Backpacking through North America
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Nov 2, 2012 5:37 AM Last Post By: trekker502
Nov 1, 2012 3:16 AM
Backpacking through North AmericaHi guys.
Me and my gf will be flying into Newark and then we have a backpacking trip planned to visit the likes of Washington, Chicago, Memphis, Las Vegas etc. So basically were doing from the East to the West coast. Our route is not too far off route 66, but we weren't keen on doing some of the places on route so hence why were going further south.
Now. To my understanding we can only get a 90 day tourist visa (although i would like longer). This means we will be in North America for 3 months. We will be going from October 2013 - December 2013 as i wanted to spend Christmas in North America and according the plan we should hit Christmas in Seattle which will be cool.
If im honest i am still on going research into the best forms of travelling etc. The issue i have is that we want to attend the day of the dead festival in Mexico which will be the 1st November. Now we should be in / around New Orleans towards end of October so need to get from there to Mexico and then back again. Is this possible on a cheap budget? when i say cheap i mean £100/120 return ($130/140)?
Alot of our travel will be via Amtrak train anyways, however dont think it goes from New Orleans to Mexico.. hmm.
Any help would be appreciated :)
Nov 1, 2012 4:10 AM
There is the Visa Waiver Program, which is not a visa, but a visa waiver (i.e. it waives therequirement for a visa), which allows entry up to 90 days, and there is the B-2 tourist visa, which allows entry up to 180 days (and may be extended once).
Here is my standard answer:
There is no set "cheapest airline." We don't have "low cost" airlines like in Europe or Asia--any airline may be the cheapest at any time, dependent on dates, routes, etc.
kayak.com, itamatrix, cheapoair, farecompare, mobissimo, vayama, priceline, expedia, travelocity, orbitz, hotwire, the individual airlines, etc., etc., etc.
Make sure you compare prices like for like (some show subtotals, others totals).
It will take a lot of effort on your part.
And don't expect cheap last minute fares. Prices go up as you get close to departure.
And don't get suckered into the "Southwest is cheapest" myth that is repeatedly pushed here. They aren't any cheaper or more expensive on a regular basis than any other airline.
One more thing:
Your time in Mexico is included in your 90 days.
Plan for it.
Nov 1, 2012 4:38 AM
2There are discount Mexican airlines (Interjet, Volaris, Vivaerobus) that won't necessarily show up in a Kayak search but should be in yours. But cross-post on the Mexico branch.
Nov 1, 2012 4:53 AM
Nov 1, 2012 7:35 AM
4Wait a minute on the whole Mexico thing. WHERE in Mexico do you plan to go? That will make a huge difference in how you get there and your budget. Unless you just plan to cross on foot into a border town for dia de los muertos your budget for this leg is unrealistically low. Also, not only does AMTRAK not go into Mexico, there is no train service at all into Mexico. Your options are; crossing on foot into a border town, rentaing a car and driving yourself, taking busses or flying. As an alternative, many places in the U.S. have large dia de los muertos celebrations so you may not even need to go into Mexico for it (e.g. Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago) I'd post your questions about the Mexico leg of your trip on the Mexico thread, although lots of the contributors here are also experienced Mexico travellers (including myself).
OK, as for the rest of the trip in random fashion:
- bjookaj speaks wisely about the domestic airlines. Southwest is not the default budget airline - there's a number of them in the U.S. (Frontier, Allegiant, JetBlue, Horizon) and some of the majors sometimes beat the "budget" airline prices (Alaska, Delta, Continental).
- Christmas in Seattle: That's fine and it will definitely be "cool" (be prepared for cold rain and lots of it).
- The "best forms of travelling" varies from region to region of the country. The mid-atlantic area of the east coast is well served by a network of commuter trains giving you a viable option to get around New York, Washington DC, Boston and surrounding areas. West coast train service is limited to AMTRAK connecting major cities. From there you'll need to take busses or mass transit where available to reach outlying areas and unfortunately many west coast cities don't have well developed mass transit systems like subways or trains (e.g. Los Angeles and Seattle).
- You plan to "backpack" (in the European sense of the term as bjookaj references), so I assume your budget is low. The U.S. doesn't have the network of hostels like Europe, but there are some in the major cities. Most likely, you will have to spend at least some time in budget hotels and that will cost you between $50 - $75 usd/ night.
Nov 1, 2012 8:36 AM
Nov 1, 2012 8:43 AM
Nov 1, 2012 10:37 AM
Nov 1, 2012 10:46 AM
If you do want to stay in hostels, be aware that the question of interest in the U.S. is not, "Which hostel in town is best?" but rather, "Is there a hostel in town?" As noted by #6 and #7, hostels are not real thick on the ground here. You won't have much trouble in the larger cities--I know there are hostels in both Washington and Chicago (of the two I'm aware of in Chicago, you want this one, by the way). I'm not sure about Memphis or Las Vegas. In a smaller city (such as, say, Little Rock, Arkansas or Albuquerque, New Mexico, just to name two that are on your general route), you'd better come up with a Plan B.
In other words, research hostels in advance. Sites that have been mentioned here include hostels.com, hostelz.com, and hostelhandbook.com. I'm not a hostel traveler, so I don't know which is best.
Nov 1, 2012 11:12 AM
9I have found that a lot of smaller towns out west, at least in Colorado, do have hostels. Which is a direct contrast to many other small towns. Definitely do your research beforehand, though.
There are also several discount hotel chains where you can get a room for similar rates compared to what US hostels generally charge. Super 8 and Motel 6, for example. Also every now and again you will see an independent motel that has somehow survived and is cheaper.
Nov 1, 2012 12:40 PM
Yes. Bear in mind that hostels charge by the bed, while motels charge by the room. So if you're traveling with a companion, a $60 motel room is better than two $30 hostel beds (because it's the same price but with privacy).
I wrote the FAQ on this a few years back.
Nov 1, 2012 12:43 PM
Nov 1, 2012 12:55 PM
Nov 1, 2012 1:41 PM
Nov 2, 2012 5:23 AM
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