Newbie traveller on one month trip to US?
Replies: 36 - Last Post: Dec 20, 2012 2:34 PM Last Post By: trekker502
Dec 17, 2012 5:01 AM
15Wal-Mart is currently dropping the prices on its i-phones -- they may be the cheapest place to get a local Sim card. Or else, a specialty store in electronics is Best Buy. Last year, I purchased a toggle for Wi-Fi accessibility for my notebook computer from Verizon and that cost $50, which did not last me for an entire month, so I do not recommend their phone store. I also see advertised an Internet To Go Hotspot also at Wal-Mart, but I don't know if you need to sign-up for long-term 2-year subscription -- It is $80 for the mobile device plus $25/month.
Edited by: trekker502
Dec 17, 2012 5:56 AM
Dec 17, 2012 6:31 AM
17What the hell would you do in Miami for 8 days, and LV for 5 days?
if you dont have a car/drivers license, forget LA.
I would come back to the USA when you have a drivers license, and can rent a car. NYC is not cheap either, and overall, SF is not either, the Bay area and wine country is worth a car.
Go to Central America, you could enjoy Guatemala or Costa Rica and get a ton of fun, food, nature and adventure, for 50% less than the US, no car required.
Dec 17, 2012 7:31 AM
Dec 17, 2012 7:40 AM
Dec 17, 2012 10:15 AM
20Obviously, you haven't lived in LA. If someone wants to see it by public transit, they can stay in Santa Monica (the HI Hostel is well located) and take the express buses down either Wilshire Blvd (to get to Westwood or LACMA or the Grove) or Santa Monica Blvd (to get to Beverly Hills or West Hollywood). They can also take Blue Bus #10 to Downtown LA/Union Station. And they can take Blue Bus #3 to/from LAX. They can also walk or bike from there to Venice Beach and Main Street. If they prefer more laid back bars to clubs for nightlife, I recommend staying here.
If they prefer clubs and upscale lounges for nightlife, then I recommend staying in Hollywood (USA Hostels for example) or West Hollywood (Banana Bungalow) so they can walk to them. For sightseeing, they can take the red line metro to Downtown LA/Union Station from Hollywood (with a connection to LAX via the Flyaway Bus). They can also easily take the bus down Sunset Blvd to Sunset Strip or Westwood or walk a couple blocks down to Santa Monica Blvd to take the express bus to lower West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica. They can also take bus #217 down Hollywood Blvd which turns to go down Fairfax Ave to get to Melrose Ave, The Grove, LACMA etc.
It's not very complicated. There are several major boulevards and express buses run down all of them.
Dec 17, 2012 4:46 PM
Dec 17, 2012 6:28 PM
22Here's a good overview of all types of public transit available in the city: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/blog/los-angeles-public-transit
It doesn't have specific bus info for all tourist sites though. I don't know if anyone provides this anywhere. Generally, people use a Google Maps or Hop Stop app on their smart phones to figure out public transit options. However, maps and schedules for various bus routes can be downloaded here: http://www.metro.net/riding/maps/ and http://bigbluebus.com
I'm happy to create an FAQ post on this if it'll be helpful (or this thread can be used). Generally, the following routes are most relevant. I don't recommend traveling on buses 7:30am-9:30am and 4:30pm-6:30pm on weekdays due to traffic. Plan to be somewhere at those times.
Red metro line (underground)
- Union Station, Hollywood/Highland, and Universal City stops
- Bus #2 regular or 302 express - across LA down Sunset Blvd between Downtown and Pacific Palisades
- Bus #704 express - across LA down Santa Monica Blvd between Downtown and Santa Monica beach
- Bus #720 express - across LA down Wilshire Blvd between Downtown and Santa Monica Beach
- Bus #217 regular - Hollywood/Highland to Fairfax Ave and then down Fairfax Ave to Melrose, The Grove, and LACMA (and back)
Big Blue buses (cheaper than Metro buses):
- Bus #3 - between LAX (parking lot C), Santa Monica and Westwood
- Bus #10 - between Santa Monica and Downtown/Union Station
Dec 17, 2012 6:48 PM
Dec 17, 2012 10:29 PM
24I would expect that you don't really know since you've never done and weren't even aware of the options before today. It's not inconvenient. Driving in LA requires parking which is expensive and a hassle. This solves that issue. It's a viable option and tons of people do it every day. Just because it's not for you, doesn't mean that it's not an option for others, especially those who can't afford a car rental or can't drive. Most people staying at hostels aren't driving.
Dec 18, 2012 12:49 AM
Dec 18, 2012 5:38 AM
26#22 -- smartcookiee. Thank you so much. There are also many people not accustomed to driving in lots of traffic who do have the time to travel on the buslines and would prefer leaving the driving to someone experienced. I have been taking the metro buses here in Santa Fe -- only $2 for a full-day's pass everywhere, because parking is terrible downtown and I once got a $500 parking ticket when I parked in the wrong spot during a festival!
Dec 18, 2012 8:56 AM
27You're welcome. Also in a few years, it'll be even more convenient as the metro service is being expanded to the west side. Here's the map with current and upcoming routes. http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/30-10-Los-Angeles-Plan-Map.jpg
Dec 18, 2012 10:54 PM
Sounds like an awesome trip. As a non-driver myself I know how hard it can be to get to nature without a car!
Not sure what time of year you are coming, but if you are looking for day trips from NYC you can take public transportation (MetroNorth) to some beautiful hikes just north of the city. Breakneck Ridge is supposed to be gorgeous and very easy to get to without a car.
Also if you're here during summer and into beaches, Riis Park is the best city beach (accessible by subway and bus), and you can also take the Long Island Rail Road to Long Beach which is very pretty. If you're here during winter, there are plenty of transportation options if you want to go to mountains for skiing, you can probably even get a day trip package from the city.
Also, even though I know parks don't necessarily equal "nature", I'd strongly suggest you check out not only Central Park, but also Prospect Park in Brooklyn..one of my favorite places on earth :) So much less touristy, peaceful, beautiful, and great for people watching (or cute dog watching if you prefer). The Highline in Manhattan is awesome as well. Washington Sq Park has also gotten quite pretty, esp with fountain on in summer. (Can you tell I'm a park lover??) Also, if you come in summer there is lots of outdoor music to be seen! Since you say you don't love museums and sightseeing, I think the Village (both east and west) and downtown in general are places you might like to walk around. Check out Brooklyn as well if you want something a bit more low key.
I loved Vegas when I went, but I'd agree that 4 nights is overkill...I don't know if I'd survive! ;)
I have not been to Miami, but I've been told that 4 days or so there is enough. I'm actually looking to go for about that time this winter.
SF and the whole Bay Area is wonderful. Lots of good people watching, pretty walking around, and beautiful nature nearby. Also Golden Gate Park is gorgeous.
LA is always kind of annoying for me as a non-driver..but I do also have an obvious NY-er prejudice! I did really like Venice Beach and Santa Monica is beautiful.
Hope this was at all helpful! Enjoy your trip!!!!
Dec 19, 2012 6:07 AM
29In Manhattan, check out the Cloisters park above Columbia University overlooking the Hudson River. If I recall, for Prospect Park, you get off the subway at Grand Army Plaza, or maybe that just took me to one area of that neighborhood where I visited my cousin.
In San Francisco, it is a scenic walk along the waterfront between the Ferry Building/Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge -- I ran the Bridge to Bridge race there years ago and it is relatively flat. The route takes you past Coit Tower, Fishermen's Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, the Marina District and the St. Francis Yacht Club, then the Richmond District before arriving at the Golden Gate Bridge -- gorgeous views. The #2 Clement Street bus will take you back downtown. The Powell Street cable car leads from the Union Square shopping area down through Little Italy to Fishermen's Wharf and back up the hill again. Near the Golden Gate Bridge, and along Clement Street, you may catch a Golden Gate Transit bus over the bridge to Marin County and Sonoma County wine country. For Golden Gate Park, take the M street car through the tunnel. I will take you past Castro Street, Haight/Ashbury, the UCSF Medical Center, to a street close to the California Academy of Sciences, where you should disembark. That street also has ethnic food shops, such as Russian pastries, which were delicious.
Edited by: trekker502
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