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Old 18-05-2019, 09:59 AM   #1
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Travelling to USA

Hi all. Just thought I'd throw this question out there in case any one has any advice.

My sister is getting married in Las Vegas next February and obviously has invited me along, which is fine, it's not somewhere I'd choose to travel to but it's her wedding.

Anyway, I'm delaying buying flights and booking the hotel because every time I start looking I get filled with fear and panic and decide not to go.

I've only ever been abroad to Florida before (5 times, I think! but not for a very long time) so although I know the West Coast won't be any different I'm still so scared.

It's a long shot but has anyone been to Vegas? The plan is also to then go to LA for a few days (Disney/Universal/Hollywood/walk of fame) and then up to San Francisco (so I can see giant redwoods)Ö and then home.

So, argh. It just involves lots of travelling and different places to stay and I feel like I'm having to sort it all out on my own. It's a BIG THING to be deciding on my own.

I'm also panicking because of my passport. It's still in date but I have a Visa instead of the ESTA you need to travel to the US and I don't want my family finding out because they'll ask why... and I'll have to tell them that because I was arrested before it means I can't travel under ESTA (although the customs officer told me the opposite when I was last in the US). It doesn't expire for another two years so I'll travel under the Visa... or can I do the ESTA at the same time?

And then all these thoughts go round in circles and spiral and get worse and worse.

This has become much longer than I intended and a bit of rant but I'm just getting it out in the hope anyone can reassure me.

Thanks... =/

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Old 18-05-2019, 09:32 PM   #2
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I'm not entirely sure what you are asking for, but I live in the US? That might not be of use though. Sorry. I mean given how many thousands of folks both live in and travel to Vegas and SF and have things go okay, I would imagine statistically you'd be okay, especially if you are not on your own. Regarding passport stuff, can you contact either a travel agent or passport office to ask your questions? You should be able to do that without your family knowing.



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Old 18-05-2019, 10:17 PM   #3
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I'm not entirely sure what I'm asking for either, to be honest!

You're right, plenty of people travel there and are fine so I should be too... I just don't like being somewhere I don't know with people who also haven't been there before.

I know the answers to my passport questions, I can travel on my Visa but I just feel like I'll be singled out at the airport for some reason and everyone will find out unless I lie and say I was planning to spend 3 months in the US ages ago but never did, which is weird and an obvious lie. Either that or I claim I've lost my passport and get it renewed before I go which will mean traveling like any other normal person and avoid airport stress... but hassle of renewal.

Just thinking out loud really. I should just get over it but I will be stressing majorly unti February about this. x.x

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Old 19-05-2019, 01:40 AM   #4
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Would renewing your passport make you be less stressed? I do not know what that would involve as your system sounds different than ours. For me sometimes if I have a plan of something to work on, even though that is also stressful, I view it as productive stress instead of stressing over something I cannot change.



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Old 19-05-2019, 12:02 PM   #5
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Yes it would make me a lot less stressed. I might look into it again... I've done it before and it was ok, I think. It just seems like a huge big overwhelming task and when stuff feels like that I just shut down and ignore it and hope it goes away.

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Old 19-05-2019, 01:56 PM   #6
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That's fair. Passport stuff can be super confusing. It sounds like you have a lot of time though, so if you have to break it down into super tiny chunks to figure out doing it, you should be able to do it with time to spare to procrastinate!



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Old 29-05-2019, 11:43 PM   #7
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Hi! This is not super useful re the stress part of things, but I have been to Las Vegas and southern CA before. Is there any way I can help with that?

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Old 30-05-2019, 10:59 PM   #8
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Hi. =)

Uhm, I dunno! Anything you found useful or tips and tricks for navigating around without a car and, like... casinos(?!) aaaand what can I do to prepare myself for being in an unknown place? =/

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Old 31-05-2019, 12:57 AM   #9
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Taxis, uber, and lyft will likely be your best bets for getting around.

For casinos, set alarms. They don't generally have windows or clocks so it's easy to lose track of time. You might also want to bring headphones or ear plugs if you are sensitive to noise. You may also want to look them up in advance to see restaurant/food prices to know if you will be eating while there or need to plan breaks or meals elsewhere.

As far as unknown places, are there little things in your daily routines you can still do or do parts of? Are there comfort items you can bring? Photos to keep on your phone to look at? I like to bring a framed photo of my dog to set next to my bed, my favorite stuffed animal, as well as my blanket. It means I travel heavy, but those things are important to me. I also keep pictures of my dog on my phone to look at when I need to. One weird thing I do is that for example Starbucks exists internationally, so I have a go-to fancy drink that I get as a treat to myself. So if I can find a Starbucks or a certain type of candy I really like at a store, I try to get that. Or even in some cases I've brought some of my favorite foods from home too.

It might help to set aside a couple of hours each day just for yourself to be alone. I don't know if you are staying in a hotel or airbnb, or with family, but if you can find a place to go to just be by yourself with a book or even just your phone or laptop for a little bit that tends to be helpful for me. For example when traveling with my mother, I stay up late and she gets up early. So once she goes to sleep, I have the evening to myself to do what I want. Then she can get up in the morning while I am asleep and do what she wants for a bit. If alone time is important to you, make sure you set that aside in plans and let your family be aware that it will be a boundary you are setting. Another thing I would sometimes do is skip meals out or shorter outings that I was not as interested in. It might mean prioritizing which things are most important to you that day, but it's better than burning yourself out from the start. So if you can ask for even a rough outline of what days will look like to help with planning, that can be useful.

I am rambling a bit but hopefully that will help some?



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Old 31-05-2019, 04:11 AM   #10
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Taxis and uber/lyft, like Camden said. I have heard Las Vegas' public transit is not great.

I kind of am not a fan of casinos because I find them overwhelming, but! Some of the casinos have some cool stuff, one of them has an aquarium for example. So maybe if you're doing lots of loud/overwhelming stuff make sure to break it up with some calmer stuff.

One thing to note is both Las Vegas and southern California are going to be warm even in February (Las Vegas averages around 19c in Feb, for example), so make sure to layer clothes as it's not as cold as one might expect for the end of winter.

Like Camden said above, I'd try to maybe recreate some things, bring a comfort object, and make time to spend by yourself!

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Old 31-05-2019, 08:33 PM   #11
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Thank you both. =)

Never heard of lyft…! But yes, I though Uber might be the best option for transport.

I'm not really keen on going to casinos... is there a dress code?! I definitely want to see some of the casino extras though like the aquarium and I think one of them has gardens too which is right up my street.

Alone time is definitely something I need! I'm staying in the same hotel as my family in Vegas (finally booked it last weekend!)but have my own room so will have the evenings to myself. My dad will probably want to stay up/drink but I'll be quite happy to retire to my room, watch tv and plan for the next day. I do have loads of photos of my cat on my phone but I think looking at them will just make me miss him too much and wish I was home. =(

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Old 01-06-2019, 02:59 AM   #12
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Lyft is another rideshare app, same as Uber. I think sometimes prices/ availability can be slightly different but it's essentially the same thing and used pretty interchangeably.

Casinos don't really have dress codes per say. Obviously shoes/shirt required. Some might be higher end casinos and might expect you to look a bit nicer, but most don't care. I think I recall one casino that has roller coasters but I might be making that up!

Getting your own room is great. I'm glad you will have that.

Oh, and if you haven't thought of this already, make sure you have the right type of outlet adapters for your laptop, phone charger, etc. as we use different prongs and power supply here. Same with your mobile phone, make sure you have a plan that will work here and that you tell your bank/credit card providers that you'll be in the US so they know to put a travel alert on your bank cards and credit cards so they don't get stopped!



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Old 01-06-2019, 05:06 PM   #13
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I don't really "do" dressing up any more than jeans and a tshirt so I'll probably be avoiding the high end places.

Already got the adapters from previous US trips and on the case with the mobile plan. I didn't have to inform my bank before...?

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Old 01-06-2019, 08:05 PM   #14
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So while you don't 100% HAVE to inform banks, it's always a good idea. That way when your accounts have charges in another country/currency they don't get flagged as fraud and your cards stopped. I've had that happen before and it's huge mess to sort out while away. You'll be traveling with family so I'm sure if that happened you'd be fine, but often travel alerts can be set even online without having to speak to someone on the phone or in person.

It sounds like you are super well prepared. :)



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Old 01-06-2019, 08:13 PM   #15
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Maybe super well prepared physically but not mentally...!

Ah maybe I did something like that before with my bank online... Can't be dealing with phone calls. =/

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Old 01-06-2019, 09:20 PM   #16
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Anticipation is sometimes the worst part of all of it! lol yea I think it must have been doable online with my bank, as there's no way I would have done phone things.



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Old 03-06-2019, 10:34 PM   #17
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I'm not specifically going for the casinos so I don't think online gambling would be a good alternative. And since when has relying on luck ever been a good thing!?

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Old 03-06-2019, 10:51 PM   #18
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This looks like a spammer. I wouldn't pay attention to what they said.



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Old 04-06-2019, 02:05 AM   #19
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LA and San Fran are places to worry about- Las Vegas not so much lol. All ki kinds of diseases/crime breaking out in LA. Police there treated for typhoid fever. California is collapsing into dysfunction



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Old 04-06-2019, 09:15 AM   #20
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Hi,
I would think that the earlier you book your ticket, the cheaper it would be.
Are US visas issued by an embassy in the UK? I have never heard of ESTA, but my advice would be to contact an embassy regarding what you will need to travel. A travel agent may also be able to advise you.
I imagine talking to your family would be stressful, re: your arrest, but it is quite understandable to ask them if they have booked their flights and coordinate with them on possibly the same flight.





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