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Saturday, 10 March 2012

USA – Midwest and South



This trip was a little bit country heading to the Midwest and the south states. I was lucky enough to be sent on work training during this time and to squeeze in visiting some old friends.
Highlights!

Ground work

Itinerary

FRI 7TH - VEGAS
SAT 8TH - VEGAS
SUN 9TH - VEGAS
MON 10TH - 4:58 PM LAX / CHICAGO 10:40 PM
TUE 11TH - CHICAGO
WED 12TH - CHICAGO
THUR 13TH - CHICAGO
FRI 14TH - CHICAGO
SAT 15TH - EAU CLAIRE
SUN 16TH - Ixonia
MON 17TH - Ixonia ~ CHICAGO 12:43PM ~ St Louis 1:52PM - MEMPHIS
TUE 18TH - MEMPHIS
WED 19TH - MEMPHIS ~ NASHVILLE
THUR 20TH - NASHVILLE
FRI 21ST - NASHVILLE ~ St Louis
SAT 22ND - St Louis
SUN 23RD - 5:05PM STL / 9:11PM HOUSTON - COURTYARD
MON 24TH - HOUSTON
TUE 25TH - HOUSTON
WED 26TH - HOUSTON
THU 27TH - HOUSTON
FRI 28TH - HOUSTON
SAT 29TH - HOUSTON
SUN 30TH - HOUSTON
MON 1ST - 5:48 PM HOUSTON - 7:58 PM SAN FRAN - 10:57 PM SYD
WED 3RD - 6:25 AM SYDNEY


View USA – Midwest and South in a larger map

Flights

Flew between Australia and USA with United Airlines (fortunately covered by work). Can’t really complain with the flights though the entertainment wasn’t as tech as other airlines for such a long flight
I would also recommend making a stopover in Hawaii on the way back if possible to break up the flying. Can’t speak from experience but its something I want to do!

Accommodation

Most places I managed to stay with friends however when this was not the case the following accommodation was chosen for each city.
Planet Hollywood (Las Vegas)- 3 Nights
Sweet hotel right on the strip, though they charge like its on the strip too! Worth looking to see if any coupons are floating on the internet if you’re looking to book.
Hosteling International Chicago (Chicago) – 4 Nights
Nice hostel conveniently located in the Chicago CBD, met some cool people traveling here.
Super 8 (Memphis) - 2 Nights
Almost put it in the cheap and nasty group, though conveniently located and well priced. Offers a drop off / pickup from Beale st.
Courtyard Marriott (Houston) - 5 Nights
Just another Courtyard Marriott. The usual standard and close to work!
Friends House Downtown (Houston) - 3 Nights
Walking distance from Houston CBD. As the name states, its almost just like staying at a friends house!


On the ground

$$$$$

Just the visa debit and 28degrees credit card.

Getting around

This trip was pretty low key, I either drove or flew between cities. USA is quite easy to get around if you have a car and a GPS!

Sightseeing

Las Vegas


Places that I didn’t go (or have been before) that could be worth checking out

Chicago


Its worth getting a city pass if you plan on doing some serious sight seeing.
Other places worth a look

Eau Claire / Minneapolis / Ixonia


The main sightseeing here was catching up with some old friends, thought managed to catch a college football game, a brief trip to the twin cities and a Juicy Lucy at the 5 8 club.

Memphis


  • Sun Studio - Labeled as the birth place of Rock and Roll and where some major historical names recorded
  • Graceland – Take a tour of the life of Elvis Presley
  • Mississippi River -Forth longest river in the world
  • Beale Street - Home to many blues clubs
Other places worth a look

Nashville


Other places worth a look

St Louis


Probably worth mentioning the Saint Louis Cardinals seemed to be a big thing here

Houston

If your spending a bit of time in Houston a city pass is probably worth it.
Other places worth a look
Food
Well priced in comparison to Australia. Highlights were the ribs in Memphis and Nashville and the Chicago style pizza and  hot dog.

Cost

Travel Insurance = $91.08AUD (TID - 10% DISCOUNT CODES: SPRING2011 WINTER2011 TIDTHANKS)Flights to/from Australia = ~ $1800AUDConnecting flights = $454AUD ( LAX – LAS – LAX $275| STL – IAH $179 )Accommodation = $1520.41 AUD (Las Vegas | Chicago | Memphis | Houston)Car hire =  $360AUD ($206 5 days in Chicago + $154 4 days in St Louis)
Food
Burger and drink = $8.41
Subway sub + drink = $6.70
Chicago Classic Pizza = $14.79
Memphis Ribs and Beer = $24.83
Misc
Minnesota vs western Michigan football match = $30
Wallet = $25.70
Houston science museum = $15
Petrol = $3.599/gal (95c/l)
Hat = $25
Emmett's beer (signature lounge) = $9.14
Sun Studios tour = $13
Gateway Arch tour = $14
Houston Rail ticket (downtown) = $1.25



APPROX TOTAL PRICE = $4225.49 + spending money ($2300 for food, partying and random expenses).

Final words.

This trip was more work related, seeing old friends and a bit of sight seeing mixed in. Price is probably pretty close since I would have had to pay for additional accommodation where staying with friends, but could have spent less on where I did splash out. Good times!

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