USA October 2016

Old Jan 16th, 2016, 02:31 AM
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USA October 2016


I am planning a trip to the US for 3 weeks for my partner and I. We are flying from Sydney. I am having trouble figuring out the best route and the best mode of transport to get from place to place. I have listed the below places that we would like to go and the estimated time at each place. We have not booked anything yet and so are quite flexible. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

LA (3 days)

Chicago (3 days)

NYC (5 days)

Boston (3 days)

Washington DC (2 days)

Hawaii (1 island, not sure which one yet, 5 days)

carand is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2016, 03:39 AM
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First, realize that you're going to spend a fair amount of time getting from Point A to B, so you don't really have 21 days and your time in each destination will be lessened. (More on that below.)

Am assuming you'll want to land in Hawaii first, then fly to LA, then fly to Chicago. From Chicago, I would choose to fly to Boston or Washington, depending on which one offers the least expensive, most convenient flights.

If it's Boston, then you'd start there and work your way south to NYC and then Washington, all by train. If you fly to Washington first, then you would reverse the itinerary and end up in Boston. (All things being equal, I would go to Boston first since the later you arrive there, the more likely it is you will hit chilly weather. And Washington at the end of the trip will still be pleasant.)

As to time, and factoring in travel time, the trip seems a bit rushed, IMHO. I like Chicago, but I think in your place, I would skip it and fly direct from LA to one of the East Coast cities and use more of the time there.
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 04:23 AM
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I fear you are counting your days wrong. You need to count nights in each place - and it takes 2 nights to give you one day of sightseeing. And you also need to allow for 1/2 a day to get from one place to another - except for Hawaii, which is a full day in either direction.

If you lay this trip out day by day, listing where you will start, what travel you will do, and where you will sleep I think you can see how very little time this trip gives you anyplace.

If it were me I would drop Hawaii (but then I'm not a beach person, much too fair - and we have great beaches here if we want). But I assume you're not going to do that. So, either drop DC or add several days since there is SO much to do there. If you keep it I think you will have to drop Chicago, which is a fun city but not the same class (for MY interests) as NY, Boston or DC. (Actually I would drop LA which I do NOT like - but know most international visitors want to go there.)

As for transit you can easily take Amtrak between Boston, NYC and DC - but get tickets far in advance for the best discounts. All other travel will be flights.
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 06:53 AM
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In order to get that many actual 'days' in each place you would need a 4 week trip.

So if you have 21 days (and want 5 full days/6 nights in Hawaii), you really only have time for maybe 3 other destinations - especially if you keep LA in the rotation since getting from LA to the east coast and back will eat up most of a full day each way
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 08:10 AM
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Some good points by janisj.
Would this work for you? Fly to Washington DC (direct flight or short layover in LA?)
2.5 days in Washington and then take Amtrak NE Regional to New York. The train is more expensive but more comfortable than the Bolt bus IMO.
Spend 4 days in NYC if you can afford it.
Take a NE Regional from NYP to BOS and spend 3 days in Boston.
Fly to Chicago from Boston. Spend 24 to 30 hours in Chicago and then fly to Los Angeles.
Do you intend to use public transportation in Los Angeles or rent a car? Let us know what you want to see in each city.
You might want 4 days in LA before you fly to Hawaii.
Remember that when you fly west from Hawaii toward home you will "lose" a day when you get back to Sydney.
Remember that we will be in the midst of a Presidential campaign in October.
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Old Jan 16th, 2016, 11:48 AM
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You have too many cities, IMO. I would drop Chicago and Boston but that is just personal preference (hotels in Boston are very expensive). Do you have no interest in our national parks, just wanting cities?
As far as Hawaii, most flights to Australia go in/out of Honolulu so you can either stay on Oahu or visit one of the two smaller outer islands like Maui or Kauai but only if you will be willing to rent a car, public transport is poor everyplace but Oahu. You do not have enough time for Big Island this trip.
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Old Jan 17th, 2016, 08:57 PM
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A few thoughts-

I love all of your destinations- and none of them are really superior to each other, just different. So let me approach it from another direction- What are your interests?

You only have allotted 2 days in DC, which tells me you are possibly not all that interested in either museums or government. If that's the case, I would drop DC. If you like museums at all, you need at very least 3 more days. One major reason to keep DC is that the world class museums and zoo under the Smithsonian Institute are completely FREE. DC is great for budget sightseeing and variety in terms of attractions.

What is attractive about LA? If your answer is the beach, then drop it. If it's Hollywood, ok. (not my thing, but I did enjoy LA anyway.) Finally, if you have no interest in driving over here, drop LA.

Boston- much of what I love about Boston is its culture, especially art museums. And the history. The other reason I'd encourage you to keep Boston, is that if you have no interest in driving, it is awesome for sightseeing on foot. The final main reason I'd recommend Boston is Cape Cod, which I also love, but you don't have time for that and you don't need more beach time.

Chicago- do you like architecture? Do not drop Chicago. Otherwise, I'd probably drop Chicago in favor or Boston or DC. There are other reasons to enjoy Chicago- but architecture is what really sets it apart from the other places.

NYC and Hawaii are probably your givens. I'd personally cut Hawaii- for one, you've probably got better beaches at home. For another- I also burn. But I suspect Hawaii may be on the way home for you, so skipping it probably doesn't save you time anyway.

Hope that helped some. Good luck!
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Old Jan 17th, 2016, 11:50 PM
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Not sure what the statement "most flights to Australia go in/out of Honolulu" - most flights from Australia go to LA, NewYork or Dallas /Fortworth and these do not go to Honolulu. Used to up to 80s . I find it better and cheaper to go to NewYork first as the Qantas fare is cheapest to go there . Virgin is probably similar . Then plan your trip from NewYork.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 12:37 PM
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I'd do Hawaii and the West Coast. Fly from Hawaii to Seattle and then get a car and drive down the west coast to San Diego. I personally like LA a lot, and you'll want to see it--if you watch US tv or the movies, you'll feel right at home.

OR if the airfares are better, do the East Coast--Boston, NYC, DC and Philadelphia.

Way too much travelling around in three weeks--the US is huge. Less is more in travelling.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 01:34 PM
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The OP had an earlier thread with the identical title back in August:

He did return to that thread but so far he hasn't come back to this newer one.
janisj is online now  
Old Feb 5th, 2016, 01:54 PM
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Remember that we will be in the midst of a Presidential campaign in October.

I thought they were visiting, not running for office. Your trip in no one way, shape, or form be effected by our Presidential election. They only time it could make a difference is when Obama is in that particular city and the traffic may be snarled.

I agree with most of the responses above. If you go to LA, NYC and either DC/Boston, you will get a cross section of urban America. I have been Chicago countless times and although it is interesting, it is not in the class of NYC and DC. Boston has some wonderful museums, and it more interesting if you are interested in American history.
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