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International Travellers Guide to PAX Prime 2011

kropotkinkropotkin MrLondon UKRegistered User regular
edited June 2011 in PAX Archive
International Travellers Guide to PAX Prime 2011

This thread is guide to those that are travelling to PAX Prime 2011 who happen to live outside the borders of the United States of America.

It must be understood that I'm writing this guide with a heavy UK bias, so forgive me for this for that is where I'm from. I will try to encompass as many other nations as is possible and would appreciate any corrections and additions.

So here is the tips for those travelling to PAX Prime 2011 from beyond the shores of the USA:

1) Check your Passport and visa requirement.

We are strangers in a strange land and as such must have a valid pass port that has at least 6 months left before needing a renewl in order to gain entry into the US. This however only applies to residents of nations other than the UK. If you are from the UK, a 6 month extension is added to your passport, even if it's close to expiry date. For more information on this, please follow this link.

Also note that the name on your flight ticket/boarding pass must match exactly the name on your passport. So for example if you go by the name of 'Tom' and have your ticket assigned to that name yet your passport has the name 'Thomas' in it then you will be charged extra by the airline to change the name on the ticket so that it matches your passport and thus ensures you gain entry into the USA.

Note that there is a Visa Waiver system for people from the certain countries. Read on to find out more:

VISA WAIVER PROGRAMME

It is a requirement that an application for a waiver to a visa entry to the US is carried out online. This is compulsory prior to travelling to the US. It is preferred that this is done at least 72 hours before travelling. The information you need to complete the form is as follows:

1) Passport No.
2) Passport issue date and expirary date.
3) Flight carrier.
4) Flight No.
5) City from which you are flying from.
6) Name and full address of hotel you are staying at whilst in the US.

For access the online form click on this link.

Note that as of September 8th 2009 there is now a charge of $14 (£9) administation fee for those having to apply for the first time or renew the application after the 2 year expiry of your previous application

For more information on this please follow this link.

Those who live countries that do not recognise the visa-waiver scheme must obtain a U.S. tourist visa from an American Embassy or Consulate. This also applies to people who do not qualify for a Visa waiver and to members of the media if they are covering PAX Prime 2011 for a foreign or US outlet.

2) Travel Insurance

Granted your stay in the US will be relatively short, but you can never be too cautious. The US does not have a National Health system so any medical treatment you receive will be charged to you if you have no insurance, so do please take some out before leaving. Also make sure you read the fine print of your insurance docs and have a copy of them with you so that you can access them easily!

3) Money

There are some things to note when handling US currency. First, get a Cash Passport Card which can be charged up with money prior to leaving. It can be used like a credit card and will allow you to withdraw funds from cash machines. You can also use your credit card to withdraw cash from holes-in-the-wall. I can personally vouch for this, as I had one throughout PAX '08, E3'09, PAX'09, PAX East 2010, E3'10, PAX Prime 2010 a& PAX East 2011 and it worked on every cash machine I encountered.

For more information on Cash Passport Cards follow this link.

If you have never been to the US before, you will notice that the bills are all the same size regardless of value. Annoying I know, but true. So be mindful of this. Click on this link to see what each bill looks like just to help you: US Bills

Also, if you do plan on using a credit/debit card while at PAX Prime 2011, you must inform your issuing bank/company that you will be doing so. Banks have an automated fraud detection device that will block your card from working fully if you don't inform them that you plan to use your credit/debit card abroad. The best course of action is to call the number that is located on the back of the card.

Finally, on types of cards note the following: The above mentioned Cash Passport Card make has a Master Card symbol so you'll be fine using it for withdrawing any money from a hole-in-the-wall that supports Master Card. With regard to Maestro cards, while common in Europe, they are hit or miss in the US.

4) Mobile AKA 'Cell' Phones

Provided your phone is at least a Tri-Band one it will work fine. Your carrier (02, Orange, Vodaphone, 3 & T-Mobile) will have global services but they generally cost a huge amount of money. You get charged for receiving calls and people calling you on it get charged international rates, as the phone is not a local one. To get over this, buy an AT&T SIM card in the US that has a pay-as-you go deal attached to it. That way your phone becomes a local one and everyone is happy. I know I did this and it worked a treat on my own UK phone. This method will only work if your mobile is unlocked! Alternatively you can buy a $15 (£7) pay as you go phone to tide you over however this may not be an option to those that cannot bear to be seperated from their own phone.

Note that there is an AT&T store in a shopping precinct called 'Pacific Place'. It's located in the lower level and sits next to a GameStop store.

Once you leave the US the number associated to the SIM card you bought will revert back to AT&T after a period of time, depending on how much money you have slapped onto it. If you place $25 you get 60 days of ownership whilst if you stick $100 on it, that number is yours for 12 months. That's even if it is not used whilst you are outside the US.

One final point; if you are using an iPhone or other smart phone all 3G online functionality will be shut down from it. No access to the internet will be allowed across a 3G network without paying a massive premium. Sending basic SMS messages is fine but is charged at 20 cents a shot, both sending and receiving. Please bear this in mind whilst you are at PAX Prime 2011. If you must gain access to Twitter and/or Facebook, find a WiFi network and use that. Do not try to use 3G on your phone!

Information for Canadian Rogers iPhone users.

You can buy US Data/Text/Voice Travel Packs for your phone before crossing the border. They are probably cheaper than paying whatever ad-hoc fees you would otherwise incur.

More details here:
http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wi...enfr-_-roaming

5) iPads and Kindles

If you have a 3G iPad you probably have a contract with Orange, O2 or T-Mobile. Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to use the 3G functionality of your iPad while at PAX Prime 2011 as you will be charged the earth for roaming. It's a sad state of affairs, but when you leave your home nation any attempt at gaining access to 3G based data services will become far too expensive to bother with. This will boggle the minds of your fellow PAXians but you just have to grin through it.

As for Kindles, such limitations are not present as the 3G on those devices are accessible world wide with no subscription fee required. The above sentence was brought to you by Amazon :winky:

6) Travel

Most International PAXians are flying to Seattle International Airport. Taking 9 hours direct, 14 with a layover, this is a long haul flight, which means we have a lot of sitting around to do. The DS/DSi will last longer than your PSP but bring both (assuming you have both) as you'll need to break the trip up. Also charge them before you head off to the airport. You may want to bring on the reading material described below as well as the in-flight magazine doesn't have much in the way of video game related stuff in it, sadly. If you have a PSP get a spare battery for the flight, you'll need it!

As an aside, the only direct flights from Europe to Seattle are in the region of £1000. Indirect flights that include a short 2-3 hour layover in Canada (typically) cost £650.

7) Reading material

Whilst a variant of English is spoken in the US and indeed their magazines are written in it (despite the odd spelling issues), you'd be advised to take along the latest copies of The Edge, Retro Gamer and Games TM. None of these fine publications are readily available in the US outside Barnes and Noble and reading them whilst on the plane and in queues at PAX will make things a little more bearable. They can also be used as trading items/bribes as they are much sought after in the US.

8) Power

If you want to be able to continue to charge your DS and/or PSP you need to bring an adaptor. The giant UK plugs don't fit too well in US sockets so do buy a power plug adaptor before you head off. Also note that whilst your PSP and Laptop will work fine off of the 110v US power supply it won't work at all for any consoles, should you be even considering bringing one. Don't, it just won't work without some kind of step up transformer to bring it up to 240v. Then there's the PAL output which makes things even more complicated...

Note: UK DS & DSi Chargers will need a step up transformer to function. Follow this link to order yourself one: Stepup Transformer and Maplin sell on for £25 here.

Alternatively you can grab one of these things. It's a universal charger that can plug into any socket on the planet. It also has a built in solar panel!
Spoiler:

Alternatively, you can just buy a cheap 3rd party charger in Boston. By doing so you do carry the risk of voiding your warranty with Nintendo, as it's a third party charger! You have been warned!

9) Drinking and ID

The drinking age is 21 in the US, not 18 as in the rest of the world. This can confuse many and result in some crest fallen British folk when they try to buy some alchohol. Those of you that are 21 and over will be asked for their ID prior to buying any alchohol.

I personally have had problems when presenting my UK drivers license when ordering drinks, even though I'm 40! Therefore carrying around your passport is the only option but it does risk you losing it. It's either that or a soft drink all night.

Also note that no matter how old you actually look, you will get checked. Yes I know it's ridiculous, but there is a policy of 'don't think, just do', so you have to prove you are over 21, even though you clearly look it! Remember this if you try to appeal to the bar staff if you forget to bring your passport with you!

In summary: if you intend to drink when you go out, TAKE YOUR PASSPORT.

10) Tickets/Badges

Tickets purchased from outside of the US will be posted to you provided you click on the premium delivery radio button on the ordering form. You have to pick up your lanyard from the 'Will Call' or Ticket Collection area. Otherwise you have to pick up both your ticket and lanyard from Will Call. The location of this has yet to be announced, but it likely to be very close to the venue itself.

11) Telephone numbers

To dial for emergency services use 911, not 999. For directory enquiries use 411 or, if that doesn't work use 555-1212 or 1-555-1212.

12) Weather

PAX Prime 2011 takes place at the end of August AKA Late Summer Bank Holiday Weekend. It will be pleasantly warm with little to no rain...probably. Note that while back home this is a holiday weekend, that's not the case in the US, so any mention of it may baffle any US residents if you mutter something about it while you're there :P

13) Tipping

Not something British people are used to, but it is somewhat endemic and indeed required in the US. This is because service staff aren't paid very well in the US and most of their income comes from tips. So to refuse to pay anything is just not the done thing, at all!

The list below will give you an idea of what tips you are expected to give:

*Food server: 15-20%, make sure to see if gratuity is included for larger groups. If you pay with a credit card, try and leave the tip in cash

*Bartender: $1 per drink is standard, but a few dollars more shows you appreciate a finely crafted cocktail or some bartenderly advice.

*Taxi: 10% of total fare, maybe a little extra if driver helps with baggage etc.

*Doorman: $1 for hailing a cab or helping with your baggage

*Bell staff: $1-2 per bag, esp if they are heavy

*Housekeeper: $2/night. think about it, these people make your bed

*If your party is more than 8, the restaurant is will usually include a tip. Some will include it for 6 or more automatically.

Additional note on tipping: For tipping in restaurants, don't worry about putting tips on the credit card. However, if you are going to be splitting cheques (especially with multiple credit cards), make sure to let your server know right from the beginning and then tip them a little extra for the hassle =)

14 Shopping

If you've never been to the US before, you will encounter the unique way Americans treat tax. Unlike in the UK, where VAT is part of the price that goods are labelled with in stores, this is not the case so much in the US. If you see something that is labelled with $29.99, be prepared to pay a 'sales tax' on top of that. This is the US answer to VAT and can catch you out if you're not careful. Sales tax is not the 20% variety we have in the UK at present, it is 9.5% in Seattle. Note that groceries and medication are not taxed.

kropotkin on
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Posts

  • GeekyPrincessGeekyPrincess Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    kropotkin wrote: »
    9) Drinking and ID

    The drinking age is 21 in the US, not 18 as in the rest of the world. This can confuse many and result in some crest fallen British folk when they try to buy some alcohol. Those of you that are 21 and over will be asked for their ID prior to buying any alcohol.

    I personally have had problems when presenting my UK drivers license when ordering drinks, even though I'm 40! Therefore carrying around your passport is the only option but it does risk you losing it. It's either that or a soft drink all night.

    Also note that no matter how old you actually look, you will get checked. Yes I know it's ridiculous, but there is a policy of 'don't think, just do', so you have to prove you are over 21, even though you clearly look it! Remember this if you try to appeal to the bar staff if you forget to bring your passport with you!

    In summary: if you intend to drink when you go out, TAKE YOUR PASSPORT.

    This is all very true! My brother-in-law was "carded" while over here on vacation, he was 28 at the time. It ended with various people being called fascists. I laughed at him, a lot!
    13) Tipping

    Not something British people are used to, but it is somewhat endemic in the US. The list below will give you an idea of what tips you are expected to give:

    *Food server: 15-20%, make sure to see if gratuity is included for larger groups. If you pay with a credit card, try and leave the tip in cash

    *Bartender: $1 per drink is standard, but a few dollars more shows you appreciate a finely crafted cocktail or some bartenderly advice.

    *Taxi: 10% of total fare, maybe a little extra if driver helps with baggage etc.

    *Doorman: $1 for hailing a cab or helping with your baggage

    *Bell staff: $1-2 per bag, esp if they are heavy

    *Housekeeper: $2/night. think about it, these people make your bed

    *If your party is more than 8, the restaurant is will usually include a tip. Some will include it for 6 or more automatically.

    Additional note on tipping: For tipping in restaurants, don't worry about putting tips on the credit card. However, if you are going to be splitting cheques (especially with multiple credit cards), make sure to let your server know right from the beginning and then tip them a little extra for the hassle =)
    For restaurants we usually double the sales tax, depending on where you are that will equal 18-20% Watch for the added gratuity, we had a table for 4 and it was added last year, husband almost tipped twice for horrible service!
    14 Shopping

    If you've never been to the US before, you will encounter the unique way Americans treat tax. Unlike in the UK, where VAT is part of the price that goods are labelled with in stores, this is not the case so much in the US. If you see something that is labelled with $29.99, be prepared to pay a 'sales tax' on top of that. This is the US answer to VAT and can catch you out if you're not careful. Sales tax is not the 20% variety we have in the UK at present, it normally hovers between 5-10%.
    Sales tax in the Seattle metro area is usually 9.5%. While it's not built in like the VAT it does mean lower prices overall. Groceries and prescription medications are not taxed.

    Cookie Brigade Prime 2011 and 2012!
    Shipping cookies for Prime 2013
  • PascualPascual Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    any more handy tips? for a first timer it'll be great...don't want to upset the locals!

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    thegh0sts wrote: »
    any more handy tips? for a first timer it'll be great...don't want to upset the locals!

    Just keep your eye on the OP on this thread. It's updated regularly in response to comments raised.

  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    the only thing i am worried about is undertipping and i don't want to have to quickly calculate the tip in my head either.

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    If you have a smartphone, most have a tip calculator app you can download. If you don't end up with a local sim card, just make sure you snag the app before you cross over. The app itself won't require any data usage once it's on your phone.

  • PascualPascual Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Or you can take my approach to tipping and don't do it :D

  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    In this country, that is considered extremely rude. Bartenders, waitresses and other tipped employees make their livelihood off of tips. Their actual wages are well below poverty level, and they try their hardest to give good service in order to get good tips. When you don't tip for good service, you're basically looked at as "that asshole."

    So, if you want to be Mr. Pink, so be it, but don't go back to the same place twice, or you might end up eating spit with your burger next time.

  • PascualPascual Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    It's funny whenever the topic of tipping comes up Reservoir Dogs is also mentioned. I have no problem with tipping usually but when it's expected I take issue.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Old General Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator, SolidSaints Zerzhul mod
    edited April 2011
    Pascual wrote: »
    Or you can take my approach to tipping and don't do it :D
    Pascual wrote: »
    I have no problem with tipping usually but when it's expected I take issue.

    That's quite a turn of opinion in two short posts.

    Either way, the point is that this is a guide to international travelers. In this country, tipping is more expected than in others. You can choose to not do it, but be prepared to be scorned unless you had an ironclad reason for not doing so. It's not about debating the merits of tipping, it's about being prepared for the expectations of a particular locality.

  • PascualPascual Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    My point being in America it's expected and then I take issue and then I don't do it. See it all links together! but you're right this isn't the place to debate tipping.

  • cabsycabsy oh it's a boat Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    If you have a smartphone, most have a tip calculator app you can download. If you don't end up with a local sim card, just make sure you snag the app before you cross over. The app itself won't require any data usage once it's on your phone.

    You can also just figure that for good or great service it's a 20% tip, so take your total, move the decimal point one to the left, and multiply it by 2 for an approximate tip that is totally appropriate and has wiggle room - you can round down a bit and nobody will be mad.

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  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    For your gadget needs, I can recommend one of these fantastic devices. It's fifty quid, but comes with a power adaptor with all possible configurations of international wall plugs, as well as tips that can fit into any of your devices. Additional tips are about £3.75 and you can buy them from their website directly. It also comes with a portable battery that will charge one thing - my iPhone 3G gets about a charge and a half from it - and a solar panel for when you're out and about (although in Seattle, this may not help).

    The great thing about this is that you can charge anything from anything. It even comes with both male and female USB to charge anything you have a USB cable for. I got mine for walking last year and it's been invaluable (although the build quality of some of the tips isn't amazing).

    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Willeth wrote: »
    For your gadget needs, I can recommend one of these fantastic devices.

    Tis witchcraft I tell you! I'll add it to the OP :)

  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    when tipping the housekeeper do you just leave the cash on like a desk for them to collect?

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    thegh0sts wrote: »
    when tipping the housekeeper do you just leave the cash on like a desk for them to collect?

    I leave it on the bed, as they will have to go to that to clean up :)

  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    kropotkin wrote: »
    thegh0sts wrote: »
    when tipping the housekeeper do you just leave the cash on like a desk for them to collect?

    I leave it on the bed, as they will have to go to that to clean up :)

    fair enough. though i find it strange for a country as developed as the US is that it doesn't have good wage levels as many other countries. does the US even have federal level control of wages levels? if they don't they should consider it: but will it break the culture of tipping - probably not but the standard wage really needs to go up in the US...unless there's some economic reason why it shouldn't or can't.

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
  • parasyteparasyte Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    thegh0sts wrote: »

    fair enough. though i find it strange for a country as developed as the US is that it doesn't have good wage levels as many other countries. does the US even have federal level control of wages levels?

    The federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr for most nonexempt workers, and 2.13/hr for workers in primarily tipped professions, though any shortfall compared to the normal minimum wage must be made up by the employer (which in most states with at-will employment probably leads to a swift firing).

    Washington is at least as nice as California where I live in that their separate minimum wage statute covers all workers at 8.55/hr with no separate wage for tipped workers. Living and working in the middle of a large urban area is expensive though, so tipping is only polite.

  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    parasyte wrote: »
    so tipping is only polite.

    well, it's definitely going to be a new experience for me in dealing with this but of US culture (any culture shocks aside).

    will do my best not to piss locals off! :)

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    is it a good idea to have a phone? looking to get a HD7 before the event and have it double as a camera.

    I wonder if T-mobile sell it unlocked.

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
  • AnorornAnororn Registered User
    edited April 2011
    thegh0sts wrote: »
    is it a good idea to have a phone? looking to get a HD7 before the event and have it double as a camera.

    I wonder if T-mobile sell it unlocked.

    I would recommend having a phone. Besides the obvious communication benefits, getting updates from Twitter about lines, schedule updates, and basic useful bits of info is helpful. Plus, there (should) be wifi working there, so you can connect to the internet using that.

    As for selling it to you unlocked...that I don't know. T-Mobile is also here in the US, so you might be able to work something out...?

    Alternately, you just pick up a super-cheap, pre-paid phone here. Not great, and probably no camera, but I would imagine it'll work.

    I should note, however, that last year, a lot of people (myself included) had problems getting signal for both wifi and phones, presumably due to the vast number of people there with there own wireless things. Should still work fine outside of the convention center, though. Just something to keep in mind.

  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    i probably only need a pre-paid phone as i won't be here for not even a month let alone 2 years to finish off the contract.

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
  • MTSonic11MTSonic11 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    kropotkin wrote: »
    *Housekeeper: $2/night. think about it, these people make your bed

    I just wanted to add a quick note to this. Please make sure you leave the tip every day that you allow the housekeepers into your room.

    The same person will probably not be cleaning your room every day, unless you're at a very small hotel/resort. Leaving a $10-20 tip at the end of your stay may end up with the housekeeper who only cleaned your room once, instead of the other 2-4 people who did on the other days.

    Also, if you're worried about where to leave the money, it never hurts to leave it on top of a "Thank you!" note on the hotel note pad. Having plenty of $1 bills on you once you get your weird looking American money is a good idea in general. $1 bills come in handy for tips, but also late night snack/soda machines in the hotels.

  • emimonsteremimonster Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I'm American, and have lived in the US for all but 5 years of my life and I have never tipped a hotel maid (except for cruise ships where they set out all the tipping stations at the end for all your staff). I just was never told that i was supposed to. I looked it up and it seems like in the last few years people have only just started tipping hotel maids. They actually DO get paid at least minimum wage so this is NOT like a waiter situation.
    That said I do not advocate not doing it. I believe if you can afford to tip, then tip well in every possible situation. If you can't afford to tip, then maybe skimp out on the housekeeper and only go 15% on your check.

    some info:
    http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/index.php/yes-tip-the-hotel-ma-5606/

    A quote from a housekeeper March 29 2011:
    As a housekeeper, I appreciate your concern. You're not alone, but you're rare I think. The hotel I work at in Portland is small and local, but I've worked at another (How do I say it; uppity?) joint and in 2+ years doing so I have received 6 dollars total. $2 of which was at this little hotel I'm at now. I was shocked (I don't ever expect it) and pretty grateful someone even thought to leave a tip. This is Portland, OR though and I can say I've been left a couple 6 packs of some tasty beverages, so you won't ever see me complaining. I guess what I've learned with tips is this: We may get paid very little, but so do a lot of other workers who do even harder work in fields that don't ever receive tips. (I'm also a caregiver for the elderly with dementia.) We get paid though, and that's what matters. But again, your generosity is much, much appreciated.

  • hml151hml151 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I don't let anyone in my room while at PAX. I will get new sheets and whatever myself because we have gaming stuff and personal stuff that we don't want stepped through. I just don't like strangers in or around my stuff.

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  • DoodlerDoodler Registered User
    edited May 2011
    Hey im travelling from the UK also, i need CHEAP hotel recommendations (cheap being the key word) help ASAP please, thanks

  • SmallLadySmallLady Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Doodler wrote: »
    Hey im travelling from the UK also, i need CHEAP hotel recommendations (cheap being the key word) help ASAP please, thanks

    I would considering posting in the room share thread and finding people to share a hotel with.

    "we're just doing what smalllady told us to do" - @Heels
  • tokyodovetokyodove Perth, WARegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    thegh0sts wrote: »
    parasyte wrote: »
    so tipping is only polite.

    well, it's definitely going to be a new experience for me in dealing with this but of US culture (any culture shocks aside).

    will do my best not to piss locals off! :)

    i hear you ghosts im australian as well, normally i just give them the money and get out asap, now i have to use my brain gaaahhh!!

  • pillarofdawnpillarofdawn Registered User
    edited May 2011
    I believe as a foreigner you can avoid the sales tax by presenting a valid ID. This is what I do when coming from another state(oregon which has no sales tax). Note some places will not always void the sales tax but some will. I live near the state boarder so most do there. Just ask and they will usually tell you :)

    I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite thread on the forums.
  • DreamwriterDreamwriter Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Doodler wrote: »
    Hey im travelling from the UK also, i need CHEAP hotel recommendations (cheap being the key word) help ASAP please, thanks

    There's a hostel in the area, GreenTortoise, should be fairly cheap I would think.

    As for tipping the housekeeper, make sure you leave a note making it clear it's for them. They aren't supposed to just pick up cash they see lying around the room :)

    Oh, here's another tipping tip :) If you order room service food in your hotel, make sure you read the fine print in the menu - often in US hotels a tip is added by default to room service, you can't do anything about it. But the receipt will have a line for how much tip to add anyways. So make sure you don't double-tip them.

  • Reverend SnideReverend Snide Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    As for tipping the housekeeper, make sure you leave a note making it clear it's for them. They aren't supposed to just pick up cash they see lying around the room :)

    Yeah, that confused me on my first trip. "But I'm TRYING to tip! TAKE MY MONEY!!"

    Just leave the tip with a note saying "Thank you".

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  • King of MarsKing of Mars Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Thanks for this. I'm an American, so it doesn't apply to me, but it's good to get a reminder now and then of exactly how fucking weird we are. Cheers, and enjoy your visit. :D

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  • causaboncausabon Registered User
    edited May 2011
    I believe as a foreigner you can avoid the sales tax by presenting a valid ID.

    Er, no. There are certain very limited exemptions, but they apply only to some US and Canadian citizens, for goods that won't be used in Washington, and a dozen other things.

  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    hml151 wrote: »
    I don't let anyone in my room while at PAX. I will get new sheets and whatever myself because we have gaming stuff and personal stuff that we don't want stepped through. I just don't like strangers in or around my stuff.

    Hah, I'm this paranoid as well. It's so weird, because I'm fine with hundreds of pounds worth of stuff in my checked luggage, but leaving it on the table in the room where paid cleaners might come in for five minutes? no sir

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  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    tokyodove wrote: »
    thegh0sts wrote: »
    parasyte wrote: »
    so tipping is only polite.

    well, it's definitely going to be a new experience for me in dealing with this but of US culture (any culture shocks aside).

    will do my best not to piss locals off! :)

    i hear you ghosts im australian as well, normally i just give them the money and get out asap, now i have to use my brain gaaahhh!!

    i wonder if it's a good idea for the Aussies going to PAX to meet up? i'll be there for a few days after PAX just to chill and sight see :)

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
  • tokyodovetokyodove Perth, WARegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    thegh0sts wrote: »

    i wonder if it's a good idea for the Aussies going to PAX to meet up? i'll be there for a few days after PAX just to chill and sight see :)

    i made a thread asking other aussies if they want to catch up in seattle, so far only one response :/ still, the more the merrier!

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=142286

  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Quick question about the mob/cell phones:

    I have an HTC HD7 and I was wondering what pre-paid plans to use as I would love to have data if i can....was looking at T-Mobile as the carrier but any recommendations will be great.

    EDIT: I'll be coming in from Toronto so would the canadian roaming option be better?

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    thegh0sts wrote: »
    Quick question about the mob/cell phones:

    I have an HTC HD7 and I was wondering what pre-paid plans to use as I would love to have data if i can....was looking at T-Mobile as the carrier but any recommendations will be great.

    EDIT: I'll be coming in from Toronto so would the canadian roaming option be better?

    Make sure your phone is unlocked before leaving, then go to the AT&T store in Pacific Place (the one the OP talks about) in Seattle and buy a Pay as you Go SIM card. Slap that into your phone and you're fine for PAX. Either that or use your current provider's roaming charge, it's entirely up to you!

  • hml151hml151 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Willeth wrote: »
    Hah, I'm this paranoid as well. It's so weird, because I'm fine with hundreds of pounds worth of stuff in my checked luggage, but leaving it on the table in the room where paid cleaners might come in for five minutes? no sir
    Don't worry I do have issues with my checked luggage too. TSA always goes through mine, just to check but I think they really just want to rifle through my underwear and such.

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  • thegh0ststhegh0sts Sydney, NSWRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    kropotkin wrote: »
    thegh0sts wrote: »
    Quick question about the mob/cell phones:

    I have an HTC HD7 and I was wondering what pre-paid plans to use as I would love to have data if i can....was looking at T-Mobile as the carrier but any recommendations will be great.

    EDIT: I'll be coming in from Toronto so would the canadian roaming option be better?

    Make sure your phone is unlocked before leaving, then go to the AT&T store in Pacific Place (the one the OP talks about) in Seattle and buy a Pay as you Go SIM card. Slap that into your phone and you're fine for PAX. Either that or use your current provider's roaming charge, it's entirely up to you!

    oh ok, i am looking at http://www.truphone.com/en-AU/ as an option.

    Next PAX: TBA
    Previous PAXs: PAX Prime 2011, PAX AUS 2013
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