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If you were a travel agent advising a visitor from Australia

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Amy, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Amy

    Amy Well-Known Member

    A friend from Australia is going to spend three weeks in the U.S. next January. The real purpose of the visit from her point of view is to spend time with her daughter, who has been living in western Canada. Daughter is in her early 20's and is a white girl with an acoustic guitar type of singer/songwriter. Daughter wants to go to New Orleans so they plan on starting with a week there. Janie has asked for suggestions for the other two weeks. Since she's asking a bunch of people who she's only known from 10 - 15 years on a few on-line boards she's mostly getting "come to X to visit meeeee" kind of advice (other than Austin, TX). They have a general sense of distances in the U.S. but I sent her a picture that shows Australia superimposed on the continental US to help with that.

    She said they were also considering Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Memphis, Nashville. They have no desire to go to NYC and a vague interest in DC. San Antonio and Chicago are thoughts. Daughter has been in Portland and Seattle.

    I told her to cross off Baton Rouge and Lafayette. I gave a strong recommendation for Chicago because I love Chicago - except for the fact it will be January. My first suggestion was after NO and Austin, fly to Chicago. From Chicago fly to Denver and drive to Boulder. Then fly to SF. Rent a car there and drive either to wine country or south along the coast. I rethought that because of weather and travel time and came back to her with NO, Austin, then New Mexico/Arizone - places like the Grand Canyon and Sedona - before going to SF (mostly because I really want to visit the Grand Canyon and Sedona).

    I've gone to meetings in Nashville and Memphis but have no feeling for those places. I am assuming that daughter put them on list for music reasons. Anybody have advice on those cities?

    She hasn't mentioned cost concerns but from what I know about her I am assuming there is not an unlimited budget.

    What other suggestions do you have for two weeks of U.S. travel after a week in New Orleans?
  2. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    If I was a travel agent advising a visitor from Australia, first I'd question my career path.

    Then, it just depends on what they like. If it is to see North America and its natural beauty, I'd say a week in Yellowstone or a trip to the Grand Canyon. Those are things you can't get in Australia. Because much of what you are suggesting -- you can kind of get it in Australia, just with a little different flavor.

    If it is to city hop, she already lost me with the no desire to see New York. I lived in Chicago. I love Chicago. I would love to be living in Chicago, still. But if you want to get a sense of cities in the U.S. that are not like other places (and Australia has its big cities), you have to spend some time in New York. Los Angeles (and I hate LA) would be on the list too. It is uniquely American. And Las Vegas, if you want a day trip from LA, because it is unlike anyplace else and it is distinctly American. San Francisco fits the bill, too, but you do that after you do LA (even though I love San Francisco and hate LA).

    New Orleans is a good choice. And her daughter will probably enjoy it. She should absolutely skip Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Don't do it. You have limited time to travel the U.S. -- you don't go to Lafayette. You just don't. I'd skip Nashville, but Memphis has great music history, so I guess it fits the bill for what they are looking for. With limited time, though? I am not sure Memphis would make my list of anything, but that is probably my personal bias.

    Chicago will have jazz if that is what she wants. The Velvet Lounge, The Green Mill, Andy's. New Orleans will have better jazz, though. After that, Chicago is a great city, but if I wanted to city hop and learn a bout the U.S., I'd run the East Coast and see DC, New York, Boston, before Chicago made my list.

    I know that isn't much help. Just my one -- usually not in the mainstream -- opinion, I guess.
  3. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    If they are starting in NOLA, they should drive up to Memphis with a stop in Clarksdale - http://www.clarksdale.com/ - which is the birthplace of the blues. Perhaps the daughter can sell her soul to the devil like Robert Johnson in exchange for fame and fortune.

    Head north from there and hit Tunica, just so they can see morbidly obese people on oxygen tanks pumping the slot machines.

    After that, Memphis is just minutes away. They have to go to Graceland and Sun Studio. Beale Street too.
  4. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    If I were a travel agent advising a visitor from Australia ... I'd recommend June and July. January kinda rules out a lot of the country unless you're in to hockey, ice skating and skiiing.
  5. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    I just want to know what the hell's wrong with Lafayette? If your visitor is into/interested in/curious about the whole Cajun thing (and from her interest in New Orleans it sounds like she might be), Lafayette revels in it -- it bills itself as the capital of Acadiana. Plus, it was named best town for food last year by USA Today/Rand McNally:

    Best for food

    Lafayette, La.

    Team that visited: Jim and Bonnie Parr ("Fun Finders") of St. Petersburg, Fla.

    What made it stand out: "At every meal, the main goal seemed to be introducing people to Cajun cooking and the history behind it," the Parrs say. "And we could work off the calories with zydeco dancing" at family-friendly restaurant/dance halls such as Randol's.

    Don't miss: A lesson in how to make roux (a flour-and-oil mixture that's the basis of much Cajun cuisine) at The Accidental Chef, a convivial cooking school run by two cousins of Sicilian ancestry.

    Biggest surprise: "True Cajun food is flavorful — but not overly spicy. Too much spice only covers the flavors of the food," the Parrs learned.

    More information:



    Personally, I love the fact that on Saturdays, one of the local radio stations broadcasts in French and plays all Cajun music (at least it did when I was there last a few years ago).
  6. Fly

    Fly Well-Known Member

    And that's just driving on the roads.
  7. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    With the exception of the Grand Canyon, I'd recommend staying away from deserts and badlands. They've got those in abundance in Australia.
    The time of year is bad for what I'd recommend - Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Itasca, Sequoia are all good options, but will be snowed out at that time of year.

    NOLA is a good example of unique Americana. I'd also recommend NYC and LA. I also dislike LA, but that's someplace a visitor should see. Vegas, although very American, isn't fun for everybody. If you don't like drinking and gambling, two of life's great pleasure in my opinion, Vegas is no fun.
    Chicago's great, but I wouldn't recommend it in January.
  8. Huggy

    Huggy Well-Known Member

    Did all three things in Memphis and they were great. (As was the Redbirds' games I went to.) Rest of the city is very sketchy. I prefer Nashville.
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    They don't call San Diego America's Finest City for nothing. And from there it's easy enough to get to all things SoCal. Probably would work with travel arrangements too since I figure all trips will include a connection at LAX.
  10. Fly

    Fly Well-Known Member

    What about spots like Savannah and Charleston? Those are places on my "dying to get to soon" list, along with San Diego and Portland.

    Color me strange, and I know they're not at their finest in the winter, but I absolutely love Madison and the Twin Cities. Loads of things to do, great food/drink...but in January expect bone-chilling and snow.
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    da man, There is nothing wrong with Lafayette. My point, though, would be that the U.S. is a really big country. If you have never been here before and you have limited time, and you are making a list of places to visit, Lafayette doesn't come anywhere near the list. There are lots of charming, interesting places in the U.S. that shouldn't come near that list.

    Here is how I look at it. ... If you visit Italy, and you have a set amount of time, do you make an itinerary that includes Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, etc? Or do you skip one of those places and go visit Catanzaro (which is interesting, but. ...)

    Lafayette is not close enough to New Orleans for it to be even a day trip drive. And there just should be about 100 places higher on your list to visit if you are coming to the U.S. for the first time.

    Opinions will always differ, though. Amy's friend has no interest in visiting DC, NYC, etc. And I have no idea how you do a city hopping trip in the U.S. without those being first on the list.
  12. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    I hear that a lot about Memphis, but I've never felt unsafe there. Though I did once witness a drive-by in south Memphis while looking for a late-night chicken joint suggested by a bouncer at Silky's.

    I figure it's about like every metro. Some areas should be avoided by tourists.
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