BNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 262 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5215 times:
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!
Mham001 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4261 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5198 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.
J_Hallgren From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1507 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 5187 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...
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.
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.
Mdodd From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5151 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.
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.
Boston92 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3390 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5143 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?"
Texan From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 4319 posts, RR: 51
Reply 9, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5137 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.
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 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
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
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.
"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."
LAXspotter From India, joined Jan 2007, 3650 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5131 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
AsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5114 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.
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.
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.
Tootallsd From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 569 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5016 times:
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.
Ronglimeng From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 626 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4993 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.
FriendlySkies From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 4138 posts, RR: 5
Reply 22, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4947 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)!
Mham001 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4261 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (8 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 4920 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.