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Travelling to America... recommendations please!

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    09-27-2011, 04:29 PM
  #11
Foal
Wow fantastic response, thanks :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
A girl on your own ? Stay off the buses, no security,
I lived in Europe for a couple years, and understand it is nearly impossible for Europeans to grasp the concept of the size of America, Seriously our states are the size of and in many cases much bigger than countries in Europe. Just Texas is larger than France, and twice the size of Germany, and it isnt our largest state.
Yeah I thought this might be the case, I have heard really mixed things, some people saying they are full of nutters! Haha, true about the size thing, im thinking I can just pop over the states, but I've really got to look at it!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allison Finch    
If you find yourself in North Carolina (not sure why you would be) Feel free to crash at my house. I have a spare room. You are most welcome.
That is so kind of you, thank you very much :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reiterin    
What are you interested in? What is at the top of your list? Mountains? Coastal areas? Big open spaces? Culturally, what are you intersted in? We've got them all here! It might be easier to pick a general area/corner and explore it.
I really didn't want to limit myself to be honest, I thought the more open I was the better chance I had of seeing the best of everything. Scenery-wise the US is going to be so different to what we have I've experience here, I kinda didn't want to rule anything out. I do like the coast though I must admit :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I would look at it in "chunks" and approach them differently. For example, no doubt you will fly into NY. Consider a hostel there. Or splurge a bit and a decent hotel . Do some city things.

Take a train to DC. It is our capitol and I think is worth a couple of days.
Take a train to perhaps Charleston to see some of the "south". Then, maybe continue to Florida and enjoy some warm, tropical beaches and see Epcot center .

Then, fly to Austin TX and hang out there. Maybe book a short stay at a Dude ranch. Rent a car here, or a small camper/RV. And start the next chunk; the driving the wide open spaces. See grand canyon. Las Vegas (it is not natural beauty, but it's part of American culture.
Canyonlands nat park

Head to San Fran. Turn in the RV. Chungk #2
Spend time in SF See Monterey bay aqauarium. I think there are busses to there. Stay in a hostel. Rent a bike. No need for car.

Take train up to Seattle. And then train to Vancouver BC.
Go out to one of the many gorgeous islands off of Van and get a B and B,
Chunk #3
Fly home

OR, take the Trans Canada train back to east coast (3 days? Not sure) and fly home.
Wow, thanks, I think im going to have to try and do it section by section. Might even have to do it in two journeys come home in between and split it across the year. Any places that are really cold in April that you would avoid?

Cheers everyone, im overwhelmed by your response and I have SOOO much to think about now!!
     
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    09-27-2011, 04:36 PM
  #12
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakley Eastern Miss    
Wow, thanks, I think im going to have to try and do it section by section. Might even have to do it in two journeys come home in between and split it across the year. Any places that are really cold in April that you would avoid?
Spring officially begins in mid March. In April the temps will still be spring like for all of the lower 48 states. Although spring on the west coast is different than spring in the midwest!

Several horse fairs going on around the country at that time of year. Our Minnesota Horse Expo is April 27, 28 and 29, 2012.
     
    09-27-2011, 05:10 PM
  #13
Showing
You've gotten great suggestions from everyone!

Another to add to the list is the Florida keys or one of the barrier islands on the Gulf of Mexico side of FL. Sanibel & Little Gasparilla Island are both beautiful! Gasparilla has no vehicles, aside from golf carts and 7 miles of unspoiled beaches with very little traffic.

Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon & Yellowstone's geysers would be on my must see natural wonders list.

New Orleans French Quarter is beautiful, though I haven't been there since Hurricane Katrina. Bourbon street is always interesting too! Great food & a lot of good music to be found there.
     
    09-27-2011, 05:45 PM
  #14
Foal
The best thing to do is arm yourself with a good travel book! Look for one on budget or student travel. They suggest itineraries, safe places to stay and modes of travel.

Please be aware that personal safety in the US is very much an issue. Never accept rides from strangers no matter how nice they seem. Spend money when necessary to keep yourself safe even if that means more money on accommodations or transportation. I'd steer clear for the Greyhound buses.

I would look in to AAA - AMerican Automobile Association because, if you can get a membership, they'll provide you with free maps and guidebooks that list inexpensive accommodations that they rate. THey'll also help you map a route should you decide to travel by car - the best way to see America outside of the major cities. And they offer road assistance should you have car issues (though your car rental agency might do the same).

Good luck!
     
    09-27-2011, 06:15 PM
  #15
Started
I second those who said to come up to Vancouver, we love tourists!

Also while you're up here, Whistler would be a good place to go and we also have a few internationally recognized horse shows if you would be interested in attending those.

Thunderbird Equestrian Show Park | One of North America's Premier Equestrian Facilities Has their Spring/Summer 2012 tentative show schedule up already.
     
    09-27-2011, 10:11 PM
  #16
Weanling
Lots of horse people would probable opien thier homes to you. I know I would you could do a thing like that find Form friends and jump from section to section.
We do not have hostel in USA. We have roach motels and high priced hotels.
     
    09-27-2011, 11:01 PM
  #17
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by raywonk    
Lots of horse people would probable opien thier homes to you. I know I would you could do a thing like that find Form friends and jump from section to section.
We do not have hostel in USA. We have roach motels and high priced hotels.




Absolutely NOT TRUE!!! There are many very nice hostels in the US. They are usually clean and safe and very inexpensive. Maybe not the charm of a European B&b. The internet will list the best reviewed ones. My son stayed in one in San Fransisco for $38 a night and it was walking distance to all the cable cars and such, clean and friendly. Great places to meet people, too.

The US has it's worries about personal safety, I'll give you that. However, I am a woman. I walk alone in the city , though not in certain areas at night. I have NEVER had any form of crime committed against me. NEVER had anything stolen off my property. The only time I had a theft committed was in Canada! But that was in a bad neighborhood of Vancouver, where there is a terrible problem with drug addiction.

I rode Greyhound many times. IT looks slimey but is not usually actually dangerous.

I would also like to say, that most Americans absolutely LOVE to have tourists come and will extend a warm hand to you. We are especially fond of Brits, I suppose it's that accent that is just too, too charming, AND our common ancestry.

If you decide to come to Seattle, I can help you find a good place to stay. I don't have a room to offer, but can help in other ways.
Then, when I come to England, I'll be ringing you up!
     
    09-27-2011, 11:07 PM
  #18
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allison Finch    
If you find yourself in North Carolina (not sure why you would be) Feel free to crash at my house. I have a spare room. You are most welcome.
Actually, the Mountains in North Carolina are one of the best places to see, with a stunning vista for driving. And, the people are some of the nicest folks I have ever met. We love traveling to North Carolina around the Asheville area. While there, the Biltmore is great to visit, and they offer tours of the estate and trail rides. It's a different kind of geography and climate from the national parks in the southwest.
     
    09-27-2011, 11:15 PM
  #19
Trained
Wow. A couple of months seems like a long time, but when you're talking North America, you could take a couple of years and not see very much at all. It's just so huge here compared to Europe. We think nothing of driving 4 hours to visit friends and family. I have family that lives 5 hours away and I just hop in the truck, go visit and come back the next day.

Trains in N.A. Are wonderful for meeting people as long as you have NO SCHEDULE. Honestly, it should be 4 days from coast to coast, but just 2/3 of the way across set me back 4 days. We were so late, they were running out of food on the train. If you do go train, get a berth. Economy is just a seat and very uncomfortable for more than 8 hours. First class with a room sounds good, but the rooms are like little jail cells. An upper berth is great. You get a nice comfy, roomy seat for the day and you can visit easily. At night you have a little hobbit hole to curl up in. Unfortunately the timing of a cross-Canada train trip sucks because you miss a lot of the scenery while you sleep. But, using the train from one place to another would work well.

I would start in the south in April (that is southern US states) and then move north. April can still be chilly and rainy in many parts. Frosts are not uncommon in April in most of the northern states and Canada.

No one has said much about Canada yet. Probably because we are all too stunned to be able to say what NOT to see. See EVERYTHING, but how in only 60 days? I will mention only Canadian things.

Big cities in Canada to see: Vancouver (bicyle), Toronto (city transit), Ottawa (bicycle), Montreal (city transit), Quebec City (not sure how to get around there). Way to much to see in each of these: architecture, zoos, museums, ethnic neighbourhoods (see the world in just one city ) A million smaller cities that each have their own uniqueness.

Big scenery:
Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta and Appalachian Mountains in Quebec, New Brunswick -- but these are much smaller than the Rockies, so if you have to miss one set, do the Rockies. There are day or overnight horse trail rides through the Rockies. My sister did one and it was amazing.

The Prairies in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Miles and miles of green in the spring. It goes on forever. Great horse country in Alberta.

The Great Lakes -- these are amazing. You absolutely will not be able fathom the size of these. You MUST take a boat tour of at least one of the lakes. In Ontario, the 1000 Islands cruise is nice; there is also a ferry across Lake Huron I believe -- Cheechiman ferry to Manitoulin Island. Niagara Falls is big and pretty but very expensive and once you've seen the Falls and the Casinos, well, there isn't anything else in the spring to see as the vineyards won't be in season. The Great Lakes border the US and Canada so go from either side.

Tundra -- very north. You'd have to be a true outdoor enthusiast to have this make sense for you to go. Northern Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Northern Ontario. Probably very expensive and only worth doing if it's your bag. Definitely fly-in locations only.

Lakes, rivers and more water -- Ontario has an unfathomable number of waterways. If you enjoy water at all, consider day trips on water. Whitewater rafting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, -- if you want to do beaches, do those in the southern States. Canada has some beautiful beaches but very cold until late May / June. Sandbanks Provincial Park in southern Ontario would be about your best bet that time of year. Eastern provinces have beautiful shorelines. Newfoundland / Labrador is the extreme of water, land and culture, but very out of the way. I've heard there is nothing like it anywhere, but never been there.

P.E.I. Bridge -- one of the longest bridges in the world. It was deliberately built with curves so drivers wouldn't get bored.

Take a ferry -- in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick

Culture -- Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick -- check out the logging and forestry tourist attractions. This country was built from our trees. Sugar bushes will be done by the time you get here unfortunately. They run in March. First Nations culture -- I don't know about the rest of the country, but in Ontario there is a pile of stuff from the Indians to see.

I have to stop now. I'm getting myself confused trying to think of things and I haven't even begun to list activities / adventure tours. Time for someone else to continue on.

Forgive any typos. I haven't proofread this.
     
    10-23-2011, 02:52 AM
  #20
Foal
As for travelling cheaply: You can save on hotels and hostels, but don't save by not renting a car. Most National Parks cannot be reached via public transportation. PT here is just not as structured as it is anywhere in Europe. However, bear in mind that if you like to rent a car, if you are under 26 they often charge an extra "inexperienced driver fee", which can drive up the prices a lot.

An alternative would also be a trip organised by groups like EF Travels, for example. I think Erasmus might also offer a program, but am not sure about it. Other than that, there are work holidays, work travels, etc. that might be worth looking into, especially if you would like to stay an extended period of time. Travelling the USA for a couple of months without any other backup than your flight ticket there and maybe your parents back in Europe make the Immigration Services twitch and they may allow your stay to be only a short one (I had my share of Immigration Service troubles last year, that could fill a whole book *yuck*) ...

Cheap (as in free) accommodation is couchsurfing. I have been a Couchsurfer since 2007, have hosted over 60 people from over 30 nations and travelled from Indonesia, to Malaysia, to Singapore, all over Europe and NYC - was hosted at least 30 times, haven't paid for hotels ever since (and I am a woman, most often using couchsurfing when I am travelling alone) and haven't ever had a single negative experience :) (My profile there is Zeanana, if you like to read further details on it).

Keep us updated on your plans I always love when people go out into the world to see things and love to read about how things are going.

LZ
     

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