I hope some people on here can help me plan my holiday for next summer. I found this forum fantastic for planning my trip to Asia last summer.
Myself and the girlfriend are hoping to do 2-3 weeks in Western America next Summer. ie Los Angeles, San Franciso, Las Vegas, etc area and obviously trying to take in tourist things like Grand Canyon,etc.
I have looked into 'organised' tours from here in Ireland, but they're a rip off obviously!
So I'm trying to arrange it all myself with help on here and research myself (please vear in mind we don't drive!!)
I'm not sure where to start bar by saying its the Western Region I would like to see (sorry for been vague but Ive never been to America before and its always been my dream so I cant wait!!)
I definitely want to spend a few days in each of the main cites over in the West to properly experience them and see places outside these cities like the Grand Canyon. Could anybody recommend the best way to get to these cities - and the best way to see the tourist sites that are outside these cities.
Also are buses, train,etc plentiful and comfortable enough (rememebr Im with the girlfriend for this trip :-)) - and is it long on train/bus between the cities? Would I have to book the trains/buses in advance?
Would you even recommend internal flights to save time?
Any recommendations of 'must sees' in the area I'll be going to that may be outside the cities - or any other towns, cities I should be going to while I'm over there!!
Or any cities I should ensure a limited stay!!
Sorry for all the questions and been pretty vague - but as I said I've never been to America and dont know the buzz over there for getting to tourist sites, getting from city to city,etc.
We hope to go for 2 and a half weeks - but work permitting we might be able to stretch to 3 weeks to experience Western America!!
Thanks in advance!!
This would be fairly simple if you rented a car and drove to the sights in the west. But since you will visit via public transport, it becomes much more difficult. You are also fighting the time problem. If you only spend 2 days in your main 3 cities; SF, LA & LV, you now have less than 2 weeks for the rest of your adventure. It would be a shame to hit SF and only budget 2 days for that great city. Same with LA. Just the Getty Museums alone will take a day. I vote you spend 3 days in SF & LA, keep Vegas to your 2 day plan. Just go all out once in Vegas to hit all the hotels/shows on your list.
I would like to add Yosemite Nat'l Park to your agenda, one day tours are available from SF. This leaves you roughly 10 days to see the Grand Canyon and perhaps the Utah Parks. You can day-trip the Grand Canyon from Vegas via air or bus. Then I suggest you take a tour that includes most of the sights in Utah. A week touring Utah leaves you another day in LV and then back to SF and your flight home.
I have GC & Utah photos in my gallery. Good luck with your planning.
In my opinion, you'd enjoy the trip much more if you scheduled it before May 31 or after September 10th. LA and Las Vegas can be hot as hell in mid-summer, and traffic and crowds in mid-summer could ruin your stay (Yosemite crowds are bumper to bumper cars then). You have to decide what you want to see (the true West with beautiful vistas or the freeways of LA)? I live in one of the more natural/beautiful states in the Pacific Northwest - Oregon. Up here one can experience the beauties of nature with whitewater rafting/fishing on spectacular rivers that actually have water flowing (many rivers in the SW are dry in summer). Within 40 miles of Portland, we have some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world - Yosemite's waterfalls are equally beautiful if you go in the Spring. Transport is nothing like Europe, here we drive everywhere. The train network in the West is sparse, buses are pretty bad (for the great unwashed and poor), and air travel is very good if you can book ahead to get a lower fare. To properly see the West you should rent a car. Hitchhiking is out of the ? (no car will stop for you, and if they stop it can be dangerous for youth!!!) There are a few bus tours like Green Tortoise which cater to youth and this is a possibility for you - priced right too. Hostels are the way to go as motel/hotels are outta sight unless you are a millionaire. I hate LA because it's too spread out, too hot, nothing but houses and malls anyway. San Diego is worth seeing, SF is great, Seattle and Portland are great. Any other ? please PM me.
Thanks alot for the info lads.
Going to take it all on board and do a bit more research on the web.
I know its a tight time frame, and I know I'l only see a small percentage of what I could see - but for me, thats better than nothing as I really just want to 'experience' the main cities of western america to get a bit of what the 'buzz' is like, aswel as taking in the main tourist sites that are 'must sees' that are in that area (like day trips or an overnighter somewhere,etc - would love to experience at least one thing off the normal track aswel if it was easy to get to!).
Not asking for a lot I know
I reckon I could strecth to 2.5 to 3 weeks.
As for not heading over during the summer months, I'm a bit fecked in that regard as the gf has returned to collage - though if the weather is that unbearable for july/august, maybe it wouldn't be the best trip to go on?
thanks for all the advise so far and I'll pm ye Daawgon when I've put more solid plans together for any other advise ye might have. At the moment I'm just trying to piece together my options through research on the web and seeing what packages tour operators do
If any of ye have any more opinions on all this, please post up. cheers!!
thanks again, for all the advice!!
It sounds like you are mostly staying in the California area, which is fine if you want to just visit city attractions. There are some other great attractions in the western U.S., however. Yellowstone National park is the first example that comes to mind. You might want to consider spending some time in places other than California.