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Old 12-31-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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One thing most people from small countries that have never visited the USA fail to realize is just how massive the US is. The UK for instance is the size of Idaho.

I think people get too overambitious on their first trip trying to see it all and end up just seeing all the big cities and they also gobble up most of their trip in travel time. Yes, even flying around will chew up days in your schedule. Even flying half away across the country can gobble up a day, especially if it's not a direct flight.

What I would keep in mind is that the USA is 50 separate countries(states). No different than Europe with all it's small countries. Having seen this before with foreign travelers they come to the USA, hit LA, NYC and Vegas and think they have seen America.

Therefore what I would do is pick a region of the country and stick with that. It will make traveling easier and research simplified. Also the climate can dictate where you travel. For instance, you want to avoid Florida during July and August.
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Old 12-31-2009, 12:16 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
One thing most people from small countries that have never visited the USA fail to realize is just how massive the US is. The UK for instance is the size of Idaho.

I think people get too overambitious on their first trip trying to see it all and end up just seeing all the big cities and they also gobble up most of their trip in travel time. Yes, even flying around will chew up days in your schedule. Even flying half away across the country can gobble up a day, especially if it's not a direct flight.

What I would keep in mind is that the USA is 50 separate countries(states). No different than Europe with all it's small countries. Having seen this before with foreign travelers they come to the USA, hit LA, NYC and Vegas and think they have seen America.

Therefore what I would do is pick a region of the country and stick with that. It will make traveling easier and research simplified. Also the climate can dictate where you travel. For instance, you want to avoid Florida during July and August.
I disagree. 30 days is plenty of time to see the cities mentioned. Everyone has a different style of travel and what works for the OP might not work for everyone else. We drove through 6 cities in Europe in 11 days and felt that we had plenty of time to see what we wanted to see in each city. These cities weren't exactly near each other (Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Munich, Venice, Rome) yet we made it, driving, in only 11 days. Since most of the travel the OP will be doing is by plane, I see no issues with this schedule. Enjoy your trip and post pictures when you get back!
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Old 12-31-2009, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
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If the only train taken is NYC-Boston it can easily be done.
NYC-Bos is about 3-4 hour train ride I think.
BOS-DC 1.5 hour flight take an early morning flight you have the whole day in DC as long as you fly into National Airport and not either of the other two airports.
DC-Miami: Fly on a late afternoon flight get into Miami in the evening your there to enjoy Miami night life that night.
Miami-New Orleans: Quick flight your in the city in 3-4 hours max including arriving to the airport checking in.
New Orleans-Chicago: Again you there in 4 hours best bet would be to take Southwest Airlines to Chicago Midway.
Chicago-LA You leave Chicago in the moring it is a 3-4 hour flight but with the time change you only lose 1-2 hours and your in LA for Lunch.
LA-San Fran 1.5 hour flight leave anytime you want.
San Fran-Seattle Again not too long of a flight.
And then you can fly a red eye or early morning flight from Seattle to New York depending on what time the flight to London Leaves New York or just flight Seattle-London.

Really the longest flight is Chicago-LA and this flight is not bad in time lost traveling due to the time zone change.

I would suggest to the OP if possible travel with just carry on baggage. US Airlines tend to allow larger carry on luggage then European Airlines and this will save you time and money on your trips.



Vegas
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:40 AM
 
9,830 posts, read 19,587,921 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK802 View Post
I disagree. 30 days is plenty of time to see the cities mentioned. Everyone has a different style of travel and what works for the OP might not work for everyone else. We drove through 6 cities in Europe in 11 days and felt that we had plenty of time to see what we wanted to see in each city. These cities weren't exactly near each other (Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Munich, Venice, Rome) yet we made it, driving, in only 11 days. Since most of the travel the OP will be doing is by plane, I see no issues with this schedule. Enjoy your trip and post pictures when you get back!
Maybe if all you want to see is the big cities and you have light interests. However I think there is much more to offer out there and being on a race around the country I think you miss out. Better to do one part of the country and then come back in the future for other parts.

I've done the race around the country bit and despite what people say you burn up a lot of time traveling. I recently flew from New York to Texas and despite the flight time being a couple of hours it was 10 hours from the time I left home, to the airport, check in, board, fly, change with an hour layover, fly, get bags, get transport, go to hotel and check in.

People always go "oh the flight is only 2 hours" and fail to take in account everything else from the time you leave your hotel till you make it to the next.

But as you say people have different approaches. I know a lot of people that think they have seen America having visited NYC, LA and Vegas, but what can you do?
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Old 01-01-2010, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
Maybe if all you want to see is the big cities and you have light interests. However I think there is much more to offer out there and being on a race around the country I think you miss out. Better to do one part of the country and then come back in the future for other parts.

I've done the race around the country bit and despite what people say you burn up a lot of time traveling. I recently flew from New York to Texas and despite the flight time being a couple of hours it was 10 hours from the time I left home, to the airport, check in, board, fly, change with an hour layover, fly, get bags, get transport, go to hotel and check in.

People always go "oh the flight is only 2 hours" and fail to take in account everything else from the time you leave your hotel till you make it to the next.

But as you say people have different approaches. I know a lot of people that think they have seen America having visited NYC, LA and Vegas, but what can you do?
If the OP flys into City Airports National Airport instead of Dulles, Miami instead of Ft. Lauderdale, Midway Instead of O Hare and does not have check luggage and checks in online you really only need to get to the airport a 1.5 hours before the flight. So 30min car ride, 1.5 hours before the flight, 3 hour flight 30min car ride. 5 Hours of traveling. Non-stop flights will be key. And the OP longest flight will be Chicago-LA which due to the time change there is not much of a time loss. Also flying Early Morning flights help. So you arrive in the your city in time for lunch and you have the whole day ahead of you and night.

So key to success for flying around the country.
Check in online and use carry on bags only.
Airport closet to your hotel/City
Non-stop flight (this will save the most time by far)
Arrive at closet city airport.
Early Morning flights so you arrive by lunch time no matter where you are flying unless flying West-East.
East-West flying is the best for saving time.
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
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I'll go against the flow and suggest you put Vegas on your list. It's something you have to see if you've never been to the US. Sure, it's over-the-top, kitschy and touristy, but they do that really well in Vegas. I'm not much of a gambler but the casinos are amazing to see. The sheer size of them. The hotels are beautiful - Bellagio, Venetian, Wynn, etc. We just like walking through them and gawking. They're massive, btw, so it takes a while to get to one from the other, and then through each of them.

The fountains at Bellagio are beautiful, the fake volcano, the pirate ship battle show, Fremont Street, the lights, the energy, pink flamingos at The Flamingo (we always stay there - centre Strip), the Pyramid at the Luxor Hotel with the light coming out of the top, MGM Grand, etc. ... all stuff you grow up seeing on the TV and in the movies. It's totally fun. Go for it. Perhaps us non-Americans are more impressed by that stuff?

As for getting around, we've always done well with JetBlue or Southwest for cheap flights. Get on their emailed specials list and book as soon as you see something that seems too good to be true. We flew Buffalo to San Diego in June of 2009 for $83. A year earlier $79 Albany to San Diego. They're efficient, reliable, with happy flight attendants.

And then if you're out in Vegas, you have to see the Grand Canyon - south rim, as the north one will be closed then. It's gob-smacking, and it'll be a nice break from all the city-stuff.

Last edited by Vichel; 01-01-2010 at 08:45 PM..
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Brookfield, Illinois
288 posts, read 761,576 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
it's just that the midwest lifestyle is something that is lived, not something easily visited and understood like the Statue of Liberty or Smithsonian.
Nicely put, and I see what you mean! I'm happy with being "overlooked" anyway, since we get places like the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness all to ourselves . . .
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Brookfield, Illinois
288 posts, read 761,576 times
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Default Chicago

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Originally Posted by thisguy View Post
I like Chicago but you won't see anything unique... you might want to skip it and simply go along the coasts...
thisguy, please - do stick to the coasts . . . tcdavis, welcome to Chicago! P.S. we have two train systems; no need for a car
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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well;it really dpends on pour taste. But if all you see is the cities then you really wouldn't get a feel for america. Besure and travel to aeas like colorado;grand canyon .As far as pure beauty the colorado rockies are hard to beat. The Grand Canyon is unbelievable to see. I have a freind who retired and traveled the country all the way to alaska. He was going to take a year but he ended up spending 18 months traveling.Boston is a must on the east coast if you like history and of course gettysburg.But you have to visit the west to feel the pionerring;rough indivdualism spirit that is still there and absent form the big cities .
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Old 01-02-2010, 10:16 PM
 
Location: San Diego
5,027 posts, read 13,424,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihynes View Post
thisguy, please - do stick to the coasts . . . tcdavis, welcome to Chicago! P.S. we have two train systems; no need for a car
Chicago is in my top 5 favorite cities. I love it and can't wait to go back. Been there twice and still haven't seen all it has to offer! And, one of the best and easiest train systems I've ever seen. Definitely don't skip it!
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