My first 24 hours in the USA

My first couple of days in the USA always seem to be the same but why fix what’s not broken!

The First 24.

Land at 6.30 am (preferably not through LAX as I had a 1 hour wait for immigration) and go through the long immigration and customs process. I declared my Vegemite and the customs officer said I wouldn’t be Aussie without it before sending me on my way.

Next, find the airport hotel shuttle. Some hotels require you to call them to arrange pick up. Look for a phone attached to a touch screen information centre like the one pictured. I choose to stay at a Quality Inn & Suites. They would be equivalent to an Aussie 3 star motel – clean, comfortable, no frills and not too expensive. It is also convenient when they offer an airport shuttle.

Stations like this allow you to call hotels for pick up or to book a room if your flight is cancelled.

Chances are you can check in early. This time I had to pay $25 USD when other times it has been free of charge. Then it is time for a very long hot shower to wash away the ick of traveling for so long followed by a nap. I know you are supposed to assimilate to the timezone in which you arrive but after bugger all sleep on the flights, a nap is essential.

Quality Inn is a good middle of the road option.

Once I am refreshed it is time for the age old tradition of Walmart. No trip to the USA is complete with out a trip to Walmart. Imagine Australian Kmart on steroids with Coles added in.

Love Walmart.

Walmart is the place to top up toiletries you did not bring with you, food for while you are on the move and a sim card. Even if you are only in the states for a few weeks, it is worth a sim card to be able to contact hotels, attractions and access data when not in the vicinity of wifi. AT&T network is best for international phones. I signed up with Straight Talk who use AT&T’s network. $45 USD per month (no contract) gets unlimited talk, text and 10 gig of data. Top up for each month you need it. There are cheaper options if you have time to research.

Allow some time to wander through looking at everything.

Dinner is usually at the nearest restaurant. Next to the Quality Inn was Cracker Barrel, a great home style restaurant. When there are a few motels located around each other you will find family chain restaurants such as Denny’s (one of my favourites), Ihop, Waffle House and Wendy’s.

Cracker Barrel is great for home style cooking.
Country feel with games to play.
Steak dinner with 3 sides and strawberry lemonade.

After all this it is now time to spend an hour flicking through the 100 channels on the tv to find something to watch while I fall asleep. Then I am ready for more fun during my second 24 hours.

Coming up in my next blog: My second 24 hours in the USA.

Author: Melanie Birch-Inwood

The question is not 'where have I been' but 'where haven't I been'. I can guarantee if I haven't been, it's on the list! I am an Aussie who loves to travel and I have currently been to 64 countries over 6 continents with no plans on slowing down anytime soon. Currently I am living and studying in America at Appalachian State University for the Fall semester. Join me as I share my experiences, tips and reviews of all things travel and foreign.

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