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Old 12-13-2005, 05:51 AM   #1
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HELP!!!!!!

doing a three month tour of US from july 06 when finish uni. am first time travller from England and would love any advice on which is best, rail or greyhound??? on a SMALL budget and also want to see east and west coast (if possible)!

what are essential must see of the US?? LOVE cities and beaches!

any tips on where to save money would be awesome! thank you

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Old 12-13-2005, 06:19 AM   #2
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WEll, going Greyhound will allow you to see a view of the country you wouldn't otherwise see. And its BY FAR cheaper than Amtrak. But remember that 1-way flights on Southwest Air for the long hops are usually gonna be less than $100. America is a LOT bigger than Europe, so a cross-country drive or train takes many days. (a week is a good number.)

Welcome to the boards! Tpunks in the States are spread out all over, so make sure you look us up on your trek!
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Old 12-13-2005, 09:16 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Joker@Dec 13 2005, 08:19 AM
WEll, going Greyhound will allow you to see a view of the country you wouldn't otherwise see. And its BY FAR cheaper than Amtrak. But remember that 1-way flights on Southwest Air for the long hops are usually gonna be less than $100. America is a LOT bigger than Europe, so a cross-country drive or train takes many days. (a week is a good number.)

Welcome to the boards! Tpunks in the States are spread out all over, so make sure you look us up on your trek!
[snapback]92549[/snapback]
Yeah I totally have to agree here. I've done some travelling around the Canada and the US and the greyhound is def the way to go. Trains can be expensive and they're not any faster. They're not really the most comfortable for super extended trips, I spent 36 hours straight on one...but you know for that price you really can't complain.

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Old 12-13-2005, 09:26 AM   #4
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Welcome to the boards! Amtrak is definitely a lot more comfortable for traveling than Greyhound, and usually faster. You can get rail passes but they're kind of spendy (you get a discount if you're a student). When will you be coming? They have it divided by peak and off peak travel. Here is a good pass for international travelers, but it doesn't say whether the days are consecutive or not, but I would believe they are. You do get travel into Canada though, if you're at all interested. It also shows you a map (somewhat) so you can see what areas it hits. This is the page with the different passes listed so you can browse through and see if any meet your requirements.

Here is a great link to some things through Greyhound - has travel times between major US cities and has the passes. And for your reading pleasure, here is the link to the American Discovery pass, complete with pricing and date information. There is a separate pass for America and Canada (again, don't know if you're interested).

Cities - I think a lot of the major cities here would be must sees. I think San Diego California would get a few votes, along with Seattle Washington and Chicago Illinois (there are Tpunks in all of these cities). Just about anywhere in Florida to enjoy some beautiful beaches, plus they have some amazing forests. New Orleans would be a must stop for me. The tourist parts (French Quarter, Downtown, Garden District) weren't affected too badly by the hurricanes and are really getting back to full swing. You just can't beat Bourbon St! New York is a prime spot for visitors but is an expensive city (then again, if you're from England, the prices are probably comparable). I'm sure people will add more.

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Old 12-13-2005, 10:21 AM   #5
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thanks for all the info.

coming out on the 1st july for 3 months. will be in new york for the 4th july, is there somewhere special to go for that or is it just everywhere???

heard some scary stuff about safety in new orleans, is it ok???

think for the price its gonna have to be the greyhound, i'm hoping to meet a few characters along the way!!!

any music festivals in the states or tours over summer???
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Old 12-13-2005, 10:38 AM   #6
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Problem is, the States are much bigger and not walkable like the EU. In other words, mass transport like buses/trains are rarely used here because you'd still need a car once you get into any city to get around. They are both slow and pricey - and buses tend to attract many "lowlife" types (bums who prefer alcohol to soap) who can't afford cars. Buses make a LOT of stops too - so will be verry slow. Trains are nicer, but also pricier and are often hours late..

You can probably rent a car for ~$35/day plus gas - but I think you have to be at least age 25 to do so.

In short, travel here is far pricier and less convenient than the EU - so be sure to budget a LOT more for it!

Just FYI.
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Old 12-13-2005, 10:49 AM   #7
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Call me a snob, but I find Greyhound to be fucking SCARY and refuse to ever ride it again. You only have to have your stuff pissed on by a schizo homeless person once to be turned off that bucket of bolts... That and I prefer talking to other travelers than people just released from prison. But yeah, you'll definitely meet some characters, for sure!

Trains tend to cost more than planes in the States, but there are deals to be found. Keep an eye on Amtrak's web site for specials, but don't be surprised when a trip that goes for $75 by airplane is $275 by train. (!)

Personally, I fly/drive everywhere. While the budget airlines have gone up in fares lately due to rising fuel prices, there are still many great deals to be found... Otherwise, I'm more than happy to just drive myself. I know that's not an option for most travelers as car hire in the US is more stringent than in other countries, but I've always been able to catch rides with/give a lift to other people staying in hostels with me, and that's far more enjoyable than any bus/train/plane in my experience.

As for festivals in the US - other than Coachella (which is in April) I'm of the opinion than our festivals simply don't compare to those in UK/Europe - however, there are usually some good multi-band tours going on in the summer, as well as summer radio station "festivals" that are catered to the market in each city. You can keep an eye out on what's going on by city by checking out sites like Pollstar.com
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Old 12-13-2005, 11:27 AM   #8
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I agree a bit with Omi. Greyhound can be a bit dicey. If you do take them - make sure that any stops the bus makes that you are not getting off at that you pay CLOSE attention to the luggage they take off the bus to make sute is not yours. You do not want to get to NYC and find out your luggage was accidentally removed at some stop 500 miles ago.

As alternatives to Greyhound, Amtrak is way too expensive - flying is a much better deal. There also may be some other interesting bus deals out there. I know in Boston, for example, there is a Bus that runs between the Chinatown in Boston and the Chinatown in NYC and a 1 way is only $18 I think. I cannot remember the name of the bus - Fung Wa Bus maybe??

Anyway, good luck!
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Old 12-13-2005, 11:32 AM   #9
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I am a big fan of the hitchhiking route! It too can be dicey but you just have to pick your rides carefully. If someone pulls over and you don't like the look of em just tell em they aren't headed your direction.

It's cheap, fun, adventerous and still legal.

I will too will never take greyhound again.
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Old 12-13-2005, 11:48 AM   #10
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Safety in New Orleans isn't really an issue right now. There aren't a whole lot of residents and it's being well monitored by the National Guard and police. I think it's safer than before the hurricanes. The main thing is stay on well lit popular streets.

If you go into large cities, you don't need a car. If you fly, the airport will usually be set outside the city, but there's usually public transportation (train, subway, bus) or else you can take a taxi or shuttle. Otherwise, the train/bus stations are usually in the city. Though the US isn't known for it's wonderful public transportation system, it isn't that bad, especially in larger cities.

If you meet some cool travelers and they have a car, you can always bum around with them and see some of the more rural areas. That's not always a positive thing, but hey.
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Have some general questions such as whether or not to get a rail pass or how much money you'll need? Visit here!

First time travelers/travelers with a lot of questions - this forum is for you![b]
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