Travel USA travel tips and tricks

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offtherails9

Norm Smith Medallist
May 30, 2012
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That’s the problem with Contiki in the USA, it’s just a full day of driving, get drunk at night and spend the rest of the day either hungover on the bus to the next destination or hungover at the hotel.

I think the Contiki style of tour is better suited to Europe where you stay in hotel closer to the action and there’s less driving.

There used to be a good company called Trek America that offered camping or budget lodging tours staying national parks, small group atmosphere and seeing a lot of cool places up close, but they went bust during Covid.

Intrepid and G Adventures offer a few of those style trips but not as wide a range as Trek America had.

I reckon if you’ve got 3 weeks instead of doing coast to coats just limit yourself to California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. You can see all the national parks and Vegas. From Southern Utah/Grand Canyon and Colorado Rockies there’s nothing even remotely interesting until you hit Washington DC. Texas is boring, the south is, errr the south, Florida an overhyped tourist trap and New Orleans overrated. There’s a reason it’s called “fly over country”……..

Yeah good calls.

I am glad I did a contiki, as I went to a lot of places I will never visit, good and bad. Places like Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Durango, Amarillo and even the Grand Canyon.
But yeah looking back I feel there was just so much time wasted on buses. I want to get back ASAP.
 

Dirty Bird

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whatever they had in LA and san diego - probably texmex, but its brilliant

taco tuesday for the win
TexMex is hit or miss.
I've had some in California - Absolutely amazing, I've had some in Nevada - Decent. I've had some in Texas - Average
But outright Mexican food? Only thing I'd even put in the same stratosphere is authentic Italian food.
 

Dirty Bird

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Yeah good calls.

I am glad I did a contiki, as I went to a lot of places I will never visit, good and bad. Places like Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Durango, Amarillo and even the Grand Canyon.
But yeah looking back I feel there was just so much time wasted on buses. I want to get back ASAP.
I would only advise people to take contiki as their first trip to an area to get a taste of the region and find out what to do in depth later on.

Whether it's USA or Europe. Use the fast paced style to find out if you like a place or not, then when you have the time/money later on in life, do that deep dive into an area.

I did that with Western Europe and have no regrets. Got that taste of Europe in 2013. Went back to Berlin and Paris in 2015 and explored them more, then went back to Rome and Vienna in 2018 and explored them more.
 

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offtherails9

Norm Smith Medallist
May 30, 2012
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I would only advise people to take contiki as their first trip to an area to get a taste of the region and find out what to do in depth later on.

Whether it's USA or Europe. Use the fast paced style to find out if you like a place or not, then when you have the time/money later on in life, do that deep dive into an area.

I did that with Western Europe and have no regrets. Got that taste of Europe in 2013. Went back to Berlin and Paris in 2015 and explored them more, then went back to Rome and Vienna in 2018 and explored them more.

Yeah absolutely mate. It was a lot of fun, and I don't regret it, but a part of me is annoyed I spent so much time on a bus when I was over in the States, which is stupid because obviously that's what I should expect. I'm really glad I got to see so many cities that I won't return to, and there's some that I hope to return to.
 

ohhhBigMalcho

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Heading to San Fran late Sept til late Oct, a group starting with 3 school friends , ending in 5 as the trip reaches NYC.

Route is:

San Fran - Vancouver - Drive through Banff/jasper - fly Toronto - NYC - DC - Orlando - Austin TX - New Orleans - Vegas - hire car drive back through Yosemite to San Fran to leave to Melb. All this in about 37 days so its pretty busy...but we like it that way

we have a few things planned, SF Alcatraz and ride bikes along the GG bridge, road trip though Banff, a wedding in Toronto and Niagra, the main Historical monument stuff in DC, 2 days at universal in Orlando and some College football LSU V the Gators, Kill Tony live and F1 in Austin (Maybe cowboys in Dallas for a day trip) , staying Ceasars in Vegas with a Heli trip to the canyon, and likely smoking a ton of weed in Canada and staring at mountains.

any recommendations on things to do/see/eat during these places would be appreciated, but if you want to tell me the trip is too rushed, spare me :)
 

jerry springer

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Heading to San Fran late Sept til late Oct, a group starting with 3 school friends , ending in 5 as the trip reaches NYC.

Route is:

San Fran - Vancouver - Drive through Banff/jasper - fly Toronto - NYC - DC - Orlando - Austin TX - New Orleans - Vegas - hire car drive back through Yosemite to San Fran to leave to Melb. All this in about 37 days so its pretty busy...but we like it that way

we have a few things planned, SF Alcatraz and ride bikes along the GG bridge, road trip though Banff, a wedding in Toronto and Niagra, the main Historical monument stuff in DC, 2 days at universal in Orlando and some College football LSU V the Gators, Kill Tony live and F1 in Austin (Maybe cowboys in Dallas for a day trip) , staying Ceasars in Vegas with a Heli trip to the canyon, and likely smoking a ton of weed in Canada and staring at mountains.

any recommendations on things to do/see/eat during these places would be appreciated, but if you want to tell me the trip is too rushed, spare me :)


if going to a Dallas game dont take anything with you but your wallet and your phone, they don't let bags in, you can buy the clear plastic bags if you want to buy any merchandise

also i really recommend going this place before and after the game,its a 10 min walk to the stadium

 

BStaff17

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I highly recommend doing the Graceland tour in Memphis.

It's the best tour I have ever done.

From thr Elvis mansion to the museum and even the aeroplane it really is incredible how they have set everything up there on that property.
 

BStaff17

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Food is so over-rated in the states.

Like it's one thing you miss from Australia is a decent meal or steak.

It felt like most Breakfast options had to consist a burger.

I actually enjoyed the Mexican food and Cuban food more then when I had the traditional stuff at restaurants.

Not a fan of the mac and cheese either.
 

offtherails9

Norm Smith Medallist
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Food is so over-rated in the states.

Like it's one thing you miss from Australia is a decent meal or steak.

It felt like most Breakfast options had to consist a burger.

I actually enjoyed the Mexican food and Cuban food more then when I had the traditional stuff at restaurants.

Not a fan of the mac and cheese either.

You didn't rate the food at that steakhouse in Amarillo?

Give us the rundown on the tour mate! I want to hear all about it, how was the group, any good sorts? Favorite cities, best foods. Come on!
 

BStaff17

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You didn't rate the food at that steakhouse in Amarillo?

Give us the rundown on the tour mate! I want to hear all about it, how was the group, any good sorts? Favorite cities, best foods. Come on!
The steak at the steakhouse was ok but it wasn't Australian quality.

Pretty awesome group actually everyone got on and looked out for each other wherever we went.

Having done a contiki in Europe and now the US you realise how Aussies and the English have more in common and just click a whole better.

Then say Australians and Americans on the same group together.

Obviously this one had around a dozen English and Scottish on tour where my previous one similar number of Americans.

LA - Shithole we were there when the protests were happening and them marching straight past the pub we were at on the day of the abortion case ruling in Texas.

Vegas - 3 hours sleep across the 2 nights. Feels like your in a different planet walking around Vegas and the casinos.

Grand Canyon - Stunning

Durango - Nice little town with karaoke bar.

Santa Fe - Mexican food was delicious. Didn't really have enough time to check town out.

Amarillo - Survived didn't get shot on the dance floor with the line dancing.

Fort Worth/Dallas - Stockyards was ok. Nice bars and restaurants. Enjoyed the JFK museum and tour in Dallas.

Memphis - Graceland incredible. Night life was a bit strange being a Monday/Tuesday night. Seemed dead and the blues music isn't really my type of music. Table service was also frustrating. Spend 45 mins waiting for the waiter to get you a drink instead of just walking to the bar like everywhere else and ordering one.

New Orleans - Survived a Hand Grenade both nights and certainly an experience. Have to keep your wits though.

Miami - Beautiful would go back there for a week and just lay on the beach or the pool if I had too. Plus I am miami fan in American sports so want to go back there for a NFL and NBA game.

It was a fun 3 weeks that's for sure. Plus weather was warm everywhere we went.
 

revo333

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Memphis - Graceland incredible. Night life was a bit strange being a Monday/Tuesday night. Seemed dead and the blues music isn't really my type of music. Table service was also frustrating. Spend 45 mins waiting for the waiter to get you a drink instead of just walking to the bar like everywhere else and ordering one.

New Orleans - Survived a Hand Grenade both nights and certainly an experience. Have to keep your wits though.

Yeah, once the sun went down in New Orleans the whole vibe changed for me.

With Memphis it was always looking over the shoulder and being very careful no matter what time. Graceland was great and so was a tour of the Gibson factory.
 

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offtherails9

Norm Smith Medallist
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Yeah, once the sun went down in New Orleans the whole vibe changed for me.

With Memphis it was always looking over the shoulder and being very careful no matter what time. Graceland was great and so was a tour of the Gibson factory.

I didn't feel that in Nola, even though I went at a quiet time. A few blokes had some stuff stolen from woman, and I definitely wouldn't have walked across to my AirBnb on the other side of Canal St at night but Bourbon St was awesome at night.

Memphis I had a snow storm during, so don't think there was much chance of danger. My mate went a few years after me and said their guide told them not to go to certain areas as they will get mugged.
 

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