Discussing :: Traveling to America!


Traveling to America!

I am currently in the process of saving for a road trip around America for 5 weeks (well 11 days in Toronto to visit my big bro) with my big sister. Just wondering if anyone has gone to America before - what are the do's and donts? We aim to start in San Fran...make our way to California/Hollywood/LA...then go to Las Vegas...we were really keen to go to Texas but we think we are going to run out of time!! From there we would fly to New York then go to Toronto. What is everyones thoughts on Texas? Does anyone know of a good car hire company? I've done some googling but sometimes the cheapest isn't best - as a reliable car/company is REALLY important :)


Hey Bernadette We've just come back from the states a 2 month trip including paris and uk. Make sure you take an empty suitcase it's really cheap for stuff especially designer brands,but remember that the price in shops doesn't include tax so you have to put 15% on top of your purchases.LA has some great shopping malls. When eating out you are expected to leave a tip which is another 15% on top of your meal. On the drive from san fran to LA make sure you visit carmel (Clint Eastwoods home town).It's really quaint and has sea otters swimming in the sea. If you are going to Disney and Universal you can buy a combined ticket it's called a city pass and works out a bit cheaper than a 1 day pass. Go careful on liquids customs is really strict so perfumes have to be 100ml and under. Las Vegas is awesome at night the whole strip comes to life.But not much going on in the day time....So just hang round the pool. I hope this helps if you want to know anything else let me know.....:-) Sounds like an awesome Holiday lucky you

Awesome stuff! I am very very excited! This is a lot of help - thankyou. Also we are driving from San Fran to LA so will definitely check out clint eastwoods home town on the way down. Did you go to New York? We are planning on spending about 5 days, 6 nights in both LA and New York...2 days in San Fran and 3 days in Las Vegas. I have heard great and bad things about Las Vegas but I still really want to go!

I am not sure about Texas though - did you visit there?


Yes I went to NY it is a really awesome city full of life.I love the deli's there best places to eat.Times square at night is amazing all lit up.They also have some great shops round that area.Toys'R'Us has a ferris wheel iinside the shop worth a look. We took the ferry to Staten Island,best wat to see the statue of liberty and it's free. I haven't been to Texas.But did do the Grand Canyon and Arizona. My friends went to Texas last year and as her hubby is a huge cowboy fan he loved it....They bought heaps of cowboy boots and hats.


I lived in the USA for about 10 years, and have been all over. I'd say at least 3 days in San Fran. It's beautiful, my fave city in the world. Golden Gate bridge, Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz, Treasure Island (For the view of san fran), The Redwoods are cool, Wine country to the north is nice if you have time, The cable cars (touristy) Pier 49 (touristy). My fave is Massawa Restaurant 1538 Haight St. Good burritos in the Spanish places. No more than 3 days in LA. Seriously, there's nothing much there. Disneyland (if you're into that) which is NOT in LA at all. It's in Orange County which is about 45 mins from LA, if the traffic is okay. Universal Studios (similar to Disney land) has a tour of the backlot which is interesting. You can get tickets to see shows being filmed which I thought was fun. Hollywood Blvd is not as awesome as you'd expect. Just the stars and the Chinese Theatre with the hand prints of famous people. You can see the HOLLYWOOD sign from Hollywood Blvd. Malibu is worth it, just to say you've been there, and the pier so you can jump up and say 'I'VE SEEN THAT!' when it's in a movie on TV. You'll drive through some of the rich areas to get to the beach, straight down Sunset Blvd to the water. Takes about 40 mins from Hollywood. Traffic is REALLY bad in LA during rush hour, which is way longer than an hour. On a good day. There are some good outlet stores in LA. 5 days in NYC is good. Def go up the Empire state. Amazing! And there's a boat to the Statue of LIberty and Ellis Island. Times Square. FAO Schwartz the toy store. Hmm... I know there's more... This all depends on what time of year you are going, but some of the most AWESOME places I went to in the USA were the National Parks. The Grand Canyon is a Must see! YellowStone, Arches, Glacier, etc, all amazing parks, way more exciting than parks in NZ. If you decide to go into Mexico its often better to park on the USA side and walk through the boarder. They get a bit antsy about you taking your car across (in case you sell it!) and it's safer not to. There are a few boarder towns with cheap stuff on the other side. Worth a look. I lived in Texas for a few months. I wasn't that impressed. There are a few things to see... Vegas is okay for a couple of nights. The Cirque du Soileil shows are great. Just wandering around the different casinos is fun. I'm not sure about renting cars, only only done it a couple of times, but I'd go for the cheapest. What time of year are you going??

WOW! This is awesome :)

I am leaving on 30th Aug - returning to NZ 3rd Oct....

Our rough plans are:

2 days San Fran

6 days LA

3 days Vegas

Night in Albuquerque...then to Roswell..and Texas for two nights or so (YES LOTS OF DRIVING)

Then fly from Texas (somewhere...maybe san antonio or dallas) to New York where we will be for about 6 days?

Then we head to Toronto to see my big bro for 9 days or so.

I like the sound of LA most I think....But I have heard from multiple people that San Fran is BEAAAUUUTTIFUL.

OOOoh we can watch shows being filmed? Thats pretty cool! I like the sound of Malibu too.

It will be me and my sister going..will be staying at hostels (70%) and cheap hotels (30%). I'm 21 and shes 27!. Should be a blast!

Are you flying from LA to Vegas? You could drive. I think it's about 8 hours, but the Grand Canyon is sort of on the way.

Really, 6 days in LA.... you can do it, but there is SO many other awesome things to do and see.

San Fran has a really nice 'feel' to it, where LA feels like crap. It's HUGE, and a bit dirty (though not as bad as NYC). Public transportation is a bit rubbish there too, where in San Fran it's awesome. I couldn't even tell you how or where to catch a bus in LA. I never did it and I lived there for 5 years.

Don't go downtown LA, there's nothing there. I went there twice, once to go to Immigration, and once to buy fabric.

You can get tickets to things being filmed at places like
Though one time I was taking a tourist friend to the Chinese Mann theatre and someone came up to us and asked if we wanted to see a filming of America's funniest home Videos, and we went, and it was SO funny! Way better than watching it on TV.

San ANtonio has the place where they filmed the Alamo (though not the real one, that's near by I believe) and is quite a pretty town with a river running through it.

I found the big cities in the USA to be... not nearly as awesome as the natural areas.

Seriously... http://www.nationalparks.org/... AWESOME!! :D

We are driving everywhere! Except flying from Texas to New York.... :).

I like the idea of natural areas... especially the Grand Canyon...how many days would you allow for that?

Where did you stay while travelling (or were you living there the whole time). We are going to be in hostels - bit nervous! But should be an exciting experience.

You can see the Grand Canyon in a day. You can drive up to it and have lunch, and that will still be awesome! But the best most awesome thing is to walk down into it. From the south side. It took me from 6am til noon to go down almost to the river. I should have just gone to the river, but there are tons of signs saying that it's dangerous to do it in one day, and if you get helicoptered out it costs thousands, etc, etc. So I didn't. Wish I had... The first 1km is pretty steep and cool, but after that it gets awesome. It's very hot in summer, very cold in winter.

There is a fee to get into the parks. If you are going to a few you can get a parks card so you only pay once then show it each time. Save in the long run.

Yellowstone is amazing. It's like Rotorua but WAY WAY better. You'll never go to Rotorua again. Yosemite is beautiful. Wonderful walks.

Hostels will be fine. I actually slept in my car a lot, in truck stops. And I camped in the National parks.

Remember to always keep your bag touching you. Not while you're sleeping, I mean on buses and when you're eating at cafes and stuff. Chances are nothing will happen, but just put your foot through the strap or something, it will also help you remember to take it with you!

You'll have an amazing time!

I am definitely thinking this Grand Canyon outing is a must! Sounds amazing. Will perhaps check it out when in Vegas or on way to Albuquerque/Texas :).

Thanks so much for your help. I love hearing about other peoples experiences when going overseas its getting me so excited :)))


Oh also re food places: what are good places to go for quick fixes...what are places to avoid? Any particular good places you recommend?

In and Out Burger is my fave!! Their burgers and shakes are to die for. I'm not crazy about their fries, but they're ok. They cut them themselves I think, so healthier than other places.

Wendy's is fast and cheap. Denny's. Ihop for pancakes (not that cheap considering they're just pancakes though). I like Californian Pizza Kitchen, not cheap if you're used to Dominos though.

Find a 'real' pizza place. I think they have changed since I was there. I like Mozzarella Di Bufala Pizzeria in San Fran. Esp the pesto sauce (not tomato)

Almost all the burrito places will be great!

There are SO many places to choose, esp in San fran. Save the fast food for when you're travelling.

Awesome - thanks so much :)))))

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