USA Trip Help? Safety? Package tours?
Jul 10, 2008 at 9:09 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

kwohy233

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Hi all,

I'm planning my first overseas trip out of NZ, to the states, in November at the end of this year. I plan on visiting LA, San Francisco, New York and Boston. Probably for two weeks or so.

As it is my first trip overseas, and I am travelling alone, I'm a little concerned in terms of safety? How dangerous would travelling alone be in the states?

Would you be able to recommend a package tour or similar?

Also any places that you would recommend as must sees/dos in the above places?

Thank you very much in advance!
 
Jul 10, 2008 at 9:20 AM Post #2 of 26

Meloncoly

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It's fairly safe to be traveling alone (at least in SF), but it does help to travel in a group. Just watch your surroundings and try to not stand out.

Here are some tips:
- Try to hide everything you own when you're walking around. Don't flash something pricy, you will be mugged.

- Believe everyone has ill intentions. It might not be the friendliest way, but it is the safest way from getting scammed.

- Don't travel to less populated places at night. Do your sightseeing in the day, unless it's at a place where it's hugely populated like downtown or something. Even then, watch your surroundings.

- Make yourself look less like a tourist. Don't wear souvenir clothing out in public, and just dress casually. Try to blend in with the crowd.

- I lived in San Francisco all my life, and to me, SF is cold. Summers are cold, Winters are cold, but it's not as cold as other places. About 50ish-60ish degrees Fahrenheit. Don't prance around in shorts and flip flops.

That's about all I can think of off the top of my head.

Attractions that are popular in SF:
Alcatraz, Pier 39 aka Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge. There are more, but these are the "main attractions".

Hope other people can chime in about the other locations, because I haven't been to any of the other places.
 
Jul 10, 2008 at 6:45 PM Post #4 of 26

redshifter

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and a helmet, like the kind BMX biker's wear. it is kind of an unspoken tradition in the states to kick kiwi's in the temple
 
Jul 10, 2008 at 8:01 PM Post #5 of 26

marvin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kwohy233 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
As it is my first trip overseas, and I am travelling alone, I'm a little concerned in terms of safety? How dangerous would travelling alone be in the states


Aside from the murder rate, the US is pretty safe.
redface.gif
 
Jul 10, 2008 at 8:15 PM Post #6 of 26

minnow

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I haven't been to Boston but I live in SF and have been to NYC and LA numerous times.

It's very safe in SF and I actually think NYC (for such a dense metropolis) is safe as long as you follow basic common sense about knowing where you are and not leaving your wallet hanging out. SF and NY are great cities to explore on foot/subway; great food to be had in both cities. A note about SF, once in a while, you'll run into an aggressive panhandler who will follow you down the street and yell at you – just keep moving; don't stop, try to reason, or offer money. In NY, do a quick check if someone bumps into you – despite the density of the city, people respect personal space there and if someone bumps into you, there's a reason why. BTW, I'm female and have no hesitation walking alone at night in either city – open headphones might be better than IEMs just so you can hear anyone coming up behind you
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LA is a different story altogether. You need a car to get around (and people drive aggressively there) and while I like visiting LA because I have friends there, it's not a place I would want to live in so I don't have great things to say about it (except that you can get better sushi in LA than SF).

If you could mention a few of your interests, it would be easier to recommend some must-see things/places.

If you hire a car while you're in SF, you could go hiking in the Marin Headlands which is a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. If you can devote a day to it, you can drive up to Lake Tahoe in about 4hrs – I have done 1day trips as well as overnight trips to Tahoe and it's beautiful up there. Yosemite is also roughly a 4hr drive and could be done as a day-trip but after you leave the main highway, roads are one-lane each way and very windy so it's an arduous 4hrs.
 
Jul 10, 2008 at 8:48 PM Post #7 of 26

Kilane

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Boston and SF aren't bad at all... I hear even the rats carry pistols in NY.
 
Jul 10, 2008 at 9:11 PM Post #8 of 26

Uncle Erik

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Depends on what part of Los Angeles you go to. If you stick to the coast there's nothing to worry about, except for Venice. I would not recommend one of the tour packages here. You spend all day in a bus, mostly stuck in traffic, to either drive by or spend a few minutes at places natives rarely go. Let me know if you want recommendations - this is a wonderful city.
 
Jul 10, 2008 at 11:52 PM Post #9 of 26

3DCadman

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If you're going to be in NY or Boston in November (beginning or end?), you better be prepared for the possibility of snow.

That's a lot of traveling for 2 weeks! Coast2Coast!

What about some of the "sights", like the Grand Canyon, or the Rockies?

There's much more the US has to offer than the big cities.
 
Jul 11, 2008 at 5:54 AM Post #11 of 26

Snicewicz

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I am not much of a fan of NYC but you should love Boston, and California. I am not saying NYC is not nice, it's just not my cup of tea.

You should be safe if like another poster said, you use logic and you are aware of your posessions and surroundings.

I think that it is better to go on your own, separate from a group tour, that way you can go your own pace, and see anything you like instead of being limited by what the tour has to offer.

Edit: It might seem very cheap to you with the value of our dollar :p. Oh yeah remember, reguarding tours and deals, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
 
Jul 11, 2008 at 6:55 AM Post #12 of 26

Mrvile

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Boston is really safe, San Fran should be pretty safe, and NYC is pretty safe as long as you don't do anything stupid (it's a very densely populated place so you aren't going to get mugged unless you're roaming the back alleys in the middle of the night). I dunno about LA, but LA is HUGE so it probably has its good places and bad places.
 
Jul 11, 2008 at 11:53 AM Post #13 of 26

RYCeT

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2 weeks is too short if you want to go to those cities, as you're from kiwi, take more safety precautions, US is not as safe as NZ but it's not that bad either. LA public transport is horrible, you'll better off renting a car w/ gps. NYC got the best public transport, SF is 2nd. I've never been to Boston so I can't comment on it.
 
Jul 11, 2008 at 6:38 PM Post #14 of 26

gorgak

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I would nix Boston and choose between LA and San Francisco.

Visiting all of them would include a lot of travel time for a two week trip.

I would say, fly to LA, plenty to do there, decent transportation options, then fly to NY, plenty to do there, and really good transportation options.

For NY you have two good options. JFK airport or Newark, New Jersey airport, then take the train into Manhattan Island.

My favorite thing to do when visiting LA is to rent a car at LAX and head south on Highway 1 along the coast. Find some food, hit some beaches.

I will say though, a 2.5 hour drive from LAX to Palm Springs is well worth it for the scenery, I love that town. Unless you're in it for the tourist things. I still have never been to Hollywood.

So, give us more info. Are you going for relaxation, historical sites, landmarks, or what? There are tons of "must sees," but I personally don't consider Hollywood a must see.
 
Jul 12, 2008 at 5:07 AM Post #15 of 26

PhaedrusX

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Quote:

Originally Posted by minnow /img/forum/go_quote.gif

...If you can devote a day to it, you can drive up to Lake Tahoe in about 4hrs – I have done 1day trips as well as overnight trips to Tahoe and it's beautiful up there. Yosemite is also roughly a 4hr drive and could be done as a day-trip but after you leave the main highway, roads are one-lane each way and very windy so it's an arduous 4hrs.



i second this. i flew into SF for a vacation, rented a car straight from the airport and spent two weeks on the road: Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Vegas, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon.

i've travelled a lot, and come to the conclusion that a city is basically a city, no matter how you dress it up. There's so much more to see and do outside of the concrete walls.

i also agree that trying to hit four cities on the opposite coasts in such a short time is probably not a good idea. you'll just end up wearing yourself out, and worrying about catching the next plane. vacations should be more relaxing than that.
 

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