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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    11,051

    Default Do you go to the Winter Carnival?

    Brian,

    As a "Minneapolisian" do you go to the Winter Carnival? If, so, we sure would like a "local's report" this year. Personally, I hope you have a mild winter this year!

    M.

  2. #12
    imported_LAURA Guest

    Default

    I think it will be very hard to find some place that will rent to someone under 21. I have looked into this myself, and found that most places will not rent to someone under 21 and almost everyone charges a daily surcharge, around 20 dollars, per driver under 25. But as others have suggested, you might have luck with smaller car companies. Even still, expect to spend around 200 a week for a car rental, without extra under age fees. If you are looking to buy a car, keep in mind that registration varies from state to state. So you may want to look into various states Department of Motor Vehicle websites to see how costly it is to register a car. I would look into having your friend in the states purchase the car for you, if you are going to go this route.

    Unfortunately America does not have a good train infrastructure, and traveling by train is not very cheap. In large cities the public transportation is generally very good, but without a car it would be difficult to travel cheaply from city to city, unless you are on the east or west coast where large cities are "close" to each other. Amtrak.com will give you an idea of what it costs to travel via train. You can go anywhere you are planning on going by train, but I think that if you only have 3500 for 3 months, you will probably run out of money going this route. However if your plan is to just travel from large city to large city, and spend a lot of time in each city this may not be a problem.

    There is always bus service also, which will allow you to go to more remote places. Greyhound.com is a good place to start. I think it's cheaper than train, but still will be costly.

    As traveling with any public transportation system, it limits your flexibility and ability to stop at less traveled places along the way. And because America is so big, it is hard to travel "off the beaten path" without your own car.

    If you can somehow rent a car or purchase your own for the trip, I'd recommend camping in the southern states. Generally in the winter state and national parks are not crowed, so you should not have a problem finding a place to camp on short notice. Any 5 dollar atlas book will show you were public camping areas are. And it's cheap. Depending on if you need to purchase a park admission sticker for your car, it's between 10 and 20 dollars a night to camp (and that split amongst travelers is cheap). There are many beautiful parks throughout the country. I find that gorp.com has a lot of good information on parks. And as someone already mentioned, you can find cheap gear at a Target or Wal-mart that will last for the duration of your trip.

    Although I have never personally tried them, America does have plenty of hostels, like Europe. Any hostel webpage can give you more information on this route. For a budget traveler, I'd recommend this route in large cities. Unless you are willing to stay outside a city and have 3-4 people to split the cost of a hotel room, hostels will definitely be cheaper.

    My personal budget traveling is camping. This wont be an option for the more northern parts of the country though. Unless you are willing to do winter camping, in which case you'd probably want better gear than the cheap gear that Wal-mart sells. I was born and raised in North-Central Wisconsin – which has weather similar to Minneapolis-- and I 've been camping in May when it has gotten to cold for normal camping gear. But as far as weather goes, check out weather.com for information on what kind of temperatures to expect. The averages and records section is good for this king of info.

    I personally like traveling here in the off-peak (September – May) months b/c it is far less crowded. But as with anywhere you'll find places closed and weather not as pleasurable for the normal person.

    Food wise, you can eat cheap if you can stomach eating at greasy fast food joints all the time. I personally can only eat at these places occasionally. Look to truck stops for good deals and better food than a McDonalds. Often larger grocery stores have hot delis for good and cheap food. I'm not familiar with what kind of American food has leaked in to your country, but sub places, like Subway, are a good place for cheap and decent food. There are many slightly overpriced chain places to eat in the suburban areas, but the food is generally good. Some ones that come to mind are Olive Garden (Italian), Chili's (Tex-Mex), TGI Fridays (little of everything with annoying wait staff – but if you're here to experience America in all its glory you should go to one of these once), Uno's (Pizza), and Applebee's (little of everything). But one thing to keep in mind is expect a lot more food than you're used to in Sweeden. There is a reason why America is the fattest country, we eat too much. The portions will be bigger, so maybe 2 people can eat 1 entrée.

    3 months is enough time to see most of this country. I am slightly concerned about your budget though. Mainly because you need to either rent/buy a car or use trains/buses. Gas is cheaper here, but things are farther away. If you can figure out a cheap car situation, I think you'll be fine.

    LAURA

  3. #13
    imported_LAURA Guest

    Default

    I think it will be very hard to find some place that will rent to someone under 21. I have looked into this myself, and found that most places will not rent to someone under 21 and almost everyone charges a daily surcharge, around 20 dollars, per driver under 25. But as others have suggested, you might have luck with smaller car companies. Even still, expect to spend around 200 a week for a car rental, without extra under age fees. If you are looking to buy a car, keep in mind that registration varies from state to state. So you may want to look into various states Department of Motor Vehicle websites to see how costly it is to register a car. I would look into having your friend in the states purchase the car for you, if you are going to go this route.

    Unfortunately America does not have a good train infrastructure, and traveling by train is not very cheap. In large cities the public transportation is generally very good, but without a car it would be difficult to travel cheaply from city to city, unless you are on the east or west coast where large cities are "close" to each other. Amtrak.com will give you an idea of what it costs to travel via train. You can go anywhere you are planning on going by train, but I think that if you only have 3500 for 3 months, you will probably run out of money going this route. However if your plan is to just travel from large city to large city, and spend a lot of time in each city this may not be a problem.

    There is always bus service also, which will allow you to go to more remote places. Greyhound.com is a good place to start. I think it's cheaper than train, but still will be costly.

    As traveling with any public transportation system, it limits your flexibility and ability to stop at less traveled places along the way. And because America is so big, it is hard to travel "off the beaten path" without your own car.

    If you can somehow rent a car or purchase your own for the trip, I'd recommend camping in the southern states. Generally in the winter state and national parks are not crowed, so you should not have a problem finding a place to camp on short notice. Any 5 dollar atlas book will show you were public camping areas are. And it's cheap. Depending on if you need to purchase a park admission sticker for your car, it's between 10 and 20 dollars a night to camp (and that split amongst travelers is cheap). There are many beautiful parks throughout the country. I find that gorp.com has a lot of good information on parks. And as someone already mentioned, you can find cheap gear at a Target or Wal-mart that will last for the duration of your trip.

    Although I have never personally tried them, America does have plenty of hostels, like Europe. Any hostel webpage can give you more information on this route. For a budget traveler, I'd recommend this route in large cities. Unless you are willing to stay outside a city and have 3-4 people to split the cost of a hotel room, hostels will definitely be cheaper.

    My personal budget traveling expierence is camping. This wont be an option for the more northern parts of the country though. Unless you are willing to do winter camping, in which case you'd probably want better gear than the cheap gear that Wal-mart sells. I was born and raised in North-Central Wisconsin – which has weather similar to Minneapolis-- and I 've been camping in May when it has gotten to cold for normal camping gear. But as far as weather goes, check out weather.com for information on what kind of temperatures to expect. The averages and records section is good for this king of info.

    I personally like traveling here in the off-peak (September – May) months b/c it is far less crowded. But as with anywhere you'll find places closed and weather not as pleasurable for the normal person.

    Food wise, you can eat cheap if you can stomach eating at greasy fast food joints all the time. I personally can only eat at these places occasionally. Look to truck stops for good deals and better food than a McDonalds. Often larger grocery stores have hot delis for good and cheap food. I'm not familiar with what kind of American food has leaked in to your country, but sub places, like Subway, are a good place for cheap and decent food. There are many slightly overpriced chain places to eat in the suburban areas, but the food is generally good. Some ones that come to mind are Olive Garden (Italian), Chili's (Tex-Mex), TGI Fridays (little of everything with annoying wait staff – but if you're here to experience America in all its glory you should go to one of these once), Uno's (Pizza), and Applebee's (little of everything). But one thing to keep in mind is expect a lot more food than you're used to in Sweeden. There is a reason why America is the fattest country, we eat too much. The portions will be bigger, so maybe 2 people can eat 1 entrée.

    3 months is enough time to see most of this country. I am slightly concerned about your budget though. Mainly because you need to either rent/buy a car or use trains/buses. Gas is cheaper here, but things are farther away. If you can figure out a cheap car situation, I think you'll be fine.

    LAURA

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