Advice on what to do (or not to do) whilst in the USA.

  • working_title

    Posts: 22

    May 11, 2013 12:50 AM GMT
    Hi All,
    I'm travelling to the USA for the first time in late July - early August.
    I will be in LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York with day trips to Yosamite, the Grand Canyon and DC.
    I'm keen see some of the tourist attractions, but would love to get some local opinions about what to do, or what to avoid, where to eat etc. As it will be Summer, I want to make sure that I pack appropriate clothing for each destination.
    Any suggestions?
  • SFTigger

    Posts: 34

    May 11, 2013 8:40 AM GMT
    Wow. That's ambitious!

    A day trip to Yosemite from San Francisco is do-able but exhausting; it is a 4-hour drive (at best) from the city to valley floor, and another 4 hours back. Your Los Angeles-Las Vegas-San Francisco leg is begging for a rental car, with overnights in or near the parks. (IE, Los Angeles to Yosemite is a 5 hour trip. Yosemite to San Francisco is a 4 hour trip. Make Yosemite an overnight destination for LA-to-SF and you don't have to spend a whole day travelling just to get to the valley floor for a few hours.)

    A word on summer in San Francisco: cooler than you might expect. Daytime highs are unlikely to be much more than 65F. Otherwise, you can expect it to warm if not downright hot.
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    May 11, 2013 12:46 PM GMT
    working_title saidHi All,
    I'm travelling to the USA for the first time in late July - early August.
    I will be in LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York with day trips to Yosamite, the Grand Canyon and DC.
    I'm keen see some of the tourist attractions, but would love to get some local opinions about what to do, or what to avoid, where to eat etc. As it will be Summer, I want to make sure that I pack appropriate clothing for each destination.
    Any suggestions?


    Alan from San Francisco here.

    San Francisco's coldest season is summer. Dress in layers and hope to be pleasantly surprised. The city and region have microclimates which make for significant temperature variations throughout the city and throughout the day/night.

    When you do the Yosemite day trip, take one of the smaller tour busses that leaves San Francisco (from Fisherman's Wharf) about 0630 in the morning and returns about 2030 in the evening. Why? You get to relax all along the way while the guide tells you things about the surroundings that you would have to do significant research to learn. You also get to avoid parking hassles once you get into the park. Wear layers for cold in the morning and at night; hot in the afternoon (shorts), good sneakers or hiking shoes, and good sunblock. It gets hot. Prepare for "no signal" on the cellphone in many areas. This is a good thing.

    Not really a day trip, much better as an overnight car trip is to rent a car and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur.

    250px-BigSurMap3.png

    EE9764434C2E06411FBECA7C33189403.jpg

    Do the overnight at "Lucia Lodge" if you can (it only has 10 rooms). It's isolated. One one side you have the ocean. On the other side you have ancient conifer forest. Above, you can see an amazing sky at night. It's very romantic, and the drive there and back is amazing. Even if you do it by yourself...but bring somebody. It's more of a memorable experience that way.

    home2.jpg

    I suggest renting a convertible for this portion of the trip.
  • cyberwrassler

    Posts: 88

    May 11, 2013 12:52 PM GMT
    Bring some COOL clothes for the NYC leg. It can be unbearably hot in August. Comfortable shoes....and very light clothing....and don't forget the sunblock. Just because you are not at the beach...doesn't mean you won't get a lot of sun walking around the city. For more specific pointers on your NYC leg..drop me a line. Sounds like a great trip.
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    May 12, 2013 11:40 PM GMT
    Yosemite and the Grand Canyon will both be crowded. You won't really give yourself time to go hiking. You could do the Half Dome at Yosemite in a few hours, but you'd have to start up early or you'll get stuck behind crowds of slow people. You might want to go to Kings Canyon or Sequoia instead.

    Were you planning on hiking down the Grand Canyon, maybe rafting on the Colorado River, or taking a helicopter tour?
    The south rim will be packed with tourists and tour buses.
    If you want to go hiking, skip the Grand Canyon. Go to Zion instead. Or Bryce. Or just stop at the Grand Canyon, take a couple of quick pictures and go to Sedona.
  • working_title

    Posts: 22

    May 22, 2013 10:19 PM GMT
    Thanks guys icon_smile.gif

    I know it is an ambitious itinerary, but if I'm going to travel half way around the world I may as well make the most of it.

    I quite sure that I will return to the US within a few years, so this trip is really about seeing as much as possible and getting a feel for which areas I like.

    The heat shouldn't be too much of a problem - it gets extremely hot in Australia during summer, so I'm used to it. Thanks for the tip about San Francisco being cool - I wasn't expecting that, so I'll pack appropriate clothing.

    The day trip to Yosamite will be on a bus, the day trip to the Grand Canyon will be a flight to the South Rim. At this stage I don't anticipate driving anywhere (you guys drive on the other other side of the road) icon_eek.gif

    I plan on seeing lots of theatre in LV and NY. Any suggestions?

    Are there any tourist traps I should avoid?

    Do you have any recommendations for places to eat? It's shocking how much I love food. icon_redface.gif

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    May 22, 2013 10:26 PM GMT
    GAMRican said

    When you do the Yosemite day trip, take one of the smaller tour busses that leaves San Francisco (from Fisherman's Wharf) about 0630 in the morning and returns about 2030 in the evening. Why? You get to relax all along the way while the guide tells you things about the surroundings that you would have to do significant research to learn. You also get to avoid parking hassles once you get into the park.


    My friends and I did this when we visited San Francisco. It was a very enjoyable trip. I'd been to Yosemite before, but as I was driving on that visit, I missed a lot of stuff.
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    May 22, 2013 11:57 PM GMT
    LV had a lot of good shows as does NYC. I'm not broadway type but do feel that all tourists should go see at least one. LV food is cheap but I can't recall any particular places that were great. NYC has cuisine from many parts of the world. China town had great Chinese food, Thai food is good & cheap, the high end restaurants are expensive but the experience is worth it.

    I'm upper east side NYC & spend free time downton, Harlem, & downtown Brooklyn so email me if you want to hear more specific info on places to visit, eat, and have fun while in NYC. You really will enjoy your trip.
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    May 23, 2013 12:02 AM GMT
    When you are in Las Vegas, look at the Grand Canyon tours offered at your hotel. Some are really cheap & really good. I took a ~$300(US) tour that included hotel pick up & drop off. The tour of the Grand Canyon involved a boat, small plane, helicopter, bus and (of course) walking. It was great!
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    May 23, 2013 5:54 AM GMT
    working_title said

    I plan on seeing lots of theatre in LV and NY. Any suggestions?

    Do you have any recommendations for places to eat? It's shocking how much I love food. icon_redface.gif




    New York City - Go see "Wicked."

    Las Vegas - See any of the Cirque du Soleil shows except Criss Angel (it sucked). My favorites are "O" and "Mystere."

    Las Vegas eats - Depends on how much you want to spend. If you're interested in buffets, go to Bellagio, Aria, The Wynn or The Cosmopolitan. They're expensive buffets but I think you'll find that they are worth it.

    High end dining in LV - "Twist" in Mandarin Oriental.

    Adventurous/Weird dining experience in LV - The ice cream challenge at RM Seafood in Mandalay Bay. This is not your typical ice cream selection. You get 16 samples of different taste from peanut butter to Thai chili to octopus and squid. If you can guess all 16 samples, the dish is free. Otherwise....$$.

    Late night munchies in LV - "Holsteins" at the Cosmopolitan. They have a dessert that looks like nachos but it's not. That dessert was like crack!

    Have fun! icon_smile.gif
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    May 23, 2013 6:03 AM GMT
    working_title saidHi All,
    I'm travelling to the USA for the first time in late July - early August.
    I will be in LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York with day trips to Yosamite, the Grand Canyon and DC.
    I'm keen see some of the tourist attractions, but would love to get some local opinions about what to do, or what to avoid, where to eat etc. As it will be Summer, I want to make sure that I pack appropriate clothing for each destination.
    Any suggestions?


    blue jeans and T-shirts. GC is a big tourist trap. Hike down to Phantom Ranch if you can arrange it.
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    May 23, 2013 12:48 PM GMT
    Buy a travel guide book...like 'Lonely Planet'
    you can find so much information about the places you like to visit...introduction, guidance, instructions, suggestions and many more.

    If you're more concern about climate...
    look for the climate data of the city you visit in the internet...you can find monthly avg temperatures and then you can decide for yourself on what kind of clothes to take, precautions like having cold cream or sunscreen lotions, etc.,.

    One more imp thing...always keep a first aid kit with you...
    Bandages, ointments, scissors, cotton, cotton cloth, basic medications like paracetamol...some antibiotics, band-aids, couple of syringes...etc.,.
    you'll never know where you may end up...sometimes it's very important
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 23, 2013 3:31 PM GMT
    1. Don't get sick, healthcare is expensive in the US.
    2. If you do get sick, die quickly to avoid large medical bills.
    3. Carry a gun. It's mandated by the US Constitution's Second Amendment. Failure to do so can result in imprisonment.
    4. Stick to NY, LA, SF and DC. All other places are shit. Honestly, those places are also shit, just less so.
    5. Have hot sex with many American men. They are very attractive, eager to please and most are cheap dates.
    6. Enjoy visiting a lovely, pastoral culture that reminds you a time past when gays were in the closet, women were in the kitchen and coloreds knew their place.

  • FitGwynedd

    Posts: 1468

    May 23, 2013 3:37 PM GMT
    Get some sort of emergency healthcare insurance so you can be medi-vaced to Australia if need be. The company I use is pretty cheap.

    Avoid talking about guns, religion, foreign policy, wars or the metric system as these tend to incense Americans. You can talk about the weather but make sure you don't mention global warming.

    Don't be offended if some Americans think Australia is in England.

    Use your accent to get laid. Americans will bow at your feet if they hear a foreign accent, especially from the British Isles or Australia/NZ.
  • FitGwynedd

    Posts: 1468

    May 23, 2013 3:45 PM GMT
    Also, i'd recommend train travel. Although Americans detest it for some reason, its a great way to see amazing scenery that is unaccessible by car. Plus you meet some really interesting crazy people and its an adventure in itself.
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    May 23, 2013 9:34 PM GMT
    We have great restaurants in LA. Stop by the Peninsula hotel and say hi!
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    May 23, 2013 9:35 PM GMT
    Harry7785 saidBuy a travel guide book...like 'Lonely Planet'
    you can find so much information about the places you like to visit...introduction, guidance, instructions, suggestions and many more.

    If you're more concern about climate...
    look for the climate data of the city you visit in the internet...you can find monthly avg temperatures and then you can decide for yourself on what kind of clothes to take, precautions like having cold cream or sunscreen lotions, etc.,.

    One more imp thing...always keep a first aid kit with you...
    Bandages, ointments, scissors, cotton, cotton cloth, basic medications like paracetamol...some antibiotics, band-aids, couple of syringes...etc.,.
    you'll never know where you may end up...sometimes it's very important


    "ointments"

    you mean

    http://stayswetlonger.com

    "you'll never know where you may end up"
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    May 23, 2013 9:39 PM GMT
    GAMRican said
    working_title saidHi All,
    I'm travelling to the USA for the first time in late July - early August.
    I will be in LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York with day trips to Yosamite, the Grand Canyon and DC.
    I'm keen see some of the tourist attractions, but would love to get some local opinions about what to do, or what to avoid, where to eat etc. As it will be Summer, I want to make sure that I pack appropriate clothing for each destination.
    Any suggestions?


    Alan from San Francisco here.

    San Francisco's coldest season is summer. Dress in layers and hope to be pleasantly surprised. The city and region have microclimates which make for significant temperature variations throughout the city and throughout the day/night.

    When you do the Yosemite day trip, take one of the smaller tour busses that leaves San Francisco (from Fisherman's Wharf) about 0630 in the morning and returns about 2030 in the evening. Why? You get to relax all along the way while the guide tells you things about the surroundings that you would have to do significant research to learn. You also get to avoid parking hassles once you get into the park. Wear layers for cold in the morning and at night; hot in the afternoon (shorts), good sneakers or hiking shoes, and good sunblock. It gets hot. Prepare for "no signal" on the cellphone in many areas. This is a good thing.

    Not really a day trip, much better as an overnight car trip is to rent a car and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur.

    250px-BigSurMap3.png

    EE9764434C2E06411FBECA7C33189403.jpg

    Do the overnight at "Lucia Lodge" if you can (it only has 10 rooms). It's isolated. One one side you have the ocean. On the other side you have ancient conifer forest. Above, you can see an amazing sky at night. It's very romantic, and the drive there and back is amazing. Even if you do it by yourself...but bring somebody. It's more of a memorable experience that way.

    home2.jpg

    I suggest renting a convertible for this portion of the trip.


    or

    http://www.bigsurlodge.com/

    if Lucia is full, which I imagine it will be.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 23, 2013 9:53 PM GMT
    If you're time constrained I would almost forget Yosemite and Grand Canyon in the summer and instead do Color Country in southern Utah ... Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Arches, Natural Bridge, Cisco to Moab on Rt 126. Utah Rt 95 from Blanding to Hanksville is a spectacular drive

    This is exactly what you would see ..... although this was in early Febuary. I didn't take any pics in Zion Valley on this trip, but i think you'd find it to be everything that Yosemite is



    This was from Denver on west so a few of the first pics are Eisenhower Pass and then the rest of it are the other parks I mention above.

    Zion is a worthy much less crowded substitute for Yosemite

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 23, 2013 10:48 PM GMT
    I'm an expert on international travel.
    When you come to America from Australia, you'll be sure to have a good time if you...

    1 - Correct the way everyone pronounces words. Americans love Australians and are eager to learn.

    2 - Wear a plastic crown and tell everyone you are the King of Australia. Americans don't know what is going on in the rest of the world and will gladly treat you like royalty.

    3 - Tip everyone with little buttons. They'll think it's foreign currency.

    4 - Greet every black man you meet with "Hi Mr President." They're sure to be flattered.

    5 - Order a platypus sandwich everywhere you eat. Americans will see how cultured you are and will give you your meal for free (but you still have to tip them a few buttons).



  • Joeyphx444

    Posts: 2382

    May 23, 2013 10:54 PM GMT
    Don't listen to the snobs from the UK and Canada

    More people visit our places than their shitty cities and ugly people
  • working_title

    Posts: 22

    May 23, 2013 10:58 PM GMT
    Thanks guys! This is great.

    I'll be in the US for just under 3 weeks, spending roughly 4 - 5 days in each destination. I won't be driving anywhere - so I'll have to wait until next time to check out Lucia Lodge - it looks beautiful.

    I'm flying to the GC from LV - so I'm not too worried about the time factor in getting there.

    I have booked tickets to see Cirque "O" in LV, Book of Mormon on Broadway and Sleep No More (which sounds AMAZING)

    Thanks for the food tips Erik 101. We have great food from all over the world here - so I'm particularly interested in trying things and having experiences that I can't have back home.

    LOL @ yourmom icon_lol.gif

    FitGwynedd: Travel insurance is organised. Glad to know about the accent. I'm both Australian and British, so my accent is a hybrid of the two. Not interested in getting laid though. I'm happily partnered.

    I have canceled the day trip to DC. I wanted more time in NY.

    There is so much more that I want to see and do... I guess some of it will have to wait until next time.

    Any more tips guys? icon_smile.gif



  • working_title

    Posts: 22

    May 23, 2013 11:07 PM GMT
    Joeyphx444 saidDon't listen to the snobs from the UK and Canada

    More people visit our places than their shitty cities and ugly people


    Thanks Joeyphx444.

    I don't think that the posts from the UK and Canada meant to offend.

    People from Britain and Australia have a similar sense of humour. It looks like this applies to Canadians too.

    icon_smile.gif

  • FitGwynedd

    Posts: 1468

    May 24, 2013 9:26 AM GMT
    Joeyphx444 saidDon't listen to the snobs from the UK and Canada

    More people visit our places than their shitty cities and ugly people


    How's the weather down there little squirt?
  • FitGwynedd

    Posts: 1468

    May 24, 2013 9:30 AM GMT
    Joeyphx444 saidDon't listen to the snobs from the UK and Canada

    More people visit our places than their shitty cities and ugly people


    Also more people visit London than any American City. Maybe some day you guys will have a city as nice as Blackpool, or Leeds for that matter.