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Help needed to plan USA trip watch

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    I booked my flight to chicago few months ago but haven't arranged anything else it cost me around £700. I plan to go for 3 weeks July-August.
    I'm going on my own. I did camp america in summer 2009 so i have some friends who live out there who i could stay with but most of them will be working. Also my cousins who live in canada want to meet up with me in new york... I travelled for a week last time with a few other people -a road trip from chicago to the grand canyon and it was amazing! but I wish I would have seen more.

    I will have around £1000 and also have a £1200 overdraft i can use if i'm desperate.

    I just need help planning really?! i was thinking of doing green tortoise tour but i don't know if they are over-priced and any good?!!? (anyone been on them?!)
    http://www.greentortoise.com/adventu...ey.sur.LA.html

    Also : do you have to have visa if just going to america for 3 weeks?! and how easy is it to get ?

    any info would be appreciated, thanks
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    anyone?!
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    I can't think of anything to say especially, but feel bad for you having no replies so thought I would I'm going to that area for 4 and a half weeks in the summer - should be amazing! I'm flying into LA, then we're driving up the coast road to San Francisco then back to LA in a big loop via Vegas, few National Parks, Grand Canyon etc. I am totally psyched! Mum's organising it all though so I can't really help you, but I think we are just going of our own back - it's not organised or anything, more make it up as you go along.
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    I looked at the Green Tortoise but it does seem massively overpriced. I've seen it advertised as a real budget option but it isn't when you compare it to the equivalent hostel + Greyhound bus prices for the same journey.
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    What part do you need help planning?

    I've done a trip with Trek America which is similar to Green Tortoise. It's an expensive way of traveling, but some think it's worth it for the structure/ security it provides. It was good to be with other people and to have transport taken care of, however, I didn't get to see nearly as much of the places we visited as I would have liked/ expected to. If you know where you want to go it's probably better to do it yourself.

    As for the visa; it's not a visa like you needed for Camp America, however there is an online visa waiver form you need to complete before traveling called ESTA takes 5 mins to fill in and is free.
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    I organised a round trip around the US myself a few years back. 4 weeks for me and 6 for my mum, who came a bit earlier (I was out there already, working). We organised almost everything ourselves, but one trip.
    The west coast was fine to plan ourselves though, no issues at all. We picked hostels, planes, buses etc in advance and then planned some day trips. Went to the national parks for example with guided tours.
    I enjoyed it that way as we were free to do whatever we wanted. We didn't like LA much so instead of going into the town centre a second time we hang out at the beach. And we tried to do a big trip one day and something shorter, relaxed the next. I loved that sort of freedom
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    Last summer i did a 3 week trip driving from LA and zig Zagging all the way up to seattle to spend some time with my sister

    So Id suggest making plans to see people first and then organizing other things around it or make plans to do things with them
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    you definitely need a visa. when we went there on holiday for three weeks we just filled out all the crap at the airport. you could apply before.
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    The ESTA is a visa waiver which means nothing else to fill out? I signed up for the ESTA thing last year so I am assuming I don't need to fill anything more out :beard:
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    (Original post by Colbert)
    I looked at the Green Tortoise but it does seem massively overpriced. I've seen it advertised as a real budget option but it isn't when you compare it to the equivalent hostel + Greyhound bus prices for the same journey.
    I know it does seem very overpriced but the one i've found is the 'california coastal crawler' $300 + $62 for food and that's for 7 days didn't think it was too bad seeing as the amount of places you see and there's beds on the coach also the safety of being with other people / making new friends.

    I've looked into the greyhound bus and some of the journeys take forver and not as cheap as i thought.
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    Does anyone else think it would be cheaper if i hired a car and then travelled places myself?!
    I know hiring a car costs more if your under 25 (i'm 21) or would it cost way too much?!
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    (Original post by Holamigo)
    I know it does seem very overpriced but the one i've found is the 'california coastal crawler' $300 + $62 for food and that's for 7 days didn't think it was too bad seeing as the amount of places you see and there's beds on the coach also the safety of being with other people / making new friends.

    I've looked into the greyhound bus and some of the journeys take forver and not as cheap as i thought.
    Yeah I am still undecided how to travel California. Was thinking either taking a bus over various legs, renting a car for a week or doing it by plane but the cheapest flight from San Francisco to LA is $80 so won't be doing that.

    That Tortoise price isn't too bad at first glance, but looking at it most of the nights you have to pay extra to stay in a hostel because it isn't included in the price :lolwut:
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    (Original post by Holamigo)
    I booked my flight to chicago few months ago but haven't arranged anything else it cost me around £700. I plan to go for 3 weeks July-August.
    I'm going on my own. I did camp america in summer 2009 so i have some friends who live out there who i could stay with but most of them will be working. Also my cousins who live in canada want to meet up with me in new york... I travelled for a week last time with a few other people -a road trip from chicago to the grand canyon and it was amazing! but I wish I would have seen more.

    I will have around £1000 and also have a £1200 overdraft i can use if i'm desperate.

    I just need help planning really?! i was thinking of doing green tortoise tour but i don't know if they are over-priced and any good?!!? (anyone been on them?!)
    http://www.greentortoise.com/adventu...ey.sur.LA.html

    Also : do you have to have visa if just going to america for 3 weeks?! and how easy is it to get ?

    any info would be appreciated, thanks
    So I didn't bother reading this thread properly so sorry if it's already been mentioned, but you have to get some thing from the internet that costs about $15 and you can't get into the US without it Sorry it's a bit vague, I'm trying to get one at the minute, so your best bet would be the travel section of the direct gov website
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    (Original post by fiona344)
    What part do you need help planning?

    I've done a trip with Trek America which is similar to Green Tortoise. It's an expensive way of traveling, but some think it's worth it for the structure/ security it provides. It was good to be with other people and to have transport taken care of, however, I didn't get to see nearly as much of the places we visited as I would have liked/ expected to. If you know where you want to go it's probably better to do it yourself.

    As for the visa; it's not a visa like you needed for Camp America, however there is an online visa waiver form you need to complete before traveling called ESTA takes 5 mins to fill in and is free.
    Oh it's free? I was told it costs about $15 :/
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    (Original post by JessyPhil)
    Oh it's free? I was told it costs about $15 :/
    It used to be free, think it's about £14 now.
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    (Original post by JessyPhil)
    Oh it's free? I was told it costs about $15 :/
    Actually I think there might be a small fee now, but point is there's a lot of fake sites that try and charge for it, so make sure you use the official site.
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    Also consider flexibility and taking more than your theoretical budget.
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    You will need to fill out an ESTA form (visa waiver)...I think it needs to be filled out at least 48 hours before you fly, or you wont be allowed on the plane. It used to be free, now they're charging for it. As others have said, use the official website to get it! .

    As for your travel plans...I'd start thinking now about where you want to go and what you want to do, so you have a rough idea. I've done similar things to you, and have had no problem as a young, solo female traveller. I've found Americans to be really, really friendly and have made a lot of friends during my travels.

    Greyhound is getting more expensive, but it's worth doing at least once, just for the experience. I still find it quite an enjoyable way to travel, though it is getting more and more expensive and you do meet some rather "unusual" people. On the whole, though, as long as you're sensible, it's fine. Another good way to travel is via train where it's available.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd allow a week for Chicago and NY, and then spend the other 2 weeks travelling. You can stay in hostels, which will keep the price down. I'd tend to head south - I'm a big fan of North Carolina, for instance and I also tend to stay away from the larger cities and focus my attention on smaller towns...people are friendlier, there's still enough to keep me entertained, etc.

    If you have any questions, just PM me
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    Thanks ^^^ very much for that!!! I am in the process of planning it all so will probably PM you with lots n lots of questions lol!

    I have sorted the visa waiver thing - was $14. and i'm probably going to get a credit card so i will have more money just incase!!

    my plan so far is:

    1) Arrive in chicago - meet my friend at airport stay 2 days in chicago might go to the six flags theme park if it's open.
    2) Then I will say bye to my friend and fly from chicago to san francisco and meet my cousin from canada who said she would be interested in doing the green tortoise tour for a week.
    3) Then after the tour i'll fly back to chicago - get my friend who lives in illinois to pick me up spend whole week staying at his /visiting my old camp and friends.
    4) Then for the last week I plan to go to NY for about 3-4 days and meet with my uncle and cousins
    5) Then.. come back to illinois and spend the last few days with my friend

    It's going to be a tiring trip but i want to make sure it's jam packed!!!
    Any other suggestions would help e.g. places that i should definitely see in new york and other cities!
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    (Original post by Holamigo)
    Thanks ^^^ very much for that!!! I am in the process of planning it all so will probably PM you with lots n lots of questions lol!

    I have sorted the visa waiver thing - was $14. and i'm probably going to get a credit card so i will have more money just incase!!

    my plan so far is:

    1) Arrive in chicago - meet my friend at airport stay 2 days in chicago might go to the six flags theme park if it's open.
    2) Then I will say bye to my friend and fly from chicago to san francisco and meet my cousin from canada who said she would be interested in doing the green tortoise tour for a week.
    3) Then after the tour i'll fly back to chicago - get my friend who lives in illinois to pick me up spend whole week staying at his /visiting my old camp and friends.
    4) Then for the last week I plan to go to NY for about 3-4 days and meet with my uncle and cousins
    5) Then.. come back to illinois and spend the last few days with my friend

    It's going to be a tiring trip but i want to make sure it's jam packed!!!
    Any other suggestions would help e.g. places that i should definitely see in new york and other cities!
    Why are you going to Chicago 3 times? You'd be better blocking the time together, instead of wasting 2 days at airports. Six Flags will be open everyday when you're there (looked good when I past it on a train).
 
 
 
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