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Hey. I know this forum is great for all kinds of advice, so I thought I'd come here to ask for some advice about my upcoming holiday where we will be travelling across America.
Me and three of my friends will be going to America on August 14th and coming home on September 3rd - that's 20 days. We are all 21 years old. The aim of the trip is to see some of America and generally have a good time.
We will be flying into JFK airport in New York and flying home from Los Angeles airport. Whatever happens in between that is still undecided. We are hoping to hire a car for the bulk of the trip.
All that is definite is that we will not be leaving New York before Monday, as the 4th person won't be meeting us until Sunday night (He's already seen NY). I'm sure there is plenty there to keep us occupied until then though!
What we have in mind at the moment is to travel down the East coast from New York and then make our way across to the West while visiting the following places:
Fly to Vegas
Does anyone have any comments / suggestions about this plan? Obviously that is an awful lot of distance to cover in quite a short period of time, but we think it's manageable.
The other thing I'd like advice on is the car hire. Since we're all 21, there will be a daily young drivers surcharge applied. Also, we will be dropping the car off in a different state to the one we rent it from. I have read that the state of New York charges a higher surcharge than all other states (double?), but I'm not sure what would happen if we hired it from New York and left the state. Would we pay the NY daily rate for the entire duration of the hire or would it reduce (but how would they know when we leave?). Is it better to just get a train from New York and then hire the car once we get to Washington for example?
Any other advice is welcome :)
Don't forget to take an English English/Pidgin English translation book to help you understand what the local yokels are saying. ;-)
Americans speak good English, and they are used to tourists.
Covering big distances in America isn't a problem, the road and transport systems are designed for it, and so is the rest of the infrastructure - you can eat/sleep/take on fuel almost everywhere without much trouble.
Make sure you have at least one phone with you at all times.
Ditto credit card, and don't forget to notify your card-provider that you'll be in America - the last thing you want is for the VISA software to stop your card because it suspects fraudulent use.
Communicate with people - you'll find Americans friendly and outgoing - but whatever you do don't criticise their country, they're very proud of it, and don't take kindly to tourists downing it.
Drive carefully - in some states the police can be very tough on driving offences. if a Police car drives up behind you with a light flashing pull over immediately, and don't try any back-chat - they have the power to spoil your day.
Take bigger belts - you'll gain weight. You don't know the meaning of the phrase 'steak with all the trimmings' until you've seen what they serve up in some Texan restaurants.
Carry your passport with you wherever you go.
If you do nothing else at the Grand Canyon go on the Skywalk - you'll be blown away by it.
You're in for a real treat - America is a wonderful country, despite what a lot of people might say to the contrary. You'll be welcomed wherever you go, although you should expect New-Yorkers to behave a little as if America begins and ends in their city. Eat in the diners - the food and ambience beats all the posh restaurants for my money.
If you're driving into Texas from New Orleans a natural stop off would be the Houston Space centre - you'll find it fascinating.
Have a great trip.
We went for two weeks few years ago, friends wedding then touring Virginia and Pennsylvania. Try to book car hire before leaving, should be cheaper. We stayed in motels, ate in diners - great breakfasts! Take drinking water, journeys may be long, take frequent stops. Some towns have 20 or 25 limits - I was stopped, apologised profusely, sent on my way! Photos - some digi. camera battery chargers may not work on 110 volts - worth checking out. Have a great time!
To see America, and to make the trip worthwhile you really need 3 months minimum, 6 would be better. Hiring a camper gives you more flexibility and negates the need for precise and detailed planning.
In Vegas you must see here.
Every hotel does all you can eat buffets and you won't believe the size of them until you see them also lots of free shows.
FE's point about driving carefully is very valid. If stopped don't get out of the car unless asked to by the police. Immediately rest your hands on the top of the dashboard so that they can see that you are unarmed and not going to resist. Speed limits vary from state to state.
I once spent 3 months in USA. It's a great place.
You'll like Georgetown Washington and the Smithsonians must be visited. However August is a bad month for Washington - too hot and humid. The metro is good. Stop off at Philadelphia on the way down from New York.
The minimum age for the purchase of alcohol in the States is 21. So be prepared to prove that you are over 21.
Having driven round parts of the US a few times, my only advice (on top of the FE's) is to book weekend accomodation at least a day or so in advance. Hotels and Motels tend to fill up at the weekends so it's sensible to ensure that you have somewhere to stay on a Fri and Sat.
don't ask someone for a fag.
...and if you make a mistake when writing out your postcards, don't ask the hotel receptionist whether she can lend you a rubber...
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