Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 59
  1. Default Rick in the USA.

    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.

  2. Default

    2/ We do swipe cards a lot here. You have no problem there. I have no idea about setting up temporary bank accounts though, however, I can't imagine it being too hard.
    The sale prices do not include tax.

    3/ It would be troublesome to look up a voltage converter with enough watt and ampere for all of your appliances, I suggest trying make-do style (using cellphone as alarm clock).
    In case you're interested, our outlets are mostly flat-...stick.
    This flat

    as opposed to cylindrical-stick.
    It might be better to decide if you knew what appliances you will need.

    4/ I don't know much about NZ, but you seem used to dealing with Asians, so you should be fine.

  3. Default

    1. Depends on your age and how much money you're willing to throw down. Honestly I think it'd be MUCH easier to rent a car seeing as San Diego is about a 2hour drive. Then again, I'm not an expert in that area. Seeing as you have a lot of stuff with you, I'd definitely suggest one.


    This. And at the same time, since you're in So Cal, you're bound to run into places that only accept cash. So definitely keep some on you.

    3. Do you have any roommates? See if any of them have anything you're willing to share. If you're against this, maybe bringing plug extensions will benefit you for the time being.

    4. Asians. 'Nuff said.'s San's like this in terms of population: Asians, Latinos, Whites, then Blacks.

    5. Food? Everything. TRY JAMBA JUICE OH MY EFFING GAWD!

  4. aka ClawofBeta Straight Male
    Corn's Avatar [Jr. Event Coordinator]

    IGN: ClawofBeta
    Server: LoL.NA
    Level: 30
    Job: Bot Lane
    Guild: N/A
    Alliance: N/A


    4. I dunno, what culture stuff do you have in New Zealand?
    BTW don't attack any Asian people or Maoris.

    Get used to our lol measuring system, too.

    5. Big Macs.

  5. ☆ ♥ ツ Straight Female
    IGN: QuIt!!!
    Server: Bellocan
    Level: 184
    Job: ♥Bishop
    Guild: QUIT!
    Alliance: quit quit QUIT


    1. No idea since I live in the east. sorry.

    2. Most places tax is NOT included unless otherwise specified. Also, I'd carry some cash on you as well, but I'm pretty sure most people swipe their debit cards. I for one haven't carried cash on me in over 3 years since all I use is my debit card. But, I think a mix of both would be good.

    3. Hmm thats a tricky one. You can find a hairdryer at wallyworld for probably $8 or less lol. So, I'm not really sure to be honest.

    4. Any standout culture differences I should expect? lots of black people? I dunno lol

    5. Don't we have all the same things you have?

  6. Default


    1. Renting a car is most convenient, but that's a relatively long trip and you may have jetlag; since it's your first overseas trip, I would tend to suggest against, I don't really know.

    2. If you are used to cards, keep using them.

    3. I know at least a few advanced electronics do not work even with items specially made to switch over voltage. Also...
    You'll have to research and see if type I can be converted to type A.

    4. Is rampant self-entitlement a cultural difference? If so, be prepared for it!

    5. If you haven't tried cajun and like spicy, do it. Also, if you are going to be that close to the coast, there should be some decent fish, but I would stay away from it further inland because it will not be as good as what you are used to, except at the really expensive places. Besides varying freshness, not really sure what would be different at this point, globalization and all that.

  7. Default

    For number one, I would go with a train. At least for as much of it as you can. Much better than going on a bus. As far as what to take, I had to google for is. There's probably other ways, but one way is to take the Amtrak from LAX to Solana Beach (SOL), which is about a 2 hour ride (36 USD). From there, you can take a bus to UCSD. Someone who's been around LA/SD with public transport can probably give better directions.

    Also, keep this handy for travelling within SD:

    Also I found this, which may or may not be helpful:

  8. Default

    The plugs here are around 10-20$ for each plug. When my gf was here from scotland we had to get one, I didn't look at bulk but I'd go to a radioshack/bestbuy to question whether they would and do price comparisons by that lead. I mean for things like an alarm and hair dryer id just buy new ones lol

  9. Orbital Bee Cannon
    IGN: BuffDaSnail
    Server: Khaini
    Level: 15x
    Job: DrK!
    Guild: Irresistible
    Alliance: IrreForce


    Rick, I do live in the LA area; if you need anything, do give me a holler

    From my experience, getting to SD by train or bus would be the cheapest bet. I did some research on Amtrak's website and its roughly about ~$27-39 to go from LA Union Station to one of the stations in San Diego. However, the problem is that there are no stations that are really close to UCSD (Solana Beach is the closest to La Jolla, about 10 miles north of UCSD). Which means some other form of transportation (public bus?) will likely be needed

    While you should bring your debt/credit card, having lots of cash would be a good idea.

    And yes be prepared for sales taxes; all prices you see are prices before taxes, unless noted. Just FYI, the California sales tax is at 9.75% (one of the highest in the nation).

    Also don't worry about being "robbed" and such; its relatively safe in UCSD, but do be aware of your surroundings.

    For space and for the reasons you described above, it may be a good idea to buy those items once you come to the States.

    Yup! Besides the Californian culture, expect LOTS of diversity around. Have an open mind, don't make moves that might come off as insensitive to others.

    There's lots out there, I can say. For specifics, I'll have to look it up (esp for the San Diego area)

    So far so good; if there's anything missing I'll let you know.

  10. Default

    If you ever head downtown, a few recommendations.

    -Hotel Del Coronado, Don't stay there, just walk around and get a drink on the beach.
    -Anything in the Gas-lamp Quarter
    -Balboa Park
    -Old Town isn't bad, but has shrunk in recent years
    -Seaport village isn't too bad if you are into tourist stuff, but other wise not that great
    -There is more touristy stuff out there, but I'd suggest just looking into whatever it is you are interested in as tourist attractions can have a lot in common with one another, and I'd think you'd be trying to find something new.
    For the actual questions;

    2. Keep both cash and credit on you. Many of the cheaper places still only take cash, and sometimes the quality of the cheap places turn out really nice.
    5. Lived in the area coming on 14 years now, and still exploring the possibilities. Just go with the flow and 7 times out of 10 you'll do good. Avoid massive food chains.

  11. Default

    1. Everyone's pretty much covered this, but this seems like a good idea. I've always been quite partial to the Metrolink, seeing as I live RIGHT NEXT to the tracks.

    2. It's best to have both cash and card. Most places take card, but there's always somewhere that's cash only. Bank accounts aren't awful at all to open. Just be careful with which bank you choose and what kind of account you open. FEESFEESFEES! Generally, the student accounts are decent, but they're getting sketchier. I haven't had a bank account for a months now since I dropped Wells Fargo and I've been waiting until I have a nice lump to open at a credit union. <<irrelevant

    4. I don't know how loud and rude people are where you live, but get ready for it here! Socal is a big mess of people. Be glad you don't have to be driving around anywhere, because the LA freeways get horrendous. Traffic everytime always.

    5. In n out, definitely! Don't know much about the San Diego area (I'm an inland empire guy), but In n out is a socal tradition :D Aside from that, you could always check Yelp for good local stuff (if you don't like fast food).

    Also, this isn't food, but you should make someone take you to Disneyland or Six Flags when you have a free day or something. Suuuuure Disneyland is a little expensive, but someone here HAS to know someone who works there to get you in for free. There's a real chance that you become friends with someone in San Diego who even works at Disneyland. People are crazy. Oh, you guys have the Zoos down there too, so there's always that as well.

    Sorry if this isn't too San Diego-specific, but might as well see the "sights" in socal while you're here :P (that and I got myself excited about thinking of things I wanna do) Also, sorry if I'm listing things you already know. I'm just going off the assumption that you don't :D

  12. Default

    Money - Make sure to do as much exchanging as you want/can in NZ because you get more USD for your NZD in NZ than exchanging it in the US.

    Food - Everything is bigger! Go crazy on the fast food, get fat. (Honestly, the meat & seafood from NZ is better imo :D)

  13. Default

    make sure to blast party in the usa once you reach LAX.

  14. Default

    5. Get some Freedom Fries.

  15. Default

    Man, I wish the prices here included the tax like you.... O-Oceanians. ;-;
    I'unno, the coast has some pretty nice seafood if you look around. ;P

    Food is generally cheaper and bigger in USA/Canada than Aus/NZ if you're worried about groceries. Just keep in mind that things you're used to being in season might not be in season over here if you're big on fruits and veggies.

    How are you transferring money anyway? iirc, my gf transferred all of her money onto an ANZ travel card and we were able to help her get a student bank account here.

  16. Default

    Other things to look for:

    - In most towns there are visitor centers for people that are on travel in the location or in the area. People there are very helpful in helping you get around the area or find travel destinations. It's all paid for by our taxes, so make sure you utilize this resource. I wouldn't be surprised if they had free internet hookups as well. Just ask someone at the airport counter where a nearby visitor center might be, or you can look that up online.

    - See if there is a free shuttle available at the airport. There might be a shuttle going from the airport to train stations or bus interchanges.

    - In a pinch, you can go into a coffee shop for free internet access. Just make sure you buy some coffee before you sit down. Coffee shop owners don't like freeloaders.

    - Does your laptop use 240v plugs? If so, that might be an issue. >_>

    Los Angeles Visitor Center

    San Diego Visitor Centers

  17. Default

    The power supply thing for this laptop says 100v~240v and we're using a simple plug convertor adaptor thingy. Am I safe from being blown up? :<

  18. Spirit of the Arrow Bi Female
    IGN: MariettaRC
    Server: Windia
    Level: 200
    Job: Bowmistress
    Guild: KoopaForce
    Alliance: KoopaEmpire


    This was probably just me but I found out months after coming here that Wallyworld = Walmart. My friends lol'd at me for being so oblivious. :(

    For money, debit cards work for everything that accepts them... but I used both Visa and Cirrus and at restaurants, no one accepted the latter (at least my card, it was from a local bank and provided by my student financial aid) so I was forced to use cash when my Visa had nothing in it. So definitely keep some on you, which I know everyone else stated already.

    Food... ohmygod there is so much. But I seriously miss the true Caribbean stuff I always had back home. Is it bad that I despise American cheese in general? >:/ Unless it's used right, in which case it's actually not bad in certain dishes. I quite enjoy some of the southern dishes here, but I'm in Florida, so I have no idea what kind of stuff there would be over in Cali. I've been here a while but I'm still quite a noob here. But really, try anything and everything!

    My face when I discovered red velvet waffles with cream cheese glaze. SOGOOD. ;___;

  19. Default

    we do this thing in the US where if we see a guy from new zealand we point and laugh

    so you are screwed

  20. Default

    I think I've got my transportation sorted. I'll arrive at LAX, then take the Amtrak train to Oceanside and stay there for the night. The following day, I can take a bus all the way to UCSD. That works out to be the cheapest way. Seriously, taking the bus all that way is $2. What the hell kind of sorcery is that? It's so cheap.

    In regards to money, still haven't had a chance to go to the bank and ask their advice.

    For electronics, I'm gonna get an adaptor for my razor but I'll probably get cheap versions of everything else over there. Will also save on luggage space. @Fiel, since my laptop is originally from the US (imported it) I already have the appropriate charger.

    @Greg, love you bro.



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts