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Would like to travel the States but need a little guidance!

Travel Forums North America Would like to travel the States but need a little guidance!

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1. Posted by lozzalmc (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

Hey everyone,

My first post on here so greetings to all! I need a little help and any suggestions and guidance that can be given - I really want to go to the US but in all honesty have no clue where, or what I want to do. Useful eh?

I've never been before but really want to, unfortunately with university taking up quite a lot of my time (who thought being a full-time student could be so demanding?) I don't really have much of a window at the moment. I was thinking a few months during the summer holidays (June - September) would be good, but in all honesty I think I would prefer more time. So the only other timeframe I was thinking would be after I've finished uni, as I would have no commitments!

I thought some time ago how great it would be to do a kind of road trip, just arrive in the States with a pocket full of cash, go and buy a big Yankee car (for some reason I seem to have a semi-obsession with these iron juggernauts) and just get out on the road and drive. Unfortunately there's just the problem. With road trips, it usually helps to have a destination you want to get to in the end, but I really don't have a clue!

I have relatives in Florida (Tampa if I remember correctly) and would like to see Miami as I think that would be fun, but otherwise I have no other inclinations. Perhaps California? Not too sure.

Everyone I know seems to tell me different places they would suggest, mostly New York, but there's nothing about the East Coast that really interests me that much. So, thinking about it, what would I have to bear in mind if I wanted to buy a car and just drive on the open highways? I would probably be able to scrounge together about £5000 which I hope would be enough, of course if not I'd have to roll back my plans till I had a little more cash!

I'm 21 and really into my partying, socialising and just generally having fun, and consider myself quite laid back, so anywhere much the same would be fun to visit.

To be honest if for whatever reason I couldn't do the whole 'road trip' thing, then even working somewhere over the summer holidays would be a dream in itself, but I'm not too sure how you'd go about doing this. A friend of my dad's used to run a bar somewhere in California and said it was the most fun he's ever had, so maybe that might be something?

Any help and suggestions greatly appreciated.


2. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2001 posts) 8y

Is that 5,000 GBP just for the car, or the whole trip? It is possible to get a decent car here for $5,000., but then you'll need insurance and registration fees and don't forget gas @ $4.00 a gallon. I imagine insurance alone for someone in your age bracket and driving history (on a totally different system/left side) would be sky high for liability alone!

Realistically, I think it would be better to concentrate on one or two regions and try to see it with public transportation. As I suggested recently (for an Irishman I believe) the West Coast would be more your kind of place (more liberal, younger, and generally better weather.) Check out:

3. Posted by lozzalmc (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

Well I was hoping £5000 for the whole trip in its entirety, not including flights. Would this not be enough, do you think? As I am hoping to stay for quite a bit of time (depending on visa restrictions) would getting a job be out of the question?

Thinking about it, I feel more inclined toward the West Coast as this is what everyone has suggested to me, ie. more of a place for younger, liberal type people like you have suggested! I would like to see San Francisco as I've heard it has unique charm, and just well the West Coast in general.

So you think I should leave the car idea? I'm hoping insurance isn't much too extortionate then it is over here - currently I'm being quoted around £800-£900 for my car insurance, £190 for my road tax and over £5 a gallon of fuel, so any figures in dollars would be quite reasonable by a long shot!

4. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 8y

Yes, with your British Pound literally pounding the dollar, your 5,000 Pounds should go far. (Although I'm suddenly thinking of an episode on Top Gear where they buy a car for less than $1,000 in Miami and drive through the South to New Orleans where the Southerners nearly kill them... actually a pretty funny episode)

Anyway, Speaking of New Orleans, that is one great city to visit especially if you like to party. ( I always love it when you order a drink at the bar and they ask you if you want it to go. No open container laws in that city!) That being said, I've lived in California most of my life and I still think San Diego and San Francisco are great places to work or visit not to mention just the incredible scenery of Central and Northern California and the beautiful Pacific Coast.
Having said that, I will relate that I met a young couple from the UK awhile back while working at a photography studio in San Diego. They took 3 months and did the whole road trip thing across the US. I asked them their favorite place and they responded;

"I don't know if you heard of this small little town that we just found amazingly different, but have you ever been to Santa Fe, New Mexico?"

Which is kind of funny because I moved from Carlsbad, CA to Santa Fe a few years ago and I've found that lots of Europeans work through the summer here at restaurants, museums and galleries with seemingly, very little red tape.
BTW, Santa Fe is known as "The City Different".

Go to New Orleans then head West my friend and you can't go wrong.

LadyMacWilly ^..^ ~

5. Posted by BentBanana (Budding Member 22 posts) 8y

Europeans work through the summer here at restaurants, museums and galleries with seemingly, very little red tape.

Does that mean its possible to work there then as an English person?

6. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 8y

Quoting BentBanana

Europeans work through the summer here at restaurants, museums and galleries with seemingly, very little red tape.

Does that mean its possible to work there then as an English person?

As a student on a recognised J1 visa program then yes (i.e. through organisations such as BUNAC, Twin, and CCUSA (CCUSA seem to offer something for non-students too)). Summer camp work is also open for non-students with relevant experience.

7. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 8y

I'm sorry. I must apologize for my ignorance.

When I mentioned "Europeans" Most of us across the pond think of the UK and the Irish Republic as well, as being part of Europe.

I wll say this tho', When a fine Englishman asked me to bum a fag, I handed over my ultra-slim cigarette , (a Capri 120)), I was impressed that he loved the tobacco and he made no excuse for smokiing what would be considered
a "female" smoke.

In any case, you guys are great.

8. Posted by lozzalmc (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

Cool, thanks for the suggestions. What I'm thinking this time round is maybe staying in one place rather than moving around too much.

I feel more inclined toward California in the first place, also actually my uncle used to live in Arizona and said San Diego was one of the nicest cities they've been to, so might be one to look more into! I've got bags of previous bar / restaurant / hotel experience so should help come in useful. I'm not too sure where Santa Fe is but will have to look into it too!

Do you have to get the visa through a J1 programme? Cos it seems like that might take a lot of time and planning, a shame since I live my travelling to be more 'spur of the moment'.

Haha Ladymacwill, be careful about the whole 'European' thing! I know many people over here who are vehemently against being called 'European' and get very upset when they are labelled so! The Irish are even worse! (I am half Irish and as such learn these things from a very much extended family)

Otherwise, you got it right - we are great! Hehe.

9. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 8y

Hi Lozzalmc,

Yeah, I love the English...and I'm half Irish and half Scottish! (Still torn between drinking Irish whiskey in one hand or Scotch in the other...)

San Diego is fabulous! I actually moved from Carlsbad, CA, (Coastal city in San Diego North County), to Santa Fe, New Mexico about 4 years ago, other than that I lived most my life in San Diego. Tourism is huge there so you should easily find a job at a restaurant or resort. Your accent is going to be one of your best assets as Californians, (whom themselves think have no accents), can hardly resist a British/Scottish/ Irish or Aussie accent. Don't ask me why...but it's true. Anyway, you may even look into some of the resorts in advance to see about employment. Some of the larger resorts are the Hotel Del Coronado on Coronado Island or La Costa resort in Carlsbad or Aviara Resort also in Carlsbad.

I'm sure you'll love it! Just try to avoid being anywhere near a freeway during rush hour as the traffic is horrendous, other than that, it's one great city!

LadyMacWilly ^..^ ~ ( < ------- and her Scottie dog, Watson)

[ Edit: Edited on May 23, 2008, at 1:38 PM by Ladymacwil ]

10. Posted by lozzalmc (Budding Member 8 posts) 8y

Haha, I had heard from a friend of my dad's about the Californians loving the English accent. Me personally, I'm not very self-confident so doubt it will come in useful for 'that' (Is it just me or is the whole 'young englishman going to the States just to get laid' thing a total cliché nowadays?)

With your testimony and that of my uncle, I feel very inclined toward San Diego now. Plus lovely weather so I hear, which is of course always a massive bonus. These resorts are like holiday resorts then, I assume? If its anything like the hotel and services trade over here, will be full of Europeans. Even over here at a hotel I used to work at, the foreigners outnumbered us about 10 to 1!

How would I go about finding all the relevant stuff out that I need, would you do it through an agency or contact a company direct, or go through a completely different conduit altogther? I am a little unsure of the protocol. And U.S. visas? Heard its an absolute nightmare.


'Irish' all the way. Theres nothing like a proper whiskey. Jameson, Bushmills, et al all far superior to the run of the mill scotches. Although the Islay malts come quite close.