Getting a prepaid phone in the USA.
Favorite thing: It may be easier to buy a prepaid phone with minutes. You can do this at stores like Wal-Mart, at drug/pharmacy stores, or at stores like 7-11. They should be between $15 and $40 and you can add minutes.
You may be able to get a GSM SIM card at an ATT or T-Mobile store. However, they must be the stores that only sale ATT or T-Mobile. A dealer which sales several companies my only have yearly plans. You can get a pre-paid T-Mobile SIM card over the internet but I think you need a US mailing address. See my Cheap Disposable Mobile Phones tip for more info.
You should also be aware the T-Mobile uses 1900 mhz and ATT uses 850 and/or 1900 mhz (depending on location) in the US. So whatever your third band on your phone is will affect which phone US GSM phone company you should get.
But, as and I said at the top of this message, it may just be easy to buy a cheap prepaid phone. Not all prepaid US phone use GSM but you get a phone, it does not matter. :)
Out Of Scale
Favorite thing: We all have what I call “Our own scale”. I mean that we get acquainted to the usual distances, time scheduling, and rhythm of life, that, all together, compose that scale. That helps making our life predictable and controllable, easing decisions and life itself. When we move to another country or society, sometimes things are different, forcing to an adapting time, until getting “fixed” in the new scale.
A tourist doesn't usually have that time, so, travelling demands a special attention the “the scale”. In a global world under the American culture, the differences are fading, turning the adaptation quick and easy. But, sometimes, surprises do happen. Then, you better be attempt to that notion of scale. If you do, you get a new point of observation of the visited place, and will be able to enrich your knowledge understanding the differences. But if you don’t, then you will probably feel rather uncomfortable, and, if you need to go on planning the next step of your trip, you risk to make serious mistakes, spoiling the trip.
In my trips, I really felt out of scale twice: the first in 1982, in my first visit to Fes, in Morocco; the second one in Florida, in 1992 in my first visit to the USA. I was prepared, and really enjoyed the feeling. To know the details just follow the links.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
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LAPD - Final highlite - Driving a police mc
Favorite thing: During our two weeks and 3000 miles we got no problems with the traffic or police. We saw a lot of police cars, some motorcycles and discussed with some polices in cafes and restaurants. Nice and polite people, always helping with all issues you might face there.
Finally, in the last evening in LA downtown we witnessed a police action, two police motorcycles hunted a car and the car was stopped in about 200 meter distance from us. We we came to scene, we took a look to motorcycles, hey there are shooting guns all the police equipment, the other was a Harley and the other BMW. My eyes shined and the other police game and I was sure he ask us to go away, but no, in a few seconds we had discussed that we just passed Route 66 and were motorist. Finally he asked: "Would you like to drive a police motorcycle?". WHAT? Drive a police motorcycle! Yes, and my eyes shined more.
If you don't trust me, check the second picture.
And remember, these guys are doing on of the most challenging work, let support them in ways possible to us. Thank you LAPD!Related to:
- Road Trip
Annual National Parks Pass
Favorite thing: One thing to note with the Annual National Park Pass, now called "America The Beautiful Pass". You do not have to decide on your first park visit to purchase the annual pass. Hold onto your receipt and if you decide within one week at another park you want the annual pass, you can provide that receipt and receive credit off the annual pass. As long as it is within one week. For example, if you go to Arches and Canyonlands, then decide at Bryce you want the annual pass, present the two receipts and it will be deducted from the $80 annual pass. This is a great option, just in case your not sure you will make all the parks or able to return within one year to use the annual pass again (looks like your schedule only allows for 1 week). But if you plan on visiting the parks throughout the year, $80 its a great deal.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Hiking and Walking
U.S. Route 66 with Billy Connolly
Favorite thing: Billy Connolly's Route 66 was a British documentary television series and it was shot between April and June 2011, at the same time than we were there. Here are all youtube links to the story.
In the first episode, Connolly's journey along Route 66 began in Chicago, Illinois and the goal is St. Louis.
The second episode started in St. Louis, with Connolly climbing the Gateway Arch and the destination was Oklahoma City.
The third episode starts from and goes through Glenrio and Los Alamos to Arizona.
In the fourth and final episode of Route 66 are a couple of high lights, a massive meteorite crater as well as the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Connolly's journey concluded at the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica.
http://www.youtube.com/w atch?v=UjQAJnxYZ3ARelated to:
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Food For Thought
Favorite thing: You probably missed it in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.
The next day, an Australian dentist wrote an editorial, to let everyone know what an American is, so they would know when they found one. (Thank You mate!!!!)
"An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Slovak or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Iraqui, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.
An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.
An American is Christian, or Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim.
In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.
An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, nor to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government or for God.
An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.
The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.
An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need.
When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country! As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.
Fondest memory: "Americans welcome the best of everything...the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least. A national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless and the tempest tossed. These are, in fact the people who built America.
Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.
So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler tried. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American."
And sometimes it is necessary to fight for this freedom.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
The World is Our Root
Fondest memory: One of my fondest memories of the U.S.A. is it's ancestral relationship with the whole world. France gave this statue to us and it has become the symbolic beacon to the world of perennial hope.
Though it seems, that with each new wave of immigrants comes a collective grumbling from those settled here, in time, the new citizens blend with the old and they too grumble when a newer wave of immigrants arrive.
A cycle of adjustment seems to be experienced before everyone can settle down.
Grumbling is one thing, expressing indiscriminate hate is another. Attacks and blame against some of our newest immigrants, Arabs and Muslims, who have nothing to do with terrorist activities, hurt my heart as much as the terrorist attacks. I have perennial HOPE that this nation protects all innocent people.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- National/State Park
- Road Trip
see New York City and sports
Favorite thing: well great trip you have there, I used to lived next door and visit often, in the meantime the locals come up I will give you my five cents worth opinion ::)
10 days is nice, the city is pretty compact. The subway is very good to move you about to all those places and the boat to Ellis island;
YANKEES are still my team so it depends if you like it and baseball, they do provide tours, inquire about it here
and the official site
Again the Knicks are still my team there so if you like Basketball ,why not its the mecca Madison Square Garden, the schedule is here
accommodation depends on our budget, if you type New York city in destination you will have plenty to choose from by tips from posters like us. Again I use apts when traveling with the family and the site we always use for years also has in NYC,here is the webpage
for sightseeing additional you can also look in destinations here for tips by posters like us and the NYC tourist office at
Hope it helps your planning
Fondest memory: going on my first car trip me driving to Yankee stadium and visiting Madison Square Garden and the Statue of Liberty, and eating in ManhattanRelated to:
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
U.S. Route 66 - The Mother Road
Favorite thing: U.S. Route 66 (also known as the Will Rogers Highway) is known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road and it's probably The most famous road in the world.
Route 66 was established 1926 and the road signs were erected the following year. The highway originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, before ending at Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).
The song, Route 66 was originally recorded by Nat King Cole Trio in 1946 and it is written by Bobby Troup. There are multiple variations, including the Finnish version (1964), made by Jussi and the Boys according to Finnish Route 66 (Orivesi - Lapua). The Boys travelled on the road and it was in so bad conditions that lyrics tells: "Tehkää uus, valtatie kuuskut kuus" meaning "Make a new, route sixty-six". Funny history is that after Road Government made a new one, there were need for a new song and thus "Now we have, a new route sixty-six" version was recorded (1985).
Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments over its lifetime, changing its path and overall length. Many of the realignments gave travellers faster or safer routes, or detoured around city congestion. One realignment moved the western endpoint farther west from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica. Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially 1930s.
U.S. 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985.
Let's hope that enthusiasts find the route, the more there are visitor, the better all required services will be. We might meet there on some day. I definitely make a new trip there.
Fondest memory: You find a lot of Historic Route 66 signs, unfortunately not too much, if you, like us, eagerly follow some version (there a lot of changes, you can plan and take from hundreds of possibilities), meaning that preplanning, maps and proper guide books will help a lot. If you find a Route 66 sign from your friends home, blain him/her to shame, just that sign could be the one got us lost in the Route (one major, two or three minor and tens of meaningless strays from right path).
You find a lot of books and maps, I update the best paper maps here later, most help we got from EZ66 Guide (hope that this is not considered as an add, the advantage of this book is that it is detailed, it is spiral bounded (extremely helpful when driving with motorcycle, you can take a couple of pages to you map bag) and the writer's updates can be found from his web pages.
I hope you find some relevant information and I would like to encourage you to follow me, once a lifetime, at least. You can take a car or motorcycle, if you would like to have more extreme, take bus, train or bicycle. You can drive the Route via highways in a few days, spend fortnight on bike on more original route, as we did, or take two months of work and inspect the route more carefully. Have fun and don't hesitate to contact me, if you think that I could give you some other tips or advice.
There is a lot of more information in the web, you might start from
where you can find news, blogs and maps.Related to:
- Road Trip
Route 66 Forum Question Answer
Favorite thing: I am from the U.S. and grew up and still live in the Chicago area where the eastern part of Route 66 starts. Part of Route 66 goes through the town I grew up in. I have been on a portion of the road out west, but have never travelled the entire length.
A good portion of the original Route 66 is no longer and a lot has been obviously replaced by the more modern Interstate Highway System. However, you can get off the Interstate system and go on portions of the old road. In the section I am most familiar with in Illinois a portion of the old Route 66 is now frontage road to Interstate 55 from Chicago to St Louis.
Your question is it with doing I guess would really depend on what you expect to get out of the trip. If you go the entire length from Chicago to Los Angeles you are going to see a lot of different things and get a good slice of Americana especially if you are willing to get "off road" periodically.
There is a Route 66 museum which has opened up in Pontiac, Illinois which is about 90 minutes into your road trip if you start in Chicago where you could probably get a whole host of information for your trip out west.
Favorite thing: If you come from a country where you dont tip the waitress or the bartender, dont expect much service from them in the coming hours. In the USA they are depending to survive on the tip, and I dont know if they dont have any hours salary, but this is the way in this country. Just buy it and have fun. I dont like the system either, but I am guest in their country, then I cant change the customs at all. I am just a guest in this country. 2012 I have no idea what you give in tip for one beer for example, but I usually go after my idea to tip 10% of the sum especially in the restaurants.
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Events for all tastes
Favorite thing: The size, geographic diversity and cultural mixture of the United States, are a tremendous opportunity for what the American do better: show business.
Everything, everywhere, is a remarkable event, from the caprices of nature in Grand Canyon or Monument Valley, to the use of history that America "doesn't have" but copies with extreme perfection. From the natural simplicity of Saint Louis to the opulence of Las Vegas everything is business opportunity, with the violence that is an American landmark present even in the more innocent exhibitions, like in Universal Studios.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Nice Georgetown section
Favorite thing: Georgetown section
nice section ,great university and off Wisconsin, sure buses passes by and the subway,go to map and parking at this site
hope it helps, its been a while for me there.
Fondest memory: visiting Georgetown University and the Smithonian museumsRelated to:
- Family Travel
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Immigration & ESTA
Favorite thing: If you have a visa - good. But even if your country is part of the Visa-waiver program, you probably need to register on the "ESTA" homepage where vital travel information and personal data have to be given in orderr to get the authorization for travelling in the United States (date:2011). It is important to know that even if you are just stopping in the U.S. while catching a transit flight the ESTA procedure has to be completed. Please check for the current handling of immigration as procedures are apt to change anytime.
Visiting North American Indians
Favorite thing: In California, they are in general not called Reservations but Missions and Rancherias and other names. I remember visiting a group's Clinic near Sacramento. Indians in America are very private people and in general, in my opinion, do not welcome visitors to their living area. It is of course, different,if they have a casino where you are welcome to visit and spend some money. there are over 500 tribes in the USA and they are linguistically and culturally different and at various levels of acculturation into the american society. Easier places to visit American Indians would be in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma (once again no reservations), North and South Dakota.
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