Hello folks, here I am on a Thursday with another itinerary for you. This is my 2004 itinerary for the USA. Now, I also visited the US in 1999, and interestingly enough I returned to all the places I did in that trip in 2004, obviously plus a few others. This one is going to be divided into two posts, otherwise it will just get too long. This week I’ll present the introduction and east, next week from New Orleans to Los Angeles and the conclusion.
The USA is a very large place, that goes without saying, and there are still plenty of places I would like to go which I didn’t, but I think this is a decent itinerary if you are doing an around the world sort of deal like I was at the time. I spent I think around seven weeks in the USA in total on this itinerary, it could have been more, it could have been less. In the end it was probably about right. There was also a couple of weeks in Canada in the middle of it all – in fact I flew from New York to Montreal and Montreal to New Orleans. But for the purposes of keeping this all in one country, I’m going to pretend that didn’t happen.
Transport is obviously the key to an itinerary in such a big place as the USA. I would have dearly loved to go EVERYWHERE by train, but because of practicalities I ended up going nowhere by train and took planes and buses. Planes become an almost necessity if you want to see a good amount of the USA but have a limited time. And I was already on the roundtheworld ticket, and so was able to use plenty of flights with Continental on that ticket (from memory it was a KLM round-the-world deal). I used Greyhound buses on a pass for the most part from New Orleans to Los Angeles, and in the east of the country I bought individual bus tickets from different companies.
SECTION ONE – The East
Washington DC – Philadelphia – Boston – New York City
I arrived in the capital Washington D.C. and made my way by bus up to Boston (not originally intended) and then down to New York City to catch a flight to Canada. I had met someone from Boston who invited me to stay with them earlier in my travels, which is why it got added to the itinerary.
This was late September to early October. Weatherwise it was still pretty warm and sunny most of the time. All four places were well worth visiting, and I had free (staying with friends) accommodation everywhere bar New York City so that worked out really well. There’s no place on Earth where I have had more invites to stay with people than the USA, which says something I think.
In D.C. I was lucky enough to stay with some people who worked for senators. No, seriously. It’s a purpose-built city (the purpose to be the US capital) and the buildings and monuments are really special. I saw the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the Korean War Monument, and the National Air and Space Museum is a highlight too.
Philadelphia gave me more of an insight into US history. I visited the mint, saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House – here you will find more detail on Philadelphia.
Boston is a vibrant, fun place. I checked out some historical buildings and I also checked out some colleges. The Common and surrounding area is really nice too – Boston can keep you entertained for days easily even though, sadly my memory is sadly lacking with the city!
And then New York City will blow your mind. There are shows, Times Square, Central Park, the old World Trade Center site was quite a sombre but important place to visit back in 2004. Catching the subway and just BEING in New York City is an experience of its own. Brilliant place. I’ve also been up the Empire State Building and taken the ferry past the Statue of Liberty, walked down Wall Street and partied all night.
And, that’s just the tip of the New York Iceberg.
For a perfect itinerary, you’d probably want to keep things more linear and fly into Boston, go through New York and Philadelphia and then end up in Washington D.C. before heading to New Orleans. As I was heading to Canada after New York City, I didn’t do it this way, but if I was making this a USA only trip, that’s what I would do.
You might even brave the bus all the way to New Orleans from D.C., or put in a couple of stops on the way. The Greyhound Pass is really flexible, and if you don’t mind buses then it’s really a great option in the States because flying everywhere just gives you snapshots of the places you go, and removes a lot of context.
New Thursday I’ll detail the second part of the itinerary which is all done by bus. Take care, stay tuned for more posts and May the Journey Never End!