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Traveling to the USA

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1. Posted by bz001 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

bz001 has indicated that this thread is about USA

Hello I will be traeling to the United States from Praha(prague). This will be my first trip to the country. I want to go as soon as i receve my pass port which will be sometime in July. I want to visit Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago,San Francisco,Boston,Philadelphia while in in the USA( i wanted to visit more places but many have said its best to vist a few cities).

The first question I have is how should hotel and flight reservations be made?
Ive read a travel guide about the USA and Im confused about how to do this.

What are the laws for renting a car?
I want to do this when i visit one city.

What are social customs in the United States?
Im a bit nervous about aproching people and socializing.

2. Posted by eroltoksoy (Full Member 173 posts) 6y

Quoting bz001

Hello I will be traeling to the United States from Praha(prague). This will be my first trip to the country. I want to go as soon as i receve my pass port which will be sometime in July. I want to visit Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago,San Francisco,Boston,Philadelphia while in in the USA( i wanted to visit more places but many have said its best to vist a few cities).

The first question I have is how should hotel and flight reservations be made?
Ive read a travel guide about the USA and Im confused about how to do this.

What are the laws for renting a car?
I want to do this when i visit one city.

What are social customs in the United States?
Im a bit nervous about aproching people and socializing.

I dont know your schedule or budget but I advise you to split usa into 2 parts. east coast and west coast. it is easier to explore and travel then.

3. Posted by jeantyc (Budding Member 70 posts) 6y

You can book hotels/airfare on any travel website

21 and older can rent a car, out of all the cities you mention below NYC is a walking city (the best way to see NYC)

Not sure what you mean by social customs, do you have a specific question in mind? it would be different for men and women

4. Posted by Kimee129 (Full Member 36 posts) 6y

Ajoh! Dobre den.
Out of the five years I was married to my Czech husband that was all I learned. I have also visited your Prague (Praha) and found it wonderful. It is one of my favorite cities in my travels.

Renting a car is going to be a problem if you don't have a driver's license. Do you have a international driver's license? Or a Czech Driver's license? Are you over 25 years old?

You mentioned about making hotel or flight reservations. You could use a Czech Tourist Agent which is what my husband swore by there in Czech. You could use search engines like www.kayak.com They can do hotel and flight reservations on the same website. To go from NYC to Boston or Philadelphia I recommend taking the Amtrak which is our train system. It is pretty inexpensive if booked in advance and a nice little trip. You can find their website at www.amtrak.com. You would probably be better off flying from NYC to Chicago because the tickets are going to be cheaper. Have you thought about Hostels? When I went to Europe I stayed exclusively in hostels. They may not have been the cheaper option, but I had a blast meeting the various people and cultures. I was travelling alone and went to dinner and opera/clubs with people I met at each place. We have them in the US and the ones in NYC are actually cheaper than finding a hotel room in the city itself. I have never stayed at ones in Chicago or Boston, but I suspect they are the same. Public transportation in the city is amazing and I don't recommend renting a car in NYC or Boston. Parking is horrible and extremely expensive. In fact some car rental places won't rent you a car if you tell them you are driving it into NYC. You will have to fly to San Francisco from NYC or one of the other big cities. Driving is not an option if you are on a time crunch. You could rent a car in San Francisco and drive down the coast on Hwy 1. This is the most spectacular road. It would take you about 8 hours to drive down to Los Angeles and 10 hours to drive to San Diego one way. There are several hostels in San Francisco also. Fisherman's Wharf hostel http://www.hihostels.com/dba/hostels-HI---San-Francisco,-Fisherman-s-Wharf-060001.en.htm This is the website for them.

If you are a pretty outgoing individual you will have no problem approaching people and socializing. The only place that I would consider to be a little snobbish is New York City (NYC). They are extremely busy people, but when I had a question they would help. They aren't mean, but just really busy! The life is so fast paced there. That is why I recommend hostels too...there are bound to be other likeminded individuals wherever you stay who are more than willing to share their information with you. Not to mention they may speak your language. Please feel free to email me at or reply to my post if any further questions. good luck and happy travels.

[ Edit: Edited to remove one promotional website link ]

5. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 6y

Just a word of caution, but July is probably the most expensive time to travel in the USA. Coming from Prague (where you have excellent city transport), very few cities have this sort of thing here (Los Angeles is especially lacking in decent transport). If you're renting a car, you will want to avoid intercity hotels because they will charge you an arm and a leg for overnight parking - be sure to stay in motels where parking is included in the room rental. Prices very considerably according to location (NYC, LA and SF are very expensive). For one-way domestic flights, Southwest Airlines has the largest network, and an excellent, user-friendly website. Motel 6 (Accor) is about the cheapest chain of motels in this country. Remember, this is one huge place, and trying to see it all in one trip is near impossible. Good luck.

What not to miss -don't miss San Francisco (the Paris of the USA, my opinion)!
What would I not do - Los Angeles is way overrated, difficult to get around (go to San Diego instead).
As long as you're in Philadelphia, don't miss Washington DC, and for the beach, I like Ocean City, New Jersey.

[ Edit: Edited on 07-Jun-2010, at 10:24 by Daawgon ]

6. Posted by bz001 (Budding Member 3 posts) 6y

Thank you for all the advice. What I mean about social customs is how easy is it to approach people in the United States. I am a 23 yr old man. I would like to know what is the proper way of behaving toward a person when you meet them and how should a person start a conversation with another person. I also would like to know about things that should not be talked about in the United States.

7. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 6y

Meeting people is easiest when you have common friends or interests;--therefore the easiest way to meet people is to attend a concert or club meeting of some sort.

What do you like to do in Prague?--go to an art show, or attend a rock concert or talk to people with common interests, such as working on an environmental cleanup project, or perform in a drama/play, or learning a new skill? All of these are ways you could meet people in the US. In fact, taking a class in something--for example, learning Excel, or studying philosophy, or reading classic literature are some of the best ways of meeting others--especially if the class requires working together as a group. You can take courses (even a one-day one) at many places for a cheap price--and meet people while doing so.

Also, attending a comedy club or a concert (preferably in a small club and where the music isn't too loud) quite often allows you to talk during the in-between times--and even if you don't meet someone, the comedy or music can be great. There are grea comedy clubs and small concert venues all over the US--and some of the best are in Las Vegas, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, LA, and Miami--as well as lots of other cities and towns.

Since it is summer, how about hanging around a pool at a warm weather resort? This leads to lots of chances to meet others--both male and female.

Things to avoid talking about would be your views on controversial political issues or any views that tend to show that you discriminate or aren't tolerant of other people's opinions.

[ Edit: . ]

8. Posted by laurim (Respected Member 260 posts) 6y

Quoting bz001

Thank you for all the advice. What I mean about social customs is how easy is it to approach people in the United States. I am a 23 yr old man. I would like to know what is the proper way of behaving toward a person when you meet them and how should a person start a conversation with another person. I also would like to know about things that should not be talked about in the United States.

Most Americans are friendly and approachable, just smile and say "hi". I agree that generally NY people tend to be a little too "busy" to be friendly but it's a product of the aggressive, fast environment they live in. Easiest place for you to socialize would be in hostels and on tours where you are in a group of people all trying to do the same thing and kind of forced to spend time together. I always meet cool people when I take a tour of some place and if you really hit it off you can arrange to do more stuff together after the tour. Some smaller hotels offer a happy hour in their bar where you can meet other people staying at the hotel. Socializing with people who actually live in the city could be tough because they are usually with their own friends or are busy doing their daily thing. Avoid talking about politics or religion; that's always a good way to start an argument.

You might have trouble renting a car at 23 years old. At the very least you'll pay a lot for extra insurance. Like someone else said, you are trying to see a lot of the US so I hope you have a lot of time and money!

Have fun!

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Jun-2010, at 18:27 by laurim ]

9. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 6y

Dont get involved in any political or religious debates and you should do fine with most people you meet..

10. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

Like every country on the planet - the USA has friendly and unfriendly people.
I would suggest a few days in NY City. It is incredible - if a bit noisy. After three or four days, leave it and move on. If your passport allows - as Im sure it will, when you leave NYC take a trip up to Northern NY, Niagara Falls and a day trip into Canada. Toronto is well worth a visit and has one of the tallest buildings in the world that you can go up (the CN Tower).
I really love Chicago. Enough said and I adore the Southern states, ie Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, Texas. Quite how Louisiana's coastline is looking right now - I dont know, but from the news reports its in a bad way.
I wouldnt bother reserving a room in advance. There are millions of them and you're bound to find one quickly.
As for renting a car, there are thousands of rent-a-car companies. Just have a look an any search engine. Its pretty much 100% certain that they will all want a credit (not debit) card swipe before they let you take a car away. Make sure you've got one.
Have fun.