6 week Holiday in September - USA Help me plan!
Replies: 35 - Last Post: Feb 7, 2012 4:14 AM Last Post By: uncle_sav
Jan 27, 2012 11:56 AM
15Hoping you guys can also give me a bit of a guideline on budgeting to make sure we have plenty of savings to do this holiday well!
Heres what I was thinking - please let me know if I have gone grossly over or under the average we could expect to spend each day? - I understand some cities will be more than others but figure if we do an average we might be ok (assuming the below include all taxes and tips etc)
Accommodation - like i said about $160 per room twin share each day and we have no problem with budget chains (lol I dont know if thats the right term!) We simply want safe and clean with reasonable locations
Food - 3 meals - we will eat out for most of it I would say $50 each per day each person - as we dont visit any fancy restaurants?? we have pretty simple tastes!
Internal flights - I know these will prob vary a lot but is it safe to budget about $180 each per flight between cities?
Tours/entrance fees/spending money etc - now this is a hard one!!!! I thought we may need to do about $100 a day? Not sure if this a bit light on - we arent expecting on doing any helicopter tours or anything but would like to do tours in most cities we stay in as well as maybe some rafting/ hiking etc if we end up in Colorado or somewhere for the Dude Ranch
Hire Cars - now this one has me stumped because Im really not sure how often we will need one especially if we do a lot of tours I would assume most would include pick up at hotel - i could be totally wrong about this!
Still trying to lock down the places we should go - but as per all your good advice Im thinking a full week in about 4 cities where we can do some day/overnighter trips to interesting places (LA NY SF maybe colorado) then some 3-4 day trips (Boston, Las Vegas, New Oleans (thanks uncle_sav i was going to stay the week but if its small there are other places to go!) Still considering Washington but the idea of all those politicians makes my skin itch lol
What does everyone think of my budget please tell me if Im totally off track - Id hate to go all that way and run out of money.... hrmmm but there is always the credit card...... :)
Jan 27, 2012 12:16 PM
16There's no reason to take tours in any city. A swampboat out of New Orleans may be an exception, and there would be hotel pickup.
You won't want a car in most cities. Certainly not in NY, DC, or SF, and you'll be fine without one in Las Vegas and New Orleans. You"ll want one for LA and Disney World and probably for the Grand Canyon (and for other national parks if you like my idea above).
A week in LA will seem like a very long time. Same with Las Vegas. In the East, you want to spend most of your time in cities. In the West, you want to get out to the national parks.
Your budget for accommodation is a bit high, except with respect to NY. For food it's about right. If you do a national park loop, you can get a pass for $80 for the carload which will admit you to all parks. Ranger-guided tours in the parks are free.
Jan 27, 2012 12:21 PM
Jan 27, 2012 12:30 PM
18Was thinking 3 days in Las Vegas?? Would you guys not recommend city tours to see the highlights in the main cities? saves trying to find our way around to each of the main tourist spots I thought?
Good to know food budget will be ok - it all adds up over a full 6 weeks! I think that if I budget a little high on the accommodation then it will average out maybe if we spend the full week in NY which everyone tells me is really expensive!
Jan 27, 2012 1:41 PM
Just my two cents.
You should be booking flights before you come anyway. Prices generally go up as you near departure.
Btw, in the US, we say 'domestic' rather than 'internal.' That's what will be on the signs at the airport.
If you expect to do some big tour, like rafting, you should look up some guides online, take a rough estimate for cost, and account for it separately.
You don't want it in SF or the northeastern cities.
Whether you will need it for day trips depends on where you are going, though chances are you'll want it.
Btw, in the US we 'rent' things, like cars, and 'hire' people. 'Hiring a car' suggests you want a driver as well, e.g. a limo.
Jan 28, 2012 11:09 AM
Jan 28, 2012 11:53 AM
21Thanks nrclibn! I think its all gonna be a bit of a shock to start with things seem quite a bit different over there!! So think it might be advisable to do some tourist tours at least until we get the hang of the transport systems over there!
The tipping/tax thing does have me a little confused! So its 15% tip to be added onto advertised price of food etc plus tax??? and is this tax amount advertised?? Do I need to brush up on my maths skills before I head over there!!!!
What else do we need to tip for or is it pretty much everything? And how is bar tipping different from other tipping... Im taking notes!
Jan 28, 2012 1:01 PM
Jan 28, 2012 2:15 PM
Jan 29, 2012 3:13 AM
24Thanks bzookaj that clears it up - I have no problem tipping - its part of the american culture and I cant believe how low the minimum wage is compared to home! Im actually looking forward to good customer service.... it can sometimes be lacking in Aus!
So with tips the $50 a day budget for food is still ok?? And tipping is for basically any service provided to us by anyone.... I think Ive got the hang of it now :)
Jan 29, 2012 5:42 AM
Jan 31, 2012 10:44 AM
26regarding tours in cities, there are usually hop on/hop off bus tours that are worthwhile in that you get to see all the main sights. SF, NYC, DC all have them.
For Broadway, unless there is a particluar show you are after, be sure to try the TKTS booth - half-price tickets to shows (SF has one in Union Square, but Broadway is best).
For food, farmer's markets often have really good local foods (raw and prepared) at reasonable prices, and no tipping required. I always hit open markets anywhere I go, great way to mingle, people watch, and eat. SF has several, Ferry Plaza (Saturday and Tuesday) is high-end but worth a visit - but try Civic Center on Wednesday just for the tamale truck (and Suki's roasted eggplant and chana masala, of course)...
Finally, and to echo the "see things that are not in your own country" advice - be sure to spend a little time in a redwood forest in California, nothing like it anywhere else on earth, literally. Muir woods is accessible by bus from SF. Hit the farmer's market, grab some grub, go have a picnic in the majesty of one of nature's cathedrals.
Jan 31, 2012 10:50 AM
Feb 1, 2012 12:14 AM
28as a aussie who just got back, LA is extremely disappointing but San Fransisco is really good. i agree go to all the less touristy places. i did actually like Florida but we stayed outside of Orlando on a lake with the manatees going past. harry potter world at universal is amazing and disney is awesome. you will need a hire car! public transport is terrible but gas prices are equivalent of 95c per litre over there! and pack light you'll be buying heaps.
Feb 1, 2012 5:57 AM
29Unless you're unalbe to walk, I wouldn't recommend hop-on hop-off tours in walkable cities like NY, DC, and SF. You spend an awful lot of your time waiting at bus stops, and more stuck in traffic.
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