Me and my boyfriend are starting our very own first time big adventure and are hoping you lot could give us some well needed advice and guidance
We are planning to do some travelling in america from next june 2012 to end of august 2012. We would also like to visit my brother in Toronto in Canada. We are hoping to start out in New York and use new york as a sort of base for maybe 2 weeks, travel down then to Florida and then maybe get a flight or even public transport over to California. We would like to see i suppose the usual touristy places such as New York, Washington, Orlando, Miami, L.A, San Fran, Las Vegas..theres others just cant think of them right now. Places such as New York,Florida, Miami,L.A we would like to visit the attractions (Disney Land, Empire State Building, etc) We are hoping to have around 10,000 - 11,000 euros with us. Im guessing our accommodation will be motels or hostels as this seems to be the norm. We have decided between ourselves that renting a car/van for long term driving is out as we'd like to be able to relax and enjoy the views and feel that it would be an extra responsibility for us,however renting a car for short distance wouldnt be a problem. We've heard of the Amtrack and are quiet interested in it. Also Greyhouse buses seem to be the thing to go for to..tho im not a very good bus traveler. Canada would be a just a visit trip really,maybe 5 days or so just staying in Toronto and then flying back to America..
We would like to see as much of America as possible and are open to lots of suggestions..the more the better
Just a few Questions..
The Money..would we have enough for what we want to do???
Motels/Hostels: Good websights
We dont want to book our return date when booking our flights just incase we want to stay longer or go home earlier(we hope not). would you recommend this??
Do we need a visa also for Canada??
Carrying Cash..is this a BIG no no??
Would u recommend planning our trip intensively or just do it city by city day by day sort of thing..
If you feel there is other things/Info that we should be aware of please let us know..
This is such a huge thing to plan and we kinda dont really know where or how to start..
Thank you for reading our Thread,we hope that you can help us
Lindsay & Nicky
P.S This was ment for ''North America'' Dont know how to change it lol
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Nov-2011, at 15:28 by missellen85 ]
Post 2 was removed by a moderator
Do not carry cash - very dangerous, and there are plenty of people in this country that would like to pick your pockets! Use a bank debit card for cash.
New York will be very expensive to use as your base of operation - fine, if you can afford those ridiculous prices!!!
Stay off of Greyhound - only the poor use this means in the USA. This is the land of the auto and when this is impractical, we fly. Southwest Airlines is our finest and also cheapest way to travel long distance. Amtrak is only good in certain markets (northeast corridor, Florida, Pacific NW) - I don't recommend it for long distance travel - equipment is quite old.
Motels are overpriced here (I like airbnb.com for private apartments)
Remember that tipping here is more or less required, and 15-18% is expected
Buying an open ticket will be very costly, are you also rich?
LA is not one of our finer cities any longer and one hell of a place to get around (car required).
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Nov-2011, at 11:52 by Daawgon ]
Thank you for your reply,it has been very useful to us.
Just regarding private apartments, would u recommend any websights that dont have owner occupied?? theres so many to look up so were not sure which ones are the best.
We did want to used amtrack but we dont fancy it from what you have been saying about it..flying is probably the better option now for us.
Even though you say LA is not one of your finer citys we,coming from ireland would still like to see it and visit the attractions.
theres so much planning in this we dont know where to start!!!
Work out a budget and see how much you can afford per night for your hotel/motel/hostel and then fit your trip to what you can afford. New York will be more expensive than other places.
You can use up your 10,000 Euros pretty fast in expensive hotels. How does the cost of your plane ticket work out if you have a round trip ticket to Toronto compared to round trip to JFK (New York) and leave from there to the US? This way you can say hello to your brother and good bye too on the way out. Two one way flights or even an open return may cost more than the round trip to Canada or New York.
I don't think you will have a problem going to Canada with Irish Passport. (The US is harder to get into than Canada for many travelers! Too many tourists do not want to go home - not to mention those who want to blow up everyone who is not of their particular religion!)
From Toronto to the US is not that expensive. Just a suggestion to check out. Your brother can give you pointers.
Look at a map of the US. It may be quite a bit bigger than you think. Lots of flyover country between New York and West Coast. California - Florida - New York - Las Vegas are not that close.
Maybe add the Grand Canyon into plan as a side trip.
Train travel in the US is pretty good.
You have plenty of time to work the schedule out and firm up any plans. In the US Visa and Mastercard debit cards work pretty good and are more common. If you do use a debit card in the US tell your bank where you will be. Otherwise when withdrawals start coming from overseas ATMs they may first suspect fraud and deny the withdrawal.
Thanks for your reply..the advice really helped..
we've put the whole panning off for awhile with the holidays around so were back on track now.
We've decided on flying into new york,spend 4 to 5 days there,internal fight to orlando,rent a car or bus to miami..go see Bahamas for 2 days,fly over to seattle and make our way down along the cost by train,car,bus to visit S.F, S.D, L.V and fly home from L.A after spending time there also..
We do plan to see the falls and all the usual cites.We dont want to have to much of a tight schedule as we want to take in all the sites around us and enjoy our time in America, not just 'tick off' on a check list of what we want to see.
We still do plan to visit my brother but wont book any flights until maybe where there..He tents to move around alot
Just another few questions.
do u recommend booking internal flights along way in advance or book them couple of days in advance.( we would like to be free to stay in places for extra days if we want to and not be tied down to flight plans)
On visiting the bahamas..any good sites to visit to get a boat over in order for us to stay couple of days and return. here we would like to splash out a bit on a hotel for 2 days
In L.V we also would like to stay in a hotel..(2 days) obviously not the most expensive ones..any suggestions
Also advice on packing..2 suit cases or 1...we dont want to be hawling around lots of suitcases
Happy New Year to everyone
L & N
Southwest Airlines is cheap--most other planes are not--although there are cases where Alaska/US Air/ or one of the major carriers will be competitive as well. But you need to know that generally, you need to book at least two weeks ahead to get the best rates--particularly true in the summer months when everyone in the country is traveling.
Also, be aware that the major tourist destinations are the routes that sell out first--places like Orlando, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles/San Diego will get booked on Southwest on a weekend months ahead of time for summer flights. You'll really have to get these early or else plan to take Amtrak for the shorter trips (for example, from LA to San Francisco or New York to Washington, D.C.).
We are hoping to have our tickets bought for the flights over and back by febuary so with your advice it might be best to book set dates for internal flights after this..i suppose it makes sense to book the internal flights well in advance.
Look up http://www.kayak.com http://www.jetblue.com/ cheap internal flights
www.traveljigsaw.com for cheap hire car
http://www.stmarkshotel.net/index.html Great cheap place to stay in NY but book early.
Hire cars as much as possible and see the real USA,motels are pretty cheap.
Hope to be back there in June but just doing Vegas Cali and Mexico this time
thanks for the websights,the hotel looks great also..
Regarding Vegas..i heard the hotels not that expensive besides the really famous ones..whats your recommendation on this and things to do??