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.
Getting to and from the USA by air.
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.
Tips when hiring cars
When you book your rental car from outside the US make sure you book the cheapest and smallest car you can. When you arrive in the US first of all they don't have any of those tiny two door cars so you automatically get upgraded (don't pay for this, just say you're happy being cramped becasue it makes for a cosy ride, they'll try anything to make you pay for the upgrade they're going to give you anyway). If you do want a bigger car or a convertable then pay for it as an upgrade. If you've booked the cheapest tiniest car all upgrades are now negotiable. You'll only pay a few dollars more for a much bigger car, certainly a lot less than it would have been online or through an agent back home. Oh and the other tip is to make sure you get the correct insurance. I always think its best to scrimp on the car but make sure the insurance is fully comprehensive and not just third party. Last thing you want to be doing is worrying about a stupid hire car while you're on holiday.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Taxi from LAX - DON'T DO IT !!!
As obvious as this tip may sound (and feel assured that I feel very much the fool for even having fallen for it), however desperate you are to get into LA from LAX airport; Don't catch a taxi !!
We were supposed to have been picked up by The Banana Bungalow hostel we had prebooked with but they no-showed. We let the fact we had just arrived in the States with no transport to take us to our beds overwhelm us somewhat and made a beeline straight for the taxi rank.
This moment of stupidity cost us $56 before we had even had a chance to see our first sight !! As I said, it's a very obvious tip but I just want to drum in to anyone planning to visit LA that there are many other better ways to get from the airport to the city including shuttle buses and public transport buses.
$56 is a bad fare in anyone's language but it's made even worse in the States by the fact that they want a bleeding tip as well !! I politely told him my tip to him was that maybe they shouldn't charge so much...
I felt ashamed... LOL
- Budget Travel
Go to http://mpdining.idine.com/site/learn_more.jhtml to find out about a plan where you can earn 10 miles for every $1 spent at lots of restaurants.
It's a great deal.
The above link will take you to United's enrollment page; I signed up through United's website. You have to join United's Mileage Plus Program and then sign up for iDine. You will need the account number from Mileage Plus to join the iDine program.
You can spend $50 at a nice restaurant and get 500 miles! A key restriction is that you only get miles for your first purchase every month at each participating restaurant.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
New York's John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport (JFK)
John F. Kennedy International Airport is the premier gateway airport to the United States. It serves airlines from just about every country you can imagine. I have passed through here 8 times, never out of want, but out of necessity. I don't like JFK airport because it is too spread out. The free red shuttle that stops at each of the terminals helps a great deal, but you had better arrange a layover of at least 3 hours for domestic flights and 4 for foreign ones (factoring in the new security measures), if you have to go to a different terminal.
New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
La Guardia Airport is New York's domestic-only airport. The reason for that is simply a question of runway length. The end of the runway is the Long Island Sound. For international flights, you need a longer runway from which to take off and on which to land due to the size of the aircraft required to hold the necessary fuel to travel internationally. I have only been into and out of here twice (1986 and 2007). The first time, we had to take a bus to Kennedy Airport to catch our flight to Europe. The second time, I flew out of here in a most indirect route from Richmond to Quito. I find the airport way too spread out for anyone to make a connection with a layover of anything less than an hour.
Getting the best price on a car rental
Usually car rental makes a lot of sense for travel in the USA unless you just plan to visit a large city or two.
But, for example, if you are just going to Anaheim, you might forget the car business. This is a city with lots of provision for tourists.
You have to be of a certain age to rent a car (I think under 26 can be a problem.), and it is almost impractical without a credit card due to required deposits, etc. I am not sure about credit cards from outside the USA, or about making reservations from outside the USA by internet or phone. This is certainly something you should research before your arrival in the USA.
Definitely book in advance if you find the right price. The walk up price is certainly going to be much higher than a pre-arranged price. Also be sure whether or not your credit card or home auto insurance company covers you during a car rental. There is lots of competition between different companies but most big promotions do not extend to the larger vehicles, so just because a company is having a big promotion it does not mean it will have the best pricing for larger or specialty vehicles.
In general will find non-airport office to same office has the best price, airport to same airport next, airport with dropoff at different airport next, and office to a different office or airport the most expensive. The 'Enterprise' company advertises their willingness to pick you up at your hotel for free. Budget (now part of Avis) and Thrifty are national companies that tend to compete on the low end of prices. In individual towns you can find even cheaper independent rental services sometimes using slightly older cars that might be considered for longer term rentals.
If you find a car and car company you want on one of the general car rental websites, be sure to connect to the specific website of the company because you may find the rental cost even cheaper when purchased directly.
Read more: http://forum.virtualtourist.com/forum-750776-1-Travel-Anaheim-1-forum.html#ixzz1H97c8SDe
drivers license IDP OR IDL
Jonelis...........even though I find the driving requirements on government web sites, it has to be enforced...yet it is not. I rent cars all over the world without a IDP or IDL because the laws are not enforced...Grumpdiver is right and here is a clip from USA.gov and other official sites.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) translates information contained on your driver's license into 10 languages so that officials in foreign countries are able to interpret your license. An IDP supplements a valid government-issued license--it does not serve as a replacement for a license. If you are stopped by law enforcement, you will most likely be asked to produce both your IDP and your official driver's license. The United States does NOT issue International Driving Permits to foreign visitors, so you will need to obtain this document before traveling to the U.S.
What's an IDP?
The United States is a party to a United Nations treaty that gives residents of one country the right to drive in other countries using the driver's license issued by the government where they live. This treaty created the international driving permit to make this arrangement easier. An IDP translates your state-issued driver's license into 10 languages so you can show it to officials in foreign countries to help them interpret your driver's license. If you're a U.S. resident, an IDP is useless within the U.S. IDPs are not intended to replace state-issued driver's licenses and should be used only as a supplement to a valid license when traveling in a foreign country. In addition, IDPs are not proof of identity.
The U.S. Department of State has authorized only two organizations to issue IDPs to U.S. residents. The organizations, the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA), are permitted to sell IDPs only to people who are at least 18 years old and only to those who have a valid driver's license issued by a U.S. state or territory. The AAA and the AATA charge $10 for each IDP.Related to:
- Road Trip
You should be able to get a direct flight to Los Angeles or Vancouver. Are you going to Vancouver BC or Vancouver, Washington? I would assume it is BC. I know I flew frm Tipei to Los Angeles direct.
What states are you planning on visiting. I am born and raised in Alaska so hit me up if you want any information about this beautiful state. I also have infomration on my page, check it out.
The Great American Road Trip
The USA is not noted for its mass transit despite train lines that cross its expansive horizon. Getting from one remote area to the next is just about impossible. Few of the countries National Parks are serviced by bus and if on a long trip, carrying all the camping gear you need to make a trip like this affordable would be a daunting task. I have been on extended trips around the country five times and always in a car. I carry gear for hiking, backpacking, kayaking/canoeing as well as all my camping gear so a car is pretty much the only way to go. You don't need a big SUV either. I did most of those trips in a small Honda Civic Hatchback which was great on gas.
It's one big country with lots of very open roads once you get "out west." It's a joy to drive in these areas so enjoy it while you can.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
new york to california
if you want to visit both east and west coasts, i would purchase a round trip flight through virgin airlines. they usually have really low fares between major cities. but if you don't fly, i agree with the above posters: you're going to spend your entire trip on a train or in a car if you rent it, and spend way too much money on gas.
if you go to the california forum, you will find tons of advice on itineraries and things to do. (you could search for specific cities and find out that way as well).
Budget travel from the US to Mexico
-->From So. Cal/LA area to Mexico
It is quite possible to get cheap airfares from Southern California/LA area to Mexico via low-cost air carriers such as Viva Aerobus & Volaris. Check out their respective websites. I believe Viva Aerobus has flights from Tijuana to the rest of Mexico, and it looks like Volaris will have a new flight segment soon from LA directly to Guadalajara.
This is what you'll need to do:
1.) Take the bus, train or drive a car rental between LA and San Diego.
2.) From San Diego, go into the border to enter Tijuana.
3.) From the border, take a taxi to the airport.
4.) Viva Aerobus flies out of Tijuana Airport, then goes to its hub in Monterrey, Mexico.
5.) From Monterrey, Mexico take a connecting flight to Cancun (or other cities) via the same airline.
Take a look at flights from Volaris for an alternative option.
-->From the US to Mexico
Most people in the US visit Mexico via these states: California, Arizona or Texas.
When people visit Mexico, they mostly use their cars, and depend less on the bus. If you're a backpacker, then the bus will be a good way to "rough" up your trip, and it is obviously the cheapest mode of transportation. You may want to check bus options from California or Arizona, which I think are less than those offered by way of Texas.
In case you don't make it to California, there are several low-cost air carriers in the US that will allow you to travel to Cancun since this is a really popular destination. Check out these LCCs for more info on US-Mexico flights for a sampling of fares:
Also, check those Mexican LCCs I mentioned above for more information on their destinations. I believe VivaAerobus flies out of Tijuana, Las Vegas, and McAllen, Texas, while Volaris flies out of some Californian cities and Las Vegas.
I'm afraid there aren't too many budget flight options other than the ones I told you, unless (of course) the major air carriers decide to have their sales or fare wars with the LCCs.
By the way, regular meta-search sites like Expedia, Travelocity, etc. do not typically publish the fares of low-cost air carriers.
Good Luck & Enjoy Your US-Mexico Adventure!Related to:
- Budget Travel
Stay away from Southwest Airlines
I would avoid SouthWest airlines when traveling in the US. It "claims" to provide wonderful customer service and is all about the customer, BUT IT IS NOT TRUE. They offer a fare online called Business Fare. This is NOT a business anything. There is no special business section, no larger seat or anything you would find any business sections on any plane in the world.
They claim that with Business you get a free drink. However that 'free' drink cost me over $200 dollars!! Then they claimed that with Business fare you get to board the plane early (you do in any other plane in business around the world for free) but this early boarding cost me over $200 extra dollars. We're talking about $400 dollars for my business fare one way seat compaired to the people sitting next to me paying less than $150 for their coach seat. Business, my butt!
After speaking to a represenative to the company and asking them to explain to me what their concept of business vrs anyone else on the plane they couldn't come up with anything except the free drink (again a $200 drink). Everything else, like a refundable ticket, free baggage etc comes complete with everyone's ticket.
Do yourself a favor. Spend your hard earned money with any other airline. Delta, United, American...they all at least give you what you expect and don't try to hide their fees around things you wont' be getting like Southwest does. They know what Business actually means and treat business travelers as they should be treated.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Luxury Travel
- Business Travel
JFK NY airport cart rental
Upon my last arrival at the JFK (New York City) airport I was shocked to see that the only carts in customs at terminal 2 or 3 required a $5 rental fee. I have never seen a fee charged for use of this type of cart anywhere else in the world. This seemed like a good candidate for a "tourist trap" tip, and it certainly would be if you have minimal luggage or are connecting directly to a Delta national flight whose check-in for transit is right outside the door of customs. However, if you have a lot of bags, especially if they are without wheels, and you will be making a connection at any of the other terminals it turns out to be most reasonable. This is because of the long walking distances to get to the free "air" train that will take you from terminal to terminal and then the long distances back to the departure lounges of the terminals.
You are allowed to take the cart outside the terminal, onto the train and then into the other terminals. You can not use the escalators, but the elevators are convenient and well marked. It seems that when you are done with the cart you just leave it someplace out of the way.Related to:
- Budget Travel
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