Hi guys

I will be traveling to America in a week and I want to purchase a bass guitar
while in the country, as the prices are quite a bit cheaper than in my country (South africa). I want to spend $200-$400, preferably around $300.

My question is, would it be better to shop online or go to a music store?
I will be in Kentucky for 5 days, but mostly small mining towns, briefly in Atlanta and in Orlando for two days. I've never been to any of these places so I would not know where to look for a good deal. Do you have any store or online store suggestions?
What are the biggest guitar/2nd hand guitar stores in america? And online stores?

I am very new to the bass guitar (have been playing guitar for a few years), so I would also not mind suggestions regarding which bass to get. Some of the deals on ebay don't look too bad.

Try Ebay or craigslist for used stuff online. And if you're in the Louisville area in Ky, you should check out a store called "Music Go Round" for used stuff.