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Thread: Where to go?

  1. Default Where to go?

    I'm 24 and I'm looking to travel across America in late summer,
    I'm going to travel alone for most of the trip by rail but I have a friend who may come out and meet me in LA and we could venture on a Road trip up to San Francisco.
    I have been to Orlando FL, and Las Vegas a few times so I'm aware of the Basics in the US.
    I've looked at 'all in one' back-pack trips, however these tend to have strict timetables on arriving and leaving places and I would prefer to have more freedom on where I go, and how long I stay somewhere kinda thing....(having the option to change my plans throughout..)
    I want to go and meet new people and enjoy a different life style from my own.
    So could anyone recommend places someone my age would enjoy? Even if it's just a particularly good bar, hotel, boat trip in miami!, or even just the best coffee shop in the world!,
    Any suggestions/help would be greatly appreciated!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default clarification

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I'm sorry, but I'm not sure that I understand your plan. You're planning to take a rail trip to LA, and then do a road trip up to San Francisco?

    Do you have a starting point for the first portion of your trip? The whole country is a pretty big canvas, did you have any areas where you know you want to go or focus on? And of course, how long do you have for this trip?

    There's nothing wrong with asking for nice little off the beaten path details, but if we don't know the big picture of your trip, its hard to know where to being.

  3. Default

    Hi, Yes sorry,
    I plan to go for about a month, I was thinking of starting in New York and travel by Rail across to San Francisco and then Drive or Rail down to LA.
    Although I did also want to visit Miami, but this is not an absolute 'must' seeing as I have been to Orlando in Florida, however if it is somewhere you highly recommend and has places along the way down worth me visiting then I would want to make time for them.
    I know of course that they are very far apart,
    So Is it worth taking a trip from New York to Miami and then across to LA or would you reccommend going from New York through Chicago to San Fransisco and then on down to LA?

    Thanks for your time, I hope this paints a better picture..


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a rail problem

    There are things worth doing and seeing on both routes, and its really going to end up being solely a matter of your personal taste and what you want to do for the trip.

    However, the problem with traveling by train in the US is that service is fairly limited, and that can play a role in where you can or can't go. And a plan to got to Miami would really play into that. Hurricane Katrina damaged a lot of rail lines along the gulf coast, and while those lines are again being used by freight trains, Amtrak still has not resumed service in that area East of New Orleans. That means to travel from Miami to Los Angeles, you basically have to go through Chicago anyway.

    Since most of your trip will be by train, I would really start focusing on what will be feasable via this option. There are many parts of the country that you simply can't see easily via this method. There of course are plenty of things you still can see, but your choices will be a lot more limited.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Busses go where trains do not

    If you really want to see areas that aren't served by rail, you might consider Greyhound bus line. When poking around there recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have decent rates on passes and that these include traveling on partner bus companies as well. The partners are regional bus companies that travel to even more small towns and other areas not served by rail. It might be an option to get you where you want to go. Of course, this will make your trip a bit more complicated to plan and will eat up time so you'll have to balance that against your desire to see things where rail doesn't go.

  6. Default Re-Think..

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks for all the info, It's really helped me out!.
    Thinking about what you've said I really had to decide the main reasons to why I'm going, and one main reason is to look for a warm place to work for a few years on a return trip.
    You see I'm An Air Con/Electrical Engineer and would like to go to either New York, Miami or LA to live.
    I'm thinking I'll fly to New York for a few days then jump on the train down to Miami which there I will stay for a week or more.
    Then I will fly to LA to meet my friend and spend some time before exploring California.
    Aside from any general information you can give me I was wondering if you could tell me seeing as I will be on a 90day "Visa Waver" card from the UK, Do you know if I would have any problems in taking an internal flight to LA?

    I do appreciate this is not necessarily something you could answer but again I am very grateful for any information..



  7. #7


    You'll have no problem at all taking an internal flight. The immigration people will ask about your plans whilst you're in the country - just explain you're touring and will be making your way to California before flying home from there. Do not under any circumstances mention that you'd love to work there at some time in the future - they'll not like that one bit!

    The thing to watch for is that you have suitable baggage allowance on the internal flight. Transatlantic flights allow a ludicruous amount of luggage but, if you book one of the budget carriers to fly across country, you may have issues carrying much more than the basics. Same as flying Ryanair/Easyjet. In an ideal world you should book all flights together as it covers this baggage problem and also offers you protection should you miss a flight due to a late connection. If you book the internal flight independantly and miss the flight home as a result of arriving late then it will cost you a serious amount of money to rectify the situation!

  8. Default

    I'm not planning to book a flight home before I go because I may go home via Hong Kong, I have a friend who lives there so may pop to see him. should this be ok?
    I hear what your saying about the work thing, but do you think its a big issue then?

  9. #9


    Entry into the US is very much a big deal of late. In fact it's said to be amongst the most troublesome countries to get into as a tourist in the world. They will really look down their noses if you mention you'd like to work there at some point - it'll not stop you getting in but you will almost certainly be taken to a private room to discuss the matter (and I really don't want to know what goes on in there!) And do not even think of working when in the country on a Visa Waiver - if they find out then you will be sent home and not allowed back. Ever.

    One requirement of the Visa Waiver scheme is that you have an onwards flight to a destination outside of North America (ie Canada or Mexico are not satisfactory) within the 90 days. If you do not then you will be refused entry. Your only solution with regards this would be to book a flight which you can later amend to an alternative destination/date. You'll incur a surcharge for this but it's your only option if you intend to do it as one trip. I guess the alternative would be some careful shopping for fares and to visit HK at a later date as a seperate trip.

  10. Default

    Oh I see..., Thanks...Useful information!,
    Although I must stress I have no intention of doing anything illegal, I will NOT be doing any sort of work of any kind on this trip, and have no intention of 'rubbing anyone up the wrong way' so now (in-light of what you've said) when I book it I will make sure I have a return flight either back to the UK or on to Hong Kong depending on my friend's status..

    One other thing I would like to check is, when filling in the form, I am asked to put where I am staying... of course I will have a hotel booked in New York for a few days but I'll then be moving on to an 'undecided' location in Miami, So how should I make that clear on the form without...I guess being taken to "the Room?", And I guess on that same note, Could you recommend any places to stay which would suit my situation?..


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