Questions about a US Trip

Eli

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A completely unexpected turn of events is likely to leave me with a few months of spare time before a 6 years long military service - time which I want to use for a nice long trip abroad.

My first requirement is civilization. Central & South America, the Far East, all being extremely popular destinations - are out. I couldn't care less for beaches, trekking and parties.

The second requirement is an English speaking population. I don't want to walk around like an outcast, not understanding a thing.

The third requirement is money and that's what I need CFC for (advice, not the money itself :p).

Also, the trip has to be relatively long - 4 to 8 weeks. I've been on enough 1 week trips to here and there and that's not enough. I want immersion.

So I'm left with Western Europe, which is closer and it's easy enough to get around there with English, and the US East Coast which is farther away but without English problems at all. Also, I think I'll enjoy the US much more.

So back to the question of money -
Hotels - I don't need more than a room with a clean bed, a toilet and a shower. Another important thing is the ability to change plans quickly. I don't want to schedule all my hotel stays two months ahead. What are my options? What type of places should I be looking for and how much do they cost?

Food - How much will I have to pay for a month of food? As long as it's clean and reasonably healthy, I'm ok with it. But no McDonalds every day.

Transportation - I'm focusing on cities and the attractions they have to offer, so what are the costs of intracity travel? How much an average day of using the NY Subway will cost me?

Another question is weather - Since I'm focusing on cities some rain and cold weather are not much of a problem, but I don't want it to get too cold or too rainy. So looking on DC and everything to the north of it - what is the time period in which I can still enjoy myself? (does it even snow in NY?)
 

George2816

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A completely unexpected turn of events is likely to leave me with a few months of spare time before a 6 years long military service - time which I want to use for a nice long trip abroad.
OK that nice
My first requirement is civilization. Central & South America, the Far East, all being extremely popular destinations - are out. I couldn't care less for beaches, trekking and parties.
ok!

The second requirement is an English speaking population. I don't want to walk around like an outcast, not understanding a thing.
That understandable!
The third requirement is money and that's what I need Poly for (advice, not the money itself :p).

Also, the trip has to be relatively long - 4 to 8 weeks. I've been on enough 1 week trips to here and there and that's not enough. I want immersion.
Easter Island!!

So I'm left with Western Europe, which is closer and it's easy enough to get around there with English, and the US East Coast which is farther away but without English problems at all. Also, I think I'll enjoy the US much more.
I'm guessing your an Aussie?

So back to the question of money -
Hotels - I don't need more than a room with a clean bed, a toilet and a shower. Another important thing is the ability to change plans quickly. I don't want to schedule all my hotel stays two months ahead. What are my options? What type of places should I be looking for and how much do they cost?
http://www.hostelhandbook.com/listings.htm about $15-20 a night

Food - How much will I have to pay for a month of food? As long as it's clean and reasonably healthy, I'm ok with it. But no McDonalds every day.
In the USA food is about $10-20 if you go shoping yourself (alot more if you buy fastfood or something else

Transportation - I'm focusing on cities and the attractions they have to offer, so what are the costs of intracity travel? How much an average day of using the NY Subway will cost me?
I'm not too sure maybe a few bucks a day? (Cabs are alot more)

Another question is weather - Since I'm focusing on cities some rain and cold weather are not much of a problem, but I don't want it to get too cold or too rainy. So looking on DC and everything to the north of it - what is the time period in which I can still enjoy myself? (does it even snow in NY?)[/QUOTE] Of course you are going into fall now so it will get colder now (Maybe it would of been good to go last month!)
 

Elta

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Food is 10 - 20 depending on what you want.

I would go to a travel site like expedia and look up some of the cheaper hotels that are within 10 miles of whereever it is you intend to be.

As far as the flights go form inside the U.S. - like say D.C. to New York etc there are non stop flights back and fourth between popular destinations (meaning okay lets sat vegas to san fransisco can be done in 4 hours - ( including the loading of passengers and all that stuff) than a non stop will make 6 trips in one day (back and fourth) .
 

warpus

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If you plan to make it up to Toronto, you can expect to pay around $7.50CDN for a day transit pass.

Food? I would estimate at least $15 a day, times 30 = $450. At least.

Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America, and while you probably will not go there (you specifically mentioned the U.S.), the pricing should be fairly similar to the major U.S. cities, if not a bit cheaper. I can't sleep so I thought I'd try to help, with what I could :)
 

George2816

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Food is 10 - 20 depending on what you want.

I would go to a travel site like expedia and look up some of the cheaper hotels that are within 10 miles of whereever it is you intend to be.

As far as the flights go form inside the U.S. - like say D.C. to New York etc there are non stop flights back and fourth between popular destinations (meaning okay lets sat vegas to san fransisco can be done in 4 hours - ( including the loading of passengers and all that stuff) than a non stop will make 6 trips in one day (back and fourth) .

Don't forget greyhound or amtrak if you don;t like flying or paying top $$! (But our trains here are very slow compared to every other good country!)
 

George2816

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If you plan to make it up to Toronto, you can expect to pay around $7.50CDN for a day transit pass.

Food? I would estimate at least $15 a day, times 30 = $450. At least.

Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America, and while you probably will not go there (you specifically mentioned the U.S.), the pricing should be fairly similar to the major U.S. cities, if not a bit cheaper. I can't sleep so I thought I'd try to help, with what I could :)

Isn't the xchange rate nearly $1 to 1$ now?
 

Grisu

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My first requirement is civilization. Central & South America, the Far East, all being extremely popular destinations - are out. I couldn't care less for beaches, trekking and parties.
I bet this remark makes you super popular among the south amercian population here ;)

The third requirement is money and that's what I need Poly for (advice, not the money itself :p).
traitor :p

anyway, moneywise I'd say northern america is the smarter choice, travelling in europe is much more expensive :(

So back to the question of money -
Hotels - I don't need more than a room with a clean bed, a toilet and a shower. Another important thing is the ability to change plans quickly. I don't want to schedule all my hotel stays two months ahead. What are my options? What type of places should I be looking for and how much do they cost?

Motels in the US are relatively cheap and usually neat and clean. Apart from national parks there usually isn't a problem with availability of rooms either, we often just walked in when we felt like staying somewhere. There's a bunch of chains that offer a verifyable comfort, but they're usually more expensive than some cheap non-affiliated motels (IIRC Motel6 is probably the cheapest of the chains).

Food - How much will I have to pay for a month of food? As long as it's clean and reasonably healthy, I'm ok with it. But no McDonalds every day.
I don't know about the food in israel, but the food in the US was a lot cheaper than here, though I can't remember the actual cost of a average meal :(

Another question is weather - Since I'm focusing on cities some rain and cold weather are not much of a problem, but I don't want it to get too cold or too rainy. So looking on DC and everything to the north of it - what is the time period in which I can still enjoy myself? (does it even snow in NY?)
that depends a lot upon what time you visit, no? ;)
 

Grisu

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I would go to a travel site like expedia and look up some of the cheaper hotels that are within 10 miles of whereever it is you intend to be.
In my experience, Expedia is a bit overprices. In Australia we had some very good experiences with wotif.com
 

Elta

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In my experience, Expedia is a bit overprices. In Australia we had some very good experiences with wotif.com

Just to get an Idea, since he said he doesn't wanna buy in advance, I am not a big fan of reservation either ;)
 
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I agree. Food is probably $10-$20 per day if you buy it yourself from a local grocery. You'll pay a little more from places like Whole Foods, a chain of "organic" food grocrey stores that sell organic cheeses, 50 kinds of lettuce, exotic foods like "eggplant" and mango. (Good food, but slightly pricey.)

Lodging is variable. I tend to stay with friends or family whenever I travel around the country, so I can't help you there.
 

Eli

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A few answers:

If I am be going at all, it will probably be not earlier than November. What I forgot to ask is whether it's at all possible to arrange a trip in such a short notice.

George2816:
I'm from Israel - So this makes Western Europe a much closer destination than the US.

Re food prices: I don't intend to cook. Cereals for breakfast and sometimes dinner, but I'm almost always going to get lunch outside.

KaeptnOvi:
anyway, moneywise I'd say northern america is the smarter choice, travelling in europe is much more expensive :(

Yeah. The tickets to Europe are going to be at least twice as cheap, but I'm certain I'll be ripped on food, transportation and hotels.

Btw, I definitely want to visit Canada (as in Toronto and it's vicinity) - as long as it won't be too much hassle with visas and/or border passes.

Thanks for the links everyone. :goodjob:
 

Masquerouge

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Eli, for hotels I suggest motel chains like Motel 6. They have a website where you can make reservations, you can cancel with a 24-hour notice IIRC, and they're pretty much everywhere. Price range is anything between $50 and $100 depending on the location.

Renting a car is cheap in the US, and will probably be much better suited to city hopping and going at your own pace.

For food, the cheapest will definitely be to buy your own food at a walmart or something like that, you can get incredibly cheap food the more you lower your standards :)
 

Eli

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Eli, for hotels I suggest motel chains like Motel 6. They have a website where you can make reservations, you can cancel with a 24-hour notice IIRC, and they're pretty much everywhere. Price range is anything between $50 and $100 depending on the location.

$50-$100 a night?!?! 30$ is the maximum I'm willing to go, and even that might make the trip too expensive.
 

El Justo

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here's some info re the US east coast:

the info already posted about hotels/motels is pretty accurate. however, be wary of booking around particular holidays in some of the larger metro areas (eg. NYC is absolutely brutal around the US holiday thanksgiving and x-mas). there are no hostels really in the US; at least not like in europe.

the food budgets that have been posted are also pretty accurate. you might even get by even cheaper in some instances (depending where you're at).

i would probably stear clear of renting a car if you plan on staying in the metro areas, particularly in NYC and DC as the traffic and congestion can be brutal at times. i'd probably suggest rail transportation unless you're very comfortable navigating metropolitan traffic. but trying to drive through, say, Manhattann during the week is quite a task imo. however, if i were in your shoes, i'd weigh the costs of public transportation versus that of a rental car and then go from there. i know i've heard of some car rental agencies who have deals where they wish for someone to drive the rental cars from up north to down south like in Florida.

wrt the weather - well, it all depends on what time of the year you come. in the north east (roughly virginia up to maine), expect cold, rainy and snowy weather from about Novemeber through March or April. the farther north, the longer it takes for spring to 'spring' :) NYC gets snow from about November through March. same for Philly, DC, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Atlantic City and other cities in the north eastern corridor. from NYC north, the possibility of snow is greater (in terms of frequency and total snowfall).

i'd say the cut-off line for harsh winter weather is roughly north carolina. once you get into south carolina, it's pretty mild in the aforementioned winter months. of course, Florida is tropical and remains warm during the winter months. Goergia is pretty mild too during the winter.

the spring months are a mixed bag in terms of weather. early spring in the northeast can be nasty w/ cold, wet weather for March, April, and often into May. however, mid May or so it begins to heat up.

the summer months can be brutally hot in the north east and absolutely opressive down south (florida is a cauldron from about June thru Sept). humidity also plagues many locations w/ DC being rediculously stuffy in the summer months. NYC, Boston, and Philly are hot in the summer, too. but it shouldn't be anything that would keep you away. the best summer locations in the eastern US imo are shore locales. it's not really the beaches but the pleasant weather associated w/ them. the humidity is often far less and the cooler air from the ocean keep the temp of the air cooler than the inland locales.

autumn is perhaps the best time of the year to travel in the eastern US b/c up and down the coast, the temps are sort of consistent. and the foliage in the north east is spectacular if that's your bag :) the first frosts don't usually occur in the north east until about late october or november. and it won't ever get too cold during autumn. so this is probably the reason why it's best to travel during the autumn :D
 

downtown

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there are a few hostels in the really big US cities, like DC or NYC....but there arent very many.

HOWEVER, if you're willing to drive a little ways outside of the 'core' city, you might find really cheap hotels. There are places outside of Columbus for 30-40 a night.
 

El Justo

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yeah, the farther you go away from the metro areas - generally speaking - the cheaper the rates are for lodging. but i wouldn't really expect to pay $30 for lodging in NYC. it's just not gonna happen.
 

downtown

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^^yeah, I think that would go without saying. In the midwest or south, you might be able to do it, but in the metro atlantic, everything is teh $$$$.

Also, in my experience, American Hostels are in pretty sketchy parts of town.
 

Laurencius

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My first requirement is civilization. Central & South America, the Far East, all being extremely popular destinations - are out. I couldn't care less for beaches, trekking and parties.

Yup! We're just backward people running around in banana leaf skirts in Central and South America.
 
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