This is the first of our Travel Tips posts, where we would like to share some tips and advice that we have picked up so far on our journey (despite having only been on the road for a week…!):
- Packing. Our trip to New York taught us one vital thing – we have seriously, woefully over-packed. After a frantic battle to re-pack all our belongings into our Osprey Farpoint 70s before our flight out of LaGuardia on Tuesday, Dan and I realised that we would have to do some serious culling before our flight down to Cancun. Fortunately, we have a week to relax at Madeira Beach in Florida before we head down to Mexico, so we are going to use the time to re-evaluate what we are taking on with us. Otherwise we will spend our entire trip trapped in hostel rooms wrestling with our backpacks, which won’t be any fun at all.
- Tipping. When you’re in the USA, tipping is the norm. If you’re in doubt whether or not to tip, always do it, and if you’re in doubt as to how much, tip more than you think you should. I was shouted at by a bartender at an East Village bar for, what I later realised, grossly under-tipping when I paid for a round of beers. While at first I felt a little bemused to be told off for not giving enough in what is, in principal, a voluntary donation, I found out later that people who work in the service industry in America aren’t usually paid a living wage, so they actually rely on tips to make enough money to live on. So always make sure you tip – for things like meals, usually 15% to 18% is fine, and for drinks at bars you should be OK to tip around 1$ per drink.
- ID. We found that in New York our UK drivers licenses were fine to take around as ID. However, in other places on the US it’s generally better to carry your passport, as drivers licenses aren’t always accepted.