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LA, San Fran, San Diego, Vegas, New Orleans, New York

Travel Forums North America LA, San Fran, San Diego, Vegas, New Orleans, New York

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1. Posted by MaxineK (Budding Member 45 posts) 7y


A friend and I are departing Australia on December 13 for America and will be staying there until January 2, 2010 (3 week stay). We have quite a rough itinerary (below), any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :-)

December 13, 14 & 15 - Los Angeles

December 15, 16, 17 & 18 - San Francisco

December 18 & 19 - San Diego

December 19, 20 & 21 - Las Vegas

December 21 & 22 - New Orleans

December 22, 23 & 24 - Ithica, New York

December 24 - January 2 - New York City

TRANSPORTATION : We are planning to drive from LA to San Francisco, then to San Diego and then to Las Vegas. From Las Vegas we plan to fly to New Orleans and from New Orleans, fly to New York. Any suggestions you may have regarding car hire or specific routes would be very welcome.

ACCOMMODATION : Any 2/3 star hotels are fine with us. We aren't too fussy. We have friends in Ithica so we will be staying with them for a few days (Dec 22 -24). In New York City, we are thinking of renting an apartment. Apparently you can get a decent apartment for about $170 a day which may be cheaper than if we were to stay in hotels. We could stay in hostels for a bit but I don't know if that is a sketchy idea with luggage etc.

Like I said, anything you can offer would be great! Just for a bit of side info, we are 24 & 25 years old and easy going. We would like to check out some nightlife (clubs, pubs, shows etc) and also the more natural attractions (zoo's, parks etc).


2. Posted by MantecaCVB (Inactive 2 posts) 7y

Some suggestions:
1. Would it be possible to start in San Francisco instead of LA. Geographically, it just doesn't make sense to start in LA. Even if you fly into LAX you might want to head up to SF first and then hit LA coming back down before going to San Diego.

2. When you do drive between SF and LA, I suggest that atleast one direction (coming or gowing) you take Highway 1/Pacific Coast Highway. A scenic and beautiful view of the coast of California. Also stop and see the Redwoods and Hearst Castle, both along the PCH.

3. Seems rather stupid for me to say this, but remember to bring your winter gear. It will be cold, rainy, snowy, and foggy at the destinations you chose.

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2001 posts) 7y

So glad to see someone with realistic plans for a change. Really the best of California is outside the cities (exception is San Francisco). You're coming in the rainy season - be prepared. The car rental agencies might hit you for more $ cause you're young, but that's life. I like Enterprise or Budget Rent-a-car best (insurance is 100% optional on rentals - I always decline STRONGLY!) Many times it's cheaper to rent cars off-airport rather than in the terminal (best to pre-book anyway for best price - look at the locations elsewhere in that same city).

Regarding your auto trip in California - not sure if your plans are the best?

I would do this:
- drive between LA-SF roundtrip via the coast (if you stay at a SF motel* there will be no parking fee, but hotels will charge VERY HIGH PARKING FEES)
- take the train to San Diego
- fly between SD-LV (nothing to see but desert on the route)
an even better plan would be to drive only one way between LA-SF, but that would cost more

remember that December is winter up here!

  • - motels located mainly on Lombard Street in the Marina District, San Francisco

One more thing - December means Xmas in NY - which means EXTREMELY HIGH PRICES - just be prepared!

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Jul-2009, at 11:20 by Daawgon ]

4. Posted by MaxineK (Budding Member 45 posts) 7y

MantecaCVB - Thank-you for your suggestions. Unfortunately we can't fly into San Francisco, our only option is flying into LA. Do you mind if I ask why you suggest flying into LA and then heading straight to San Francisco and revisiting LA later? This will be my first time visiting America so I'm a little oblivous of what to expect. As for your comment regarding Winter - yeah it will be a bit of a shock! I live in Brisbane where the temperature in Winter only gets down to about 7 degrees Celcius. Christmas in NY should be interesting haha. I'm actually thinking of buying some winter clothes over there -will probably do that in LA. Don't suppose you could suggest some good areas to do this?

Daawgon - Thank-you also for your comments:) We do intend to see outside of downtown LA as I have also been told the best parts are outside the city centre. Would you have any suggestions on what would be worthwhile visiting in California? As for car rental, is a 25 year old likely to pay a higher rate? In Australia, as long as you are 25yrs and over, the cost is pretty much the same. It's when someone is younger than 25 that the fees are pretty steep.

So are you suggesting that we drive from LA to San Francisco then take a train from San Francisco to San Diego and then fly from San Diego to Vegas? Would a train cost much more than driving or would it work out cheaper? Also, should we expect to pay much more to fly from San Diego to Vegas as opposed to driving it? I hear that you can get some pretty cheap internal flights in America, and that sometimes it's just best to rock up to the airport to get cheap last minute deals - would that be right?

With NY, does anyone know if apartments would be a good idea? I know Hotels will be EXTREMELY expensive, especially at that time of year. Has anyone stayed at some hostels in NY that they could recommend - just a bit worried about the security of our luggage is all.


5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1998 posts) 7y

The weather in LA will be about the same as in Brisbane in winter---about 7 degrees Celsius at the coldest, but it gets slightly colder in SF--like 2 degrees Celsius at night--and in New York, just expect the temperature will get down to about 9 degrees below zero Celsius. Thus, buying clothing in La for winter, be aware that it will be much colder in New York.

Enjoy your trip.

P.S. My wife, son, and I will be in NY between Christmas and New Years, so let me know if you need someone to show you around. My guess is you won't need the directions, but my wife knows all the best shopping spots (I guarantee this).

6. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1998 posts) 7y

Forgot to mention, the reason my wife knows all the best places is because she grew up there and because we visit her family there every Christmas season (but we're quite a bit older than you--so you might want to hang out with people your own age--and if so, we understand.)

7. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 7y

On a recent trip to NY i assumed all the hotels would have outrageous prices and although some were over $300 a night an online discount hotel site got us a room in the famous Chelsea Hotel for $189 per night.

8. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 7y

Quoting jambo101

On a recent trip to NY i assumed all the hotels would have outrageous prices and although some were over $300 a night an online discount hotel site got us a room in the famous Chelsea Hotel for $189 per night.

PS. That New Orleans venture seems a bit off the track,i'd save some money and time by including it in a future trip to Americas south east region,preferably when its winter everywhere else.

9. Posted by MaxineK (Budding Member 45 posts) 7y

Thanks jambo101. I'm thinking that maybe New Orleans is a bit out of the way. Would you have any other places you could suggest other than the places we are already planning to visit? Or we could just spend more time in the places we have already chosen....

Calcruzer, I sent you a pm - just thought I would let you know in case you didn't see it there


10. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 7y

I'd prune the trip so i could spend more time in NYC and San Francisco,along with New Orleans i'd also dump the San Diego trip and add more rocky Mountain driving on your trip to Vegas. Maybe a drive through Yosemite national park or a loop north of Vegas to and Bryce canyon National park in southern Utah..

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Aug-2009, at 08:23 by jambo101 ]