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Month in America

Geelong, Australia
3 posts
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Month in America

Hi!

Im going to America for roughly a month over the Christmas-New Year Period. All our accomm and flights have been paid for. I was just wondering how much money people would recommend bringing for spending money- including food, shopping, sightseeing?

Thanks!

West Hollywood...
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for Los Angeles
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1. Re: Month in America

I would bring maybe $100 US. You can use an ATM card to get more money as you need it as we have LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of ATMs everywhere. If your ATM card has a Visa or Mastercard logo on it, you can use it to make purchases at restaurants, shops, attractions, etc. Bring huge piles of cash with you is not practical for so many reasons.

Geelong, Australia
3 posts
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2. Re: Month in America

Thanks, but I acutally mean spending money for the whole trip! How much would you recommend for a month? 3grand? 4 grand?

Santa Cruz...
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for Santa Cruz
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3. Re: Month in America

An impossible question to answer with the information about your trip which we have, which is nil.

What if I said that I am going to Australia for 'roughly a month', how much money should I bring for spending, etc.

Edited: 3:44 am, October 17, 2012
Geelong, Australia
3 posts
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4. Re: Month in America

Ahh, this is true.

Will be visiting L.A, New York for NYE, Seattle and San Francisco. Will be hoping to do most of the touristy things, like going to Disneyland, climbing all the famous buildings in NY, visiting Alcatraz.

We will probably be doing quite a bit of shopping in NYC, and then just buy mementos from places.

We will be trying to eat on the cheap, and will also need shuttle buses/taxis to and from airport. Most of the hostels we are staying at are quite centrally located in each of the cities.

Is this a bit more helpful Puter?

Santa Cruz...
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5. Re: Month in America

>>Is this a bit more helpful Puter?>

<grin>

Well, sort of. When we went to Australia we looked at the exchange rate and pretended we were traveling in the US and did some math.

But we had to look up how much it cost for each thing we wanted to do or how much it would cost to rent a car from here to there, or how much it cost to take the ferry or the tour of the Barrier Reef etc.

This you gotta figure out yourself, according to your wishes Sorry.

Good luck and have a wonderful time. Wish I could go back to Australia this year. Loved it.

Perth, Australia
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6. Re: Month in America

When we went, we took a credit card for bigger purchases, like clothes, restaurants, entry into Disneyland, tours etc.

We also put $5,000 on a debit card .. which can be used like a savings/cheque account EFTPOS .... also for the above items.

But we didn't want to use it up too quickly, so we could go to those ATM's and get cash. After a few days you will realise what you will spend each day, so you can work out what you think you will need. This is where the credit card is handy as a sort of "standby".

You need cash for smaller items like drinks, some fast food, and bits and pieces.

As for tipping, we took a small makeup sized zipper bag and put in a few $5 and $1 notes - as all notes are similar in size and colour, we didn't want to have it in our normal wallet in case we handed over a $50 by mistake...!

So at the airport, before you leave, change a $50 into the smaller notes.

We also took $500 each in cash to start with, as well as the tip money.

Eating out is very cheap in the US compared to here, and their servings are huge, so you could share. Even breakfast can be cheap too .. you will find several smaller cafes that you can get a hot breakfast ... ie Denny's .. very popular with Aussies with their Grand Slam breakfast.

You can pre-book tours before you go as well ... and I do recommend you pre-book Alcatraz cruises ....

http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/

A friend just came back from NY last week and highly recommended this tour ... they saw so much, they ended up with a couple of free days in New York so hired bikes and rode around Central Park, which wasn't on their plans as they didn't think they'd have time. The tour guide was very knowledgable and very funny.

http://onboardtours.com/

If you want to do a day trip from Las Vegas out to the Grand Canyon, the same friend did this tour ... one good thing about it, is that they do land and take you by bus to the lookouts and the village ... whereas most others land at the bottom of the canyon, so you don't get the views. Another plus for this tour, is on their specials (left hand side of the website) .. they offer a free day or night flight over Las Vegas .. of course she did the night flight, which was fantastic.

www.maverickhelicopter.com/default.aspx

All the above can be pre-booked as well... which helps save the cash money.

I will send you a personal message.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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7. Re: Month in America

Have you already paid for all your tours and entrance fees/tickets? Some days may be quite expensive (Disneyland!) and some days less expensive (walking around San Francisco.)

Two people can get dinner for $10 ($5 sandwiches & free water or a whole roasted chicken at the grocery store & a bagged salad) or $15-20 at a very casual / fast food place or $50 at a basic restaurant (PLEASE ignore that horrible tipping guide about undertipping your waitstaff and escaping from the restaurant before anyone notices.) You can enjoy fine dining for much more.

Are you driving many miles in your rental car?

Do you love to shop like many Aussie visitors? You'll even need money for an additional suitcase!

San Diego...
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8. Re: Month in America

Every time you use a card to get cash from an ATM machine, there will be a fee, unless the machine is owned by the same bank that issued the card. So try to minimize the number of times you get cash. Some smaller businesses and some gas stations will also charge a small fee for using a card, not as much as the ATM machines do. Sometimes you will have no choice but to accept the fee, such as when getting gasoline.

Most businesses will accept cash in US dollars, traveler's cheques, debit cards and credit cards, though some smaller businesses may have a minimum purchase required to use a card. Whenever you change money from one currency to another, such as Australian dollars to US dollars, you lose a small amount on commission to the place you changed it at. So minimize your exchanges of currency. If you can get travelers cheques before you leave that are in US dollars, that will be a safe way to bring money with you.

If you are going to a lot of U.S. national parks, buy the America the Beautiful pass at the first national park you go to. It will cost USD $80 and is good for one year, and covers entry for you and everyone in your car (up to 4 adults) into almost any U.S. national park, national monument, national historic site, national recreation area and other federally-managed areas, including parking in national forests. But it does not cover campground fees or per-person fees such as tours. And it does not cover state parks, but those are rarely more than US $10 per car for one day.

What will really eat up your money are the theme parks, hotels and restaurants. You mentioned Disneyland and the lowest price for it is $87 for one day. Australians are offered a 14-day pass to Disneyland which may be worth it for you if you are planning to spend multiple days there. So you may want to check on that offer now, if you want to spend a lot of time at Disneyland. Eating in restaurants is going to cost you more than getting and/or preparing your own food, of course, and with the tip (typically 20% of the bill) the cost of eating in restaurants will be significant over a month.

You can lower the cost by buying food at supermarkets and preparing picnics and the like. Or buy buying food ready-to-eat at places like taco shops, delis and fast-food places, though the quality and healthfulness of fast food can be pretty bad. One of the best bargains on ready-to-eat food is the food court at Costco stores, and you do not have to be a Costco member to buy food at their food courts. If you stay in any hotels or motels you can often get some free breakfast items, which varies greatly from place to place, but can help fill you up in the mornings. If there is no free breakfast then eating breakfast in cafes is usually not very expensive anyway, compared to dinners.

Since gasoline is now very expensive in California you will want to plan your driving route carefully so as to avoid unnecessary extra distance or backtracking. In cities such as New York and San Francisco, you might not even want to have a rental car and just use public transportation.

Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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9. Re: Month in America

For L.A., start researching airport shuttles. Without information about where you are staying (Disneyland is in Anaheim), it's hard to estimate the cost of the shuttle - and there are different shuttles.

You might want a tour of L.A. too, since public transportation isn't the best (if you are in fact doing something besides Disneyland).

Perth, Australia
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10. Re: Month in America

Compared to prices in Australa,, gas is cheap in the US. You will also find that you have to pay in advance for gas at most gas stations.

We were charged two dollars everytime we took cash from our debit card from an ATM, but no fee using it for purchases.