Trip Itinerary - Help!

Travel Forums North America Trip Itinerary - Help!

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1. Posted by Miss.Aussie (Budding Member 2 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

Hi all!

My sister and I are very excited to be organising our first trip to mainland USA from Australia. This is a very long awaited trip and I want to make sure I get it right. It will be our first White Christmas together. I've spoken to a couple of travel agents but without my own itinerary in mind - its hard for them to tie anything down.

Does anyone have any advice on a rough itinerary and whether the below is possible in 5 weeks? PS we're suckers for Hollywood and want to do some tragic tours I.E Seinfeld tour. Don't roll your eyes too hard at me :D

No specific order below as no flights have been booked! My sister is also OK to drive on roads that don't have too much traffic to experience some road tripping as well!

* New York (we would love to see the Times Square ball drop on NYE or Central Park fireworks (depending on availability of hotels and restaurants with view)
* Boston
* New Orleans
* Chicago
* Washington
* San Francisco
* LA (super short trip to see the main Hollywood sites. No more than 2 days)
* Vegas

* A must see state in Canada?

And Portland (optional)

Is this too ambitious for a 5 week trip? Looking forward to hearing from you :)

Miss Aus

2. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 409 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

Considering mention of the east and west coasts, which Portland are you referring to?

3. Posted by Miss.Aussie (Budding Member 2 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

Quoting road to roam

Considering mention of the east and west coasts, which Portland are you referring to?

Hiya!

Portland, in Oregon. But it’s totally optional .. would be cool to meet up with a mate I have there but I won’t go out of my way :)

4. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1447 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

There are very few places in that list that have little traffic.

It would be a good idea to reorganize that list and maybe cut some out. Also if you want to spend New Years in NYC it would be good to have that be your second stop. I don't know how expensive a hotel where you could see festivities would be.

So if you are coming in to the east coast, come in to Washington D.C. and spend 4 days there. Take the train to NYC and spend a few days there. Then take the train to Boston.

From there fly to New Orleans which will be cold but not as cold as Chicago

Then fly to Las Vegas. Fly from there to San Francisco. You might be able to drive or take the train down to LA. Then if you are flying back from D.C. you can go by way of Chicago

I haven't figured out the time frame for the various visits because I don't have enough information about the time frame and where you are going to come in to the US

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Feb-2020, 14:27 GMT by greatgrandmaR ]

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1855 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

As you're talking about travelling in winter, I'd be tempted to give Canada a miss. I know the weather disruption is variable each year but I've a mate in Ontario who figures on regularly getting six feet of snow, so that makes travel hard to plan and easy to disrupt. Perhaps the coasts are easier but I'm guessing it's low season everywhere and things will be shut?

6. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1103 posts) 6d 2 Star this if you like it!

Points to ponder:

1. > It will be our first White Christmas together.

To save you disappointment do be aware that there is no absolute guarantee that you will see snow in New York at that time of year, let alone at Christmas. Chicago might be a better bet for snow but, again, it's not 100% guaranteed.

2. NYC is expensive at any time of year and any hotel room with a decent view of NYE fireworks will be very expensive indeed...and will need to be booked very specifically in advance, or you could well end up in the same hotel but in a room with no view at all.

3. US trains are safe and comfortable, though tend to be slow in comparison with European trains (and the network is *much* less extensive).

Taking the train Washington DC>NYC>Boston makes sense but if you fly into NYC you could easily take the train to Washington for a few days then go straight to Boston via NYC (about 8 hours).

To get the best fares....which rise as departure date nears and as demand increases....book your tickets online well in advance using the Amtrak website:

https://www.amtrak.com/home

4. Amtrak also has long-distance routes which might appeal e.g. the California Zephyr from NYC to Emeryville (for SF) or the City of New Orleans from Chicago to New Orleans via Memphis. Again, booking online well in advance is essential:

https://www.amtrak.com/routes/city-of-new-orleans-train.html

5. Domestic flights, like trains, are best booked well in advance. Use www.skyscanner.net to find which airlines fly from A to B then check fares and luggage costs. When you've decided on a flight, book on the airline's own website.

The US is big. Don't underestimate the length of flight times (and possible weather disruption in winter) or the effect of changing timezones.

6. All the cities you mention....except perhaps LA, which is ok with 2 days if you are happy to just take an organised tour or two to see the main sites & sights..... deserve at least3 full days of exploration, especially at a time of year when daylight hours are short and the weather can make exploring on foot uncomfortable. Better to reduce the number of places you want to see and enjoy exploring them than to engage in a box-ticking exercise which may leave you frustrated and exhausted.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Feb-2020, 15:08 GMT by leics2 ]

7. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1276 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

You don't indicate what your budget will be. Travel around Christmas and New Year's, along with the Thanksgiving holiday (the fourth Thursday of November), is expensive; and flights usually are fully booked.

Please note the Australian dollar currently is down to its weakest level in more than a decade vs. the U.S. greenback. One U.S. dollar currently is worth $1.49581 AUD.

Before you book flights to the U.S. make sure you check the prices of accommodations in the places you want to visit. Besides New York City, Las Vegas also is a popular destination for welcoming the new year. Room prices are stratospheric during that time.

There's usually a break in prices in early December before climbing again around Christmas and New Year's. Shortly after Jan. 1 prices begin to decline.

8. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1447 posts) 6d Star this if you like it!

Quoting leics2

Points to ponder:

1. > It will be our first White Christmas together.

To save you disappointment do be aware that there is no absolute guarantee that you will see snow in New York at that time of year, let alone at Christmas. Chicago might be a better bet for snow but, again, it's not 100% guaranteed.

Most of the cities you mention will not normally have snow. Boston, Las Vegas and Chicago will not usually have snow in December although they might by January. So far this year, we (in Maryland near D.C.) have not had any snow. Actually there was a freak snowstorm in Atlanta last weekend, and Atlanta has had more snow this winter than D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia or New York.

Around the Great Lakes you will probably have snow in January. Las Vegas is close enough to the mountains that they might have snow. And the mountains in California, or upper New York state, might also have snow in your time frame. But I would be surprised if the cities had much snow and it is rare to have snow at Christmas any place except maybe Montana. We just do not have a White Christmas as a rule.

The National Weather Service says: the best chance of seeing a white Christmas? Most of Idaho, Minnesota, Maine, Upstate New York, the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and, of course, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada Mountains all have a high probability of seeing a white Christmas. And, Aspen, Colorado, is just one of about a dozen locations boasting a 100% historical probability of seeing a white Christmas.

New Years Eve in NYC can be mind-numbingly cold, or it may have freezing rain, or it may be quite mild. The temps have ranged from a low of -14 to a high of +14 C and most of the precipitation has been rain.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Feb-2020, 02:03 GMT by greatgrandmaR ]

Post 9 was removed by a moderator
10. Posted by Dymphna (Full Member 205 posts) 3d Star this if you like it!

With your ticket, you want to fly into NYC and out of LA. They have the best for international flights. If you want to take the train, doing it between NYC, Boston, and DC is fine. You could also take it between San Francisco and LA. The rest I would fly.

You are taking on quite a bit. Going between NYC and LA is like going between Sidney and Perth. Melbourne to Sidney is like from NYC to Chicago.

If I were to do it. I would look at flying into NYC, then catch a one way to Boston. Then take the train down through NYC and see the city on the way through. You are missing Philadelphia, which is on the way to DC. We have a great deal of history in Philadelphia, and Rocky ran up the stairs there...

Then I would look at a multi-city ticket between Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, & San Francisco, (LA if you choose to fly instead of train). I would not do this as one ticket. It will cost way too much if you try to fly all this way on one ticket.