Hi there! I'm 19 years old and have been working for the past 3 years. Just recently i feel like i am missing out as all my friends are going off to university and I feel as if though I have rushed into getting a job.
I was looking at travelling in North America and was looking for some advice, tips from people that have. I would be looking to do as cheap as possible but would like to see a lot of the big attractions.
At the moment the 4 main cities I would like to visit are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hollywood.
At the moment I am just looking and beginning to plan so any advice would be helpful.
Edit: Sorry should have mentioned I am from England and would be looking to fly from either East Mids, Birmingham or London.
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jan-2011, at 11:04 by MattH255 ]
I am no expert as I am getting into travel myself
First you need to decide when you want to go, Summer is always more expensive to cross the pond
NYC is an awesome place to go, I went and I want to go back again! Both in NYC and Los Angeles you can find a selection of Hostels to stay at ($20-$30/nt). How long do you plan to stay at each place?
All the major cities have decent public transportation for the most part, I understand Los Angeles does not to some degree, NYC has awesome taxis, buses and subways as well as the free staten island ferry.
San Francisco has your choices of the cable car, MUNI street car (light rail) buses, taxis and BART (above ground and underground subway system). San Fran has a small number of hostels to select from so you will have limitations on lodging and availability there. Go see Pier 39, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge & Golden Gate Park, visit Chinatown, etc.
My understanding is you should be able to fly direct from LHR to San Francisco or NYC or even LAX so your choice of starting city is easy, so pick the cheapest and then start there, you can take a long distance train or bus from Los Angeles to San Francisco or fly and even hitchhike if that is your thing.
Ultimately you are going to need a flight to cross the USA so pick Jetblue or Virgin America I understand those two can be pretty cheap and very nice to fly on, your other option is SouthWest Airlines they fly to a lot of "secondary" airports avoiding the majors but still getting you close enough to your major destinations. I have NOT been on any of those airlines, I only know about them.
feel free to reply or PM me any questions you might have
I will add only a few comments to the above post. Forget hitchhiking. It is not safe and is illegal in some states. Your best bet for keeping costs low are to couch surf your way across the US. I would add Allegiant Air to your list. They have very cheap flights from smaller cities. Good luck with your planning.
First of all,
Hitchhiking is only as safe as you do your homework and how you present yourself. While it is true some states do not allow hitchhiking there are ways around it. Allegiant Air, yes I forgot is a good one also so don't pay attention to people who say hitchhiking is unsafe outright without any explanation or thought.
Definetely Couchsurfing, I haven't done it yet but this year I will
You've picked the most expensive towns in the US by the way. I'm truly afraid that you'll be greatly disappointed in LA and certainly in that dump they call Hollywood. While I know that the UK is not exactly cheap, it has much better budget accommodation and it's considerably more compact with decent rail service and organized tourist facilities (we have none of the above). One needs a car in California (especially the LA area) -without it, you will see very very little. My advice is to see NYC, San Francisco, Las Vegas and perhaps Miami or Washington DC. The one thing we do have is miles and miles of fast food (pizza in NYC, burritos in San Francisco, cheap buffets in Vegas and Cuban sandwiches in Miami). We do have pretty good beaches in San Diego and all over Florida and Hawaii.
By the way, they're much friendlier in Australia!
I can't say that there is any cheap places in the US maybe Miami?
Good points reiterated about LA, and I agree you could go see Wash DC and NYC you wouldn't even have to fly between NYC nor DC you could take a bus or train. You might even get some deals if you combine NYC/DC for example: when I was looking to get my NYC Pass (this is a MUST too) they have options to include Philly & DC as well as NYC so buying a dual or trio option saves you quite a bit of money.
Forget hitchhiking. It is not safe and is illegal in some states.
Oh dear, crusty old man alert! legal hitchhiking
You've picked the most expensive towns in the US by the way. I'm truly afraid that you'll be greatly disappointed in LA and certainly in that dump they call Hollywood.
Oh dear second crusty old man alert. What a narrow minded view of two great areas. What might be a dump to you could be someone else's Mecca. LA includes jems like Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and Long Beach, all great places for tourists and with cheap backpackers. Griffith Park over looking Hollywood is a really fun and informative day out.
Btw, the first time I went to America. I arrived with about $50 and hitched a ride in PA all the way to LA arriving 4 days later. Oh dear I think ive just been guilty of crusty old man alert number 3!
Dodger - Well, I suppose you teenagers wanting free and easy pot in these infested areas of California will be able to find it quite easily, but there are far nicer areas of this world to see and explore. LA is yesterday's news (where have you been?)
The Crusty Old Man speaks...