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Pickles

Some Questions

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Hi guys! I was wondering if anyone had some guidance for me please. Of those who did LSD trips, could you share a few things?

 

- how long you went for?

- how many states or places did you go check out?

- a rough budget for, say, 3-4 weeks? (All up.) No sightseeing though, so just planes, cars, petrol, food Etc. I.e. Normal costs to get around and do the LSD.

- did you stay in hotels, or what? (A camper van is SO expensive so I figured we may as well do a hotel).

- what were you looking for when you visited? A general feel for the place? Did you visit job agencies and lettings offices etc? I'm a bit clueless on what to put on the box checking list when we visit a state. I don't want to get there and look at hubby and go "ok, now what??"

 

There are about 4, possibly even 5 states we want to visit on our LSD. 3 of them are clustered next to each other (TX, AZ & CO, so that helps the travel costs I guess). So I'm trying to streamline the itinerary and figure out the best (and most economical) way to do it. We won't be doing the fun stuff sightseeing on the LSD trip because that can come later. The priority is not blowing money on the likes of theme parks etc when we have to pay for more important things like the trip and ultimate move.

 

I'd be so grateful for the tips. Thank you!! :)

Edited by Pickles

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I'd say that if at all possible, both from a budget perspective and a "getting a real feel" perspective, see if there are people you can stay with, especially away from the main tourist drags and in the kinds of places you might actually live. I know not everyone has those options, but we found that a very useful way of gauging places. We spent 4-5 days per city (though we only looked at 3 as we had narrowed it down that far) and also added in a few extra days for a trip to Disneyland. And we did sightseeing too! We didn't do any job or rental type searches other than look online for a general feel of what the situations regarding both was, but there again being able to get insight on jobs and real estate from people living in those cities (that we stayed with) was very valuable as well.

 

I'm assuming you have narrowed down your search to one or two cities per state?

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And if you have to stay in hotels - look for things like Hyatt house or Marriott residence inn or similar "long stay" type places (there's not usually a minimum stay) with kitchens, because self catering for a month is going to be waaaay cheaper than eating out for a month

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Thanks SJ. Yep we have narrowed it to 1 city in az (Phoenix) and might drive between Houston and San Antonio. Maybe Austin. Then we want to check out denver, and just up the road in Fort Collins. We have a friend in Phoenix but don't know anyone in TX or CO.

Rochester MN is a wild card. It has the mayo clinic there and my neurologist said we (my son and I) should be by a top neuro hospital. And whilst there is a mayo in Phoenix they're only ranked at something like 24 if I remember. Whereas Rochester is #1 in the country (and having looked at it the city is beautiful!). Those are the main ones we want to try see. At a bare minimum Colorado and Phoenix. But possibly we will look at Indy (where I have the American family I lived with years ago and can give me good advice etc and I did love Columbus IN a lot).

 

Yeah definitely will do self catering. Sorry I forgot to write that before. It's how we usually travel if we don't stay at the holiday inn.

 

So the idea was to perhaps fly in to Phoenix (if they go direct to Phoenix from London? I'm not sure. Might have to start in LA?) and then take a spin to TX and CO before heading north to MN.

 

How much would you think we'd need to budget? The only sightseeing we want to do is drive up to the gran canyon en route to Colorado from Phoenix because its practically on the way so may as well. ;)

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Pickles, the advice of SJ sounds good. I have never been to MN, but I love the place, just from reading about it. Good luck with your LSD trip. Its snowing down here and I guess Rochester should a bitter heavier.

 

 

To Pickles, SJ, Adventure, Janneman, Bev, Malamute, and all forum members; I wish you a beautiful and happy new year. May 2016 be a year of blessings for you and your families. Stay bless. Signing out for 2015 and will chat in 2016.

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Thanks SJ. Yep we have narrowed it to 1 city in az (Phoenix) and might drive between Houston and San Antonio. Maybe Austin. Then we want to check out denver, and just up the road in Fort Collins. We have a friend in Phoenix but don't know anyone in TX or CO.

Rochester MN is a wild card. It has the mayo clinic there and my neurologist said we (my son and I) should be by a top neuro hospital. And whilst there is a mayo in Phoenix they're only ranked at something like 24 if I remember. Whereas Rochester is #1 in the country (and having looked at it the city is beautiful!). Those are the main ones we want to try see. At a bare minimum Colorado and Phoenix. But possibly we will look at Indy (where I have the American family I lived with years ago and can give me good advice etc and I did love Columbus IN a lot).

Yeah definitely will do self catering. Sorry I forgot to write that before. It's how we usually travel if we don't stay at the holiday inn.

So the idea was to perhaps fly in to Phoenix (if they go direct to Phoenix from London? I'm not sure. Might have to start in LA?) and then take a spin to TX and CO before heading north to MN.

How much would you think we'd need to budget? The only sightseeing we want to do is drive up to the gran canyon en route to Colorado from Phoenix because its practically on the way so may as well. ;)

It's really hard to give budgeting advice because people are so different... And airfares can vary enormously depending on the season. But do shop around for flights and bear in mind that some airlines, like southwest, are not on those sites that compare fares. We generally fly either southwest or JetBlue depending where we go. Both give 1-2 bags free, be aware some of the cheaper airlines charge for bags etc. You can browse the sites for an idea of what to budget for airfare.

 

Denver was one of the places we visited. Stayed with friends. We also took a day to go up Keystone for some snow fun (it was around this time of year). Liked it a lot but we just thought CA offered more (.albeit way more bang for your housing buck in CO :D )

Edited by SJ27

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shatale, on 30 Dec 2015 - 5:04 PM, said:

 

To Pickles, SJ, Adventure, Janneman, Bev, Malamute, and all forum members; I wish you a beautiful and happy new year. May 2016 be a year of blessings for you and your families. Stay bless. Signing out for 2015 and will chat in 2016.

 

Thanks Shatale! I wish you, and all the members of our forum, the very same.

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To Pickles, SJ, Adventure, Janneman, Bev, Malamute, and all forum members; I wish you a beautiful and happy new year. May 2016 be a year of blessings for you and your families. Stay bless. Signing out for 2015 and will chat in 2016.

 

And to you and all the forum members too!

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Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!

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May it be a blessed 2016. And good luck to all newbies in the USA

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Hi Pickles, If you are staying in hotels, I suggest you register for some Hotel rewards. Most hotels are all part of a large chain of hotels, two of the big ones are Holiday inn. you can register for an IHG Rewards card. and also register for a Hilton Honors rewards card for stays at the Hilton.

 

You can accumulate points and later convert the points to a free weekend away or upgrade to a better room.

Also for any flights within the US register for a Southwest airlines frequent flyer number

 

When staying at any hotel try to avoid their own in house shop. For example bottled water will cost you $4.00 a bottle where you can go around the corner to a 7 Eleven or pharmacy and buy it much cheaper.

 

Enjoy the adventure and all the best for 2016

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It's really hard to give budgeting advice because people are so different... And airfares can vary enormously depending on the season. But do shop around for flights and bear in mind that some airlines, like southwest, are not on those sites that compare fares. We generally fly either southwest or JetBlue depending where we go. Both give 1-2 bags free, be aware some of the cheaper airlines charge for bags etc. You can browse the sites for an idea of what to budget for airfare.

 

Denver was one of the places we visited. Stayed with friends. We also took a day to go up Keystone for some snow fun (it was around this time of year). Liked it a lot but we just thought CA offered more (.albeit way more bang for your housing buck in CO :D )

 

True regarding the seasons. I imagine we would be looking at around September this year. I' not overly familiar with the smaller internal airlines aside from the likes of AA and Delta. I reckon we wont be coming over with much in the line of baggage as it's just a small and manic dash about here to there type trip. Need to pack light for that. ;)

 

We have been seriously reconsidering CO in the past few days. I spent a lot of time dredging through posts on City Data and I gleaned some useful info regarding specifically Denver. Perhaps Malamute can weigh in here as I remember she lives there? But what I read overwhelmingly across the board is that Denver is flat, pretty ugly, isolated, BROWN, excedingly dry (and I already have issues with my nose), people can be slow to warm up to you, jobs are hard to come by (especially if you're not in IT) and are competitive to get, high cost of living (this part I already knew) where they are only 18% behind London with regards to cost of living. (I was a bit shocked at just how close to London they are in this regard), and isolated from any other nearby city (hampers weekends away) which then drives up the cost of products (especially fresh produce) considerably as it has to be trucked in from far away. So yeah... has made us rethink the matter...

 

We have added Rochester MN to the list to review. I'm still doing my due diligence on this area, but so far it looks great. Very beautiful and green, right on a river too with good trout fishing in the state (we love fishing). Was rated number 1 on best place to live in the states this year and was up from 2nd place last year. Sounds great. Plus the Mayo clinic is there and my neurologist said a couple weeks ago that my son and I should be near a top neuro facility (and the Mayo is ranked at number 1 in that regard apparently.)

 

 

Of course I'm still struggling to even remotely guage how much we need to spend on this trip. I'm thinking £2000 for the trip excluding the internation flights to get there? Hopefully it wont be more than that, but then I'm so out of touch with prices that side.

 

Thanks for the help and Happy New Year everyone!!

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Hi Pickles, If you are staying in hotels, I suggest you register for some Hotel rewards. Most hotels are all part of a large chain of hotels, two of the big ones are Holiday inn. you can register for an IHG Rewards card. and also register for a Hilton Honors rewards card for stays at the Hilton.

 

You can accumulate points and later convert the points to a free weekend away or upgrade to a better room.

Also for any flights within the US register for a Southwest airlines frequent flyer number

 

When staying at any hotel try to avoid their own in house shop. For example bottled water will cost you $4.00 a bottle where you can go around the corner to a 7 Eleven or pharmacy and buy it much cheaper.

 

Enjoy the adventure and all the best for 2016

 

Thanks Oscar! Yes we are already long time IHG rewards members with the Holiday Inn. We love their chain as it's always beautiful and the breakfasts and wifi are included in the bill. Plus they're always well situated in the centre of the action. We definitely never get anything from the hotels (drinks etc) as you're right - very pricey. We live in London so know all the tricks of the trade with foreign travel and hotels because we have spent so much time in Europe. :D

 

I will look into a rewards card with the airlines. I never bothered with rewards cards with airlines really, having had one with SAA many many moons ago (linked to my credit card in SA when I last lived there in 2003) and the points always expired so never followed up with getting another with a different airline (and one I'd actually fly with, haha).

 

Thanks for the well wishes! Stressful as hell isn't it? ;)

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I guess this is why you need to visit - yes Denver is ugly but we found the people (not just the ones we stayed with) very friendly and welcoming. I think tech probably is the best sector for jobs though, sounds about right. Surprised what you say about cost of living - considering how much more value you get for housing there. You can get a large and roomy 4 or 5 bedroom house in a very nice part of town for about $1m from what we've heard, in the Bay Area you kinda get a shack for that :D (ok slight exaggeration ...but slight), and I'm sure it's way better than London housing prices, and housing is the biggest part of what your cost of living will be. I'm not sure what rentals are but comparative to other cities they shouldn't be too out of line with house prices.

 

(Also, you need to get BA or someone where the air miles don't expire. We just let our BA miles build up as long as we need and strike when we can ;) got some pretty decent flights and upgrades out of them, and including using air miles to pay $3000 towards a trip next year.)

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Looking at rentals at the moment :D

 

I seem to think I may have had a BA air miles card at one point. No wait, I think it was Virgin! Because I never fly BA unless I have to. Virgin is the better of the two in my opinion. But we haven't flown to SA in 6 years so I have no clue whether it still works or not. ;)

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