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1500 dollars, 3 months, and i have no idea where to go

pogo mudderpogo mudder Registered User regular
edited February 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm going to America with my flat mate next year, and we're paying our way by working as janitors at one of those infamous 'summer camps' for 8 weeks. I don't know what state we'll be in, but I'm guessing a southern one. After the 8 weeks work, we still have like over a month of a working VISA left to travel. Basically what i need is a game plan, where am i going to go when they throw me out of the camp? My plan so far is to go to a university town, and find a bunch of students who find the novelty of me being British funny enough to offer food and shelter, but without the know-how, i doubt even this will work.
If you can't tell me the best place to find these students, tell me whats more awesome to visit (none of the cliche stuff, i've seen the empire state building in movies way too many times to even care to see it IRL anymore)

-pogo

what a work of art is man, and the most boring choice you can make
pogo mudder on

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    KwornKworn Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Oh man I would so love to do this.

    You are lucky.

    I am sure on when on the camp you will have plenty of time to work out what to do with that last month. I am sure the Americans you meet there will be more than willing to help.

    Sounds like a goog idea to go to a random college. But I dont know how well that will work out, I doubt it will work out like it does in the movies.

    Kworn on
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    contrabandcontraband Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    College town is a good idea. Plenty of kids running around as it is, so there has to be something for you there. Yeah, and try to ask around for stuff to do in the area before your camp ends.

    Good luck on your journey!

    contraband on
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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Is it still going to be summer when you're travelling? That might put a damper on finding students to crash with.

    tsmvengy on
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    PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    The essential American experience is a road trip. Buy an old car / get a motorcycle and travel from one ocean to the other. Get odd jobs for extra money, meet random people, do whatever, visit whatever looks interesting on the way.

    PirateJon on
    all perfectionists are mediocre in their own eyes
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    DeathwingDeathwing Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    First, I want to apologize in advance, because i'm probably going to sound like a bit of a jerk here. I have absolutely nothing against you personally, however.
    I don't know what state we'll be in, but I'm guessing a southern one.

    Find this out, ASAP, along with what city and what colleges there are in that city. How did you get reasonable prospects for a job lined up without knowing what state it's in?
    My plan so far is to go to a university town, and find a bunch of students who find the novelty of me being British funny enough to offer food and shelter, but without the know-how, i doubt even this will work.

    Plan for working is good, assuming you have a guaranteed job before you arrive. Sticking around a month afterwards and hoping somebody takes you in....not such a good idea.....

    1) As someone mentioned already, it sounds like it will still be summer when you finish working, which means the majority of college students will not be back in town yet, and those that are will be busy getting ready for a new school year.

    2) As much as I would like to say you could rely on the kindness of total strangers to take you in, you are taking a huge gamble here. Anyone living in a dorm or even on-campus apartments will probably not be able to take you in due to food, space, and/or legal concerns, even if they trust you enough to let you stay otherwise - depending on the rules of their school, at best you would be kicked out, at worst they would be kicked out along with you, or fined, or both, or any manner of other unpleasant things.

    3) And even with off-campus housing, there's still the issue of trust....Speaking for myself, if you had shown up at my doorstep out of the blue back when I was in school, and asked to stay for a month with free food and rent, I would have laughed in your face and pointed you to the nearest extended-stay hotel.

    4) Not to mention that letting someone stay in their non-school place for free without being on their lease also would have the potential for serious problems - I actually witnessed someone getting evicted for this (along with other problems) a few years ago, after he blatantly started letting his buddies use his place as a literal second home.....Staff in management offices are more observant than you might think.

    5) How are you planning to look for the aforementioned free lodging and food? You can't just go around and knock randomly on people's doors, for reasons that hopefully don't need to be said.
    If you can't tell me the best place to find these students, tell me whats more awesome to visit (none of the cliche stuff, i've seen the empire state building in movies way too many times to even care to see it IRL anymore)

    Without you knowing what state you're staying in or what kind of transportation you will have access to, it's kinda hard to suggest much. You may want to mess around on Google Maps or something to get an idea of scale - fer' instance, even if you did want to go to NYC, it's at least a 4 hour drive or so from anywhere that is considered even loosely southern, and more like 8-14+ if you're deeper in like near Raleigh (North Carolina) or Atlanta (Georgia).

    I would suggest finding out what state and/or city you will be in, then maybe starting another topic specifically about finding neat spots to visit. There's always WikiTravel or a hojillion other sites on the net once you have a specific destination in mind, too.

    If you're really bent on doing this, at least make sure you have an "escape plan" in place, with a guaranteed way back to an airport and onto your plane back home in case things don't work out.

    Deathwing on
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    pogo mudderpogo mudder Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    thanks for the advice... kind of, deathwing. however me not yet knowing which state i'll be placed in is kind of a bonus in my mind. i dont want to know what cool stuff is in my particular state and just visit it because its closest. the aim of this thread was to find out the BEST places to visit, thus enabling me to travel around. i'll be god damned if im sticking to one state

    pogo mudder on
    what a work of art is man, and the most boring choice you can make
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    DeathwingDeathwing Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    thanks for the advice... kind of, deathwing. however me not yet knowing which state i'll be placed in is kind of a bonus in my mind. i dont want to know what cool stuff is in my particular state and just visit it because its closest.

    Well, the problem is, there is so much to do in each state, it's impossible to suggest anything without knowing where your starting point will be and/or how much gas money & mileage on your rental car you will have available - If I suggest you visit (for example), say, the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but you end getting placed in Mississippi somewhere, you're looking at a 12 hour+ & 900 mile drive each direction and at least 3 or 4 tanks worth ($100+) of gas used.

    Further, there are many, many places that are great tourist destinations, but horrible places for your "find a random college student to stay with" plan.

    Basically, at the risk of sounding insulting, the US is not like England where you can conceivably travel across the entire country in one day. Also, I have to reiterate yet again, as a US native, that your idea about trying to find a random college student to give you free lodging space for a month is ill-advised and dangerous.

    All that said, though, if you make it work somehow and have a good time, more power to you.

    Deathwing on
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    GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    You might actually solicit help from Penny Arcade people. When you know what state you're going to be in and where you want to travel you could ask for people who might put you up for a night or two. You've got money so you wouldn't be mooching off them too hard hopefully. I'd say it's better than just random strangers, most of the people on PA aren't filthy criminals.

    Gafoto on
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    Sheep Have WoolSheep Have Wool Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    A few points here:

    First, Deathwing is absolutely correct in pointing out how long it can take to get places. It's entirely conceivable that you could enter Texas, spend 8 continuous hours driving, and still be in the same state. Depending on where you're starting from and how you plan on getting to your destination, some places may be out of reach financially. People don't fly in this country because they're lazy sots - some places are far away.

    Second, while planning to not have a plan is fun and can lead to some fantastic moments, you need to do at least a little bit of logistical planning here. Unless someone has gotten to know you, it's unlikely that you'll find someone willing to take you in just because you're British - and if they did, it's not probable they could afford to feed you for 3 months. Also, how much fun can you have when you're worried about where you'll sleep that night? Some Googling for exchange student housing or something similar would probably be in order here.

    If you're looking into a college town, you might consider subleasing an apartment for the summer. Quite a few apartment complexes require students to sign a lease for a year, even if they're only going to be there for 9 months going to school. In many cases, students sublease these apartments for the summer months at a substantially discounted rate, and you could easily locate one in your destination city of choice if you started looking now.

    Finally, you should probably go to Austin, Texas. It's got one of the largest colleges in the country, live music of every sort at dozens of venues every night, a rocking bar scene, tons of green space, and a very liberal, laid back attitude that tends to play nice with foreigners.

    Once you learn where you're going to be and where you want to go, Craigslist will be your friend.

    Sheep Have Wool on
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    ThomamelasThomamelas Only one man can kill this many Russians. Bring his guitar to me! Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    thanks for the advice... kind of, deathwing. however me not yet knowing which state i'll be placed in is kind of a bonus in my mind. i dont want to know what cool stuff is in my particular state and just visit it because its closest. the aim of this thread was to find out the BEST places to visit, thus enabling me to travel around. i'll be god damned if im sticking to one state

    In my experience, while people from England understand intellectually how big America is, that doesn't always translate well into practicality. As an example, the state I live in is Texas. I live in the eastern part of the state. My ex graduated from a University that is in west Texas. It was over an eight hour drive to get there without leaving the state.

    If your in New England where I grew up, you can get to another state in a few hours of driving. But getting suggestions for things to do in Portland isn't practical if your going to be at a summer camp in Maine, even with a month of time left over on your Visa.

    Thomamelas on
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    Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I work at one of those summer camps you talked about. What company are you going through? What camp are you staying at?

    Most of the international staff were going to camp just to get into the states easily. They left with about 12-1500$ US at the end of the summer. You will most likely meet a ton of people from across the country that will have absolutely no problem letting you stay with them. One of my co-counselors stayed at our house for about a week until moving out west to someone else's house.
    Train tickets are fairly cheap, as are bus tickets.

    So make friends at the camp you are at, because they may turn out to be great contacts to have when you are touring the country.

    Forbe! on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    When you decide more or less where you will be, I suggest www.couchsurfing.com

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
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    tbloxhamtbloxham Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    One thing I would say (and this is only based on my own experiences working at a summer camp) but if you can possibly be a normal camp counselor, rather than a Janitor do that instead. Not because I've been a Janitor and it sucks, but because being a proper camp counselor is fantastic. Also if your camp is anything like mine was, all the fun locals who you'd want to hang out with are counselors, and never even see the Janitors. So if you're a counselor you will make lifelong friends and have an astounding experience (true, some international staff do think they are just coming for a cheap trip, but in fact it can be one of the experiences of a lifetime and most of the ones who worked at the camp I went to came back at least a few years in a row)

    I'd be more excited about the first 2 months, and let the 3rd take care of itself.

    tbloxham on
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    Angel177Angel177 Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I second the camp counselor thing, I was one for 4 years from the UK and it fucking rules, you make lots of friends with funny accents and if your camp is anything like mine you can do some great trips just depending on where people come from.

    look at BUNAC they can help you get there get a visa, set you up at a camp, its great fun and if you have a skill even better.

    DO NOT be a janitor, you do not want to deal with all of the horrible things they have to deal with for example unblocking the pipes due to build up of hair and semen (teenage boys shack) no joke...

    Angel177 on
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    oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I had a friend who finished a semester early in college so he took the last semester with hitching as far west as he could (we went to school in ny). He made it to new orleans and stuck there cause he loved it. At the time (I'm sure it's still true now) the only parts built up were upper middle class so companies were paying very good rates to people doing tedious jobs. He hung out, tended bar, and found some students from Loyola New Orleans to crash with.

    I also knew an Australian girl who purchased some sort of Greyhound Bus pass that lets you ride unlimited rides for a month or something. Greyhound is pretty much the main busline, but it can be absoloutly dreadful.

    oldsak on
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