Our first trip trip the USA has been a success and generally it’s a very easy and not too expensive to travel within the U.S.A. Obviously you can spend any amount of money in every location but if you don't want 5* luxury accommodation and fine dining you can travel relatively cheap and live relatively well which is all you really need when you're on the move.
In total we took 1750 photos, travelled through 6 state including New York, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. We have stayed and visited the follow places (not including drive throughs enroute to others) New York, Washington DC (via train), Gettysburg, Charleston (via flight), Hilton Head, Savannah, St Augustine, Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral (Kennedy space centre), Key Largo, Key West, The Everglades and Miami, not bad in a 27 day trip including the 1 day extra where the plane was delayed home.
As a couple we have probably spent about £6500 including all flights, accommodation, food, attractions and attractions which isn't that bad for a near month long trip. Motels/hotels generally were about $60-$80 per night on the road, admission into most touristy things was either free or $10-$20 p/p. Food that we ate in dinners usually costing about $20-$40 for the both of us, maybe a bit more with a few drinks on a evening.
One thing to note is the landscape, the people and the food to a certain extent have differed as we have travelled from north to south. Hospitality has almost always been welcoming and warm regardless of where we have been and what we have been doing, people have almost mostly been inquisitive and interested in us and keen to talk about the UK once we get chatting. Transport as a whole has been great and we have travelled by plane, train, boat and car at different times and all have been good, prompt and comfortable except the final day flying home which coincidentally is with a domestic UK airline Thomas Cook. In total we travelled 1150 miles by car over the course of 14 days, only occasionally getting lost and only once having a bad drive and that was our own fault for driving into Miami at Friday rush hour.
Regarding the final part of the trip, the flight home, Thomas Cook who we are flying with have been awful and looked like they had never had a flight cancelled and had no way of handling it. I felt sorry for the ground staff who were trying to support everyone, in total it took nearly 3hrs from finding out the plane was not going to fly to actually getting to hotel to sleep for the night. None to little information along the way and the information which was given seemed to be contradictory or incorrect altogether. I am writing this final blog in the airport at 12:45 and the plane crew just walked by so hopefully we will be off soon. Thomas Cook do have some questions to answer regarding the delays and the poor and incorrect information being disseminated through the 300 passengers who were stranded. Obviously there were some stupid people who though getting irate and rude would solve the problem but luckily the majority simply stood/sat and waited patiently if not a bit irritated and annoyed. A complaint will be on the way to Thomas Cook once home.
Back to the trip, we have gathered various properties and characteristics of americans and its society and landscape as we have traveled, some obvious, others probably incorrect and stereotypical but we have noticed or come across incidents which have drawn these conclusions. Hopefully they won't offend anyone and since 26 days isn't a great deal it's not long enough to draw full in depth conclusion but more of simple observations are our opinion only.
- American society is wasteful as a whole:
- Straws wrapped individually / knives and forks wrapped in napkins and then in paper all individually.
- Double wrapped chewing gum as well as double packaging on many items in the supermarket.
- Polystyrene is everywhere, bowls,cups, knives forks spoons all disposable at all but 2 of the hotels we stayed in.
- Plastic cups in all hotels all individually wrapped.
- Most drinks served in plastic disposable cups in pretty much every bar or restaurant we went in with some exceptions for wine and some pubs.
- Doggy bags always polystyrene and disposable.
- History in the USA can only be classed as modern history really.
- This isn't quite true but things in U.K and europe have a much longer history.
- The history they do have is well kept and accessible, probably because they treasure the small amount which they have.
- People are always friendly if not always the sharpest of people.
- One woman thought the UK was in the Canada….
- Sometimes we suffered from language barriers.
- Izzi once getting a mocha instead of a water for example.
- The need to repeat things definitely happened.
- Other things which may need to be said in a different way like the time, half past ten seems to not make sense unless you say ten thirty.
- The 24hr clock does not exist.
- God and Guns definitely play in part in society.
- This is hard to justify as we have only spoken to a few people about guns and god but it seems to be on TV a lot as well the obviously one like being able to buy guns in your local supermarket.
- High levels of respect and preferential treatment for the Military also plays a role here. We often saw discounts in stores and restaurants with promotions like military day 20% off and also on internal flights they also got priority boarding.
- Petrol is unbelievably cheap and America is definitely a country where the car is king.
- Do they really need such massive cars and trucks? We saw just as many pickup trucks, 6 wheelers and massive off road trunks as we did cars, surely all these people don't need a 6 lt+ engine?
- Driving is easy but slow
- Driving in America is easy with lanes the same size as dual carriageways in the UK. In the same regard parking spaces are massive, I’ve lived in smaller houses.
- Cross roads suck in my opinion, the roundabout is king as it saves the indecisions. I have noticed when driving that people often suffer from indecision at cross roads and no one knows whose right of way it is, round abouts solve this problem in my opinion. The turn right on red rule seems like a decent idea but this seems to be ignored and abused in lots of cases.
- The roads and big and the traffic is slow with major transit routes sometimes not going above 55 mph unlike all motorways in the UK being 70mph.
- UK radio is without a doubt better in all respect in the UK.
- Too many repeats, not enough various, too many adverts, old out dates music and far too much country music are just some of our observations.
- Food is served fast and with a smile and the doggy bag is a given and expected part of many meals.
- Most of the food we ate in dinners and bar was decent enough quality and tasty however the lack of vegetables does seem to be an issue.
- Cuisine does change through states from the north to south with common fast foods always available.
- Also the requirement to server meals with bread and or biscuits (like a salty scone) is unneeded bloat to a meal.
- The same respect that every italian meal we went for is served with a salad course, this was welcomed but not sure why it's with italian food.
- Beer served by the ounce is not as good as by the pint which is always given by law as a full pint.
- American Chocolate is substantially worse than everywhere else we have travelled.
- Condiments are king and with most meals serve and good selection of condiments are available and maybe a sauce is served with your meal.
- This is a great point and a favourite of mine.
- Peanut butter is everywhere not just for breakfast.
- The same can be said for bacon
- Whilst talking about bacon, streaky sucks compared to english back bacon.
- The further south we went he fatter the people got.
- With exceptions of NYC and Miami we found people did get fatter the further south we travelled. It wasn't as prevalent as we expected but the ones which were fat tended to be really fat.
- Every bar is a sports bar with sport on all TV’s and usually lots of TV’s.
- Some pubs are not really pubs but just bars.
- College football seems bigger than professional football.
- A college stadium puts our premier league stadiums to shame.
- Everyone loves a clap, this is exercised at all possible times, this I struggled with.
That's all I can really write for this trip, the next trip won't be a few months or into the new year. Our plan again is to try and get ticket for Burning man which will mean some travelled down the west coast of the USA.