I travelled across the United States in 2 weeks only managing to visit 4 states. I hope this article helps you with a few hacks I’ve learnt from friends advice and personal experience.
Disneyland and California Adventure Park only really need a day each if you’re only looking at lining up for the main rides. The 2 day park hopper was perfect for me. However if you want to explore every corner of both parks perhaps a 4 day ticket would be more suitable. There are lots of shows and character photo opportunities that require long waiting periods which means you’ll spend some time in lines. Disney staff cannot accept tips as much as you try which makes it a bit awkward for first time visitors who think they’re doing the right thing. There are free Disney shuttle buses to and from most hotels which is extremely handy for families.
Los Angeles can be a difficult place to get around due to traffic congestion. If you aren’t in a hurry the buses are a cheap way to get around, although booking a hotel in the West Hollywood area allows you easier access to Universal Studios, Hollywood Boulevard, Santa Monica and Rodeo Drive. If you are visiting Universal Studios during the summer consider getting a front of line pass which allows you to skip long waiting times. A 1 day pass was sufficient for me as not all rides appealed to me. I would also highly recommend attending the Halloween Horror Nights should you find yourself at Universal Studios during the month of October. Hollywood Boulevard is a perfect photo opportunity spot with the walk of fame and the famous theatre venues but be prepared to walk and stand for a long time, take those comfortable walking shoes!
Las Vegas hosts some of the best shows, Cirque Du Soleil and showgirl performances are permanent fixtures. If there is a show you must see get the tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. If there is one you’re interested in seeing but you’re willing to wing it be sure to check out Tix 4 Tonight. You can only buy discounted show tickets on the night so you do run the risk of missing out. It doesn’t cost a thing to check out the other casinos so get those comfortable shoes back on. Ladies for a free rose make your way to the Excalibur and be sure to treat yourself to a shopping spree at the many discount factory outlets.
New Orleans has a rich history. The French Quarter is easy to navigate, everything is within walking distance. Check out the gypsies and jazz players at Jackson Square and if you have time visit the Hurricane Katrina museum. The Mississippi River is a 5 minute walk from there. Make sure you sail on the last paddle boat, the Natchez. Bourbon Street is a great place for souvenir shopping during the day, and some misadventures at night. If you have time and a tough skin you can join in a ghost adventure or perhaps a tour to the swamps. Beware the vampires and crocodiles.
New York needs time and patience but you need to fit in with the pace. The Grayline hop on hop off bus tickets are an awesome way to get around. Stay on a route all the way through without hopping off to get a good idea of what you’d like to see. If time is not on your side you’ll still have the chance to take photos from the bus. I doubt every stop will appeal to everyone. Each route takes 2 hours from start to finish. This is also a great way to get around to other places saving you on the subway! The last ferry to Ellis Island Statue of Liberty runs at 3pm however you can buy tickets for the next day unless you have a Grayline ticket in which case it’s free. A ticket to either the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center is complimentary as well on the Grayline ticket. The Rockefeller Center is higher but the Empire State Building is iconic. If you do choose the higher one be sure to get a delicious cake from Magnolia’s Bakery. Lastly but certainly not least, possibly the most important advice is that Broadway is closed on Monday.
Tipping is so important in the US whether you’re on a tour, dining out, ordering a coffee or grabbing a hot dog from a street corner. The minimum wage is low so most people do rely on these tips. And don’t forget the prices shown on the shelf do not include tax, this is added on at check out.