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[PRIME] International Travellers Guide to PAX '09

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Posts

  • FlecTecFlecTec Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Great thread, thanks for all the info.

    Ive never been to the US before so I'm still a little confused about this Visa Waiver stuff. I'll be getting a new passport to travel to PAX because my old one has expired (I'm from the UK btw). I assume it will be a machine readable passport?

    So when I get my passport and book my flights I go to the link in the OP and apply for a visa waiver. And then what happens? Do I get something which I need to take with me or are the details scanned in from my passport?

    Any help would be appreciated. Ive tried looking up some information online but most of it isn't very clear.

  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    FlecTec wrote: »
    Great thread, thanks for all the info.

    Ive never been to the US before so I'm still a little confused about this Visa Waiver stuff. I'll be getting a new passport to travel to PAX because my old one has expired (I'm from the UK btw). I assume it will be a machine readable passport?

    So when I get my passport and book my flights I go to the link in the OP and apply for a visa waiver. And then what happens? Do I get something which I need to take with me or are the details scanned in from my passport?

    Any help would be appreciated. Ive tried looking up some information online but most of it isn't very clear.

    Your new passport should be eligible for it, but check it when you get it.

    You apply for the Visa Waiver ahead of time, and you get a printed form afterward. I'll be taking it with me, but I don't think it's strictly necessary to do so.

    @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 June 2009
    Having just returned from the US after being in LA at an expo that shalt not be mentioned I can vouch that the form linked in the OP works just fine. Remember to print it out before heading to the airport! They won't let you on the plane until you have filled out that form online at least 72 hours prior.

  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    There isn't an upper limit on that, is there? I think I filled mine out in November.

    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • PsynergyPsynergy Registered User
    edited June 2009
    anyone got any tips on cheap flights? I'm struggling to find any sites that actually live up to the 'cheap flight' motto

  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited June 2009
    Renting a car just to drive from the airport to downtown is a waste of money, just grab a cab or take the bus. Once you're downtown, you won't be driving anywhere.

  • solomanisolomani Sydney, AURegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I am not renting a car just to drive to downtown. I am renting a car because I want to drive the new mustang - a car that isn't available in Australia (well it is if your willing to pay 300k).

  • chupamiubrechupamiubre Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    the only thing you should also be aware of, most places charge to park it usually $30+ a day to park.

    <ZeroHourHero> I have a tiny penis
    <Qs23> I just need to get my dicks in a row
    <prox> i work for dicks
    #paforums_pax, all about the dicks.
  • solomanisolomani Sydney, AURegistered User regular
    edited June 2009
  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    As a gentle reminder for those going to PAX '09 from overseas, a number of important things need to be done prior to making your way to the airport. These are, in order of importance:

    1) Visa waiver - this must be filled out at least 72 hours prior to departure. The form can be foundhere

    2) Get travel insurance. Do NOT forget this prior to leaving your homeland!

    3) Get some cash in both bills and on a card.

    4) Let your bank know you're leaving your home country to ensure they don't shut down your credit card, should you have any need to use it whilst in the US.

    The OP has been updated and tweaked a bit with some more info on the use of cell phones in the US.

  • Frightfully EnglishFrightfully English Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    So we're getting close now. As this is my first trip to the US I have some questions regarding the art of tipping.

    I've got it in my head that I should only be tipping at restaurants, bars and in taxis. Am I missing anything?

    15% seems to be the going rate for restaurants, which is fair. But how much would you tip for a beer at a bar? Would you tip every time you went up to the bar?

    Is th 15% rate of tipping applied to taxi fares too?

  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    You are correct in that the restaurant rate is 15%. As for bars, US pubs and bars generally have staff that bring drinks to you. You make the order and they serve you at your table. It's a little weird at first and I'm never comfortable with it every time I go to the US. I'd much rather go get the drinks myself as we do in the UK.

    Anyway you tip the bar staff the same amount as restaurants, as they operate in a similar manner. If you were to buy a drink from the bar I suspect no tip applies, however I may be utterly wrong with that seeing as I've never done it.

    One final thing, shop keepers, restaurant staff and generally everyone you meet will likely say 'have a nice day', or words to that effect. Please note; the people who are saying this are not being sarcastic for they actually sincerely mean it. They are not looking for a fight or indeed on the brink of insulting your family and your kin. I know we British honestly believe that the act of muttering these words is an insult and is usually responded to with some very angry words or even violence in some cases. So if you do get the urge to punch the person squarely in the face because they have wished you a 'nice day', without any sence of irony or indeed comprehending how obnoxious it sounds to a British person's ears, simply take a deep breath, clench your fists a few times, smile through gritted teeth and say 'thanks'.

  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited August 2009
    Wait wait wait wait wait wait wait...

    "Have a nice day" is an insult to the British? This is news to me.

  • Frightfully EnglishFrightfully English Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I think maybe terming it an insult is too strong Moe, but "have a nice day" and phrases of its ilk are generally reserved for customers who have been a bit of a tool. Obviously it is normally said in as sarcastic and withering a manner as possible, just to underline how much you really don't wish them a nice day. What can I say, we're a bit odd this side of the pond. :P

  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited August 2009
    Well, anybody who works customer service and doesn't really enjoy the presence of a customer or more will have phrases they speak that mean different than what they are saying. For example, if I'm at work and somebody asks me to do something that is handled by the department around the corner from us, I'll say "You have to talk to them around the corner at Campus 411." But what I really mean is, "Go fuck yourself you horrible illiterate person. I hope you die."

    It really depends on how much the employee wants to be there that day and if you're a jerk or have very blatantly gone to the wrong counter without reading the signage.

  • chupamiubrechupamiubre Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    yeah at Disney "have a magical day" is a big time insult. Its usually a last resort something you say before you say something that will get you fired.

    <ZeroHourHero> I have a tiny penis
    <Qs23> I just need to get my dicks in a row
    <prox> i work for dicks
    #paforums_pax, all about the dicks.
  • Rogue_hunterRogue_hunter Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I think maybe terming it an insult is too strong Moe, but "have a nice day" and phrases of its ilk are generally reserved for customers who have been a bit of a tool. Obviously it is normally said in as sarcastic and withering a manner as possible, just to underline how much you really don't wish them a nice day. What can I say, we're a bit odd this side of the pond. :P

    "Have a nice day good sir"

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  • Frightfully EnglishFrightfully English Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
  • MetaverseNomadMetaverseNomad Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    hahaha! This is fascinating!!! Are there any other cool differences between seemingly innoculous phrases/gestures??? I was reading last month about the significance of "throwing the horns" and there's also something about a thumbs-up...

    :P

  • solomanisolomani Sydney, AURegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    This may be relevant to the international lads. Did anyone else order tickets with the "FedEX International Delivery Option" ? If so any idea when these ship and if a tracking number is provided. Somewhat worried they will get here AFTER I leave. Which isn't the end of the world as the order provided a printed copy as well. But a waste of money if they turn up later.

  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    wow, down here nearly every time I buy something or otherwise deal with someone working, the transaction ends with "Have a good one" "You too!" or something similar.

    camo_sig2.png
  • stabn_stabn_ Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    WRT tipping at bars $1/drink is pretty standard even if just ordering from a bartender at the bar.

    Slytherin Headboy: Order of the Phoenix!
  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    solomani wrote: »
    This may be relevant to the international lads. Did anyone else order tickets with the "FedEX International Delivery Option" ? If so any idea when these ship and if a tracking number is provided. Somewhat worried they will get here AFTER I leave. Which isn't the end of the world as the order provided a printed copy as well. But a waste of money if they turn up later.

    I didn't know they were shipping the tickets internationally. They didn't last year due to problems with sending them abroad.

  • KaitouAyashiKaitouAyashi Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    From the Yelp Gratuitous Guide to Tipping:

    *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

    Frightfully, as promised I'll have this little pocket guide for you when you arrive. I'll see if I can get a few more in case anyone is interested.

    [15:02] BigRed-Worky: i will nom all of your boxes
    [15:02] Tajah: I like you BR but I'm not letting you nom my box
    [15:02] BigRed-Worky: Did I mention I hate you all? cause i do
    PAX Twitter Shitter~*~ Retired Bar Liaison: 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Annual Triwizard Drinking Tournament~*~
  • OzzimoOzzimo Registered User
    edited August 2009
    I'm trying to think of Seattle specific "quirks" that might be useful (as the rest of you have done such a genuinely great job so far. :)

    Seattle has traffic issues. As such they/we don't have much patience for pedestrians who take their time crossing the street. Its bad enough walking slowly at a crosswalk but maddening if you do it in the middle of the street. I'm just saying some cars won't wait for you to pass, so best to hustle. :)

    When thinking about what shoes you might wear, realize that Seattle is quite hilly. Those dress shoes may really make your costume look awesome but will have your feet bleeding if you plan to explore in them.

    Lastly, Seattlites order coffee like its a drag race. If you're in line just have your order ready when its your turn.


    That's really all I can think of. And mine aren't that informative to begin with (a testimate to the posters above me!)

    Enjoy. :)

  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Ozzimo wrote: »
    I'm trying to think of Seattle specific "quirks" that might be useful (as the rest of you have done such a genuinely great job so far. :)

    *snip*

    Thanks for the feedback on this thread. I must say it's a heck of lot less hostile than last year's, mainly because I made some nasty errors in the OP and I rightfully got smacked down for it. Ohhh did I learn from last year!

    Anyway, the points you raised are valid only the traffic one less so. PAX takes place on Labor [sic] Day weekend (there really is a 'u' in 'labour' you know, really), and the city is largely deserted in comparison to what it normally is. Also, as a resident of London UK, what traffic I did see in Seattle last year didn't come close to what I experience every single day here in the 'Big Smoke' :lol: Although I really don't like the wide streets US cities have. Some are so wide the other side is in another timezone!

    Finally on the coffee thing, that may be a bit of a moot point to us British folk. We generally become more British the further we are away from the 'precious stone set in the silver sea'. This means we begin to have cravings for tea. Yes that's right, tea. In Seattle. Not a good combo, but it happens none the less. So don't be surprised to see a British person in a queue asking for a cup of boiling water, milk and some sugar. They'll be combining that with a Typhoo/PG Tips/Tetly tea bag, much to the horror of the coffee house staff...

  • TJPTJP Registered User
    edited August 2009
    kropotkin wrote: »
    Finally on the coffee thing, that may be a bit of a moot point to us British folk. We generally become more British the further we are away from the 'precious stone set in the silver sea'. This means we begin to have cravings for tea. Yes that's right, tea. In Seattle. Not a good combo, but it happens none the less. So don't be surprised to see a British person in a queue asking for a cup of boiling water, milk and some sugar. They'll be combining that with a Typhoo/PG Tips/Tetly tea bag, much to the horror of the coffee house staff...

    Peet's Coffee and Tea all over the place. Perrenial tea Room and the Crumpet Shop vaguely near the convention center. It's not quite as known for tea as Portland (Tao of Tea, Stash) but you can do better than a bag of cheap nasty from Denny's.

    Drinking some Tao lapsang souchong now. Mmmm, liquid campfire...

  • KaitouAyashiKaitouAyashi Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Also, there's a Teavana in Pacific Place, near the convention center. www.teavana.com

    [15:02] BigRed-Worky: i will nom all of your boxes
    [15:02] Tajah: I like you BR but I'm not letting you nom my box
    [15:02] BigRed-Worky: Did I mention I hate you all? cause i do
    PAX Twitter Shitter~*~ Retired Bar Liaison: 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Annual Triwizard Drinking Tournament~*~
  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Well that's all well and good, but is it proper builder's tea? That is a proper brew my friends, for an entire nation was built from it :)

  • KaitouAyashiKaitouAyashi Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    kropotkin wrote: »
    Well that's all well and good, but is it proper builder's tea? That is a proper brew my friends, for an entire nation was built from it :)

    Please bring me some of this tea and I promise to enjoy it heartily!

    [15:02] BigRed-Worky: i will nom all of your boxes
    [15:02] Tajah: I like you BR but I'm not letting you nom my box
    [15:02] BigRed-Worky: Did I mention I hate you all? cause i do
    PAX Twitter Shitter~*~ Retired Bar Liaison: 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Annual Triwizard Drinking Tournament~*~
  • kropotkinkropotkin Mr London UKRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    OK this is the final call for those that are travelling from a nation that supports the Visa waiver system. Please go to this site:

    https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/

    And fill out the form. If you do not do this, you will not be let on the freaking plane! I kid you not, this is checked by the airline before you board, so if you forget to do that, NO PAX FOR YOU! This is the last day you can do it so if you have put it off up until now, do it today!

    Also call your bank to let them know you'll be out of the country and using your credit card. If you don't do this they will shut down your card quicker than you can say 'flibbertygibbets'. Also make sure you have your travel insurance all set up.

    FINALLY - Don't check in your baggage a second time at Seattle airport. The international terminal is very, VERY far away from the domestic one and the authorities there offer to stash your luggage in a seperate truck from the train you take to get to the exit terminal. Try to avoid this as it's a pain to get your luggage from a second carosel!
    '
    OK that's it from me folks. Best of luck getting to PAX this year, looks like it's going to be huge!

  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    While I am a filthy American, I can vouch for the quality of Peets tea. But then, I mostly use it to cure my hangovers.

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  • SmallLadySmallLady Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    kropotkin wrote: »
    FINALLY - Don't check in your baggage a second time at Seattle airport. The international terminal is very, VERY far away from the domestic one and the authorities there offer to stash your luggage in a seperate truck from the train you take to get to the exit terminal. Try to avoid this as it's a pain to get your luggage from a second carosel!



    I cannot lime this hard enough! It takes FOREVER for your bag to pop up a second time in the baggage claim area @ SEA

    "we're just doing what smalllady told us to do" - @Heels
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    kropotkin wrote: »
    OK this is the final call for those that are travelling from a nation that supports the Visa waiver system. Please go to this site:

    https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/

    And fill out the form. If you do not do this, you will not be let on the freaking plane! I kid you not, this is checked by the airline before you board, so if you forget to do that, NO PAX FOR YOU! This is the last day you can do it so if you have put it off up until now, do it today!

    I did this months ago, but I've misplaced the sheet I printed. Did they send one via email, and if so, what keyword should I use to find it?

    EDIT: Apparently not. Reapplied, granted, and we'll see what happens. I'll be frantically searching for the old one tonight. Urgh.

    E2: Is it my understanding that the application needs to placed beforehand, but the 72-hour thing is just a recommendation and not a requirement?

    E3: OH MY FUCKING GOD, I found my old one, checked the status, and it looks like reapplying invalidated my old application. It does appear, however, that the 72-hour thing is just a recommendation and not mandated. Jesus fuck, if it turns out I can't fly I'll be so annoyed with myself.

    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
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