Sponsor Message:
Non Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Going To US For The First Time... Advice?  
User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 213 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4000 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi everyone

I am coming to the USA for the very first time in October. I'll be arriving into SFO from BNE via TPE on 21/10 and leaving for BNE via TPE out of LAX on 04/11. I'm also planning to be in NY for about 4 days somewhere in between.

Does anyone have any advice for a solo traveller on his first visit to the place he's wanted to go his whole life? The good/bad parts of town, tipping (we dont do it in Oz), paying for things (why isn't tax included in the total price of anything??), etiquette, what not to say that might get me in trouble lol...

I'd also love to do some spotting in SFO (to see the action on the dual runways) and also go to Imperial Hill or the In N Out Burger to see the action at LAX. If anyone can give me some advice about that or could show me around I'd be really grateful, and if you wanted something from Australia i'll be happy to bring it over for you if I can!

Thanks in advance!  Smile

63 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSTLGph From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 9328 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3991 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):

two words: White Castle



Eternal darkness we all should dread. It's hard to party when you're dead.
User currently offlineMham001 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3605 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3983 times:

Bring more time. Thats not even enough to scratch the surface, California alone will keep you busy for a month. I dont think its even worth setting foot in New York for less than 2 weeks, never mind 4 days, you'll just spend the whole time lost.

User currently offlineJ_Hallgren From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1507 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3972 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):
paying for things (why isn't tax included in the total price of anything??),

Probably because the rules for who pays what tax are so convoluted and sometimes complicated, that it's done separately as part of overall total bill...

Regarding NYC: I've only visited there for about 3 hrs twice, while driving from MA to FL...Saw Times Square at night and walked around that area...I was happy to have done so, so spending 4 days should allow one to see a number of things...



COBOL - Not a dead language yet!
User currently offlineWunalaYann From Australia, joined Mar 2005, 2839 posts, RR: 25
Reply 4, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 3964 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):
Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Avoid flying any of their legacy carriers...  Wink


User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 213 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3943 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thanks for your advice so far everyone.

Quoting Mham001 (Reply 2):

I agree that I wont be there for very long but due to work commitments i'm not able to take anymore than 2 weeks off. And 4 days in NYC is better than none! I'm considering joining a 4 night Contiki tour in NYC so i'm not alone, and wont get lost.

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 4):

Haha WunalaYann I dont want to go near AA or UA. I had considered flying DL LAX-JFK-LAX however I am now going to be flying VX (Virgin America) which i'm really excited about. I wanted to try WN however their schedule won't work for me.


User currently offlineMdodd From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3936 times:

Live 12 miles from NYC.
4 Days is sufficient. Plan them out well however(Google Maps IS your friend).
Before you go, understand how the city is laid out. Its really quite simple, I don't get how tourists find it so confusing...
Remember, grid pattern. Just about everything is the same...

Avenues run 'up/down' N/S.
Blocks run 'across' E/W.
East 68th is on the east side of Central Park.
West 68th is on the west side of Central Park.

Have any further questions FEEL FREE to ask me!


User currently offlineFr8Mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5395 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3930 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):
tipping (we dont do it in Oz)

15-20% in restaurants and bars. $1 or $2 for the guy who carries your bag. I haven't gotten in a taxi in ages, can't help you there. $3-$5 to the maid that cleans your room. Of course, these are dependant on service.



When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineBoston92 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3390 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3928 times:

I reccomend while in SFO that you take one of Skywests EMB-120 flights down to either SBP or SBA. SBP is a college town and SBA is a beach town. You can tour the wine country and get away from the "big city" for a couple of days. The Central Coast is really quite nice. SBA is really a day trip kinda thing. Fly down and rent a car for a day, go to the beach, go to the zoo, drive around or up and down 101. A good day trip. Skywest has numerous flights to SBA every day...or if you want to drive...it would take probably 6 hours each way.


SBP= San Luis Obispo
SBA= Santa Barbara

I am a local, ask any questions about the area.



"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
User currently offlineTexan From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 4275 posts, RR: 52
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3922 times:

New York is great and not nearly so confusing as people make it out to be. Pick a couple of main landmarks, know how to find them, and then you will always know how to get to places to find your bearings. I'm rarely there for more than a day at a time, but I always make time just to walk around Central Park, soak in the atmosphere, grab a hot dog, people watch, and enjoy the beauty of the City. Gallagher's Steak House has excellent but very expensive steaks. It is located up around 52nd Street, IIRC. Rosa Mexicana has pretty good enchiladas, but amazing guacamole and pretty damn good margaritas. It is on 18th Street between 5th Ave and Broadway. There is tons of food, shopping, and clubbing all around. Should be a good time to go...if you're lucky you'll get into NYC right around the time the leaves are in peak color. New York looks best when the leaves in Central Park and along the trees on the avenues are bright red, orange, and yellow.

Have fun!

Oh, tipping is typically 15%, with a decent portion usually tipping 20%. If service is excellent, tip a bit more if you feel like it. Talk about how Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, and Reggie Jackson are three of the greatest human beings to ever live and you'll be ok  Wink Don't mention the 2004 American League Championship Series, unless you take a day trip up to Boston. There are a couple places I like in Queens, too, will try to remember where they are. And there is a barbeque/car repair shop up in the Bronx that I've been dying to try out for a little while!

The subway, depending on where you are going, is usually safe, efficient, and cheap. Most hotels and major landmarks in Manhattan have flat rates on taxis going from JFK. And there is never any reason to go to New Jersey  Wink

Texan



"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
User currently offlineKFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3301 posts, RR: 30
Reply 10, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3917 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):
tipping (we dont do it in Oz)

Think of it like this: If you didn't have to tip, you'd be paying alot more for the food itself since the restaurant would then have to pay the waiters/waitresses a full salary...because the employees wouldn't be getting it directly from the customers.

It's essentially an incentive-based system that (ideally) ensures you get good service...because if you don't, they know they won't be getting that tip from you (which constitutes about 3/4 of their pay).

Quoting Fr8Mech (Reply 7):
15-20% in restaurants and bars. $1 or $2 for the guy who carries your bag.

 thumbsup 



"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
User currently offlineBill142 From Australia, joined Aug 2004, 8442 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3916 times:

Quoting J_Hallgren (Reply 3):
Probably because the rules for who pays what tax are so convoluted and sometimes complicated, that it's done separately as part of overall total bill...

I've got three letters to fix that. GST.

Quoting Fr8Mech (Reply 7):
$3-$5 to the maid that cleans your room. Of course, these are dependant on service.

You just leave it on the night stand with a note?


User currently offlineLAXspotter From India, joined Jan 2007, 3650 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3916 times:

you already confused me with the dates you listed, hehe dont do that here

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):
The good/bad parts of town, tipping (we dont do it in Oz), paying for things (why isn't tax included in the total price of anything??), etiquette, what not to say that might get me in trouble lol...
I'd also love to do some spotting in SFO (to see the action on the dual runways) and also go to Imperial Hill or the In N Out Burger to see the action at LAX.

Most Tourists wont find themselves in the shitty places of town, but dont go to Oakland at Night in San Francisco Area, South or East LA. You wont end up in these places anyway. I dont really know what can get you into trouble really
Definetely the best thing to do Aviation related in LA, if youre interested check out the LAX flightpath museum near Imperial Hill, you wont be dissapointed.

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 8):
Skywests EMB-120 flights down to either SBP or SBA

These flights ive heard are unbeliveably expensive, unless youre connecting from UA mainline flights



"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson
User currently offlineAA61Hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3906 times:

Quoting LAXspotter (Reply 12):
These flights ive heard are unbeliveably expensive

Same on Am Eagle..

I saw SBP for $332 from LAX...



Go big or go home
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 14, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3899 times:

Quoting Bill142 (Reply 11):

You just leave it on the night stand with a note?

Don't even need a note...just leave it out on the nighttable or some other clearly visible place before you check out...



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 3899 times:

When I was teaching school in England, one of my pupils showed me the itinerary her dad had drawn up for their two week holiday in America. He planned on two days in NYC. Then three days at DisneyWorld in Florida. Then a road trip to the Grand Canyon. And the rest of the time in LA.

The girl thought I was kidding when I told her driving from Florida to the Grand Canyon and California would take a week.

Bottom line. Foreign visitors, especially Europeans, often have a hard time understanding how big the USA really is. For example, the UK and Ireland and the water between them cover the same amount of area as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

Big version: Width: 500 Height: 300 File size: 25kb


User currently offlineFlyMIA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7140 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3878 times:

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 15):
Florida to the Grand Canyon and California would take a week.

3 days if you limit stops for sleep and food only 4 days max.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):
Does anyone have any advice for a solo traveller on his first visit to the place he's wanted to go his whole life?

The US is not a very confusing place to be, you speak the language so you have the hardest part down. Just use common sense and have fun. The US is a great place, hope you enjoy your stay!



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 213 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3862 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting FlyMIA (Reply 16):

Thank you FlyMIA! I know I will enjoy my stay. I have always wanted to go to the USA. I have a huge interest in the country. For some reason I could name all 50 states and their capitals when I was 10!

And thanks everyone else for all your advice. I know I wont be there for long but i'm going to fit in as much as I can. The only time i'll be on the road is between SF and LA. I'm flying to NYC. I will have 4 days in SF, 4 in LA, 5 in NY then one extra day in LA before heading home.

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 15):

Australia is roughly the same size as the USA, its just we haven't filled up the middle yet! I think the 6 hour trans con flight will be interesting. Flying for that long and still being in the same country. Here I could almost get to Singapore or go to NZ and back. But i'm certainly not complaining... i'm just lucky that I have the opportunity to go.


User currently offlineKFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3301 posts, RR: 30
Reply 18, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3853 times:

Quoting FlyMIA (Reply 16):
3 days if you limit stops for sleep and food only 4 days max.

Only if you drive like you're from South Florida.  Wink



"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
User currently offlineTootallsd From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 559 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3801 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hey BNE, I flew MEL to SAN yesterday on CX via HKG. It was a great ride and eventhough I slept a lot, I was up this morning at 1AM and unable to sleep! So have a strategy about jetlag.

You're young, think about focusing on California and nixing New York on this go-round. It is a long way, the flight east will consume basically the whole day when you factor in time zone change. You'll be back again and then you can do a couple weeks on the east coast.

Someone said you speak the language already. Well sort of. You'll be confused by us from time to time and sometimes not get what you want. Just smile, and turn the accent on really heavy and you'll be safe and sound. One thing: no fried eggs on the burger, ever!

Another thing to try for info on towns you're going to visit: tripdavisor dot com. Very useful website.


User currently offlineRonglimeng From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 625 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3778 times:

Make sure you look both ways before crossing the streets.

Since you're coming from a country with the traffic moving in the opposite way to North America you might step out onto a road way assuming you can see what's coming and then get clipped by a car or bike coming up unexpectedly from behind you.

Almost happened to me in the UK - just got sworn at by an irate cyclist though. I felt like an idiot.


User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6318 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3748 times:

Quoting Mham001 (Reply 2):
California alone will keep you busy for a month

If he doesn't like crack or hookers, he's only got about 3 days of stuff to do  duck 

Quoting Mham001 (Reply 2):
I dont think its even worth setting foot in New York for less than 2 weeks

Serious? I mean, are you serious? It's better to do 4 days in NYC then none at all. Two weeks in NYC is ridiculous...there is a lot to do, but if you just want to see the sites, 4 days is PERFECT.

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 4):
Avoid flying any of their legacy carriers...

 yes 


User currently offlineFriendlySkies From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 4105 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3732 times:

Don't listen to anyone who says 3-4 days isn't enough. You're young, and I'm sure you just want to see the sights this time around.

I've been in Europe for the past 3 months, and travel every weekend (class during weeks). I've spent no more than 3 days in any city I went to, and I saw just about everything I wanted to. More time is nice, but it's also more expensive, and you could be seeing something else.

Enjoy your time, though I'd recommend Chicago over NYC (hometown bias haha)!


User currently offlineMham001 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3605 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3705 times:

Quoting SW733 (Reply 21):
If he doesn't like crack or hookers, he's only got about 3 days of stuff to do duck

I don't know what you're talking about, thats not the California I've lived in for 22 years.

Quoting SW733 (Reply 21):
Serious? I mean, are you serious? It's better to do 4 days in NYC then none at all. Two weeks in NYC is ridiculous...there is a lot to do, but if you just want to see the sites, 4 days is PERFECT.

Dead serious. I suppose I travel under a different theory than you. Seeing is not the same as learning or knowing. 4 days in NY is good for nothing but photo opportunities. When I moved there at the age of 19 I spent 2 weeks straight just in Central Park. Thats called learning about where you're visiting. Travelling around the world I've learned that you really dont learn about the people, the culture or the customs in less than 3 months.
I suppose if our eager visitor believes this is a once-in-a-lifetime journey he should see everything he can while he's here, but if he thinks he can return later, he is better off settling in, make a base, learn about his surroundings, relax and enjoy his stay. It's not just about seeing the sights.


User currently offlineBoston92 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3390 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (7 years 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3689 times:

Quoting LAXspotter (Reply 12):
These flights ive heard are unbeliveably expensive, unless youre connecting from UA mainline flights

Actually, you won't believe how cheap OAK-LAX-SBA is. Max is about $200 round trip, and I have done one ways for about $80.



"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
25 N1120A : The guidelines they gave you are ok, but not this. 1, if the service really sucks, it is perfectly ok to leave no tip or leave a smaller one. If it i
26 Boston92 : Taking the Pacific Surfliner is something you never want to do. It takes 6 hours to get from LAX-SBP...driving could take you half that. Also, I don'
27 MEGAFLYER777 : BNEFlyer, Since this is a "trip of a lifetime" for you, try to make the best of everything so that you come out with a good experience. If you are a s
28 Chi-town : Come to Chicago! You will love it! I'm not sure what you are looking for but I think Chicago has one of the greatest night life scenes in the US. We a
29 FriendlySkies : Not to mention all the great museums, sights, the lakefront, parks, culture, I could go on...
30 102IAHexpress : Tipping has gotten out of hand in this country. I had just about enough when I saw a tip jar inside a gas station. At first I thought it was the donat
31 Boston92 : For regular service (not good, but regular), a waiter should be paid 15%. For great service (above and beyond), the waiter will get 20%-25% from me.
32 102IAHexpress : I disagree. It’s his job to give good service. Why should he get something extra for doing his job? All he did was take my order and bring me my foo
33 Boston92 : That would not be considered good service. Good service to me is when the waiters actually interact with the customer, make sure they always are okay
34 Post contains images Superfly : BNEFlyer: Let me know when you get to San Francisco. I live here the city and know of all the fun & raunchy places in town. There is a lot to see here
35 N1120A : What are you talking about? It is definitely the best way between Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. I got it from
36 BNEFlyer : WOW! Thanks so much for all the advice so far everyone! I'm getting more excited about going each time I read a new post! I am a bit of a planner, how
37 Boston92 : No, wrong again. He said UA mainline...OAK-LAX is all Express. Santa Barbara maybe, but we were talking about SBP, which would take 5 hrs, 15 minutes
38 Post contains images Superfly : Do you have any idea what you're going to dress up as? We're too old to go out trick-or-treating so there are lots of 'adult oriented' Halloween Part
39 JetBlueGuy2006 : Definately. Enjoy your time in the States. There is a lot to see, but it can be a blast. Make sure you take a lot of pics and post a TR.
40 MEGAFLYER777 : You're welcome. Please keep us posted when exactly you will be here in NYC, as your travel plans finalize.
41 KLM685 : I agree with you. It happens here in Mexico as well. Once I had a Swiss girl in my house that wanted to go to Cancun driving. Like she though it woul
42 RwSEA : I think that's a great itinerary - certainly enough to see each of the cities fully. The comment on NYC taking 2-weeks was a bit exaggerated - after
43 Post contains images Mdodd : yeah, keep us posted on your trips. I, can help you with NYC so feel free to IM or reply on this thread.
44 N200WN : I think you're covering a lot of ground in two weeks. NYC is great but the travel time alone will eat up two days. I'd do as some of the others have s
45 Mdsh00 : I don't know what kind of things you enjoy but check out tripadvisor like some of the others said to see what to do. If you are going to LA right aft
46 Chi-town : Chicago is a whole different class than those cities. I have never been to Seattle but It looks beautiful and if you love aviation you will also enjo
47 BNEFlyer : Thank you for all this information RwSEA! Its so great to hear different peoples perspectives on their country and what there is to see and do. I wil
48 FriendlySkies : Having grown up in Chicago and currently going to college in ATL...I must agree. If you're under 21 (and even then) there's practically nothing to do
49 TurkishWings : I visited the US twice. First time, which was a few months before 9/11 when I was still 21, we rented a car in MIA and drove to Sarasota, st. Petersbu
50 BNE : 3 cities in 1 trip you are trying to cover too much ground. Flying BNE-TPE-SFO; is a long enough trip in itself; spend 4 days then head to NYC; you ar
51 Post contains images BNEFlyer : Thanks everyone. From what some of you are telling me ( It may be a good idea to skip NY this time around. After pricing everything it would cost me a
52 SlamClick : For God's sake do not venture outside a major city. The rural areas, known as "flyover states" are populated by inbred hillbillies or (in the western
53 Boston92 : Seattle.
54 RwSEA : If you're going to stick to the West, and if you're driving, I'd try to add in the Grand Canyon instead of another city. Seattle is a fun place, but a
55 Boston92 : I'd stay away from Tahoe...it nice...but once you finally get up the damn mountain, you then realize, there isn't much to do outside of gamble or swi
56 Mdsh00 : If you plan on coming back to the US in the future, you definitely could hold off on NY. The next time you come, you can visit NY and even make a hop
57 Boston92 : Yeah, but let me warn you that Washington DC will probably need the most time to visit completely. I was there my first time for only 3 days, and I d
58 BNEFlyer : I am going to stick to the West Coast this trip and will only be on the road between SF and LA. I'll fly to my other destination. I have been thinking
59 Mdsh00 : You can but when you plan it out, keep in mind that it's a 4-5 hour flight with a 3 hour time difference.
60 Chi-town : I laughed my ass off when I read that! haha...so true
61 BNEFlyer : I'm going to Seattle to do the Boeing Factory and Future Flight tour. Also to check out the Sky Needle and Pike Market. I'm flying Alaska Airlines BUR
62 TwinOtter : Because in the United States it is expected. This is part of the social expectations of society. Wages of waiters are set below minimum wage on the e
63 Post contains links Halls120 : Finding a domestic flight that is reliably on time in the US these days is like finding a needle in a haystack. While weather is a part of the proble
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Visiting NYC For The First Time--Suggestions posted Tue Nov 7 2006 03:52:16 by Lincoln
The Congo Votes For The First Time In 40 Years posted Mon Jul 31 2006 16:42:11 by MaverickM11
Go-kart Racing For The First Time Ever Today! :D posted Wed May 10 2006 10:34:45 by AirPacific747
Leaving The Nest (home) For The First Time.. posted Thu Feb 23 2006 00:53:03 by Lnglive1011yyz
Buenos Aires - For The First Time! posted Thu Jan 19 2006 00:12:17 by TR763
The Joys Of Living Alone For The First Time posted Mon Oct 17 2005 16:17:46 by UTA_flyinghigh
Seoul Korea For The First Time posted Fri Jun 4 2004 04:33:42 by FA4UA
Temps In London Hit 100 For The First Time Ever! posted Sun Aug 10 2003 21:58:06 by Jcs17
Baghdad Residents Polled For The First Time posted Thu Jul 17 2003 01:18:51 by GDB
Iraq's New Government Meets For The First Time! posted Sun Jul 13 2003 14:07:17 by L-188