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  1. #1

    Default Washington DC ... and then??

    Hello,

    I'm new here and at the moment I really don't know where to start.
    The 'problem': 2 years ago I won with a contest on a radio station a trip of 5 days to NYC. It was brilliant... .
    Last week I've won thanks to the movie 'Invasion' a trip to Washington to go ahead in May next year and it includes 24hours adventure with the following: weapons, show and tell, hazmat, weapons, police department, diner and a helicopter flight. Once again it will be 5 days. Next to the thing that I'm wondering what these things will be I've asked to go back to Belgium later and to travel a couple of weeks around in 'the States' for my own expenses.

    Can anyone give me a lead on what the best things are to do?

    Wich are the best ways of transportation?
    How can I find out from where to where it's good to take a plane? (where are airports, how does it works on these flights with amount of luggage, ...)
    The major bus and train-lines ... in between wich cities are they?

    Wich are the cheapest hotels?
    Wich are good quality hotels?
    What is the best thing to do: make a reservation or drive and see where I will end up?

    ... really so many questions so can anyone get me started?
    time is no issue for me ... I want to see as much as possible !!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default We Should All Have Your 'Problems'

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    So, you get a free trip to Washington, DC for a week, and then another couple of weeks to wander around the U.S. on your own. Much of what I would suggest to you really depends on your situation, which I'm not really clear on. But here are some basic suggestions and options.

    If you can afford it and are old enough, a rental car would be nice to have for at least part of your trip. Most rental car companies will not rent to someone who is 18 or younger, and will charge a large premium for someone who is 24 or younger. But having a car will give you the freedom to set your own schedule and see some of rural America that would not otherwise be available to you.

    If you just want to concentrate on the cities of the northeast, say Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, then the train could work very well for you. Those cities all have subway and/or bus systems that will allow you to get around without a car. The train line that joins them is Amtrak.

    The following list is by no means complete, but the cheaper motels in America are Motel 6, Super 8, Red Roof Inn, EconoLodge. Good quality hotel chains in the center of cities tend to be places like Hilton, Radisson, and Ramada. There is a wide range of options between the two.

    There is also a wealth of things to see and do within easy travel distance of Washington, DC, so it would help to know what your preferences and interests are.

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks AZBuck for the usefull information on hotels and trains.
    For the personal side ... I'm 29 and drive here in Europe a lot with the car. For you Americans it won't be a lot but here I do 1000 km every week.

    As at this moment I haven't got a clue if my flight back will be payed for if I stay an extra month can someone tell me if what to do to not end up in jail? Because if I don't use the booked flight AND/or leave from another city then Washington. I would like to pay a ticket back to europe in the States but is this legal, cheaper and possibel??

    To be honest... I want to see everything!
    I know it isn't possibel but isn't it possibel to do in 3 weeks all the main cities from LA to Chicago, Boston,... ? The Grand Canyon and Niagara falls maybee also?? I've allready read that to really enjoy the big brother of EuroDisney you should need a week or two ... so for Miami I'll have to come back I guess.

    So .... what's realistic?
    How much does a flight cost +/- ? Wich are safe but cheap airlines??
    I'm also a photographer, but not of profession but I like to make neat shots of scenery, buildings and typical moments.
    I like history so good musea would stick in good also. And most off all I like to see the buildings I see on TV and in the movies for real. (NYC was allready amazing, now the rest)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default First Things First

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Before you start worrying about how to spend you're extra time in America, make sure you have it in hand. The first thing you need to do is to talk to the people you won your latest prize from and find out what the terms and conditions of your prize are. You particularly need to know which airline the flights to and from America are on and what restrictions there are, if any, on the tickets. Then you need to talk to that airline and see if you can change the return date. My guess is that you can, but that you will have to pay a fee of around $100 to do so. Keep in mind that such a price is still extremely cheap for round-trip trans-Atlantic flights. If you really can't change the ticket and still want to stay in America for longer, you will just have to buy your own return ticket. You would then just not use the return portion of the ticket that you won. You will not get arrested for this as long as you can show that you have a return ticket for less than 3 months in advance and tell customs when you arrive truthfully how long you plan to stay.

    AZBuck

  5. #5

    Default

    Hmmm thx AZBuck ... I was on weekend at the Belgian coast ... not for the sun but for the fun as the temperature is now +- 10°C. (the reason for my late answer)

    At least now you made me happy with the information ... or I will change one flight or I will buy a ticket in the US.
    Is it a possibility that I buy a ticket in the US with dollars or will that give me troubles?
    It's a bigger possibility that I will go earlier to the US as I've got to work in June on the circuit of Zolder for the Campcars so ... .

    At least today I went to a travel agency and got some books of the US, tomorrow I took also off work to go to some specialised agency's to go to the US to get some information so by Wednesday I would normally have a clue for things to do ... I keep you posted!! But if you've got some information on questions I asked earlier ... please be my guest to answer me!! Thanks in advance!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default One is Possible, the Other is Not

    You can use your prize to come to America and then buy a separate return ticket, but you cannot buy a separate ticket to come to America and then use your prize to return to Europe. This is because if you miss the first leg of your round trip ticket (what you won), the airline will cancel your return reservation immediately. If you buy a return ticket while in the U. S., you will be much better off buying it with a credit card. That will let you pay in Euros (or whatever your local currency is) when you get home. Just as importantly, trying to buy a one-way ticket with cash will raise all kinds of alarming questions, and may very well earn you a visit from the FBI or Homeland Security.

    AZBuck

  7. #7

    Default

    :-o

    Thanks for that information!!
    I will try and contact the movie company today to make sure that they switch the flight to a date early May on my expenses.

    As I wanted to see an FBI agency this would be a good opportunity but I think it's safer that I take a I don't do this.

    Is it also a problem to buy tickets in cash for inland flights?
    Wich are the best and wich are the cheapest company's to do this with?
    How many kilogram of luggage is allowed ... ?

  8. #8

    Default More Trip Planning Questions

    OK ... now I can start... :-)
    I've got to let them know by next week wich dates I want to go and return. They will change the flight to my liking.

    Very good news ... :-)
    Now the search has started.

    One extra question ... the weather?
    How is this in May? Are there states where I can wind up in snowstorms or is it only rain, hail and/or sun?

    One other interesting thing to know ... a website to calculate travel times and distances in between city's in the US. In Europe we use 'mappy' ... but what in the US?

    One thing I really want to do, as I just watched it, is to travel on one day from Washington DC to Indianapolis for the Indy 500.
    What is the fastest thing to cover this distance?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 11-06-2007 at 09:10 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Resources for you

    Quote Originally Posted by Racerke View Post
    One extra question ... the weather?
    The Web is a great source of information -- for starters I would go to the WUnderground site and click on trip planner -- you can find the average weather conditions for any place in the United States for any time period over the course of year.-- But to answer your question -- yes, you can find snow, wind, hail, rain, sleet and sunny days....
    One other interesting thing to know ... a website to calculate travel times and distances in between city's in the US. In Europe we use 'mappy' ... but what in the US?
    There are several trip planning free services -- all have mapping programs -- here are our recommendations.

    Mark

  10. #10

    Default

    Thx !!

    Hmmm only with RandMcNally I could get quickly a distance between DC and Indy... 960km isn't really what I expected.

    I'm gonna have a look now of wich city's and States I want to see.

    In the meantime... wich airline company's are good and less good for inland flights ?

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