Driving Interstate 95?
South of the Border is one of the most ridiculous tourist traps in the United States. Yet...you feel compelled to stop and check it out for some reason...even though you know it is still a tourist trap! Located in South Carolina at the border with North Carolina off I-95, it's a good place to stop for a break and for a few laughs. My most vivid memory from South of the Border (when I was a little kid) was the condoms for bulls they sold at the cash register - they were probably 5 or 6 inches wide. I'm sure my mother would love to hear that story.
Unique Suggestions: Buy something ridiculous, yet funny, to take home.
Fun Alternatives: Keep driving and don't stop.
dont buy disney stuff in the parks you will find the same stuff in most of the shops and at a lesser cost
Unique Suggestions: buy only small items and promise the kids that they will get twice as much outside.
Fun Alternatives: any shop but not hotel.Related to:
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
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Jackson Hole andThe Grand Tetons
Jackson Hole is a real tourist town, completely in western style. They go a long way to make the tourists happy. Every night in the center of town there is a shoot out, which is quite fun to watch, despite the rain that was falling down on me all the time.
I am not a real fan of these tourist places, but after days of only nature it was quite fun to spend the night in this town. It is a little town that provides every need of a tourist like dining, amusement and of course do a lot of shopping.
But Jackson Hole is also a great starting point to visit the Grand Tetons. I had never heard of this park, so I didn't plan to spend any time here. I only planned to drive through it to go to Yellowstone National Park. I wish I had know better.... It is truly a beautiful park and really worth visiting. The next time I go to Yellowstone I will make sure to spend some time here.
BIAS CREEPING INTO COMPUTERS FOR BEST PRICES
Bias is increasingly creeping into travel agency computers, making it tougher for customers to easily spot the best prices on sites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz or snag the best deals from traditional travel agents.Related to:
- Family Travel
As a tourist in the USA, I always knew about tipping, but thought it was at my discretion and should be about the same as the state tax added on again eg appr 10% of the bill. Not so in New York City - at some restaurants tipping is NOT at your discretion it is almost compulsory and at a set rate. I always tip and dont mind tipping what I consider a reasonable amount , but in some restaurants it is actually factored into the bill receipt and added on automatically at 15% via the cash register - I didnt even get a choice in it. I will keep my personal opinions about that to myself but its a good idea to be aware you will be up for a 15% whether you think its worth it or not - in once case I left %10 and the owner actually came up to the table to question the tip and why it wasnt the full 15%. He pointed out it was written on the cash register printout - which it was...Being out of town didnt carry any weight. VERY embarassing and not really what i thoght tipping was supposed to be about. So beware...check the local rate in each state in the USA
Unique Suggestions: Not a lot you can do here if their cash register print out has added it on at a pre-determined for you already without your say-so, unless you want to cause a real scene. If paying by a card, check the printout you get back on what the tip rate is. Will be under the total and the tax usually - Fill it in if you are happy with it. You leave it blank and put cash on the table might be the best bet to avoid this 'compulsory' tipping etc.
Vegas: It really is the Sin City!
I must say that I really did not enjoy Las Vegas at all. I went there on Memorial Day Weekend in 2002, and the place was full of really drunk college students. After have been to Gran Canyon in the morning, Las Vegas seemed to be the hell on earth. What it all comes down to are a bunch of scams to get you to spend your money on gambling, alcohol, and/or sex. Let me remind you, that I am Swedish, and hence no saint, but I still did not enjoy the atmosphere in this God forsaken city.
Unique Suggestions: The only good part about my stay was a visit to the Lance Burton Magic Show. Of course, the price to see the show was outrageous!
Fun Alternatives: If you go on a road trip, spend more time at the Grand Canyon and less time in Las Vegas.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Study Abroad
- Work Abroad
Money exchanges are rare
Trying to find a money exchange in this country is a bigger challenge than many foreign visitors might be used to. The best thing to do is probably to either get travelers cheques from American Express in U.S. dollars (you can have them replaced if lost or stolen) before you leave home. Most banks can change from foreign currency into U.S. currency. It is just very rarely advertised. Changing from U.S. to other currencies is typically only able to be done at main branches in larger cites though. I also believe that MOST American Express travel locations can change currency.
The meteor crater off of I-40 is just a big hole in the ground. Nothing spectacular and not worth your money or the time you'll spend trekking up endless stairs to look down and determine that you're seeing a giant hole in the ground. Spend some extra time at the Grand Canyon instead.Related to:
- Road Trip
All cities alike?
It is funny how all east-coast cities have the same best-selling tourist attractioins: an aquarium (Boston + Baltimore), they all have an obelix (Washington + Boston), an old boat (Baltimore + Boston), a capitol (Washington + Boston), a modern art museum with a Calder Mobile (Washington, Philadephia, NY)...
Unique Suggestions: Of course all the Museums I mentioned are of an exeptional level, it is just that they have paintings by the wame painters. I heard that Baltimore had an awsome aquarium but i was a little disappointed... I really liked the tamporary sea-horse exhibition and the multi-storey shark tank though.
Fun Alternatives: So to experience and discover each city's unique character, it is better to visit some other, often less popular, sights.
Niagra Falls- buy the postcard and keep moving
Niagra Falls resides on the border between Ontario and New York. The overwhelming falls create a hurrendous amount of hydroelectric power for both countries. You can take boat tours beneath the falls, cross the bridge over the border, or stick around to see the colored lights after sunset.
Unique Suggestions: Niagra Falls is definitely worth a visit, but don't stay more than a day. Buy a postcard instead of taking pictures....trust me, the postcard people will ALWAYS take a better picture than you. The falls are breathtaking, but they will only take your breath away for a few hours. Aside from the "mall" and Hard Rock Cafe, the entertainment in the area is not impressive and not worth sticking around for. Get in, see the water, get out.
Fun Alternatives: The best itinerary would include Niagra Falls as a stopover on the way to Toronto or Montreal, etc.
Self flushing toilets.
I'm not used to self flushing toilets and when I first encountered one, rising up from the seated position, I swung around to see who had flushed it for me!! I was scared out of my skin for a split second.
Unique Suggestions: Well I guess Americans get used to them and then have to be reminded that they are not always available, therefore need to flush their own toilet.
I risked being thought very wierd when I began taking flash photos in the ladies loo at a public place!! I checked to see if you could read the words, on my digital, and had to have three goes before getting a successful pic. You can imagine the strange looks as I emerged from the cubicle to face the queue of onlookers in the Ladies!!Related to:
- Family Travel
- Work Abroad
- Road Trip
Dont take $500 denomination travellers cheques
These proved extremely hard to cash and most shops didnt want to know about it (very politely however) Even major hotels baulked at cashing them, and even the local banks
You need to buy something around $400 for them to accept these and give you the change. The most common reason is they dont have enough $$ in their cash registers or on hand
Unique Suggestions: If you get stuck, go to a money exchange to cash but this will cost you a fee. Its about the only thing you can do.
For small change and day to day living take $100 cheques. Sure you may have to sign a lot of them but it beats being stuck with no cash for those little things like taxis and restaurants - all that tipping....and charging everything to Visa and the conversion of currency rates will add a nasty bite to your holiday bill.
Ok, ok, Las Vegas is THE Tourist Trap of all time. But yet... worthwhile. In recent years, it has become much more family friendly... lots of things for families to do together. But... don't confine your time to the casinos and all their trappings.... there is so much to see OUTSIDE of Las Vegas proper. Try the local mountains for a nice change. And of course... don't miss the dam! It is truly spectacular! Do do yourself a favor, dig up some maps of areas outside of Vegas and EXPLORE, EXPLORE, EXPLORE!Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
South of the Border
South of the Border is the quintessential American tourist trap. Located just south of the North Carolina-South Carolina line, this collection of gaudy restaurants, shops, and even 300 motel rooms, takes the "South of the Border" theme to the hilt. It is garish by my standards (my easy chair is orange) during the day, you should see it lit up at night. Furthermore, it is advertised by billboard as far away as Florida! The one thing I like about it is that its Mexican caricatures are unapologetically politically incorrect in an age where some folks mistakenly believe in a right never to be offended.
3346 US Highway 301 & I-95
Dillon, South Carolina 29536
The Red Dog Saloon in Juneau
The Red Dog Saloon is the first place that you see once you disembark from your cruiseboat(providing that is how you got to Juneau). It is set up to look like a historic bar with all kinds of old photos, posters and stuffed animal littered about the bar but alas do not be deceived. There is nothing historic about it. It is overcrowded with tourists who are simply here for half a day and will see no more of Juneau than its main street.
Unique Suggestions: If you are going to come here for a drink make sure that the tourist cruiseboats are out. Then it is quite.
Fun Alternatives: Unfortunately there are few respectable places where you like to go for a beer in Juneau. It's one flaw!
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