Comparison Test: The Anglophone World

Great Britain

Must visit:
Wales – just for the scenery
A cathedral – Salisbury is free, York has better stained glass but charges £9 admission
Bath – touristy but amazingly beautiful – do the Skyline walk at dusk for maximum effect
The British Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum
Camden Market

Transport:
The National Express bus system is good – if you are going to do more than 3 bus trips it’s worth buying the £80 unlimited ticket.  Megabus.com is another good option.
The trains are all run by different companies and cost more than the bus.  Try doing a search for your route first.  Buy more than 3 days ahead for maximum value.

English spoken:
With accents!

Did anyone try to pick my pocket?
No

Can I drink the water?
Yes!

Touts/scams/annoyances:
None!

Pro:
Shopping!
Lots of different scenes, especially in London
Easy to get around

Con:
Expensive
Too much to see!

Driving:
Road rage inside the car
Lots of one-way systems and small old town areas

Fitness:
Gyms.  Running is reasonable

Costs:
Sandwiches £1-3
Meal at a cafe £5+
Hostel £16+
Campsite £9+
Laundry £2 for a self-service wash

Comment:
Edinburgh is NOT worth the effort if you are only going for a short time – it’s overly touristified and expensive.
Cell phone charges are extremely low – I could call home for 1p/min with Lebara

Rating: 1000/10

USA – East Coast

Must visit:
Washington DC
A small historic town – Williamsburg, VA was delightful
An all-American site – the Liberty Bell, Fort McHenry, etc
New York – you must go up a viewing platform.  It is well worth the expense.

Transport:
Public transport between Boston and Richmond is ok using Megabus or another budget bus company.  There are several options.
The train goes to most places but is expensive.  Book as far ahead as you can to keep the cost low.

English spoken:
0%.  They speak Ahmurrican.

Did anyone try to pick my pocket?
No

Can I drink the water?
Yes!

Touts/scams/annoyances:
Homeless people

Pro:
Shopping!
Historic sites
Easy to get around

Con:
Expensive
Too much to see!

Driving:
It’s the only way to get around.  Some shopping centres are too big to walk around.

Fitness:
Gyms!  They are everywhere and it is easy to get a trial pass.  MMA is also popular.  City parks are good for running.

Costs:
Sandwiches $5-6 at a deli
Hostel $25-40
Laundry $1 for a self-service wash, 50c for drying

Rating: Varied/10

USA – West Coast and Hawaii

Must visit/do:
A theme park – I’d go for Knott’s Berry Farm unless you have small children
San Diego Zoo
USS Midway
Yosemite – it’s beautiful
Alcatraz
The coastline
Snorkelling
La Brea tar pits

Transport:
The train is convenient but expensive.  There are cheap buses from LA to San Francisco.  Public buses in LA are slow – use the subway if possible.  The San Francisco subway is much more convenient.  The Oahu bus is not as good as everyone says.  They are slow and infrequent.

English spoken:
Yes

Did anyone try to pick my pocket?
No

Can I drink the water?
Yes

Touts/scams/annoyances:
Homeless people – they are much more prevalent than the east coast, especially in San Francisco and LA.

Pro:
Scenery – especially the California coast and Yosemite
Shopping
Chocolate in San Francisco
Macadamia nuts
Drinking out of a pineapple

Con:
Expensive
Difficult to get around
Hollywood is completely overrated

Driving:
If possible rent a car as it makes it much easier to get around.  Don’t rent in Hawaii as the parking is difficult and expensive.

Fitness:
Gyms!  They are everywhere and it is easy to get a trial pass.

Costs:
Sandwiches $5-6 at a deli
Hostel $25-35
Laundry $1 for a self-service wash, $1 for drying

Comment:
The coasts are different, although I can’t explain exactly how.  The weather on the west coast is much warmer.

Rating: Warm and sunny/10

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