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Art Vandarley

I Want To Travel To the USA

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Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

I from Germany and I plan to visit the USA. I want to book a flight from Germany to, like New York, rent a car and then travel to where I don't know, yet.

Is there something I have to know?

Is it a good idea to do that on my own, alone?

I always wanted to do that and know I want to do it, after I got my drivers license.

Answers are very much appreciated!

guest

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Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,

I from Germany and I plan to visit the USA. I want to book a flight from Germany to, like New York, rent a car and then travel to where I don't know, yet.

Is there something I have to know?

Is it a good idea to do that on my own, alone?

I always wanted to do that and know I want to do it, after I got my drivers license.

Answers are very much appreciated!

guest

It's not a good idea...you'd miss alot that way if you are on a limited schedule. Not bad, just...they make these tourist itineraries for a reason...

As a German...I'd invite you to the city I live in...it is a German town here in America...Hagerstown, MD...huge ancestral German line here....not me though...I'm Scott-Irish...but any-who...Hagerstown has a sister city in Germany....don't know it's name...sorry...we have great pubs and restaurants though.."Vunkerl-stube" is one of the best eateries in town....love that place...kinda pricey though...

Any-who...Hagerstown is 75 or so miles from Baltimore and about 77 to 80 miles from Washington DC...if you ever wanted a quite place to trek from to explore the madness of big city...this is the place...you can be in either place in a little over an hour...traffic permitting of course...

Edited by Damrod

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I've got a lot of time and so I won't miss anything ;)

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Hi and (in advance) Welcome to the USA!

First off, the country is really, really big... I lived in Germany for a few years and most Germans I met 'knew' that the US was big, but emotionally they still thought of it as of comperable size to Germany...

Think more along the lines of Europe... It is 3,000 some odd miles across (East to West) and about 1,600 miles North to south - This does not include Hawaii or Alaska (which is itself about a third the size of the Continental US)...

You could spend a few weeks just in the New York (city) area and still not see everything there, Let alone the rest of the country...

It all depends on what you like, what you want to see and how much time you have to do it...

Fo example, I live in Oklahoma a state which is in the lower Great plains... I have lived here since the 1980's and am still finding interesting things to see that I had no idea were here before... And Oklahoma is not generally considered one of the leading 'scenic' or 'touristy' states...

Travel by private car is a good idea in general, we don't really have a large scale interstate mass-transit system like Eur-rail (sadly)... Travel by car lets you take your time, set your own schedule and make spur of the moment side trips as they might strike your fancy...

Travel should be safe for you - aside from regular traffic type dangers everyone faces... and generally speaking people are friendly (at least out here)... The interstate road system is extensive and usually easy to access... It should get you very close to whereever you might wish to travel to, and gasoline is cheaper here than in Europe (at least it was the last time I went 'over there' - 2009)...

I would recommend spending some time deciding what you would like to see, where you would like to go (in general) and then make a trial itenerary... Talking to a travel agent is agood idea if you get stumped, though I usually don't recommend tour groups as you see highlights, but miss a lot of other things..

Good luck to you!

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@Taun

Hey,

thank you for your reply. Like I said, I've got a lot of time on my hands. School starts in the next summer again. I will try to get my driver license as soon as possible. I would like to lower the costs, but in general, I also got a lot of money, so it's not a problem.

I want to see as much as I can, not limited to one state. Do you know how long I have to travel,if I want to get from the eastcoast to the westcoast? Isn't it very dangerous for a solitary young adult to travel that much, specifically allone?

I am very excited, because I always wanted to do that and now I really plan the journey.

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There's all sorts of cool stuff here in the U.S.

For driving action, I guess some practical advice would be hit a couple of Department of Motor Vehicle sites to learn what the street signs are over here. Each state has it's own site, but the signage is pretty much the same all over the U.S.. Keep in mind that over here, it's MILES per hour instead of KILOMETERS per hour on your speedometer.. Also keep in mind that for car rentals, you almost always have to put it on a credit card. I would recommend hitting a few rental site agencies to find out what their rates are. I know that here in the midwest, Budget and Enterprise are two of the more popular companies.

And lol, if you aren't already used to city driving, IMO, most U.S. cities are absolutely horrid about driving habits.

I wouldn't say that a road trip solo is a bad idea, but it sure the heck is way more fun if you are traveling with someone else.

But I guess beyond that, it's kind of a question of what kind of trip do you want? Are you looking to take in sights and landmarks, or want to see what nature has to offer? Want to make a food tour of a region? Want to take a cultural trip of museums? Planning on a shopping trip? Are you into cars? There's a couple of annual road trips some car nuts take across the country.

Another important consideration is how much time to you have for this adventure? If you only have a few days or a week, I would suggest you stick mostly to a couple areas. If you have a month, a more serious road trip could be fun. But the U.S. is huge, Texas is almost double the size of Germany, but Germany is almost double the size of Wisconsin.

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@rashore

I've got months of time, that's not a problem. I would like to see the big cities, the different landscapes, I am not much into food or culture, so it's just for fun. I don't got a driver license at the moment, but I'll do everything to get it as fast as I can.

What about Greyhound? So, I don't have to rent a car and I guess, that I can travel between the big cities through greyhound?

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Just come and be comfortable. The east coast tends to have more German-Austrian roots so sometimes it is smoother for incoming visitors to start there for a level of comfort and familiarity...but nothing is perfect....New ork has a place for everyone but it is so commercialized....check out your small town associates and connectedness....you might find a new home....

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Hey Guest, I am from Germany as well, and I used to live on the east coast for a couple of years. I'm sure you will get lots of nice adcive by our American members, but if you would like some German advice as well, feel free to PM me, as I don't want to flood the thread with German posts.

Anyway, travelling the US by car is never a mistake, you'll love it! :)

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@Damrod

I don't have to be familiar, if I want to speak german or eat german food, I would stay the hell where I am ;)

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Well Guest, Greyhound is an option, it does go all over the nation. Amtrack does as well, and likely would be much more comfortable for overnight travel. Of course, Amtrack is more expensive than Greyhound too.

Keep in mind that every state has a Visitors Bureau or Travel site. You might want to hit some of those and get free travel information sent to you to help you figure out what all you would like to see and do.

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It could take a week to drive from one side of the country to the other, without stopping and experiencing anything of interest (just stopping for gas, meals and sleep and a bit of leg-stretching time). The usual way of going city to city in the USA is by flying.

I suggest sending away for a bunch of free brochures from travel agencies about visiting the USA. It's kinda impossible to just 'look around' such a big country.

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Which big cities do you like to go to? Historical like Washington, Boston, Charleston? Senic, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver?

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@Purplos

To "look around" is indeed a question of time ;)

@rashore

That sounds great. Because I don't even know if I am able to get a driver license that fast. Is it very complicated for an european to see through the traffic system?

Let's say I don't get a driver license and I have to rely on greyhound and local busses, trains, etc.

What's your advice for such an adventure? I would like to see as many cities and landscapes ;)

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@Erix

The good and the bad thing is, that I don't know.

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@Purplos

To "look around" is indeed a question of time ;)

@rashore

That sounds great. Because I don't even know if I am able to get a driver license that fast. Is it very complicated for an european to see through the traffic system?

Let's say I don't get a driver license and I have to rely on greyhound and local busses, trains, etc.

What's your advice for such an adventure? I would like to see as many cities and landscapes ;)

Well, none of my German inlaws seem to have a problem driving around when they visit here, but then they have been visiting for years. Personally, I don't think it's all that complicated, just a matter of knowing what the signs mean. Same thing would go for a U.S. person visiting Germany. And again, that's easy enough to learn by hitting the web. This site has a good listing of them.

And my hubby said a big difference is that in Germany, you travel in a direction of a city, and driving is more orientated that way, where here it's more north, south, east west and mileage to get around.

My advice, as in if I had all the time and money in the world to have an adventure? I would fly to New York, hop the Amtrak going down the eastern seaboard and keep going around the perimeter of the U.S. till I hit Washington.. Then jump the bus and hit the Western national parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, then either Amtrak or Greyhound across the middle of the nation from west to east to end up back in New York to fly home. If I was driving, I would likely pick up a car in Washington and drive through the parks and back east. All that wandering around would likely take a couple months to really do it well and appreciate it though.

Edited by rashore

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Has anyone here ever traveled on a bus in the U.S.? I think not the nicest experience, and when you get to a destination and get off the bus, then what? Who knows what time of day or night you would arrive? How would you know where to get a decent hotel/motel room and how would you get around town? I know I wouldn't want to sit around in some bus station in some city in the middle of the night, you never know what kind of neighborhood you'd be in.

Sort of the same situation with Amtrak. I think it would be more efficient and practical to have an itinerary and rent a car.

Edited by StarMountainKid

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First of all... how old are you? You can't rent a car in the USA if you're under 25 years old. If you plan on spending a LOT of time here driving coast to coast you might actually be better off buying a car, then selling it before you leave. It might actually be cheaper. (or get an agent to buy and sell it for you)

My advice would be if you're going to come to the USA, see things that you can't see in Europe. You can see lots of big cities in Europe and our big cities are just like yours, but newer. There's nothing special about most of them. I can only think of a handful of big cities that you might find interesting in the US... Las Vegas, and possibly Washington DC and at one time I would have said New Orleans. Other than that? They're all like Berlin, or Paris or London. You've seen one big city, you've seen them all more or less and in my opinion.

What you WILL want to do is see some of the natural attractions in the US like the Gulf coast, the national parks out west like Zion or Bryce, the Grand Canyon, the MIssissippi river, possibly some areas in the mid-west like the Great Lakes or even areas of Wisconsin. There are deserts in the south west like New Mexico and Arizona, you might want to drive through the Rocky Mountains and Colorado and Wyoming. Im partial to the Pacific Northwest, I live here, it's spectacularly beautiful. See the beaches of California, or the wide open spaces in Montana.

Is it safe for a single young person to drive across the USA? Absolutely. I've done it a number of times. As long as you use your common sense, just like you would at home, you'll do just fine.

And like others have mentioned, the USA is HUGE. It takes about 6 hours to FLY from one coast to the other. The US covers 3 times zones. If you did some marathon driving and virtually no stopping, it would take you FIFTY hours to drive from Washington DC to Los Angeles. On a more relaxed schedule, not killing yourself and not speeding, plan for 5-6 days to drive coast to coast and on that schedule you still wouldn't be able to stop and see too much. The other thing to be aware of is to plan your refuling carefully... there are parts of the central areas of the US which go for a LONG time without seeing anything, and fueling up when you see a station is wise, even if you're not even close to being out of gas. I made this mistake ONCE and never again. LOL.

You'd have fun! There's a LOT to see in the US, and there are a lot of things here that you can't see in Europe that are worth seeing. You'll have a better trip if you decide what you want to see, and plot your route and the time you'll need to make all your destinations.

It's funny, whenever I'm in Europe, I ask locals if they've been to the US, and if not what they'd like to see. Almost all of them say New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Truth be told? You could skip New York and Los Angeles and not really miss anything in my opinion. They're just multi-cultural big cities, just like every major European city. Las Vegas might be worth seeing for 2 days... there's really no where else in the world like it. LOL. It's an experience, but it's one of those experiences that you might not want to have for more than a couple of days. 48 hours in Vegas is about what most people can tolerate before they're ready to leave. LOL.

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The journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step ! Go for it !

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Avoid the middle part of the country. Especially the Kansas and Nebraska area. Long, flat, and boring. You'll think driving across them will never end.

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Okay, since I am only 23, I can't rent a car, but at least I've got no problems with long bus rides.

Also, I know that nearly all big cities look the same, but I can't tell how long I dream to do exact this.

I have to do that, I have to!

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Okay, since I am only 23, I can't rent a car, but at least I've got no problems with long bus rides.

Also, I know that nearly all big cities look the same, but I can't tell how long I dream to do exact this.

I have to do that, I have to!

You might want to check on that age limit... I believe it has something to do with the insurance cut-offs and may vary company to company... I believe that some companies will rent to younger drivers - but at a higher (much higher in some cases) rate...

Or you could sweet talk some (slightly older) sweet young thing to come along and be your driver... :)

Edited by Taun

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@Taun

Is it common and safe to hitchhike?

wow I just want to do that one thing before I die and I don't know if it's safe to wait for better times to come.

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@Taun

Is it common and safe to hitchhike?

wow I just want to do that one thing before I die and I don't know if it's safe to wait for better times to come.

Definitely do NOT hitchhike... not safe. It has never been safe to hitchhike in the USA, in fact, it's illegal in most places. Come to think of it, I can't think of the last time I actualy saw a hitchhiker. It's been a VERY long time.. over a decade.

Busses aren't horrible, but you get a lot of questionable people on busses and they aren't comfortable... but you can do them and they're pretty cheap. Amtrak (rail) would be MUCH nicer, but the rails don't go everywhere and lately, they seem to be almost as expensive as flying.

I did have a friend from Germany who was a good motorcycle rider and he had an agent buy him a used motorcycle, which they found for a pretty good price, and he used that to traverse the US, Canada and he even went to Mexico. He drove the crap out of it, then had the same agent sell it when he flew back home. So he got a good portion of his money back for his transportation. If you're licensed to drive a motorcycle in Germany, it's good here too I believe (you'd have to check) Youd want ot plan a trip like this in late spring or summer though... you really don't want to ride a motorcycle over the Rocky mountains or Appalacian mountains in the winter. I still like hte idea of getting a used car through an agent. You'd spend a few thousand dollars on it initially, but you'd basically get most of your money back when the agent resold it. My experience is that it's actually cheaper than renting a car in the end.

The other thing to look into would be an organized tour group. Then you'd have your own busses for your own group... that would be much nicer than the Greyhound public busses.

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@MissMelsWell

Aren't there questionable people everywhere? Also, I am one of them, ha ha :D

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