BNEFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:41 am

Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:09 pm

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
 
stlgph
Posts: 8927
Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:19 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:14 pm

Quoting BNEFlyer (Thread starter):

two words: White Castle
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
mham001
Posts: 4179
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:52 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:21 pm

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
Posts: 1427
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2000 11:48 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:30 pm

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!
 
WunalaYann
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:55 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:45 pm

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

Avoid flying any of their legacy carriers...  Wink
 
BNEFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:41 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:13 pm

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.
 
mdodd
Posts: 338
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:45 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:18 pm

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!
 
fr8mech
Posts: 6580
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:22 pm

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.
 
Boston92
Posts: 2553
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:56 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:27 pm

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
Posts: 4059
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2003 2:23 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:34 pm

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."
 
KFLLCFII
Posts: 3173
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 7:08 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:37 pm

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."
 
bill142
Posts: 7853
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:50 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:38 pm

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?
 
LAXspotter
Posts: 3227
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:16 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:38 pm

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
 
aa61hvy
Posts: 13021
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 1999 9:21 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:48 pm

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
 
USAFHummer
Posts: 10261
Joined: Thu May 18, 2000 12:22 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:57 pm

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
 
AsstChiefMark
Posts: 10465
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:14 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 1:59 pm

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
Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Damned MSP...Red tail...Red tail
 
flymia
Posts: 6806
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 6:33 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:09 pm

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)
 
BNEFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:41 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 4:04 pm

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.
 
KFLLCFII
Posts: 3173
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2004 7:08 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 4:18 pm

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."
 
tootallsd
Posts: 458
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:02 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 10:25 pm

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
Posts: 562
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:12 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:10 pm

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.
 
sw733
Posts: 5298
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 6:19 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:16 am

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 
 
FriendlySkies
Posts: 3540
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 3:57 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:50 am

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
Posts: 4179
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 4:52 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:05 am

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.
 
Boston92
Posts: 2553
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:56 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:46 am

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?"
 
N1120A
Posts: 26467
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:10 am

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

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 is really good, even 25% isn't out of the question. The easiest way to figure the tip in California, as most counties will either charge 7.25% or 8.25%, is to double the sales tax on the bill and leave that as the tip

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

For no apparent reason other than it makes things look cheaper

Quoting STLGph (Reply 1):

two words: White Castle

One word: Avoid

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...

That isn't why. In other countries, where the sales tax/VAT/GST/whatever is included in the price you see, the receipt still gives you a separate breakdown of the price paid to the seller and the taxes paid.

Quoting Fr8Mech (Reply 7):
I haven't gotten in a taxi in ages, can't help you there.

10% is normal.

Quoting Bill142 (Reply 11):

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

Many hotels leave an envelope.

Quoting Bill142 (Reply 11):

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

There is no need to fix it. Sales tax is essentially the same thing as GST.

Quoting LAXspotter (Reply 12):

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

That can be the general rule, though United offers really good last minute deals

Quoting AA61Hvy (Reply 13):

I saw SBP for $332 from LAX...

Yeah, you never want to do that. Taking the train is cheaper and easier.

Quoting SW733 (Reply 21):

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

Um, so I guess you don't like all the money we in California provide to this nation's economy either?

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 24):

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.

Notice there that you made a connection?
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Boston92
Posts: 2553
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:56 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:22 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 25):
Yeah, you never want to do that. Taking the train is cheaper and easier.

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't know where you got LAX, but he will be in SFO...train from SFO would take 10 hours to SBA and 8 to SBP.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 25):
Notice there that you made a connection?

Do you have a point (and yes, I noticed the connection)?
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
MEGAFLYER777
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:34 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:23 am

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 schedule and ritual personality type, then all the great, just economize your time well. (The US is a nice sized country as stated above.) If you are a "go with the flow" and "whatever happens, happens", then it will be a very chillaxing time for you. Hopefully, for both ways...

I've never been out to the west coast before, however, I do live in the NYC area. The city is quite large and there are many things that you can do. I highly suggest hitting up some nice restaurants in the city (both American and/or your choice of international cuisine ... I do highly recommend Italian ...) which are reasonably priced. Times Square is a nice place to be, especially at night. I must disclose to you that there are a good number of tourists whenever I am near any popular site, such as Times Square, in Manhattan. It is unfortunate that there will not be any World Trade Center towers for you to see, but we still have the Empire State and Chrysler buildings. (Less alone the UN.)

If I were you I would also familiarize myself with the Mass Transit (buses, subways, etc.)

If you have any further questions, let us know.

Have a safe trip!

[Edited 2007-07-29 22:28:03]
 
Chi-town
Posts: 893
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 1:29 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:36 am

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 also have great pizza and Chicago style hot dogs. Plus you can do some spotting at ORD.
 
FriendlySkies
Posts: 3540
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 3:57 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:49 am

Quoting Chi-town (Reply 28):
We also have great pizza and Chicago style hot dogs. Plus you can do some spotting at ORD.

Not to mention all the great museums, sights, the lakefront, parks, culture, I could go on...
 
102IAHexpress
Posts: 898
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 6:33 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 6:31 am

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 donation jar for crippled children, but was shocked to see TIPS written on it. Waiters at expensive restaurants are the worst offenders. I hate paying over a hundred dollars for a meal and getting poor service and then adding insult to injury by paying 15% gratuity.
I say if you get bad service, don’t be afraid to leave some change (dimes, nickles) as a tip. IMO that’s worse than leaving a zero tip.
 
Boston92
Posts: 2553
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:56 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:07 am

Quoting 102IAHexpress (Reply 30):
I hate paying over a hundred dollars for a meal and getting poor service and then adding insult to injury by paying 15% gratuity.

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. There really is not much they can do to be poor service. If they wait 15 minutes to take your order, and you never see them again, I guess you could call that poor...in which case you give a matching tip, but I just do not see that too often.

My tips are either 15, 18, 20, or 25 % depending on the service. The service should differentiate the tip...you should not give an outstanding waiter the same as a "poor" waiter.
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
102IAHexpress
Posts: 898
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 6:33 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:15 am

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 food. The waiter didn’t cook the food or find me a table, or even bus my table for that matter.
 
Boston92
Posts: 2553
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:56 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:50 am

Quoting 102IAHexpress (Reply 32):
All he did was take my order and bring me my food.

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 with the drinks, give reviews of the food, make them feel welcome, and other stuff like that.

Also, I have given up to a 66% tip before. I was in a nice place with a girl, and all we did was have drinks the whole time, but the waiter was great, even talked to us for a while...the bill came to about $30.00, and I think I left $20.00. You can't always do it by percent when we were there for 2 hours and took up the waiters time when she could have been waiting a a much larger and expensive group.
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
Superfly
Posts: 37735
Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:03 am

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 outside the typical touristy stuff. Will you be here in San Francisco during Halloween? It's pretty big up here and also the Exotic Erotic Ball.  Cool
STLGph is right, go to White Castle's when you visit New York. I wish we had those here. The only on in New York that I know of is in Brooklyn.
Bring back the Concorde
 
N1120A
Posts: 26467
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:08 am

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 26):

Taking the Pacific Surfliner is something you never want to do.

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.

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 26):

Also, I don't know where you got LAX

I got it from what I quoted.

Quoting Boston92 (Reply 26):

Do you have a point (and yes, I noticed the connection)?

The point is that the poster you quoted noted that you need to make a connection, or the price will be exorbitant
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
BNEFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:41 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:22 am

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, however I'm happy to go with the flow as well. So far I have only planned to be in SF and LA. I can either do a week in each or split up my time between another city.

Quoting MEGAFLYER777 (Reply 27):

Thanks for this info MEGAFLYER, I bought a guide to San Francisco and New York yesterday and they have large maps in them, so I'll get familiar!

Quoting Superfly (Reply 34):

Superfly if I do end up in New York i'll be there for Halloween. I know its a huge deal in the US so I'm hoping i'll get to experience it. But i'd love to see the nightlife of San Francisco! I'm looking forward to seeing SF over Los Angeles, it just seems like such a vibrant city!

Quoting Chi-town (Reply 28):

I had seriously considered Chicago, as well as Seattle, San Antonio, Miami or Atlanta to visit but decided on NY - to me its the ultimate American city and such a world away from Brisbane. Although I will be in Canada (Vancouver & Toronto) next October for 12+ months so I was thinking I could do the Pacific Northwest and New England then, and do the south this time... there's too many options!

Thanks again for all the advice thats coming in my friends!
 
Boston92
Posts: 2553
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:56 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:32 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 35):
The point is that the poster you quoted noted that you need to make a connection, or the price will be exorbitant

No, wrong again. He said UA mainline...OAK-LAX is all Express.

Quoting N1120A (Reply 35):
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.

Santa Barbara maybe, but we were talking about SBP, which would take 5 hrs, 15 minutes on the train. Twice as long as driving.
"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
 
Superfly
Posts: 37735
Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:49 am

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 36):
Superfly if I do end up in New York i'll be there for Halloween. I know its a huge deal in the US so I'm hoping i'll get to experience it.

Do you have any idea what you're going to dress up as?  Smile
We're too old to go out trick-or-treating so there are lots of 'adult oriented' Halloween Parties going on. I plan on going to the Exotic Erotic Ball October 27th. Perhaps I can round up some lady friends if you care to join. What is your speed?

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 36):
I'm looking forward to seeing SF over Los Angeles, it just seems like such a vibrant city!

I used to live in Los Angeles. They have a nice airport.
Bring back the Concorde
 
JetBlueGuy2006
Posts: 1482
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 5:38 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:57 am

Quoting STLGph (Reply 1):
two words: White Castle

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.
Home Airport: Capital Region International Airport (KLAN)
 
MEGAFLYER777
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 4:34 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:03 pm

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 36):
Thanks for this info MEGAFLYER

You're welcome. Please keep us posted when exactly you will be here in NYC, as your travel plans finalize.
 
KLM685
Posts: 1506
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 12:41 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:21 pm

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 15):
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.

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 would take her maximum 10 hours. Then I told her it's about 26 hours driving and she dropped the idea. But it happens alot as you say.
KLM- The Best Airline in the World!
 
rwsea
Posts: 2422
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:23 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 12:52 pm

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 17):
I will have 4 days in SF, 4 in LA, 5 in NY then one extra day in LA before heading home.

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 5 days I think you'll definitely be ready to move on.

Some of my favorites from those places:

SFO - Alcatraz really is worth it, even though it's a tourist trap. Not only for the Island itself, but also for the views of the golden gate bridge and of the city. Be sure to also visit Chinatown, and eat there!

LAX - Hollywood of course, and the beach cities. Santa Monica is the most touristy, but I prefer Hermosa or Manhattan Beach. If you like rollercoasters, it's pretty tough to beat Magic Mountain just a bit north of LA. Disneyland of course if you're interested in that at all. Also some good waterparks if you like those. Great Mexican food just about everywhere you go.

NYC - My highlights were Ellis Island & the Statue of Liberty, the UN, and Wall Street/Bull statue. Also the Met museum of Art is a must-see. Don't waste your money on the NBC tour. I didn't care much for Times Square either - spend your time and money in one of the neighborhoods and see the real NY (East Village and Upper West Side were my favorites).

If you wanted to squeeze in LAS (only if you're 21, which it looks like you are), you could probably take a day each from SFO/LAX and fit it in. But then your visit to the other two cities will be a bit more hectic.

Wherever you are for Halloween, you should definitely hit up some clubs/bars. Always good times to see all the interesting costumes out there.

As others have said, doubling the sales tax is usually a good way to determine the tip (more or less). Don't tip if the service is bad. For a cab, I usually round up a few bucks depending on the distance. Don't feel guilty for not tipping at places with counter service, even if they have a "tip" jar or put a tip line on your credit card receipt!!

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 36):
I had seriously considered Chicago, as well as Seattle, San Antonio, Miami or Atlanta to visit but decided on NY - to me its the ultimate American city and such a world away from Brisbane. Although I will be in Canada (Vancouver & Toronto) next October for 12+ months so I was thinking I could do the Pacific Northwest and New England then, and do the south this time... there's too many options!

I think you made the right choice - the other good choice for a first visit is LAS. Seattle and Miami are interesting cities, San Antonio somewhat (only for a day or two though - can be combined with Austin); I don't recommend Atlanta as a tourist destination - Charleston and Savannah are much more interesting. Seattle would be well combined with Vancouver as you mention above. Let me know if you do and I'll buy you a beer.
 
mdodd
Posts: 338
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:45 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:09 pm

yeah, keep us posted on your trips.

I, can help you with NYC so feel free to IM or reply on this thread.

 Smile
 
N200WN
Posts: 694
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:09 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:56 pm

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 said and just stick to the west coast this time around. Fly into SFO and then make it a road trip to LA, San Diego, then across the desert to LAS. Side trips to the Grand Canyon and then back over the Sierra's to the Bay Area. You'll get a little bit of everything...coast, mountains, deserts, plus a few national parks. You can't beat the southwest for scenic beauty.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 36):
I had seriously considered Chicago, as well as Seattle, San Antonio, Miami or Atlanta to visit but decided on NY - to me its the ultimate American city and such a world away from Brisbane. Although I will be in Canada (Vancouver & Toronto) next October for 12 months so I was thinking I could do the Pacific Northwest and New England then, and do the south this time... there's too many options!

San Antonio? I'm surprised that's on your list...if you really want to check it out next year when you come back let me know. I'll send you a WN ticket to get down here from either SEA or BUF depending on where you are in Canada.
 
mdsh00
Posts: 3967
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 11:28 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:30 pm

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 36):

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 after SFO, definitely take a roadtrip down the 101 or Pacific Coast Hwy. Of course visit the In-N-Out by LAX and remember to order everything (including fries) Animal Style. In LA you obviously have your standard attractions like the theme parks, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, etc. Definitely also go down to Santa Monica Pier or Newport Beach. If you like nature, places like Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear are nice.
"Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a big fat white guy who is threatened by change."
 
Chi-town
Posts: 893
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 1:29 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:34 pm

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 36):
I had seriously considered Chicago, as well as Seattle, San Antonio, Miami or Atlanta to visit but decided on NY

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 enjoy that. No offense to anyone who lives in Atlanta or San Antonio, but I wouldn't even waste your time in those cities. Way overrated. I think that Miami is a little overrated also. You could maybe spend 1 day at Miami Beach.
 
BNEFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:41 am

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:54 pm

Quoting RwSEA (Reply 42):

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 will more than likely be in New York for Halloween, and Las Vegas doesnt interest me. However I think I will take the 101 between SF and LA!

Quoting N200WN (Reply 44):

Thats very generous of you N200WN, thank you! I will be in Canada next October. I'm sure we will keep in touch until then.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 38):

I have no idea what I could dress up as lol! I'll be in LA on October 27, but we should definitely catch up while i'm in SF.

After reading all your replies I wish that I could stay for a couple of months rather than weeks! However when I go back to Canada next year I think I will spend some time in the Lower 48 if possible. I would especially love to visit the Deep South.. fried chicken and Southern Comfort... what could be better?!?
 
FriendlySkies
Posts: 3540
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 3:57 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 3:33 am

Quoting Chi-town (Reply 46):
No offense to anyone who lives in Atlanta

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. The aquarium is just so-so (compared to the Shedd anyway), some ok parks (Piedmont is nice)...but yeah, pretty boring IMO.
 
TurkishWings
Posts: 1243
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 5:57 pm

RE: Going To US For The First Time... Advice?

Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:18 pm

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. Petersburg, Tampa, Orlando, FLL, Key West and back to MIA in 3 weeks... I had of fun though not as much as I predicted...

Second time was on my own in summer of 2004. I started with 4 days in LAS, flew to SFO for another 4 days then on to SAN for another 4 days and finally in LAX for 6 days. From my experience, I think 6 days in LAX was way too long and I could easily have skipped SAN. I didn't find it interesting at all.... I would be better off visiting SEA or similar instead I think... And I would have stayed a few days longer in SFO and travel to nearby Sonoma Valley or Napa Valley etc too...

All in all, I also think you should skip NYC this time. It would be too exhausting... Explore West Coast in this trip and you can do East Coast next time...
Coffee - Tea or Me?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: aerlingus747, BartSimpson, MrHMSH and 33 guests