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USA travel thread #33


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#1 Therese

Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:40 PM

New thread time original.gif

Your last thread is Here

#2 blackcat20

Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:42 PM

Gold biggrin.gif

#3 traceybrown

Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:01 PM

Silver

#4 Fairey

Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:08 PM

Bronze happy.gif

#5 Jo_P

Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:17 PM

Rotten egg??!!!  tongue.gif

#6 Therese

Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:19 PM

My goodness you girls are quick biggrin.gif

#7 blackcat20

Posted 28 January 2013 - 08:21 PM

QUOTE (Therese @ 28/01/2013, 09:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My goodness you girls are quick biggrin.gif


First time I've ever managed it!

#8 Mellie Kate

Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:02 PM

wow that was a quick thread,we certainly are a chatty bunch.

Thanks for the Pearl Harbor tour recommendation Kee we found the one that we are going to do.

#9 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:45 AM

No worries Mellie Kate, glad you have it all worked out original.gif

Well, my sister pulled the pin on coming on the trip to Hawaii. Says she isn't into travelling (not that she'd know as she's never gone anywhere in her life to see if she likes it or not). Her real problem is that for the extra bit of money she needs, Mum offered it and said she can just pay her back $20 a week but she doesn't want to pay it back and thinks either myself of Mum should just pay for her and her fiance and son to go over there (!!!). I will never understand my sister's attitude that she's entitled to everything without putting in any effort or hard work. Anyway, even with it being a trip for Dad, she doesn't want to pay for a cent of it no matter what else we've offered so she's chosen to not go. Even having a new job handed to her on a plate so she can earn some more money isn't enough to motivate her so she's staying home. I hate to say it but I'm a little relieved. Her fiance can be a strange one sometimes, we were watching our tour videos of NYC the other week with them and had some footage DH shot on the hop-on, hop-off bus around Manhattan. My sister's other half had a weird look on his face and when I asked him what was wrong he said if he was on that bus he would have punched that guy who kept talking about stuff in the face a few times. Even after I pointed out that was the tour guide and that's his job, to tell us all about the city and the landmarks, he still said he'd hit him for talking so much. I started to have serious doubts about his mental state and was really dreading the Circle Island Tour of Oahu if he was going to be like that! I also don't have to plan the rest of their wedding either so it's a little less stress for me. I know that sounds terrible but they were so happy to say what they wanted and then leave everything up to me to actually get done, I was getting a little jack of it all truth be told. And I got the distinct impression that they assumed I'd be paying for their whole wedding because I was the one who was getting in touch with the celebrant, cake shop etc about the details for it.

Anyway, now it's just Mum, DH and I and we can all go over, relax, say our goodbyes to Dad and then sail home together. I don't have to organise flights for my sister's troop to get back to Australia and Mum won't end up out of pocket when my sister starts making demands for extra money while we're over there (which I have no doubt she would have done).

Now I get to figure out the things I want to do there that we weren't going to do because of my future brother-in-law and his attitude. DH has suggested an island-hop to the Big Island to go back to the volcano for a day, which I will be looking into later today.

Jo: I haven't forgotten you, will get you that info on transfers today too! I know, I'm a bad travel agent! wink.gif



#10 Mellie Kate

Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:27 AM

Kee sounds like a blessing in disguise that your sister and her fiancee arent going,cant say that i would want to travel with him either.

I really hope that your sister doesnt pull any stunts that would stop you guys from all from going(like planning a wedding for when you are ment to be in hawaii,thats the first thing that popped into my mind)

Hopefully its a stress free trip for you all now

#11 Peanut

Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

QUOTE (Jo_P @ 28/01/2013, 08:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Rotten egg??!!!  tongue.gif


laughing2.gif

#12 Peanut

Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:37 AM

QUOTE (Mellie Kate @ 29/01/2013, 09:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Kee sounds like a blessing in disguise that your sister and her fiancee arent going,cant say that i would want to travel with him either.

I really hope that your sister doesnt pull any stunts that would stop you guys from all from going(like planning a wedding for when you are ment to be in hawaii,thats the first thing that popped into my mind)

Hopefully its a stress free trip for you all now


I think this too.  Now you'll have a much nicer holiday with your Mum, Kee!

#13 lamarque

Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:39 PM

Oh Kee, what a crap situation you're sister has put you in.  I really hope she will let you scatter your Dad's ashes without any fuss.  I agree with the others about having a better holiday though!

If anyone can give me some advice, I would be grateful.  I think we will book our flights in the next week or so.  I have been online almost every day and I think we will pay extra to go direct from SYD to LAX and DH would like to go on the A380.  original.gif   I'll be going to the travel expo this weekend to check out some more prices too.  

The timing is the problem.  We would leave about 1pm Sydney time and arrive in LA at about 9.30 am their morning so about 1am our time.  I'm really worried the kids will be too groggy/sleepy to handle a flight straight to NYC.  

What does everyone think?  The kids are 10 and 8.  Are we better off staying 1-2 days in LAX and then flying over to NYC or run the risk of grumpy/moody/'carry me' kids and transfer straight away??  I'm hoping excitement will get them over the line but I have my doubts as I remember how awful I felt arriving at a similar time with not much sleep.

#14 blackcat20

Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:01 PM

QUOTE (lamarque @ 29/01/2013, 01:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If anyone can give me some advice, I would be grateful.  I think we will book our flights in the next week or so.  I have been online almost every day and I think we will pay extra to go direct from SYD to LAX and DH would like to go on the A380.  original.gif   I'll be going to the travel expo this weekend to check out some more prices too.  

The timing is the problem.  We would leave about 1pm Sydney time and arrive in LA at about 9.30 am their morning so about 1am our time.  I'm really worried the kids will be too groggy/sleepy to handle a flight straight to NYC.  

What does everyone think?  The kids are 10 and 8.  Are we better off staying 1-2 days in LAX and then flying over to NYC or run the risk of grumpy/moody/'carry me' kids and transfer straight away??  I'm hoping excitement will get them over the line but I have my doubts as I remember how awful I felt arriving at a similar time with not much sleep.


I dont have kids, but having done this trip, Id just get it all over in one go. By the time you arrive in NYC its evening, so you can head to bed pretty much straight away, then wake up the following day fresh and ready to go. If you stop in LA you need to adjust to the time change, then again when you go to NYC...

#15 rob6712col

Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:34 PM

We have 3 kids , 5,5,and 7 and we did stop in LA for a couple of days to get over the jetlag before flying over to Orlando. We wish we hadn't bothered to stop and had kept going. The kids were fantastic and could have easily kept flying. The great thing about your timings is that they will zonk out and sleep on the LA-NY flight, probably all the way.  Just make sure they know that they will be on the plane all day and all night and that they have to have a sleep. This made the difference for my kids and they never asked if we were there yet. The A380 is fantastic to fly on with kids too. The TV in the headrest in front kept mine happy the whole trip. I recommend taking your own comfy headphones though for the kids. Being able to get up and go to the snack bar to get some pretzels, fruit or a drink is great too and just breaks the whole trip up a bit. Go straight through, and next time we will be doing that to.


#16 Fairey

Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:27 PM

QUOTE (~Kee~In~Hawaii~ @ 29/01/2013, 09:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Her real problem is that for the extra bit of money she needs, Mum offered it and said she can just pay her back $20 a week but she doesn't want to pay it back and thinks either myself of Mum should just pay for her and her fiance and son to go over there (!!!).


oomg2.gif Honestly, Kee... my jaw literally just landed on the floor!!

I take it from your post that your sister hasn't said anything about your Dad going back to Hawaii? Hoping that's the case - I know how much it means to you for your dad to be laid to rest at your other "home".

Also - I'm about to send you a PM about some Europe stuff original.gif

Lamarque - Whilst my kidlet is only a lil' tacka, we're going straight through to NY. Especially as we arrive in NY at night anyways.
DH and I have done a number of 24 hour + travels ~ I would just keep going. I'd rather stop on the way home than the way to our destination (not only do you break up the long flight, but it feels like the holiday isn't entirely over yet!!).

I don't know if that helps - good luck making your decision!!

AFM - Disney World booked tthumbs.gif I've only paid the deposit, and have been playing with the (poxy) website and can't find an option to pay the remainder, but it's at least booked. I did also find a way to make a cute Disney character appear next to our names. Quality afternoon today wwhistle.gif

Has anyone used priceline or undercover tourist before? Good or not so good?

#17 Holidaysfor8

Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:37 PM

Lamarque I just wanted to add my 2 cents in on your comments - our last trip to America nov11/jan12 we left melb at 11.15am and arrived in La at 7.30am their time I think around 3am our time? Anyway my youngest 2 boys were 8 and 9 and when we got to LAX they hit the ground running lol I think with the individual screens these little tv/tech freaks nowadays are in their element and seem to cope better than we do lolWe leave for our next trip 7 weeks today and this time we go melb to la with a 3 hour gap then straight to NYC - we discussed stopping overnight but decided after the way they coped last time were gonna fly straight after the first legI'm confident they will be fine - fingers crossed I'm not wrong lol

#18 Holidaysfor8

Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:01 PM

Hello againI'd like to pick the brains of anyone that has been to new york, Washington dc, Nashville, Atlanta and Orlando Here are my questions if anyone has any advice pleaseWe are going over with 3 of our kids dd15 ds10 ds9 we leave in 7 weeks
New York 4 full days, no car- is a double decker and/or hop on hop off bus worth the $$?- apart from Brooklyn bridge, central park, statue of liberty, 9/11 memorial, times square, Fao schwarz and the bakery from cake boss is anything else a must see?
Washington dc 2 full days, car- again is a double decker and/or hop on hop off bus worth the $$?- Arlington cemetery, whitehouse, what else should we see?
Nashville 3-4 days, car- any must see/do ideas?- accommodation advice?
Atlanta 1-2 days- any must see/do ideas?- accommodation ideas?
Orlando 14 days, car- best place for universal and Disney tickets? Prob looking at 2 days universal and 5 day Disney - have Lego tickets, anything else we must see/do?- already have accom
Also we are driving from NYC -Washington dc- Nashville- atlanta to Orlando -any advice or suggestions on things inbetween?
Sorry for all the questions, appreciate any help/adviceXo

Edited by Holidaysfor8, 30 January 2013 - 08:03 AM.


#19 pascalls

Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:31 PM

lamarque - We went straight through in 2011 when DS was 8 & DD was 4. None of us slept much on the SYD-LAX leg. We were all too excited & there were too many great movies to watch! We had 4 hours between landing & our next flight and we just went straight to the gate to wait. DD actually fell asleep on the floor while we waited! We all slept at least half of the LAX-NYC leg, I think DH & DS slept for most of it (they slept the least to LA).

I would do it exactly the same if we were to do it again. We had enough sleep that after dropping off our bags at the hotel we went out for a walk & something to eat, despite travelling for about 24 hours. None of the excitement of being in New York was lost, even after all the travelling! biggrin.gif

#20 lamarque

Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:02 PM

QUOTE (blackcat20 @ 29/01/2013, 01:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I dont have kids, but having done this trip, Id just get it all over in one go. By the time you arrive in NYC its evening, so you can head to bed pretty much straight away, then wake up the following day fresh and ready to go. If you stop in LA you need to adjust to the time change, then again when you go to NYC...


Oh, I hadn't even thought of them sleeping from LAX to NYC. Thank you blackcat!


QUOTE (rob6712col @ 29/01/2013, 01:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We have 3 kids , 5,5,and 7 and we did stop in LA for a couple of days to get over the jetlag before flying over to Orlando. We wish we hadn't bothered to stop and had kept going. The kids were fantastic and could have easily kept flying. The great thing about your timings is that they will zonk out and sleep on the LA-NY flight, probably all the way.  Just make sure they know that they will be on the plane all day and all night and that they have to have a sleep. This made the difference for my kids and they never asked if we were there yet. The A380 is fantastic to fly on with kids too. The TV in the headrest in front kept mine happy the whole trip. I recommend taking your own comfy headphones though for the kids. Being able to get up and go to the snack bar to get some pretzels, fruit or a drink is great too and just breaks the whole trip up a bit. Go straight through, and next time we will be doing that to.

Thanks again rob6712col.  Feeling a bit more confident about continuing on now.  Thank you for the tip about the headphones too.  original.gif


QUOTE (Fairey @ 29/01/2013, 04:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Lamarque - Whilst my kidlet is only a lil' tacka, we're going straight through to NY. Especially as we arrive in NY at night anyways.
DH and I have done a number of 24 hour + travels ~ I would just keep going. I'd rather stop on the way home than the way to our destination (not only do you break up the long flight, but it feels like the holiday isn't entirely over yet!!).

Thank you Fairey.  Yes, we'll be stopping at Disneyland on way home.  biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Holidaysfor8 @ 29/01/2013, 04:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Lamarque I just wanted to add my 2 cents in on your comments - our last trip to America nov11/jan12 we left melb at 11.15am and arrived in La at 7.30am their time I think around 3am our time? Anyway my youngest 2 boys were 8 and 9 and when we got to LAX they hit the ground running lol I think with the individual screens these little tv/tech freaks nowadays are in their element and seem to cope better than we do lolWe leave for our next trip 7 weeks today and this time we go melb to la with a 3 hour gap then straight to NYC - we discussed stopping overnight but decided after the way they coped last time were gonna fly straight after the first legI'm confident they will be fine - fingers crossed I'm not wrong lol

I'm going to have everything crossed Holidaysfor8!!  DD is a cling-on when she's tired and they both get so emotional after about 8pm.

Probably over-thinking it.  Not much I can do about it once it is booked, so I'll take everyone's advice and continue on to NYC.  Thank you ladies.  original.gif

Anyone want to talk about tipping in the US?

I get the general idea of it in terms of restaurants, taxis and bell hops (10-15% of bill/fare and about $1 per luggage item) but am wondering about the following scenarios:

  • receiving advice from concierge;
  • people who open doors for you;
  • take away shops etc


Can anyone think of a situation I haven't mentioned where I might be caught out?  I pretty much live without cash in the wallet these days, so it will be interesting.

Also, how does everyone pay for things over there?  Do you load up credit cards before you go and just use that to withdraw cash etc?  I've heard the 28 degree Mastercard is good..??

Holidaysfor8 - Wow, not long for you now!  From my research I think the Statue of Liberty is closed and you can only do a cruise around it???  It might re-open in time for your visit though.  

We will be doing (on top of what you're seeing - Top of the Rock, Empire State, Museum of Natural History, Central Park Zoo, Guggenheim, Madame Tussauds and probably The Cathedral of St John the Divine.   Plus I'll probably take DD to American Girl but I think your DD will be too old for that.  

A friend of mine recently returned from NYC and she said the hop-on/hop-off buses were fantastic and much better than the subway where you can't see anything so I think we will probably do that in combination with the New York City Pass.  Hope that helps.

Haven't been to your other destinations sorry.  original.gif

#21 lamarque

Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:08 PM

QUOTE (pascalls @ 29/01/2013, 06:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
lamarque - We went straight through in 2011 when DS was 8 & DD was 4. None of us slept much on the SYD-LAX leg. We were all too excited & there were too many great movies to watch! We had 4 hours between landing & our next flight and we just went straight to the gate to wait. DD actually fell asleep on the floor while we waited! We all slept at least half of the LAX-NYC leg, I think DH & DS slept for most of it (they slept the least to LA).

I would do it exactly the same if we were to do it again. We had enough sleep that after dropping off our bags at the hotel we went out for a walk & something to eat, despite travelling for about 24 hours. None of the excitement of being in New York was lost, even after all the travelling! biggrin.gif

Thank you pascalls.  original.gif  Sorry I was composing my post and didn't see yours until I hit reply.  I love hearing everyone's successful journeys (with kids)!

Also thought of another thing, if we did stay in LA we probably wouldn't be able to check in until 2 or 3pm anyway so defeats the purpose of stopping over to give the kids somewhere comfortable to sleep.  ddoh.gif  Where is my brain today?  Fogginess of a migraine I think.

#22 Holidaysfor8

Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:36 PM





Thanks LamarqueNo not long now but it's just crept up on me and im nowhere near as organized as i was last time lolWhen we were there last time we tipped the car hire shuttle bus driver who drove us from LAX to the car rental mob and he was shocked as he said it was rare ffor people to do so - it was only $10 (we had 10 bags between the 8 of us) but boy was he attentive after that and gave us all these hints on what to do and see and iinsisted on holding the door open and unloading all the bags for us lolWe tipped anywhere between 10-20% of the bill but again there was 8 of us and hubby soon started tipping only what he felt the service was worth lol but having said that we only came across one grumpy person our whole 9 weeks there :)An easy reminder was if you use proper knife and fork and they brought you food or drinks to your table ie: table service then you tip - if its like mMcDonalds, kfc etc then you dont tip.We tipped valet parking attendants about $2 each time and bell hops $1 a bagJust be careful as some resturaunts will automatically put a tip on the bill - you DONT have to pay it if you don't agree - there were a few places that automatically put a 30% tip on the bill and we crossed it out and wrote down what we wanted to pay - tipping is an important part of America but its not compulsory
We took over heaps of cash, travelex cards and the no longer available nab gold card Look for ATMs in walmarts for fee free withdrawals, we found chase bank ATMs the worst with $5-$10 per transaction
Yes the statue and island are closed for repairs after sandy so iM thinking they won't be reopen for usI forgot about top of the rock we want to do that, i,ll check out your other suggestions thank you

#23 blackcat20

Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:42 PM

I always tip the shuttle drivers, usually just $2 as I travel alone.
For restaurants, usually look to double the tax as your guide to what to tip.

Re the NYC hop on/off buses, I found them good to get an overview of the city and orient yourself, then you can head out on your own.

#24 Holidaysfor8

Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:44 PM

Just wanted to say
Best ever piece of advice about traveling to USA I found on this site a few years ago was
Hit the ground running
In other words forget your Aussie time zone, the minute you get to your destination get into THAT time zone from the get go
So don't take a mid day nap etc but rather try do what you would do at that time and try go to bed as close to the time you normally would
We landed in lax at 7.30am la time after a 14 hour flight (I think it was about 3-4am melb time?)
We picked up our hire car, drove to the citadel outlets and shopped - had lunch, drove to our accom for a 4pm check in, had dinner and we went to bed between 8 and 10pm
Not one of us suffered any jet lag at all
Yes we all crashed the minute we did go to bed but it was just like being tired after a full day out original.gif

#25 Holidaysfor8

Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:46 PM

Thanks blackcat, we arrive in NYC about 7pm at night so I was thinking of a tour the next morning to do just that, get an idea of what was where and decide where to go etc




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