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  • Grab your ankles and think pleasant thoughts, you coming to Texas boy!  :-)

    Ain't an expert in UK travel, but I am about flying into Texas.

    If you already have your passport, you don't need much else.  Unless you been a bad, bad boy, you should be able to come in under the VWP.

    http://london.usembassy.gov/vwp3.htmlOpens a new window

    Flying to DFW or Houston?  American/British Airways has a non-stop from London Heathrow to DFW.   The terminal in DFW is pretty easy to navigate through, customs is friendly and only cavity searches every other person.  Never flown through Houston in/out of the country, but it ain't the worst to get through for domestic flights. 

    After landing, you are issued a gun and a horse; just remember to return them when you are leaving lest they send a Texas Ranger after you.  And Nolan Ryan isn't in the best of moods when you take a horse.

    Bars close at 2:00 AM so you don't need to get completely shitfaced before 10:00 like it used to be in the UK.  Bars are open on Sunday til Midnight.  If you want a 6 pack of beer for the hotel, you can't buy it until Noon on Sundays, no liquor sales on Sunday at all so plan ahead.  Since you are going to Austin, I won't bore you with the details of Texas local option laws as the city of Austin and Travis County is the only place in Texas where the booze flows about as free as you can get.  Plan on getting carded for booze, a lot.  Make sure to point out where on your passport where the birthdate is, most bartenders are not familiar with non-Texas issued IDs.

    Avoid Leslie.

    6th St. is always fun for a good pub crawl.  Avoid the barkers, a good place doesn't need to have someone grabbing people in.  Make it cash and carry night only, some places have draconian credit card rules like minimum $10 per tab.  Remember to hitch up your horse to the post, City of Austin doesn't like free roaming animals competing with the free roaming homeless for food.  And unload your gun before entering the bar.

    If you plan on driving somewhere, remember to drive friendly, the Texas way.  That means 80 to 90 MPH on the highways, "forgetting" to use signals, crushing Smart FourTwo's with your giant truck.  Since we drive on the right, remember the handbrake is on the right and not the left, although 99% of US cars don't have a handbrake at all, just a crap little pedal called the "parking brake".  And most of our cars are petrol, not diesel.  Don't mix the two.

    Beyond that, nothing too outrageous.  Remember that our cops taser first, beat confessions out of you later.  Don't take a Texas Department of Safety trooper's hat.  Our ladies love a foreign accent, British mind you, not middle eastern, so use that to your advantage by saying things like "crumpets" and "lorry" and "boot of the car" and they will be all over you.

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    • N00b!

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    •  

      Grey wrote:

      N00b!

      Get out of the UK forum geesh :-P

      And yes i am but i am only 21 :-P

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    • Grab your ankles and think pleasant thoughts, you coming to Texas boy!  :-)

      Ain't an expert in UK travel, but I am about flying into Texas.

      If you already have your passport, you don't need much else.  Unless you been a bad, bad boy, you should be able to come in under the VWP.

      http://london.usembassy.gov/vwp3.htmlOpens a new window

      Flying to DFW or Houston?  American/British Airways has a non-stop from London Heathrow to DFW.   The terminal in DFW is pretty easy to navigate through, customs is friendly and only cavity searches every other person.  Never flown through Houston in/out of the country, but it ain't the worst to get through for domestic flights. 

      After landing, you are issued a gun and a horse; just remember to return them when you are leaving lest they send a Texas Ranger after you.  And Nolan Ryan isn't in the best of moods when you take a horse.

      Bars close at 2:00 AM so you don't need to get completely shitfaced before 10:00 like it used to be in the UK.  Bars are open on Sunday til Midnight.  If you want a 6 pack of beer for the hotel, you can't buy it until Noon on Sundays, no liquor sales on Sunday at all so plan ahead.  Since you are going to Austin, I won't bore you with the details of Texas local option laws as the city of Austin and Travis County is the only place in Texas where the booze flows about as free as you can get.  Plan on getting carded for booze, a lot.  Make sure to point out where on your passport where the birthdate is, most bartenders are not familiar with non-Texas issued IDs.

      Avoid Leslie.

      6th St. is always fun for a good pub crawl.  Avoid the barkers, a good place doesn't need to have someone grabbing people in.  Make it cash and carry night only, some places have draconian credit card rules like minimum $10 per tab.  Remember to hitch up your horse to the post, City of Austin doesn't like free roaming animals competing with the free roaming homeless for food.  And unload your gun before entering the bar.

      If you plan on driving somewhere, remember to drive friendly, the Texas way.  That means 80 to 90 MPH on the highways, "forgetting" to use signals, crushing Smart FourTwo's with your giant truck.  Since we drive on the right, remember the handbrake is on the right and not the left, although 99% of US cars don't have a handbrake at all, just a crap little pedal called the "parking brake".  And most of our cars are petrol, not diesel.  Don't mix the two.

      Beyond that, nothing too outrageous.  Remember that our cops taser first, beat confessions out of you later.  Don't take a Texas Department of Safety trooper's hat.  Our ladies love a foreign accent, British mind you, not middle eastern, so use that to your advantage by saying things like "crumpets" and "lorry" and "boot of the car" and they will be all over you.

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    • PSX_DefectorOpens a new window you made me LOL!

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    •  

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    • It's tradition in certain states that if you see a police officer with a gun that you go up to him and pinch his nose as a greeting while saying "That's a lovely gun you're carrying".

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    • how did I find it? Straight down the jetway, left at baggage claim!

      Don't forget that they write the month first here, that can be an issue when getting carded.

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    • Expect to be generally treated like crap as you go through Customs and Border Protection, as tourists from overseas who are merely entering the country for a brief vacation are given the same contempt by border control guards that is normally reserved for undocumented economic migrants. They'll typically ask some seemingly intrusive questions about why you're visiting the country, what your job is, and where you're staying. At no point resort to humour at this stage.

      Once you're through to baggage claim, you're set. Americans are lovely people, and film/TV depictions of hostility between our countries are exaggerations of the truth. Just don't mention the metric system, free healthcare, the quaint notion of employment rights (or anything else we take for granted in the UK), and you'll be just fine.

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    • hmmmm is this true?

      "The British pint is bigger than the pint in the US. 20oz rather than 16oz, demonstrating that not everything is bigger and better in Texas!"

      In that case you will need to drink 12 Texas pints to match 10 back home... :) Dont know about you but for me this is importnat information to know.

      An just in case, apparently a Fillet Steak is called "Filet mignon" - what more do you need to know?

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    • And a nice link to help the Local Texans understand you while your there :

      http://www.effingpot.com/food.shtmlOpens a new window

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    • Yes, the UK pint is 20 fl oz.

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    • i travelled to Washington and found it a breeze! - you do get quick fire questions at customs like :

      Da PO lice "where you going"

      Me "to visit a friend"

      Da PO lice "where from"

      Me "Catharpin"

      Da PO lice "she picking you up?"

      Me "yes she should be waiting outside for me"

      Da PO lice "what car she got"

      Me "erm.... Ford Escort?"

      Da PO lice "do you know how many people are in Catharpin?"

      Me *is this a serious question?* "... not really? ... erm"

      Da PO lice "there is more people in this room than there is in Catharpin so why visit there"

      Me "because my friend lives there?"

      Da PO lice "how long has she lived there"

      Me ... *oh my god* "all her life i think"

      Da PO lice *shuffles through files* "Welcome to America"

      Me *walks away thinking what an absolute C****

       

      Also sit at the front of the plane and get out to Customs ASAP walk like there is a beer shortage and there is only one pint left and its first come first serve

      if there is 2 or 3 planes at the same time as you then expect at least an hour queing to get to the awkward questioning point - i was fortunate and did this - only had to queue for 10 minutes and there was MANY people behind me in hot america

      apart from that i had one of the most amazing times there and was unfortunatley NOT single - the women LOVE your accent (assuming its "british") and majorly flirt Majorly with you ... but as i said i was with my current partner and i dont do the whole "what happens in Vegas" thing... i went shooting range and camping with beer/spirits/ hotdogs and a camp fire from using dead wood on trees nearby hearing Bears roaring in the morning ... Chinese food is great - twinkies are god damn awfull -   and finally remember if you smoke its Ciggerette not "Fag" i did ask for 20 fags and got the most weird look ESP when i was in Virginia THEN had an awkward moment when he said "you want 20 packs of Malborough Light" ... "no i want a 20 pack" ... then just paused at me ... to the point i *sigh* and say "just a packet of ciggerttes"

      anyway Enjoy mate it is truly great!

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    • Only done the Florida thing so experiences are limited but

      1. Booked hire car with flight, got asked for card details for depsoit was told I got a free upgrade - it wasn't free when I got home. Did get the money back though.

      2. I got asked if I knew "the Blairs" by a couple over breakfast... REALLY!

      3. Food was great everywhere

      4. They had Newcastle Brown Ale on tap!

      5. Guiness tasted weird over there

       

      Got no weird questions entering the country thanksfully as I can be a smartass at times...

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    • Cibion wrote:


      Also sit at the front of the plane and get out to Customs ASAP walk like there is a beer shortage and there is only one pint left and its first come first serve

      I would call this as one of those - RUN situations...

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    • US is great, been to New York and Chicago and had a great time in both.  Getting in to the country can be tricky if you arrive with a lot of other people, last time I went to NYC I was queuing for 2 hours to get through immigration whereas on previous trips I've walked straight through.  The border guards will ask you what you are doing where you are doing it so it pays to memorise the hotel you are staying in and what you mothers second cousin twice removed was doing in April 1981 (just in case you get asked).  Also don't seal your suitcase, Homeland Security don't like it and will break any lock or that sort of thing and will search you bags although they are very tidy (they actually packed my suitcase better than me)!

      Other than that have fun and let us all know what Texas is like, does everyone where a stetson and carry a sixshooter and ride a horse!

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    • Dogs wrote:

      Cibion wrote:


      Also sit at the front of the plane and get out to Customs ASAP walk like there is a beer shortage and there is only one pint left and its first come first serve

      I would call this as one of those - RUN situations...

      lol indded ... but it was nearly 40 ... i aint running in that weather especially meeting/greeting a friend with a hug haha

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    • Cibion wrote:

      ...

      apart from that i had one of the most amazing times there and was unfortunatley NOT single - the women LOVE your accent (assuming its "british") and majorly flirt Majorly with you ... but as i said i was with my current partner and i dont do the whole "what happens in Vegas" thing...

      Oh yeah, the accent thing. I stayed in San Luís Obispo, CA for a few days, and the barista dude at the local Starbucks would enthusiastically yell my name at me in greeting each time I entered the store (in many US coffeeshops they ask for your name when you place a drink order so they can call you over when it's ready), saying that I was apparently the first British person he'd ever met. This somehow translated into free drinks, and an invite to his St Patrick's Day party.

      Even in somewhere as large as Austin, it's unlikely that many British tourists will have passed through, and only around 20% of Americans have passports (the majority don't vacation abroad). Your accent will be novel to pretty much everyone. Turn on the charm and you'll get plenty of hotties hitting on you;)

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    •  

      Andy you will be fine will go together…. it normally takes me between 2-4 hrs to clear customs in UK so you should be fine to pick me up on your way back :o)  ... also Ash is going to pick us up in her pink limo ...

      .


       

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    • Maybe a must read for everybody traveling to or in the USA?

      http://www.orrenmerton.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/201011111141.jpgOpens a new window

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    • you'll need a valid passport that's got at least 90 days left on it at time of entry

      you'll need to fill in ETSA form 1 week ahead of travel and make sure you've filled in all the Advanced Passenger stuff with the airline at leaast 48 hours prior to departure.

       

      Turn up at the airport well in advance, checkin and security can take ages as can the yomp across the airport from security throuigh the shops to the gate (1/2 mile walk isn't unusual!)

       

      Oh yeah don't comment about the price of petrol (gas) being cheap over there, they still think they are expensive when they are paying about 40% of what we do ;-)

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    • Martin2012 wrote:

      you'll need a valid passport that's got at least 90 days left on it at time of entry

      you'll need to fill in ETSA form 1 week ahead of travel and make sure you've filled in all the Advanced Passenger stuff with the airline at leaast 48 hours prior to departure.

       

      Turn up at the airport well in advance, checkin and security can take ages as can the yomp across the airport from security throuigh the shops to the gate (1/2 mile walk isn't unusual!)

       

      Oh yeah don't comment about the price of petrol (gas) being cheap over there, they still think they are expensive when they are paying about 40% of what we do ;-)

      What do you expect? We're morons. (spoiled ones at that!) ;o]

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    • I have to disagree with PSX. Andy you DO need to meet LeslieOpens a new window!

      Cheap petrol?! I'm paying over $4! Now excuse me while I take my SUV down the block to buy a hamburger.

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    • Tee hee $4, ours is over $8

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    • Tips for visiting the U.S. :-)
      1. Different U.S. States have different liquor laws, driving laws, and laws pertaining on what kind of business you can do on a Sunday. Best ask before assuming you can do something (like, lit up a cigarette, or proceed through a red traffic signal)
      2. The United States is comprised of mostly "States" but also a few "Commonwealths"- No one remembers why.
       3. Professsional Football on Sunday - Colllege on Saturday.
       4.  Legal drinking age is 21, for all alchohol everwhere. You will need to prove your age. Use your passport for this, as most drinking establishments will not accept your local drivers license or I.D.
       5. It's written into the U.S.'s basic laws that pretty much anyone and everyone can purchase and own as many pistols,  rifles, and shotguns as they care too.  Possessing a home arsenal that would make James Bond envious is completely legal and respectable.  But, it's not as common as you might think, as guns are expensive,  demand a lot of training and practice to use, and a surprising amount of care and maintenance.  If you ask a gun enthusiast to tell you something about thier guns, they will immediately and eagerly tell you in minute detail more  than you every thought it was possible to know about anything.
       6. Probably because of the gun thing, any Police Officer you encounter is going to initially assume that you  are armed.  Until he or she has decided you aren't going to try and stick some sort of weapon in his face, the officer will absolutely not have a sense of humor about anything.
       7. By the Way, all police officers will have side arms as basic equipment.  Private security guards may have similar uniforms, but no pistol. So, Badge+Gun = "Yes,  Officer. Right away Sir", whereas Basge+No Gun = Nobody you really have to listen to.
       8. Don't be surprised if people are unusually friendly or gregarious. For instance, if you ask for directions, and someone tells you they are going in the same direction, and you should just follow them in thier car and they'll drive you there, you are most likely *NOT*  being lured to a secluded area to be robbed.  Most likely.
       9. Also don't be surprised if someone invites you to attend their church with them.  They aren't trying to indoctrinate or brainwash you into a cult or anything.  They are just being neighborly. Regular church attendance remains fairly common and you don't have to belong to the same demonination to attend, and it's OK to decline politely.
       10. At the beginning of most organized sporting events, the U.S. national anthem ("The Star-Spanngled Banner") is played or sung.  Sometimes "America the Beautiful" as well (which is the unofficial national anthem, because the official one is freakishly difficult to sing). You also might hear "O Canada" (Sung in French or English) at a hockey game. Basically, we like our anthems.  All you have to do is stand up, take off your hat, and shut up until you hear "Play ball!"
       11. The reason we spell words like "tire", "color", and "civilization" differently than you is because of a dictionary author named Daniel Webster. It was  a deliberate post-colonial swipe at the British Empire. But no one remembers this obscure fact, so please don't take it personally.
      12. We also say the metal "aluminum" differently. But for a completely different reason.
       13. Underage drinking, public drunkeness, or lewd behavior can get you in a little bit of trouble. Drunken driving, fighting or setting stuff on fire can get you in _a lot_ of trouble.
      14. Most people speak only English here. It's not a Bug, it's a Feature!
      15.  Most things you buy will have an odd number of cents, such as $ 2.99. Added to this will be the states sales tax (usually 4-6% of the total), and sometimes a percent or two additionaly for a county sales tax.  Also, gasoline is sold in gallons, not liters.  Pespi-Cola is sold by the liter. Except when it's not.
       16. Tip your bartenders and food servers.  Usually 15-20% of your total bill. No ones is going to hold you down and force you to tip, but tipping well demonstrates good character, and failing to leave a  tip will be viewed as a personal insult.  
      17. "Ignorant" is often used as a synonym for "rude."
        18. It's a fiction that since our goverment doesn't assume the cost of all medical bills that we don't have "Health Care." If something is really really  wrong, go directly to the closest hospital and you will get treatment (and a giant bill if you are  not otherwise insured). If you can't get to a hospital, dial 9-1-1 and Firemen,Paramedics, will come and save your ass.
       19. For romantic conquests "Hey baby, I'm from <insert country of origin>! " will probably be the only pickup-line you need.  For extra effect try this in a tavern near a university.
       20. Although the U.S. has a reputation of being more prudish with regard to sexual matters and social mores, in a practical sense, no one really cares what you do, as long as you are working hard and not causing anyone else problems.
       21. Don't bother to drink the Heinekin here. It's awful. Instead, try a nice locally brewed craft beer.
       And that's all you really need to know. But probably the only important thing is the tipping.
       

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    • Definitely on the tipping.  Wife and I went to Italy for a vacation (holiday!) and had to restrain ourselves from tipping. It's such a strong habit.  Also, on that note: if you're at a restaurant and don't get charged for drinks (other than tap water) you should still tip based on what the bill would be if they'd charged you. :o]

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    • Oh yeah that sales tax thing , gets me every time. All goods are displayed with out sales tax (ex vat for us in the UK) as the sales tax laws are massively complicated and vary from county to county ( think local government town for counties) and state by state so even travelling 1 mile up the price of bread can be different if u cross the county line.

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    • Wow wasn't expecting this many replies... cheers guys :-D

      sounds like it will be a great time

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    •  

       Oh yeah. Food at the grocerer's = No Tax. Restaraunt meals = Tax. Newspapers = No Tax. Magazines = Tax. Bagels = No Tax. Donuts = Tax.

       What's more in my city there is a separate tax that is levied on alcoholic drinks, often listed on your bill as the "Onarato tax" sarcastistically named after the politician who got the tax bill passed. Of course, if you're just visiting, you would have no idea what that was all about!

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    • OK, One more:

       

       It's not the Americans don't understand soccer, it's commonly played by school students everywhere. We just don't watch it as much as Professional Football, College Football, Hockey, Baseball, basketball, Golf, Auto racing, Rodeo, or bowling.

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    • Bill2718 wrote:

      PSX_DefectorOpens a new window you made me LOL!

      +1 ... and true!

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    • Working out in Texas later this year, so Andy you need to make sure to tell me what lines worked with the ladies and what didn't....

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    • Jim3812 wrote:

       Oh yeah. Food at the grocerer's = No Tax. Restaraunt meals = Tax. Newspapers = No Tax. Magazines = Tax. Bagels = No Tax. Donuts = Tax.

      I'm not sure if it is as cut and dry as that. It's more like prepared food = tax, unprepared food = no tax and other stuff has vice taxes, stupid taxes, bored politician tax, etc...

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    • I thought americans were all anti tax's and stuff?????

      How come you have such a cmplicated system?

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    • Dogs wrote:

      I thought americans were all anti tax's and stuff?????

      You should try filing our income taxes by hand :p  Oh and I forgot other stupid taxes, like on a recent stay in San Francisco there was a tourism fee and a parking tax.   I can't speak about the taxes to be incurred in Austin thought, because it varies everywhere.

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    • Do i just pay the price on the bill and add a tip to everything to be safe?

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    • akp982 wrote:

      Do i just pay the price on the bill and add a tip to everything to be safe?

      People tip for many different things, on my trip to Austin I'll likely only tip taxi drivers and for food and alcoholic drinks. If someone valet parks a car or assists with  baggage at a airport (curbside, not the people at the check-in counter) or hotel, it is usually customary to tip as well.  I'm by far no expert :p

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    • doublea wrote:

      Jim3812 wrote:

       Oh yeah. Food at the grocerer's = No Tax. Restaraunt meals = Tax. Newspapers = No Tax. Magazines = Tax. Bagels = No Tax. Donuts = Tax.

      I'm not sure if it is as cut and dry as that. It's more like prepared food = tax, unprepared food = no tax and other stuff has vice taxes, stupid taxes, bored politician tax, etc...

      And it all varies by State, and sometimes by city or region. E.g. certain towns will have a reduced sales tax rate to give an incentive to shoppers to come there.

      NJ has a hotel tax which is a surcharge added to every hotel room. Except when the rate is reduced due to political influence.

      For occupancies on and after July 1, 2004, the Fee was reduced to 5%. A hotel/motel is a building regularly used and kept open for the lodging of guests, including bed and breakfasts, inns, etc. The State Occupancy Fee is imposed on the room rentals that are currently subject to the 7% New Jersey sales tax and is in addition to the sales tax.


      Special Rate Provisions: Since Newark, Jersey City, Atlantic City, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and North Wildwood already impose local taxes or fees on hotel/motel occupancies, the new State Occupancy Fee is imposed at a lower rate in those areas:
      Newark & Jersey City: State Occupancy Fee is 1%
      Atlantic City: State Occupancy Fee is 1%
      The Wildwoods: State Occupancy Fee is 3.15%

      But, tipping should be based on the pre-tax portion of the bill, not the Grand Total amount.

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    • akp982 wrote:

      Do i just pay the price on the bill and add a tip to everything to be safe?

       

          Always add a 15-20% tip to your total (before any coupons or discounts) , cash is nice for the server, but adding it to your charge card is OK too.

         Most people tip the guy who helps with your bags at the hotel, your taxi driver, and coffee baristas a buck or two. Also, tour guides (+ divemasters, jumpmasters, etc) should get a rather large tip at the end of your particular adventure.

      This should take care of anyone visiting.  Some time ago I remember leaving $2/day for hotel cleaning staf  at the end of my stay. Some places even left you an envelope for that purpose. I don't do much traveling these days, so I don't know if this is still the case.

       

         

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    • ThisOpens a new window is a long read, but pretty accurate.

      Tip based on the food portion of the bill, for the most part. Don't include the sales tax in the tip calculation. And as Jim says, tip based on pre-discount price.

      My minimum tip is usually $1 even when buying a $2.50 coffee. Sometimes they get the Whalley if it's say $2.18.

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    • doublea wrote:

      Dogs wrote:

      I thought americans were all anti tax's and stuff?????

      You should try filing our income taxes by hand :p  Oh and I forgot other stupid taxes, like on a recent stay in San Francisco there was a tourism fee and a parking tax.   I can't speak about the taxes to be incurred in Austin thought, because it varies everywhere.

      +1

       

      Also, if some big cities just opened a new stadium, there may be extra sales tax and hotel tax that you wouldn't find elsewhere in the state to help pay for the new stadium. But I say if you're just going to Austin, don't worry about the sales tax. Just know that you'll be paying a bit more for things than what it says the price is. The final bill will have everything separated and calculated for you.

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    • hey man, i did it and i aint ever flown before. All i would say is dont get to the airport too early (the bars are open all day and i may have had to go to the toilet a few times on the plane.) make sure you take loads of cash as there is so much to do in austin. you should hook up with Joel aswell, he is an excellent guide and ask him if he can take you to the Salt Lick!!!

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    •  

      nemoreid wrote:

      hey man, i did it and i aint ever flown before. All i would say is dont get to the airport too early (the bars are open all day and i may have had to go to the toilet a few times on the plane.) make sure you take loads of cash as there is so much to do in austin. you should hook up with Joel aswell, he is an excellent guide and ask him if he can take you to the Salt Lick!!!

      Sweet cheers!

      What did you do re visa or stuff or dont you need it?

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      Standalone private mail server

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      Hi team, all this post is about personal use,Since few months, or even years, having all my mails on google servers is bothering me. So I am seriously thinking about creating a standalone mail server here in my home. The aim is not either to create huge s...