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Old 01-03-2005, 10:20 PM   #1
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I have booked a flight to the US and arrive in LA on the 19th January. That is the extent of my planning This is my first time travelling overseas and I have decided to do it solo. I have met a bunch of Americans at different times while they were travelling through Australia, who I would like to stay with while I am there, however they are all over the place:

LA, Denver, San antonio, Austin, Washington DC, Ney York City, Boston and Chicago.

What is the best/cheapest way to travel between these places? I have had a quick look at multi-trip flights on orbitz.com and they seemed relatively inexpensive. What about train travel? I understand amtrak.com has 30 day train passes you can get with unlimited travel.

Also, I plan on heading to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Las Vegas and San Fransisco at some stage and staying in hostels. Can anyone suggest any other places to visit along the way? I have organised to see Jerry Springer in Chicago, and go hunting with some rednecks in Texas. What other "American" activities would you suggest?

As with everything else in my life, I have left the organising of this trip till the last minute, so I basically have 2 weeks to organise/book everything.

Cheers

Liam
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Old 01-03-2005, 10:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jubblies@Jan 3 2005, 10:20 PM
I have organised to see Jerry Springer in Chicago, and go hunting with some rednecks in Texas. What other "American" activities would you suggest?
what else is there?!?

anyhow, i live in chicago if you need any help.

also, i think some TravelPunks are going to be in New Orleans for mardi gras. you could probably meet-up with them if you want. Click here for a shortcut to the topic

oh, i didn't know that amtrak did a 30 day pass. COOL! how much is that?

anyhow, good luck on your adventures. keep us posted and WELCOME TO THE BOARDS!
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:16 AM   #3
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Woo! Springer! I've got some Jerry-like action going on in front of my house as we speak.. some ghetto hoochie mamas are getting into it. I never quite understand why they come up the street to my neighborhood to argue in the middle of the night, but it sure is entertaining.

Aaaanyway, the Amtrak pass sounds cool. Whatever you do, though, don't bother with the Greyhound bus line. It's miserable. Although, it's also a slice of Americana, but I don't know if us Yanks want to show you that side

Let's see.. American things to do. Hmmm.. Clambake in Boston. Grab a coffee at Starbucks. Cab ride in New York, following a show at CBGB. Buy something at Wal-mart. Check out the gallery in Congress in Washington DC. Eat a super-size meal at McDonald's. Try to run more than 1/4 mile in Denver without an oxygen tank. Watch some reality TV. Stalk celebrities in LA. Go on a fad diet. Throw beads for boobies in New Orleans. Start a fight at a pro basketball game. Pretend not to stare at the leather guys in San Francisco.
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:42 AM   #4
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Do some hiking in our national parks out west -- there are a ton of them: Grand Canyon, Arches, Zion, Yosemite...I'd highly recommend that.

Also, don't overlook air travel, either. We have a collection of lowcost airlines: Southwest Airlines, America West Airlines (the one I work for), Jet Blue, Air Tran, and so on.

Another cool slice of Americana would be renting a car and doing a "road trip." Maybe do that part to see the National Parks. Alamo has good car rates with unlimited mileage, usually.

We have Tpunks spanning the nation, so once you know where you're going to be, let US know. We can meet up with you and show you around...

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Old 01-04-2005, 08:43 AM   #5
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Yes, I always wish some tpunks would head out my way so I could meet up and help them out! But I am in Atlanta and Athens, GA, not exactly on the international tourist route unless you are interested in visiting former Olympic cities or REM's hometown...

I agree with what everyone else said, but another pretty cool place is Tennessee, if you are looking to fit more in. Even if you're not into country music, Nashville is still a great place to visit. And Memphis, Elvis Presley's Graceland!! The South in general can be pretty different from the North, but I guess you're going to Texas so you might have that covered. I don't think of Texas as the "South" but I guess it is. Different food, accents, etc.

Flying is probably your best bet esp. for longer distances. Greyhound buses are very cheap but that can be an adventure. I did that once and let's just say I'm not doing it again. But if you get short on money that's an option.

Let us know if you need more help. It's rare that we get to give advice on the US around here, or so it seems. Everyone mostly needs advice on Western Europe.
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Old 01-04-2005, 12:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by worldwidemike@Jan 4 2005, 03:42 AM
Do some hiking in our national parks out west -- there are a ton of them: Grand Canyon, Arches, Zion, Yosemite...I'd highly recommend that.
i definetly second that! that is a must do if you are coming all the way over. our national parks are beautiful.

check out US National Park Service
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:00 PM   #7
 
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LOL

Greyhound is going to be my mode of travel for 2 months. By the time my pass runs out (60 days from January 13th), I think I'm going to be a little bit and a little bit
I've done Greyhound a few times and I think part of the reason I didn't "enjoy" it was because I had too many valuables with me and I was worried.

This time, however, for the two+ months I'll be traveling, I plan on following the backpacker mentality of keeping it light. That, an inflatable neck pillow, and maybe a couple Xanax will keep me sane

Plus, I'll probably end up seeing bits of America that I haven't seen yet!~

Now, as for your trip Liam, see my reply to your post about accommodations during Mardi Gras...as for more American things to do, I can't think of anything really that wasn't mentioned. omisan definitely had some great quirky activities for you to try to get the "American" experience

Oh, and Lauren...thank you for singing the praises of Tennessee. I love that state and that is where I will live in the future. Liam, if you'd like suggestions for sights to see in Nashville and in the state of Tennessee, THAT is something I'd be happy to help with
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:08 PM   #8
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Hmm...thanks so much for your help. I have made a pretty rough itinerary, although it will hopefully be pretty flexible. I have a feeling that my plans will change anyway, when I meet people while travelling who are going to different places.

Here is the basic plan so far:

19th-22nd Jan - Los Angeles
22-24 Jan - San Francisco
24-28 Jan - Las Vegas
28-30 Jan – Aspin
30 Jan – 4 Feb - San Antonio
4 Feb - 6 Feb – New Orleans
6 - 10 Feb - Washington DC
10 - 20 Feb - New York
20 - 28 Feb - Boston
28 - 5 March - Chicago

Leave on 5 March from LA

At each of these places, I will probably do a bit of exploring. i.e. Yosemite NP while in San Francisco, Grand Canyon while in Vegas. etc.

Any other suggestions?
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Old 01-04-2005, 08:03 PM   #9
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I would only say that things are farther away than you might think. I used to know this exactly, but Yosemite is not exactly near San Francisco. Omisan could tell you for sure, but it's a couple of hours away if I remember right. So that's something to keep in mind.
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:04 AM   #10
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Ahyup.. Yosemite is at least a good 3 hours' drive away from San Francisco, and judging by the winter weather we're having this year, I'd make it at least 4 or 5.

Also, the north rim of the Grand Canyon is a few hours from Vegas by road, but it's closed in the winter due to heavy snow. You might have to sock some money away to get an air tour to the South Rim from Las Vegas - it ain't cheap... Aspen is also crazy expensive. If you want to get some skiing/snowboarding in during your trip, you can consolidate by going to one of the places near Yosemite (i.e. Dodge Ridge, Bear Valley).

For a lot of your exploration, study up on the hostels you plan to check out and see what kind of outings they offer. Some of them have arrangements with coach companies to go to national parks and other cool places for good prices.
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Old 01-05-2005, 10:01 AM   #11
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Further to Omi's post.....anytime traveling in the northern part of the U.S. (Chicago, New York and Boston and parts of CA) during the winter (Jan/Feb) is that there is a high likelihood of running into some bad weather which could delay parts of your journey or make some thing unaccessible. There can be some nasty snowstorms if you time it wrong. So far, though, this year has been mild over here on the east coast. I would offer to have a beer with you in Feb in Boston, but I will be in Asia then....sorry. Boston is a lot of fun though, so enjoy - just bring WARM clothes.
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Old 01-05-2005, 01:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by LiveFreeorDie@Jan 5 2005, 10:01 AM
Further to Omi's post.....anytime traveling in the northern part of the U.S. (Chicago, New York and Boston and parts of CA) during the winter (Jan/Feb) is that there is a high likelihood of running into some bad weather which could delay parts of your journey or make some thing unaccessible.* There can be some nasty snowstorms if you time it wrong.* So far, though, this year has been mild over here on the east coast.* I would offer to have a beer with you in Feb in Boston, but I will be in Asia then....sorry.* Boston is a lot of fun though, so enjoy - just bring WARM clothes.
YES! we are getting some crazy snow here in chicago right now. it's been snowing constantly for going on 12 hours now and there isn't an end in sight yet. do some careful planning. good luck.
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Old 01-08-2005, 01:08 AM   #13
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Well I'll be at school, about 10 mins from Manhattan, so if you need a place to sleep or want a tour of the little I know about NY let me know. There's an awesome pizza shop in the East Village.

As for doing American things, hmmm. 1) Learn the New York walk - long strides and striking a model face. 2) Ride the subway in NY. 3) Try the pizza in Chicago...still don't get why the sauce is over the cheese - but its soooo good. 4) Go to a supermarket and get 20 items then go through the 12 items or less lane.

PS: Work the accent...so sexy.
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Old 01-08-2005, 01:19 AM   #14
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Hm this may be out of your way but I gotta rep my hometown of Miami, Florida.

If you want to see a really different America, different Americans, check out Miami.

Miami, sigh

P.S. If you go to Miami, eat at Pollo Tropical. Its delicious Cuban food. Miami is the only place in the US with this resturaunt chain.
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Old 01-10-2005, 09:51 AM   #15
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one suggestion once you are here in Los Angeles you have to go to eat at "in-n-out"

you also definitely want to hit the Hollywood strip and check it out. There is plenty of bars to hang out. Some to mention are Myagis, Dublin, Saddle Ranch, House of blues, and if you like the group the doors, you want to go to the whiskey a go-go.

If you like mexican food, there is this restaurant called King Taco, damn there food and hot sauce is amazing!

If you want to bar hop, Pasadena has a lot of cool bars that you can check out.

good luck on your trip.
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Old 01-10-2005, 03:12 PM   #16
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I will be staying at USA Hostels Hollywood for the first couple of days I am in LA, which is right near Hollywood Blvd, so I will definately have to check out those places you suggested.

Nice pic by the way...I'm sure I still have some he-man figurines at home
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