America.

I usually go through customs in Hawaii but last year I had to go through LAX from Tokyo and the customs officer was very intrigued on how I could afford 3 weeks in America.
I was at LAX in Oct/Nov last year and felt the process of going through customers was much better than last time I was there in 12/13.

Might be because I was with kids this time though
 

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HigginsHawk

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Just confirmed that I will be in New Orleans while the Super Bowl is on. I'm expecting to witness the party to end all parties or riots. First time to the Crescent City and I am looking forward to it. Will provide a summary upon return. Can't decide between the Bayou/plantation tour, the music or the food as what I am looking forward to the most.

Does anybody have a plantation tour they strongly recommend? I'm thinking of doing Whitney or Oak. Not sure if I will have time for both.
 

HigginsHawk

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I would say US overall from my own experiences but it really comes down to individual people.
Exactly. I would say that overall the people in the US are bettered mannered than here in Australia. Their manners strike you immediately. everything is yes please, thank you sir etc etc. I'm not just talking about in the service industry either. 'Nicer' is a very subjective opinion though. Southern hospitality is not overrated either, in the most part it is very real.

I'd have to say the Canadians I have met have been the nicest of all though. Haven't met a bad one yet, although I am sure they are out there, eh?
 

offtherails9

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American's are pretty nice. Obviously you're in more tourist scenarios which probably means people will be kinder but I find people were a lot more happy to have a random convo about whatever compared to people in Australia.
 

MiPiG

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Are people more nicer in the US or AUS? Thoughts?
Have been to the USA 6 or 7 times, mostly to Manhatten and Jersey Shore, with side trips to Boston and Georgia. Apart from a few rude, w***erish people in Manhatten, everyone is super friendly and helpful. My personal list of top friendly nations that I've travelled in (no particular order) is Denmark, Netherlands and USA. Ireland doesnt make my list. The friendliness thing is way overrated there.
 

BlueJet

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Just confirmed that I will be in New Orleans while the Super Bowl is on. I'm expecting to witness the party to end all parties or riots. First time to the Crescent City and I am looking forward to it. Will provide a summary upon return. Can't decide between the Bayou/plantation tour, the music or the food as what I am looking forward to the most.

Does anybody have a plantation tour they strongly recommend? I'm thinking of doing Whitney or Oak. Not sure if I will have time for both.
I got back from the states just prior to Christmas and New Orleans was far and away my favourite stop.
With regard to the plantation tours, It'll come down to personal preference as the subject matter is quite varied, the Whitney tour is a warts & all look into slavery, whereas the Oak Alley tour glances over much of the ugliness and largely touches on the previous owners of the property.
 

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FootyJunkie

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I'm thinking of going to Dallas on my next visit. How long do you need there?
I used to live in Dallas

Pretty nice place to live at (and speaking of Texas in general) but it's not too heavy on attractions.... Downtown Dallas is mostly a ghost town when the Mavs or Stars are not playing, Reunion Tower can give you a great spot to checkout a sunset since there are no nearby beaches... Of course, go see the JFK museum, it's done up real well. Uptown is cool for night life if you are on the younger side, Mockingbird is a bit more universal, while Bishop Arts District is the hipster neighborhood...there are a couple of high end neighborhoods like Highland Park, but a few run down spots too

Several Texas BBQ spots, if that is what you want to try

Fort Worth is pretty cool to get a feel of Cowboy Texas... AT&T Stadium is between Dallas and Fort Worth but virtually no public transport out there if you want to see America's Team... If you are a fan of the old TV show "Dallas", you can check out South Fork Ranch out in the north east burbs

If you got tons of time while in the US and want a bit of a chill out period while still being in a major city, then Dallas might be your cup of tea (4 days tops), but I honestly wouldn't put it as a priority place you have to go see in the U.S. despite what you may have thought about the place
 
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revo333

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I'm thinking of going to Dallas on my next visit. How long do you need there?
2 full days only for Dallas IMO.

Like someone else said it is a bit of a ghost town, The JKF museum is good and the city does have some nice areas to walk around.
 

HigginsHawk

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I liked Dallas and would like to add a couple of things to what FootyJunkie said. Just north of Dallas on the University campus you can go to the George W Bush presidential library. Heavily oriented towards the 9/11 stuff but does include a full size recreation of the Oval Office. The public access areas of the 'libraries' are basically a museum. Lyndon Johnson one in Austin is pretty good too.

If you like the JFK things, you can also go to the Texas theatre where Oswald was arrested. It is in Oak Cliff and is an easy bus ride from CBD but probably too far to walk.

If you go to Fort Worth, Friday and Saturday night have a pretty good show at the Colliseum. Has some rodeo, horsemanship stuff. I liked it. It's a very easy drive from Dallas to Fort Worth, mostly dual lane highway. A car probably isn't necessary in Dallas but it is easy enough city to drive around.

Dallas is a bit like Canberra weather wise. Can be really cold in winter (-5c one day we were there) but obviously quite hot in summer.
 

NitroFan

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To go back to the LAX talk, i went through there a week ago and it was great. There was only 1 line (where you give the piece of paper to the customs guy behind the desk) which was about 15 minutes. After I got my bag I was able to walk straight through the customs area.
 

PP34

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I'm just going to throw this in here but LAX is hands down the worst airport I have ever been to. We transfered through there on the way to Canada recently and it took longer to get through there than the flight itself. I've used it before and I didn't think much of it back then but will definitely avoid it in the future if I'm ever returning to the surrounding areas.
Agreed. Garbage both times I've been there. Better than the first time I went in 2014, the terminal I was at legitimately had nothing and we had hours to kill before our flight home.

This time we weren't really thinking and checked out of our hostel early in the morning and headed to LAX for an 8pm Sunday night flight. Unlike Melbourne airport and others there was almost nowhere to sit down and eat/drink while waiting to check in. We were there at like 11am and couldn't check in with Virgin til 3pm. There was one bar/restaurant in the whole international terminal to sit at without going through security. Just garbage.

And yeah their customs process is laughably bad. 14 hour flight with legs aching straight into a ridiculously long wait to get through.
 

PP34

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So I just recently returned from a four week trip with my best mate. Was my second time in the US. Previously had been to LA, North/South Carolina and Virginia.

This time I visited LA, San Francisco, Philly, Boston, NY, Orlando and Vegas. Was a bit of a drinking/sports trip so in some situations their different drinking/going out culture was a bit of a downer. But still had a graet time.

Started in LA and stupidly my mate convinced me to finish in LA so we could watch LeBron (who didn't end up playing) so we were basically in LA for far too long. The first time we stayed close to Hollywood Boulevard. It was better than I remembered it. Last time I visited for a few hours and it felt sketchy as and fairly empty. This time it was buzzing. Still a shady place. The Hollywood sign was definitely worth doing and Staples Centre was a decent enough place to watch NBA. The nightlife there was disappointing and was completely dumbfounded to find out they stop serving booze after 2am. Not ideal for two young blokes looking to have some fun. Stayed in Venice Beach the second time and found that much nicer. Much better vibe, cooler bars and didn't feel as unsafe. Would definitely be a place I'd visit in summer. I'd probably skip LA next time though. If I was to visit California I'd probably visit some national parks instead.

San Francisco was awesome. Loved the vibe of the city. Alcatraz was one of my favourite parts of the whole trip. Went at night which added to the experience. Wish I could have been in San Francisco over a weekend to see a bit more of the party side.

Philly was good too. Had a few reservations as our Uber pulled up towards our AirBNB, but quickly realised the whole city looks old and dingy. Really cool how they've kept it that way.

Boston was awesome. As a big Boston sport fan I had a great time. TD Garden was a great place to watch the NBA. Caught an awesome Christmas day game between the Celtics and Sixers which went to OT. The place was nuts and the bars nearby were jumping afterward. Being there over Christmas it was frustrating that there were no bars/clubs open on Christmas Eve as we wanted to drink and socialise with the locals. We managed to visit a Celtics bar on Christmas day which was cool enough though. Toured Fenway which was awesome and definitely has me wanting to go back when it's warm to catch a game. The Freedom Trail was also a great way to get around and see the city. We stayed in the historic North End which was full of cool little Italian restaurants, a few seafood places and some bars/taverns which had a good vibe. I could definitely live in Boston.

NY was great too. At first the sheer size and amount of people had me feeling a bit uneasy, but after a few days I got used to it and enjoyed it a lot. Was lucky enough to have Melbourne like winter weather. The only downer was two days of nonstop rain. If I was to return to NY I'd want to spend much longer there. Problem is accommodation costs an arm and leg. The 9/11 Musuem was one of the highlights of my trip. Very well done and very moving, particularly the room they have dedicated to all the victims which has walls filled with their photos. I spent hours in there and still felt like I was rushing through.

Didn't see a lot of Orlando. Just went there for Universal. It was good but to our surprise it was absolutely packed which didn't make a heap of sense in my opinion for early January. It was struggle to fit in everything with the absurd lines. If you want to get through things quicker, the single rider lines are a god send.

Vegas I don't know how to rate. Everything is big, there is a lot going on and it would be a great place for a boys weekend. We stayed at the MGM Grand. The Casino didn't feel a heap different from Crown. The nightclub we went to was cool and more like a upmarket Melbourne one, but also expensive. Also a lot of young w***ers there pretending to be rich sitting in booths.

I had an awful experience going to the Grand Canyon. We took a tour to the one about 7 hours away. The company was disorganised and didn't stick to schedules which left us only getting to see the Canyon for about 1 hour and 20 minutes with the last 20 minutes being at the main part everyone wants to see. But for us it was getting dark and a snowstorm was on the way. Then spent a long 7 hours back on a bus with a toilet that stunk of piss wafting through the bus. The bus driver also couldn't keep the bus straight, blaming wet weather and some wind. Thought I was going to die at one stage. The bloke then had the audacity to ask for a tip after we spent 14 hours on a bus for 1 hour 20 mins of the Canyon. Walked off with the ******* yelling at us for not tipping.

Would love to visit the US again. It's an interesting country. I feel like the people are nice depending on where you are. In LA and San Fran they were fairly nice. Boston likewise. NY they don't really give a shit which I found great because it does get tiring when people are constantly making a deal about you being a tourist. You can just blend in there and get on with things. Tipping gives me the shits. Genuinely ridiculous some of the times you're expected to tip. I grab a water bottle out of a fridge at a gift shop and the bloke asks for a tip.

If I was to go again I'll be waiting until the AUD picks up. Ended up being an expensive holiday because of the dollar. If you were to go when it's much better it would be a pretty cheap holiday. Plan next time will be to visit Texas, New Orleans, Washington DC and then maybe Hawaii I guess.
 

Silent Alarm

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I thought Philadelphia had some really nice architecture, the vibe of it felt nice in the older parts (which is where I stayed – near the Liberty Bell). I thought it was filthy and intimidating near the Greyhound bus port but I'm surprised you saw all the old areas as dinghy. The city proper is just like a... generic city though.
 

PP34

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I thought Philadelphia had some really nice architecture, the vibe of it felt nice in the older parts (which is where I stayed – near the Liberty Bell). I thought it was filthy and intimidating near the Greyhound bus port but I'm surprised you saw all the old areas as dinghy. The city proper is just like a... generic city though.
Maybe wasn’t the right word to describe it. I was just slightly out of the main city part and a close walk to places on the way to the city that had the old feel.

All the one way streets there and in Boston are pretty cool. Gives the areas a unique feel.
 

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