You know that awkward moment when you look at the calendar and you realise oh my god it's 2 weeks today until you get on a plane to the United States in what will be your first trip overseas in your entire life and you're not prepared? I just had that moment. Educate me on the United States and travel.
1. I'll be arriving at the Los Angeles airport as opposed to San Diego (where I'll be studying). I'm arriving there because it's several hundred dollars less than arriving at the San Diego airport. Is there anyone in California with experience in getting between the two? Out of trains, buses, or other, which would in your opinion be the best way (keeping in mind I'll have my suitcase, laptop, and a backpack with me). Keep costs in mind too because I'm poor.
2. Money. In New Zealand it's commonplace to use our bank cards to pay for everything. From what I've gathered, people use cash a lot more in the United States? This is material because it'll decide how I store my USD. If you guys use cash a lot more, then I'll wanna store it in something with lower ATM fees. If you're more swipe your card at purchase I'll wanna get something different. Also should I like, put it in my sock or something in case someone tries to rob me. What about a US bank account, would I have to jump through hoops to open a temporary one of those? Finally, is it true that when you see a price over there it's tax -not- included? I don't wanna get surprised and caught out by forgetting to add it on.
3. Electronics. Should I just leave all my things like my hairdryer and my alarm clock and other things back in New Zealand. I know the plugs are different and I'd at least have to get adaptors at least for the plug heads, but I really don't know about this whole different voltage thing and I'm not sure if I'd have to buy some form of transformer which could possibly be expensive. Would it be better just to head on down to Walmart and buy the American version of these things and get rid of them when I leave?
4. Any standout culture differences I should expect?
5. Omg food. What should I try guys.
6. Any final things you think I should think about that I haven't mentioned?
So yeah, leaving in 2 weeks and a bit nervous about it. I'm in the USA for 3 months (7th January - 5th April) and I'll be studying at the University of California's San Diego campus for Winter quarter. I've already planned some meetups with some people (if anyone else is in the area and I trust you're not a 40 year old rapist, perhaps we could get a smoothie some time), and am possibly flying all the way over to New York for a couple of days. I've got everything immigration and study wise sorted out, but not the fun side of the trip.