Travelling the USA

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KarlosWhiting
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#1
Report Thread starter 8 years ago
#1
Hey does anyone have any advice on travelling in the US?
Specifically: coast to coast, places to see/visit, how to get about, hotels/hostels & prices.

I'm looking to travel there next summer with my brother & we want to visit: New York, Washington, Vegas, LA, Miami, Cali & Hawaii.

Any advice would be great thanks.


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MantaRey
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#2
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#2
How long are you going to be in the States? If its only for a few weeks, it wont be worth it trying to cover everything.
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username220598
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#3
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#3
Depends on your preference but Megabus local cities and fly between distant ones. Flights are only about £50 from one coast to the other so should be manageable.
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Faye_m
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#4
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#4
Gotobus.com
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Rheannan
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#5
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#5
if you're going from uk, once you're in (which can be expensive), you're in, and going from place to place in the us is very cheap. for hotels try to go out of the centre, e.g. in new york stay in brooklyn, a subway ride away but isn't that all part of the fun?
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KarlosWhiting
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#6
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#6
I'm looking to go for 6-8 weeks


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MantaRey
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#7
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#7
I assume New York and Washington refer to the cities and not the states. NYC, DC, and LA are worth visiting. I feel Miami is overrated and a bit off of your path, plus LA can fill the same niche, so I won't cover that.

Well for starters I suggest flying into Boston and working your way down to Washington. Basic route would be Boston-> New York->Philadelphia->Baltimore->DC. You can travel down by bus or Amtrak.

After Washington,you can head west you can either fly (boring), take the bus (don't have much experience with Greyhound) or take Amtrak. By rail, you can head towards Chicago via Cleveland and then southwest to LA or you can head south towards Atlanta, then New Orleans, Texas and then west to LA. Going by bus would give you more flexibility with your route, but I've never travelled by it.

From LA you can go wherever you want in the Southwest. You can go south to San Diego and then maybe a short daytrip to Mexico, go to the Grand Canyon, visit Vegas, or head north to the Bay area.
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KarlosWhiting
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#8
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#8
That does make more sense thankyou!

What are hostels/motels like on value & comfort?


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BlackHawk
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#9
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#9
(Original post by KarlosWhiting)
That does make more sense thankyou!

What are hostels/motels like on value & comfort?


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Usually fine, I've stayed in a few Motel 6 before. You can get decent places for not much more though.

I currently live in the USA and places I would recommend....

New York city
Washington DC
Salem, Boston, Plymouth Rock and Cape Cod all in Massachusetts
Nashville, Tennessee (if you are a music or whisky lover. Bluebird Cafe is a must)
New Orleans (French Quarter and Market, go on the Natchez, eat at Cafe Du Monde)
Las Vegas (I live here, so if you plan to visit let me know. I have a lot of advice on it)
San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz)
Drive the pacific highway
Wine regions in California (if you're over 21)
Yosemite National Park in California
Zion National Park (stay here if you can afford it, it's amazing and we got a cabin for $100 http://www.zmr.com)
Monument Valley in Utah
On your way to Monument Valley, HorseShoe Bend and Antelope Canyon are pretty amazing.
Grand Canyon in Arizona (North rim is less touristy and more rugged than the South rim, but harder to get to)
Sedona in Arizona if you're going to the Grand Canyon.

I've spent a lot of years travelling around the USA so if you want details on the above places, or more suggestions let me know
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KarlosWhiting
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#10
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#10
That's great I shall drop u a message closer to the time thanks


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CurtisDean
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#11
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#11
Hey everyone! Advice really useful!

I wanted to ask a question:

I hope to travel to the US in a couple of weeks for educational reasons, I am 17 though, and I have family that I intend to stay with. My parents will send me over to stay with the family, so it will be a case of me being on the plane alone, but meeting the family at the airport.

I wanted to know if it is okay for me the enter the country by myself at that age?

Thanks.
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BlackHawk
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#12
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#12
(Original post by CurtisDean)
Hey everyone! Advice really useful!

I wanted to ask a question:

I hope to travel to the US in a couple of weeks for educational reasons, I am 17 though, and I have family that I intend to stay with. My parents will send me over to stay with the family, so it will be a case of me being on the plane alone, but meeting the family at the airport.

I wanted to know if it is okay for me the enter the country by myself at that age?

Thanks.
If you are coming from the UK, look up the Visa Waiver Program and you will find the information you need in there. Or I would recommend phoning the American Embassy to ask them.

I believe, as you are underage, you need a signed letter from BOTH your parents stating your intent in the USA, where you will be staying and when you will be returning and their permission to be travelling.
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CurtisDean
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#13
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#13
(Original post by BlackHawk)
If you are coming from the UK, look up the Visa Waiver Program and you will find the information you need in there. Or I would recommend phoning the American Embassy to ask them.

I believe, as you are underage, you need a signed letter from BOTH your parents stating your intent in the USA, where you will be staying and when you will be returning and their permission to be travelling.
Thank you for help, I asked this same question on another forum called College Confidential. I looked up VWP and it appears I am eligible. So I will need to do an ESTA. In terms of a letter. Some people/websites say that I need one, whilst others say that I don't. I checked the embassy website, as well as other official websites with some saying you might need one, whilst others don't even mention it. #Confused! lol
But I think to be on the safe side, I will get my mum and dad to do a letter and sign it. I found a form online, but it was for minors travelling with one parent, or someone that is not their parents, so I couldn't use it. Other than that, I couldn't see any forms for unaccompanied travel for minors.

Thanks again for help! Have a great day!
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Harpoon
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#14
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#14
(Original post by BlackHawk)
Usually fine, I've stayed in a few Motel 6 before. You can get decent places for not much more though.

I currently live in the USA and places I would recommend....

New York city
Washington DC
Salem, Boston, Plymouth Rock and Cape Cod all in Massachusetts
Nashville, Tennessee (if you are a music or whisky lover. Bluebird Cafe is a must)
New Orleans (French Quarter and Market, go on the Natchez, eat at Cafe Du Monde)
Las Vegas (I live here, so if you plan to visit let me know. I have a lot of advice on it)
San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz)
Drive the pacific highway
Wine regions in California (if you're over 21)
Yosemite National Park in California
Zion National Park (stay here if you can afford it, it's amazing and we got a cabin for $100 http://www.zmr.com)
Monument Valley in Utah
On your way to Monument Valley, HorseShoe Bend and Antelope Canyon are pretty amazing.
Grand Canyon in Arizona (North rim is less touristy and more rugged than the South rim, but harder to get to)
Sedona in Arizona if you're going to the Grand Canyon.

I've spent a lot of years travelling around the USA so if you want details on the above places, or more suggestions let me know
Just crashing the thread, off to Vegas at the beginning of September so any advice you could give would be brilliant!
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BlackHawk
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Harpoon)
Just crashing the thread, off to Vegas at the beginning of September so any advice you could give would be brilliant!
Sure, gimme an idea of what you have planned so far Are you coming for the casinos and bars or would you like to see more of the area?
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Harpoon
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#16
(Original post by BlackHawk)
Sure, gimme an idea of what you have planned so far Are you coming for the casinos and bars or would you like to see more of the area?
Fly into Vegas on the 3rd, staying in The Signature at MGM Grand for 8 nights, coming for both, mainly casinos and bars but also would like to see more of the area Thank you!
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BlackHawk
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#17
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#17
(Original post by Harpoon)
Fly into Vegas on the 3rd, staying in The Signature at MGM Grand for 8 nights, coming for both, mainly casinos and bars but also would like to see more of the area Thank you!
Wow, ok I'll type something up for you just now...
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Harpoon
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#18
(Original post by BlackHawk)
Wow, ok I'll type something up for you just now...
Thank you
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BlackHawk
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#19
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#19
(Original post by Harpoon)
Fly into Vegas on the 3rd, staying in The Signature at MGM Grand for 8 nights, coming for both, mainly casinos and bars but also would like to see more of the area Thank you!
Ok, the MGM Grand is at the South end of the Strip. It's got good placement, but it's not as central as some casinos are.

There is A LOT to see on The Strip, but you can also get burned out very very quickly if you go hell bent at getting drunk in every bar and spend in every casino. Las Vegas is designed to get as much money out of you as fast as possible.

Firstly some tips for the Strip.....

Here, cars can turn right on a red light at an intersection. ALWAYS double check before you cross, even if it's a 'green man' for you at the lights, cars can still go through the crossing.

Every cash point in a casino will charge you for withdrawals, about $3.00 per withdrawal. Add this to the rate your bank sets for withdrawing abroad, exchange rate, etc and you're probably paying $5.00 per withdrawal. Not worth it. Keep cash in your room in a safe, and each day budget what you are going to spend and take only that money out. Leave debit/credit cards at the hotel.

There are a bunch of touters on The Strip. It's their job to get you into their bars, clubs, casinos, strip clubs, etc. The quickest way to get these people to leave you alone is just say 'I'm a local'. Even if you don't sound like it, they will usually smile and leave you alone. Las Vegas sees tourists as cash cows, but they are very respectful to the people who live here.

Don't bother with Taxis. They are expensive, and sometimes the traffic on the Strip barely moves. You have several other options, there are inexpensive buses which run the length of the Strip. You can walk (September might be a bit hot, drop into casinos for some air con) or you can use the free monorail system. This only runs between certain casinos but is great.

All hotels have a business centre, where you can charge your mobile phones. Doesn't matter if you're staying there or not, you'll pay a small fee and can use their chargers.

If you lose one of your friends in a casino, find a wall with a phone on it. These are dotted all over every casino and picking up the phone will connect you to the hotel operator. You can ask them to put out a tannoy for your lost friend....or connect you to other services.

The quickest ways to get thrown out of a casino...

  • Taking pictures at gambling tables
  • using a mobile phone around sports bookings
  • Never hand money to a dealer. You must put it on the table and let them pick it up themselves


If you win big at a casino, you can ask for a security escort to your room/car.

All drinks in casinos are free while you are playing on the floor. However you must tip your waitress or she won't come back, and will tell the other waitresses you are a non-tipper. Personally, I will give a waitress a $20 at the start to keep bringing me drinks. If you're in a group, tip her $50 at the start and ask her to keep the drinks coming. If you would rather tip per drink $2 per drink is a good amount. Also, casinos give out free cigars with drinks. Ask and you shall receive.

Casinos also give free tickets to buffets if you have been playing the floor awhile. Ask your waitress for tickets.

If you don't know how to play a game, each casino has times of days where they will have a dealer do demos and show people how to play and allow practice sessions. Ask at hotel reception or casino information desk.

Some of the hotel have free 'shows' outside the hotels.

  • Bellagio Fountain shows during the day are every 30 minutes, noon to 7 on weekends, and 3 to 7 on weekdays, and then every 15 minutes after 7 p.m.
  • Caesars Free fountain show in forum shops; "live statues" in forum shops area near fountains.
  • Mirage volcano show (Top of each hour from 7 to midnight)
  • Rio(off strip) aerial Masquerade Show (Daily performances at 3:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm & 9:30pm)
  • Treasure Island Siren Show (nightly at 7:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. in Sirens' Cove at the front entrance)


ETA: If you have some money in the bank, there is a way to get a casinos attention. Say you only plan to gamble $500. If you can afford it, take out $5,000 on a marker and the casino will suddenly become very interested in you. Offering you free room upgrades, free chips, free shows, restaurants, etc. They may even assign you your own casino host. You don't have to spend that money, but the fact you might will have a casino falling all over themselves to help you spend it.
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BlackHawk
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#20
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#20
Some things to note about the actual casinos...

All are 24 hours, 7 days a week.

The lighting will remain the same at all times, this is so you lose track of time.

There are no clocks in a casino, machines do not have times on them and staff do not wear watches. Again, so you don't know what time it is.

Casinos floors are designed as mazes so you get lost and wander past enticing machines.

Casinos floors are always carpet, and they have a different style of carpet as a 'walkway' through the casino floor. You may see children in Casinos. They are allowed, but they can only walk through a casino via a walkway.

Almost all casinos are smoking. Some casinos have non-smoking areas.

Restaurants in casinos opening times will vary, but almost every casino has places to eat open 24/7
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