Located along the entire Interstate Highway System are rest areas. In the States where the distances are vast we have installed them with relative frequency. These can be a godsend if you are tired after 6 hours of driving or really need a toilet.
They are run and maintained by the individual states and some are better than others.( Texas has very nice ones) Actually some are fantastic. They often contain an information center . Kind of like a TI found in Europe.
They are designed so that you can get right off the Interstate and then just hop right back on no worries. Look for the blue signs on the right.
It is very unsafe to pull onto the shoulder to shift your load or change drivers. (As a First Responder I recommend that you never stop on the shoulder of any high-speed highway if you can help it) A high percentage of freeway accidents involve a car on the shoulder. So a Rest Area is a great place to stretch your legs or shift your load.
They all contain a toilet. Many have an area to stretch your legs. Picnic areas are common. This is great if you are tired of restaurants or are on a budget.
So look for the blue and take a break.
You can get a quick comparison of airline fees, right next to ticket prices at http://fairflighttravel.com.
That way you'll know the total cost of your trip (baggage, food, Wifi, etc.) when you book.
no experience there with bus or train so webpages will only be for information only.
however as an American citizen ,the all time bus inter state north american bus company there is Greyhound and they do the distance in about 4h20 Vancouver to Seattle
here is the link
hope it helps
Amtrak is the only nation wide passenger train system in the USA.
Amtrak started in 1971 as a government bailout of private railroad passenger trains. Those companies continue to operate freight service and own the track. As the lines in most locations continue to be owned by railroad companies that now only operate freight trains Amtrak is not a priority.
See also "Why is Amtrak so Expensive", below.
There are only so many seats and most routes operate fairly infrequently. Sometimes daily, sometimes three times per week, and sometimes frequent. Even frequent Northeast trains get sold out. Don't expect to just show up at the ticket counter and be able to board any train. The ticket price is usually far more expensive than if you purchased ahead of time.
Buying tickets online is fairly easy. Once you make a reservation and payment you are given a barcode and reservation number. Scan the barcode at ticket machines in major stations and it will print your tickets. Sometimes "QuickTrak" machines are in a bad mood. If scanning your barcode doesn't immediately produce a screen to review and print your ticket move to another machine.
If your printer has trouble and can't print the barcode or you loose your print you can print later by going to the "My Trip" section of the web site and enter your reservation number.
Small stations require purchase of the ticket from the conductor.
What are the Cars Like?
Usually better than airline coach but there variety. Some of the cars ride a little rough as they are over 50 years old. Superliners used on many long distance routes are over 30 years old. One state is rebuilding cars from the 1950s for their regional Amtrak trains. Washington and Oregon use Spanish Talgo trains quite different from anything else. California has regional cars (naturally called "California Cars") based on Superliners but a different interior layout.
Problems with track are felt pretty strongly on top levels of Superliners, and it may be a good idea to have motion sickness medication available if prone to this, or try to request a lower level seat. Usually it isn't necessary but there is some rough track in places.
My tip About the Empire Builder and Coast Starlight in Oregon and Washington helps expand information on Superliners and trains with them.
Some routes only have a snack bar rather than a full dining car.
Meals are included with long distance sleeping car bedrooms.
Coach passengers pay extra for snacks and meals. Meal reservations in the coaches are usually in 15 minute intervals. There is no guarantee that a particular time slot will be available so if you need to eat at a particular time it may be best to purchase meals in the snack bar or bring your own food.
You are not allowed to bring your own alcoholic beverages.
What is the Deal with Delays?
Coast Starlight = Coast StarLATE
Lake Shore Limited = Late For Sure Limited
and many other jokes abound about the railway network to operate passenger trains on time.
As noted in the second paragraph Amtrak operates trains over lines owned by freight railroad companies or sometimes by commuter railroads. Priority for those entities are their own trains. Frequently Amtrak trains wind up waiting for very slow freight trains or frequently stopping commuter traffic.
Some routes do better than others. Find on time performance of various trains on the Amtrak web site. Routes -> Historical On Time Performance, then select the train or service to see how often it has been late in the past. Some are good - 90% or better. Others are terrible. It all has to do with how badly crowded a particular line is, and how good the particular company that owns the line is at operating its traffic.
It is all part of a railroad network horribly under capacity for the amount of traffic.
Why is Amtrak so Expensive?
There are relatively few trains, and in general there is not enough equipment. Trains can and frequently do sell out, especially during peak travel season. Thus, the "yield management" formula for tickets - the closer the train is to being sold out, the higher the ticket price.
It really saves a lot of money if you can book your ticket early as that prevents the ticket formula from going into effect. Instead, you get the standard price.
Example: During 2009 and early 2010, standard ticket between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington was $29. If many of the seats had sold out, this price would be $39, and if even more seats were sold out it would be $49. A few seats priced in the $52 range. Buying early enough guaranteed $29 even on the popular trains.
A VirtualTourist forums posting asked about getting from Washington DC to Lancaster, Pennsylvania as Amtrak was overpriced. I looked at the web site and found the Amtrak price was $117 for the desired day - but it was only two days away. Checking a month into the future yielded a price of $50. Greyhound buses, which were suggested as a cheaper alternative, were $46 and took an hour longer. Again, planning ahead pays off if you are able to do so.
What is the Deal with Luggage?
Some stations have checked luggage available, and in this case you can have your larger items put in the baggage car. Some of the stations do not have any staff to handle luggage and thus checked luggage is not possible. In some cases, the station is only open during very limited hours and checked luggage is not a possibility for certain trains.
Many passenger car types have lots of space for luggage, and generally you will not have a problem finding a place for most standard sized suitcases. The amount of space depends on the type of equipment, and some of the older stock don't have very large overhead luggage racks. Other cars have luggage racks both above the seats and at the end of the car so that quite large carry on items may be accommodated.
If your suitcase or bag is slightly oversized than the limits posted on Amtrak's web site for luggage size restrictions, chances are you will not have any problems finding a space for it. Sometimes, fairly large bags may be accommodated as hand luggage - especially in the equipment with luggage racks at the end of the car (i.e., Cascades Talgo or certain Superliner or Northeast Regional trains) but it is best to not depend on being able to cram your refrigerator sized bag into the hand luggage area unless you are reasonably familiar with the train and what type of equipment is usually assigned to the route and the available luggage space.
What about Luggage Storage?
Many people have asked about where to store luggage in various cities. Almost always, Amtrak stations are suggested as a possibility but almost always this is not a correct suggestion. As a general rule, Amtrak luggage storage is only for Amtrak passengers, and it must be arranged with the Amtrak checked luggage counter in the station.
As an example, here in Portland, Oregon the charge is $5 per parcel per day, and only for Amtrak passengers. Various facilities in various cities will have different policies.
I Don't Understand the Amtrak Web Site
The current setup has two different areas:
The area on the left side of the home page is best used by those who already are familiar with Amtrak travel and just want a quick way to get what they want. "Tickets" is for making a reservation. "Status" is for those who are wanting to check the arrival or departure status of a train. "Schedules" is for quick lookup of a train schedule without starting a ticket reservation. "My Trip" is for those who already have a reservation code - from here you can enter your reservation code and make reservation changes, reservation cancellations, print the bar code required for ticket printing at the "QuickTrak" ticket printing machines, etc.
The main part of the web page is helpful for those who are less familiar with Amtrak and its web site. "Timetables" gives the printed format timetables for various routes, if you happen to know the train name or service name that serves the area you are interested in taking. "Stations" gives a lookup list of the stations in the Amtrak system, including those that are operated by a Throughway connecting service (bus, boat, or sometimes a train by a different agency or company). There are ways of finding a station by region or a list of stations. "Routes" provides a list of the various Amtrak routes and regions and includes an interactive route guide. If you are not quite certain where the nearest Amtrak station is, or are otherwise not quite certain where you want to go or how to get there, the interactive route Atlas under "Routes" is a good starting place. "Deals" lists various discounts and other special promotions, including a link to some vacation packages. "Plan" includes an assortment of other information about planning a trip on Amtrak, including a basic introduction to things ("Planning and Booking"), station information, on-board the train information, and various other items useful for those unfamiliar with train travel in the USA.
There are several ways of getting discounts on Amtrak. These include American Automobile Association (AAA) membership cards (10% discount) plus student discounts, veterans discounts, etc. These are entered into the system on the web site after the reservation is made, but before the payment is made.
Many discounts are not available on top of other discounts. For example, on a recent local trip I could pay $25 seasonal special, or $28 using full ticket price and AAA discount. It is not possible to get the seasonal special rate and discount again using a AAA membership discount.
Amtrak Guest Rewards is a system that works similar to airline mileage system. There are many partner shopping systems through which one can obtain points to use towards free travel.
well to late now, tolls needs to be paid. The roads are marked and like in Fl or NJ if it says turnpike, it is a toll road.
here is a site that tells all on tolls in the USA
do to your description of coming in, better get a shuttle service to take you.
it does have some traffic around the beltway but if someone else is driving a professional, you will be alright
get quotes from this service, known to my friends there when traveling
hope it helps
you can park in Brighton,or by commonwealth, but indeed it has become difficult there, here is a site that tells many to take a look
hope it helps
well here comes the road warrior, car is heavens, best way to travel. YOu already said hire a car so take the plunge. Done the route many times in the past as had family in Brighton Boston, the NY Thruway is fine if have done any city driving before.
check the routing using
park by Madison Square Garden ,you have all the parking places help here
you can use an address, neighborhood or sight for the parking closer to you.
as hotels never stayed lived 13 off it, but the area north of MSG towards Central Park all is good.Hope it helps your planning
Having driven the Pacific Coast Highway from the Mexican border to Canada, may I recommend, as a tip, that if you drive this you drive it south-to-north? It is a magnificent drive and throroughly recommended, but if one is on the right-hand-side of the road, heading north, driving is much more relaxed as one does not have to worry about the cliff edge constantly, especially at the most spectacular points.
the convention center has parking, but is was been renovated a while back ,dont know now, but anyway there is plenty of parking nearby see link
hope it helps
I used to park by madison square gardens, but it was severalyears ago not back in the big apple, cheers
pickk any you want here map and prices will tellyou
happy motoring !! from the road warrior lol! by the way, lots of memories I learn to drive driving into NYC in and out a few years back ::)
I know that public transport bites in the U.S. It is a painful fact that at this point the best way to see most of my country is with a personal vehicle. So it is best to have this factored into your plans. With the exception of New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Portland you will need wheels.
I will give you a few ideas that have worked for friends of mine that have visited the U.S.
1. If you have time and the adventurous sprit consider bike touring. I know that this seems crazy to many. It is one of the most interesting ways to see many places in the U.S. It is rich with cultural involvement and would make the trip of a life time.
2. Develop a friendship with an American and travel with them or borrow a car from them. We have traveled with many friends from outside the U.S. and it worked well for them.
3. Rent a car this is expensive but easy and reliable. There are many reliable companies and you can get them right at the airport where you land. (Most U.S. airports are NOT well connected with the cities they serve) This helps to avoid the hassle of getting into town.
4. Buy a used car and sell it when you leave. Many friends have chosen this option and for those with the temperament for dealing with the extra work it is a great option. You most likely will take a loss when you sell it but it comes out better than renting cash wise.
5. Rent a small RV/motor home. This seems to be more common among people that travel to the western National Parks. It allows you to save much of the cost of hotel rooms. You also do not have to keep packing and unpacking. You can also offset some of the cost by cooking for yourself. I have talked to many people from all over the world that have chosen this option and liked it. Not super cheap but it does have it's good points.
Well I hope this helps a bit.
When I first heard about Megabus I was extremely skeptical. Many reviews I read online made it seem like this was a risky way to travel, and that the buses were rarely on time and often several hours late... this couldn't be further from the truth.
I had been looking for a way to get from Michigan to Maine for as cheap as possible. Flying would be ~$300 one way and driving would be anywhere from $200-$250 in gas. So I was amazed to discover Megabus where I could get from Toledo to Portland for $41.50!
I could have booked: Toledo-Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh-New York, New York-Boston, and then Boston-Portland and completed the trip in just one (albeit LONG) day, but due to the bad reviews I read about buses being late, I broke the trip up into 2 days just to be safe. I booked Toledo-Pittsburgh and then Pittsburgh-New York for Saturday and then I took the train at Grand Central up to a friend's place in CT and then continued on the next morning taking New Haven-Boston and then Boston-Portland.
I had absolutely zero problems with the trip and absolutely COULD have completed it in one day if I had wanted to. All of my buses left EXACTLY on time. The one into Pittsburgh was about 10 minutes late, but the ones into New York and Boston were both 10 minutes early and the one into Portland was right on time. Basically, there were no major delays at all.
The best part was the price. I booked about 3-4 weeks prior to my trip and I got the Toledo-Pittsburgh AND Boston-Portland routes for $1. New Haven-Boston was $9 and Pittsburgh-New York was $30. There is a $0.50 reservation fee when you book online, so my total cost ended up being $41.50 (plus about $14 for the train from NY to New Haven, although buses from New York-Boston seemed to be less than $23 [the cost of NH-Boston + the train] so it could have been even cheaper if I had done the whole trip through MegaBus.
They advertise free Wi-Fi, although I didn't really test it much. I slept pretty much the whole way from Toledo-Pittsburgh. The bus from Pittsburgh-New York was a double decker and I did pull out my laptop for a little while on that. The internet connection worked fine (except media sites like YouTube were blocked - I guess those use too much bandwidth?) and there was a plug under my seat for power.
On the New Haven-Boston ride, one of the passengers complained to the bus driver that the internet wasn't working and she didn't seem to care. She just told him "it's turned on" and didn't indicate that she was going to look into it if there really was an issue. This was before we departed, so I dunno if it worked or not on that ride (I slept and never got my laptop out).
So basically, the internet worked the one time I tried it, but I only tried it on 1 of the 4 buses I took.
For the stops... they are hit or miss. The one in Toledo is really shady and hard to find. It's basically on some random street corner across the street from a McDonalds with no signs that tell you it's a MegaBus stop. The one in Pittsburgh is also similar except they actually had a MegaBus employee there to verify that it was the right place and make sure people got on the right buses.
New York was also similar, they just dropped us off at the corner of 7th Ave/28th St. The pickup was in a different location so I don't know how that is.
The further north/east we got, the better it was though. The pickup spot in New Haven was right outside the train station (Union Station), and the guy working at information inside the train station knew about it and explained where it would arrive, etc.
Boston was the best, it was actually inside a bus terminal and there were screens on the walls by each door indicating which bus went to which location. This was serviced by multiple buses, not just MegaBus, but they obviously were included. The stop in Portland was also at a bus station with parking and an indoor area as well.
So overall, the stops were hit or miss. If I had to rate them in order, Boston was the best, followed by Portland, then New Haven, then Pittsburgh, then New York, and Toledo was the worst. Boston, New Haven, and Portland all had places to wait for the bus INSIDE while Toledo, Pittsburgh, and New York did NOT.
That's about all I can think of for the review. I guess one more thing to keep in mind is that you can only have one piece of luggage + a "carry on" bag. So don't expect to bring too much with you.
Unfortunately Megabus only serves the Northeast/Southern part of the country. If you are heading West past the Mississippi River, MegaBus is not for you. But if you are heading to the Northeast or even all the way down to Florida, it's definitely a good option.
Overall, it was great. Again, the buses were on time and the prices were GREAT. I would definitely recommend this if you don't mind long bus rides.
AirTran Airways is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, but it avoids some of the minor annoyances that plague Southwest. Of course, Southwest just bought AirTran in late 2010, so chages may be in the works. Examples of why AirTran is better than Southwest: actual seat assignments, you can book flights through regular travel websites like Expedia. Southwest is known for its top-notch customer service and "bags fly free!". Maybe we'll end up with the best of both worlds. The new Southwest is now one of the largest U.S.-based airlines in terms of domestic market share.
AirTran was founded in 1992 as ValuJet Airlines. The company barely survived when one of its planes crashed in the Everglades in 1995, but a merger, a name change, and new aircraft gave the company new life. Prior to the $1.4 billion acquisition by Southwest, Airtran had grown to operate about 700 flights a day.
Air New Zealand is rapidly becoming my airline of choice. It's just unfortunate they don't fly to many places in Asia and Europe!
Saying that, however, for people living in NZ or the UK, Air New Zealand can get you to the west coast of the US in comfort. Air New Zealand provides services to/fromLondon and of course Auckland, via Los Angeles. The 747 and 777 fleets are equipped with in-seat entertainment systems that are top notch. Air New Zealand also flies between Auckland and San Francisco now with its new 777s. Pictured here is ZK-OKB at SFO, readying to depart for the nearly 13 hour ETOPS flight to Auckland.
Air New Zealand's inflight service has improved hugely from my experiences on four recent long-haul flights with them in 2006. They definitely do deserve your consideration if travelling to the west coast of the US from Oceania.
This is a Hotel /Bed and Breakfast. It is a oasis in the middle of Times Square. It is quiet inside...more
There's no doubt this hotel, provides a level of luxury and convenience, that many travellers will...more
From the moment I arrived, I felt totally at ease with the thought that I could escape the strip...more
see all United States of America member meetings