Travel USA travel tips and tricks

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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 wankers 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.
How much coin you spend for the 4 weeks? Use a 28 degrees credit card or whatever or nah?
 

revo333

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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.
Sounds awful, The drivers/guides tips are most of their wage so no wonder he cracked it at the end :)

I always have low expectations when I have done full day bus tours.

You are relying on the tour guide, weather and passengers to make it a good day and if one doesn't work out it can ruin the whole day.
 

Seeds

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Watched that "travel guide" show.

Really want to go to Hawaii now.

Looked great

On [device_name] using BigFooty.com mobile app
Hard to say,
I'd say Australians are warmer but Americans manners put us to shame.
As others have noted, Southern hospitality is no joke and is on a whole different level.
people get that manners is a way to show your superiority to lower classses right. Southern america was very hierarchical. Its not a good thing.
 

BlueJet

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people get that manners is a way to show your superiority to lower classses right. Southern america was very hierarchical. Its not a good thing.
Give me the respect/politeness of a Southerner any day over the wanky self-satisfaction of a LA or SF resident, to each their own I suppose.
 

Morning_Fog

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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.

I’ve done the Grand Canyon SkyWalk tour where you go to the 4 different Indian Restervation Parks and the Skywalk. The company we went with was spot on. They were really good.

However, on the same trip we went to to the East Coast and did the Massachusetts Freedom Trail Bus Tour from New York to Boston and the tour was horrible. The tour was about 16 hours and the bus ride from NYC to Boston is about 4 hours. It was a bloody awful experience.

My wife was in a wheelchair due to a rutpured ACL operation, we were one of a few English speaking guests to get on the tour and we were Australians. A few factors that differentiated us from the rest of the tour. We stopped at Harvard and then Cambridge and I took this opportunity to ask the bus driver if we were going to stop at Fenway Park, he asked me “are you even on our tour?” I thought, yeah fair enough as he had about 40 other people. English speaking Australia on a tour full of European (Italian, Greek and Spaniards) wouldn’t be hard to forget but oh well. We didn’t get to Fenway Park.

When we got to Boston Common, he took the tour through the park and made us walk around due to the stairs and cobble stones. We specifically asked if the tour was wheelchair friendly as we didn’t want to miss any of it. He said, yes, you will be find. We took 45 minutes to manoeuvre our way around and missed lunch.

Then on the way home, he proceeded to speak about the Armish people and how they influenced the Massachusetts landscape for about 2 hours and 45 minutes on the way back, and he repeated every thing he said. About 15 minutes outside of New York, he said “if you have enjoyed this tour, please feel free to add some gratuity into the pot on your way off the bus. He did not get a tip.

I was tired, hungry, and very bloody pissed off listening to his nonsense. I didn’t tip him. He then proceeded to lamblast my wife for not tipping him as I got off first to grab the wheelchair as I just wanted to get some food. After my wife told me, I went and confronted him and told him to “shut up and be lucky we didn’t report him to his boss for making us miss part of the tour”
 

Morning_Fog

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people get that manners is a way to show your superiority to lower classses right. Southern america was very hierarchical. Its not a good thing.
Not in the heart of the big cities it isn’t.

Los Angles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco the rudeness and manners are non existent. Its bordering on horrible.
 

Seeds

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Give me the respect/politeness of a Southerner any day over the wanky self-satisfaction of a LA or SF resident, to each their own I suppose.
There is a reason those southerners were the last to let go slaves, were still stringing up black people 50 years ago and still making it very difficult for them to vote today. Its a poor culture with many despicable people who have great manners.
 

Smoooothy

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I’ve done the Grand Canyon SkyWalk tour where you go to the 4 different Indian Restervation Parks and the Skywalk. The company we went with was spot on. They were really good.
alternatively, its only a 2 hours drive from vegas (or a bit longer if you take your time and do the hoover dam on the way etc). just don't stop at dolan springs, big deliverance vibe there
 

Deliverance

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alternatively, its only a 2 hours drive from vegas (or a bit longer if you take your time and do the hoover dam on the way etc). just don't stop at dolan springs, big deliverance vibe there
Hey!

If you're driving might as well take your time and head to the North rim and avoid the tourist traps. Depending on the season of course.
 

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Smoooothy

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Hey!

If you're driving might as well take your time and head to the North rim and avoid the tourist traps. Depending on the season of course.
definitely will next time. west rim was cool, but i'd love to see a different part of it next time
 

Mr X

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Big tip - get travel insurance before you go!

Paid $360 for comprehensive insurance for a month there. My eldest daughter needed medical attention while we were there.....did (too much) but full testing.....bloods, CT (excessive), ultrasound. The bill was, I kid you not.....16k for 4 hours of medical consultation. We "negotiated" this down to 9K. Fully covered by the insurance. Common sense she didn't need much of that done, but I was not taking on 3 generations of women in the family at the time.

Seriously, the medical system there is beyond rooted.
 

Buzzasto DaSilva

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Boise isn’t really a college town.
The metro area is just over 700,000
It’s biggest downfall is it’s full with Californian expats.

But yep, you’ve explained why I love it so much.
It’s big enough to have everything, but it’s got all the extra country’s, natural stuff which you won’t find in many other cities. (At least the ones I’ve been to)
Re-hashing a bit of an old conversation DB, but I have booked flights to Boise for this September.

I'll be in town for three nights, (I'm in Salt Lake City for eleven days and decided to break it up)- do you have any recommendations for a good place to stay or entertainment? It will be a Monday-Thursday trip so I won't be able to make a Broncos game, but was wondering if you had any other suggestions? I've previously only spent a night there, so would love your help mate.
 

srobbo

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Heading to Boston for a week in late March & will be catching a couple of C’s games at bookends of trip.

Any of you bostonians know of cheap but comfortable accom around TD garden $100-$150 a night??

Was really keen to head to NYC by train for a few days in between if it was doable?? Or is there enough in MA to keep me occupied for the week??

Sorry a few questions there.... would appreciate the feedback though :thumbsu:
 

BERT

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Heading to Boston for a week in late March & will be catching a couple of C’s games at bookends of trip.

Any of you bostonians know of cheap but comfortable accom around TD garden $100-$150 a night??

Was really keen to head to NYC by train for a few days in between if it was doable?? Or is there enough in MA to keep me occupied for the week??

Sorry a few questions there.... would appreciate the feedback though :thumbsu:
I found accommodation in Boston ridiculously expensive when I was there last year. I ended up staying in a room the size of a shoe box for about $300 a night.

I went from Boston to NY on the train. I enjoyed it and it’s easily doable. One of the best views I’ve ever seen was coming into NYC on the train and seeing that skyline.

I only spent 2 nights in Boston and could have easily spent longer. A lovely city.
 

srobbo

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I found accommodation in Boston ridiculously expensive when I was there last year. I ended up staying in a room the size of a shoe box for about $300 a night.

I went from Boston to NY on the train. I enjoyed it and it’s easily doable. One of the best views I’ve ever seen was coming into NYC on the train and seeing that skyline.

I only spent 2 nights in Boston and could have easily spent longer. A lovely city.
cheers

How long did the Boston-NY trip take by train?
 

Smartys Power

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Planning to head to America at the end of next year with the missus. Spent 2 weeks in parts of Colorado on a uni trip and she’s never been or considered going, so still relatively new to the USA experience.

Planning on New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles and SAN Francisco.

Is this a pretty decent way to start or should I consider other places to visit?
 

Deliverance

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Heading to Boston for a week in late March & will be catching a couple of C’s games at bookends of trip.

Any of you bostonians know of cheap but comfortable accom around TD garden $100-$150 a night??

Was really keen to head to NYC by train for a few days in between if it was doable?? Or is there enough in MA to keep me occupied for the week??

Sorry a few questions there.... would appreciate the feedback though :thumbsu:
Without a car to explore further afield around Boston a couple of nights there is plenty. Two days and you can walk the whole place in depth enough to get a feel of the history there. Depending on what you're in to of course. So the NYC trip is recommended. Not sure about inner city accom. I stayed out in the burbs a bit.
Don't take a bag/backpack to the Celtics games.
 

00Stinger

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Planning to head to America at the end of next year with the missus. Spent 2 weeks in parts of Colorado on a uni trip and she’s never been or considered going, so still relatively new to the USA experience.

Planning on New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles and SAN Francisco.

Is this a pretty decent way to start or should I consider other places to visit?
why Philly?

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