Hi people, I am Alex from the Netherlands, and i realy need you advice. I want to go to the USA this summer (august) with my girlfriend. We want to go for about 3 weeks and i like to visit some nice city's in the eastern part of the USA. (Washingthon-New York-Boston and maybe Montreal) We will stay in Youth Hostels (cheaper, i am a student ) and like to travel with the train. I really need some suggestions about the following topics:
- How can i travel the best way with the train (company names?)
- Tips for flying from Amsterdam (what is cheap)
- Do i need a creditcard, or can I go without one.
- Nice places to look in that region.
- Something about the safety.
- Youthhostels in these city's.
Allot of questions, but i hope i can get some advice.
Thanks in advance
There is only one train company which runs interstate for long distances , thats Amtrak. Its not cheap actully. Its almost as costly as flying. But if you take an unlimited travel pass, its not that bad. checkout www.amtrak.com
Cheaper and less comformatable alternative is Greyhound busses. Untill you are moving between, Washington DC, New york, boston etc they wont be that uncomfortable, since these places are 4-5 hours from each other. check www.greyhound.com
For hostels, click accomodation link in this website, that should give you a decent list of hostels. hostelworld is also a good site.
As far as safety is concerned, in Washington DC and New york city, its pretty safe AS FAR AS you are in tourist (or crowded) areas and in the day time. Many areas of Washington DC and some parts of new york are can be pretty unsafe at night. Use your judgement, talk to locals and dont go in unknowns places, and you should be good. I wouldnt worry too much about it.
Credit card would be helpful. though its not a must, but it helps. If you have a credit card you dont have to carry too much cash with you, all the time.
Have fun and enjoy your visit
The train in Canada (if you still want to go to Montreal which you should definitely stop by to see in the summer!) is Via Rail www.viarail.com. I agree with it being a tad expensive, and given that all of these destinations are within 4-5 hours from one another (Montreal-Boston: 5 hours, Boston-New York: ~2 hours, New York-Washington, DC: ~4 hours), the bus will do fine so try greyhound out. Their Discovery Pass is pretty inexpensive.
I think you can get by without a credit card (practically everywhere takes debit, and cash is accepted), but for personal safety, it's easier to walk around with a credit card than with a huge wad of money. Not that the cities are super dangerous, it's just that it's always better to have less cash on you, and constantly pulling money out with debit can wreak havoc on bank charges.
Safety wise, you are looking at generally safe cities. Like vagabond mentionned, there are some districts in all four cities that are unsafe, but you can get information on the top spots to hit on these websites:
New York City
The good thing about checking out the websites is that they give you info on the things to do and see in the city so you can plan your trip that way. My personal list of things to see in these cities would be Capitol Hill (Washington D.C.), all the architecture in NYC, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Boston Common, and Faneuil Hall in Boston, and the Old Port/Old Montreal in Montreal.
Hope that helps!
P.S. I give up on these bullets!
Thanks for the support for now...Will take a look to the websites I think it will be a realy great journey this summer...Maybe want to see more off canada...Heard a lot good thinks off it...But Boston/NewYork would be the main priority for me . My girlfriend is a nature freak, so canada would be a good choice to I think....
I lived in the US for a year and let me tell you this: if you want to see the country and you want to see more than just the city you arrive at: rent a car. Trust me, don't rely on public transportation because... well there isn't a whole lot of it. Don't mean to offend anyone, but compared to what you're used to in the Netherlands, it's really minimal.
Renting a car may be exspensive, but it's worth the every penny. Some people complain that America doesn't have any real culture. Well, that's just bullshit. America is great! But America has a love-affaire with the road and exploring the country by being on the road, is the only way to do it!
When in Boston during Baseball season you must must must go to a Boston Redsox game. Buy a hat, a hotdog, and some beer and enjoy the spirit of the city.
if traveling from nyc upto boston or washingon d.c. definitively take the chinese coach bus-es...
it's something like 15bucks one way or 20 both ways... it's really cool'n'fun
try googlin' w/ "chinese coach bus nyc" or somethin'..
Between Washington DC and New York City you can also take the Washington Deluxe bus. It is $30 round trip. People have told me that it is mostly used by students, and is a nicer, more comfortable alternative to some of the others. The link is: http://www.washingtondeluxe.com/
If your girlfriend is a nature freak, there's actually a lot of really good hiking around Boston. I don't know easy it would be for you to get up to New Hampshire, but Mount Washington is the highest peak on the East Coast, and a very cool hike. Its definately doable in a day. If you don't feel like actually hiking, I think you can cheat and drive to the top now-a-days. Be carefull though, the weather on Mt. Washinton can be very dangerous because it changes so suddenly.
And like Billie said, definately check out a Redsox game. The existance of boston seems to revolve around that team.
Be sure to visit Maine if you're going to be visiting the East Coast of the USA. A great place to stay in Maine is "The Norseman" in Ogunquit. They're right on the beach - and it is beautiful in this area of the Atlantic coast.
Places you must visit on the East Coast: Boston, New York City, Washington... and if you can get down there, Miami.
Between Boston and New York City, the Fung Wah Bus Co. leaves every hour between the Chinatowns of each city for only $10 each way. It's such a deal!
Good luck and have a great trip!