USA apr-17 to may-17

Discussion in 'Holidays & Travel' started by GTR27, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Well, I managed to snag some flights super cheap to la return next year from mid April to start of may. ~2400 inc all taxes return for 2 adults 2 kids on qantas. (Used my qff points to save a bundle).

    Family has been wanting to go to the us for ages, so looking for some help in regards to hotels. Now we Want to hire a car and drive (we love road trips).

    Can get a Ford Fusion (mondeo) for 670 for the entire trip unlimited ks etc.

    Plan is la to sf via highway 1.
    Sf to Sacramento
    Sacramento to Yosemite via Lake Tahoe
    Yosemite to LV via Death Valley
    LV to GC and back
    LV to LA
    Day trip to San Diego
    Return home

    We have 15 days in country and that's about 2700k total which I'm comfortable with (about 2hrs driving a day avg)

    Anyone have sites or advice to get reasonable prices motels or hotels at various sites along the way? We will be mostly out doing activities in each town (site seeing) so something super flash isn't required. I guess about 2.5-3k for accommodation seems reasonable? Kids are cool with long car trips (did 14hrs last year in one go) but it's more about exploring and taking our time than sheer distance.

    Will prob allocate 7-10k in spending money to cover any expenses (fuel, food, attractions) which should be ample.

    Kids will be 6 and 4, Ill be 38, wife 33, any must see attractions also appreciated. Sf and la will get most of the time (7 days or so between them)

    Any ideas appreciated

    Edit: prob going to avoid Disneyland this time as kids are a bit young for most rides etc
     
  2. OP
    OP
    GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    We are also looking at the option of hiring an RV to do the trip, seeing how we planned to drive anyway. If we went that way, it would be pickup as we leave LA, then drop off when we get back as I dont particularly want to drive an RV around LA.......
     
  3. _slappy_dn

    _slappy_dn Member

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    Driving around LA is actually really easy - I wouldnt be worried about driving the RV if you went that way. Roads are super wide - the drivers are just dicks
     
  4. OP
    OP
    GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    We decided to do car/hotels this time around. Got a great deal through economy car rentals for a 5 series for 15 days for ~$1200 (roughly $300 more than a mondeo/fusion or maxima - so totally worth it).

    So far, including flights, accomodation and car hire we have spent ~$6.5k, which I reckon is pretty good for 2 adults, 2 kids to the USA for 15 days. Everything booked myself through Qantas, Agoda, VBRO and economy car rentals.

    We're buying car seats when we get there for the kids, because be fucked if i'm paying $120 per seat, when I can buy boosters from target / walmart for $35. I'll give them to charity after we finish with them.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    I know hardly anyone has replied, but still, for curiosity sake, we are actually doing the reverse loop now

    LA -> San Diego
    San Diego -> Las Vegas
    Las Vegas -> Hoover Dam/GC (skywalk, not south rim)
    Las Vegas -> Yosemite, via death valley
    (2 days)Yosemite -> Lake Tahoe
    Lake Tahoe -> San Francisco (via Sacramento)
    5 Days in SF
    SF -> LA via Lompoc (highway 1)
    LA for 3 days then fly back to Bris.
     
  6. kthomp37

    kthomp37 Member

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    Thought about airbnb for accommodation? It can be pretty cost effective, and your hosts can give you good advice for avoiding the tourist traps.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    We are doing airbnb in sanfrancisco :)
     
  8. kthomp37

    kthomp37 Member

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    Ha I would have thought would have been the most expensive city to use airbnb.

    I'm heading to the US (south/east coast) for six weeks next month, and it will be the first time I will be using airbnb for most/all accommodation.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Sorry, technically we are using VRBO in SF.

    Airbnb in Yosemite.


    Have had to make some minor adjustments to route, due to road closures because of snow. So now we are spending a night at Mammoth mountain.
     
  10. josh_676

    josh_676 Member

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    Subscribing to hear updates once you come back.
     
  11. Zee

    Zee Member

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    Eh? Thought you were leaving 2017?

    Anyway, what are you in to? Lots of stuff around the bay area, just depends on what gets you and the family going. Vegas is good fun, too...

    Yosemite is sensational, just be wary, I've had a full on blizzard hit half way through a hike, started out in 27ºç heat, by the time I walked the 3 miles to the end of the trail it was overcast and about 15ºC, and it was a proper blizzard by the time I got to the car, I was dressed in short and t-shirt, but luckily had a jacket jumper and beanie as I'd been warned the temps can drop quick.

    I was driving the non-chain equipped compact rental car at about 3mph down the mountain, amazing how fast the snow piled up...

    This was mid june...

    Currently in San Francisco, flying home tomorrow night :(

    Z...
     
  12. Revenge

    Revenge Member

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    I did exactly that and then flew to San Francisco in January this year

    Depending on the ages of your kids, give yourself a few days in San Diego. The zoo is awesome, Legoland is great and Seaworld is worth a visit of you are not morally opposed to it. Plus there is some fucking fantastic food.

    Drive from San D to Vegas is fun, hit as much of the Old 66 as you can, heaps of cool sites and interesting shit. We spent nearly two hours just wandering around 'the bottle farm'....

    San Fran is probably my favourite US city.. I love that place. Would go again just for chicken and waffles from the waffle roost (a food truck).

    We just stayed in the cheapest hotels we could find most of the time... it was somewhere to keep your bags during the day and sleep at night.
     
  13. die_piggy

    die_piggy Member

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    Don't know how you would go with kids, but Death Valley was a massive highlight for me! I drove LA to DV, spent 8am till 10pm in DV then drove back to LA.

    Amazing day road trip, and remember, the fastest car you will ever drive is a hire car ;)

    I actually did it about the same time as you 2. years ago

    Also, try and check out the Bixby Bridge about 2 hours south of San Fran if you like panoramic vistas
     
  14. josh1990

    josh1990 Member

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    We are doing some of the U.S. for our honeymoon. We fly straight to buffalo from LAX, then across to canada side Niagara for 4 days. Then to New York for a just under a week. Then fly to Vegas for a week. From Vegas, that will be the end of hotels (unless we need a break), we've hired an Escape Maverick campervan. Driving to Grand canyon, the back to Cali for a drive around. Our camper is hired for 19 days. Doing San Francisco, L.A, Hollywood, universal etc. All the touristy stuff basically. R.V parks are relatively cheap to park a class B camper in, if free parking can't be had. Some Wal-Mart's allow campers to park etc. With the kidlets in tow, the camper can have a roof top rent thingo added (but I'd limit to staying in rv parks). Bit more expensive than a car to hire but you gotta remember it's accommodation as well. Enjoy your trip!
     
  15. OP
    OP
    GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies and advice. There is so much to see an do (even just in california like us (well a bit of nevada too)) that you could spend aaaages in any place and not see it all. Going to get some cheap snow chains or investigate it at least, just in case. Most of my google-fu shows they arent required on all the routes we have planned. (and Yes, we are leaving in 2017 - Apr 17- May 2)

    Our kids are young, so no long hikes in Yosemite (dammit) but some gentle exploring and activities will be nice.

    Our route from SF back to LA is along highway 1 and we are def going via bixby bridge :)

    I investigated campervan, which is roughly the same cost as the hire car to hire, but 4 x the fuel use, and still costs to park at a spot. Overall with some advice from someone who owns a RV in the US (and keeps it in storage) and has spent over 2 years exploring, we decided this time to do the car/hotel route. We are mostly cheap (but clean/OK) hotels, with a couple of "nice" ones for some special relaxation (Mammoth mountain for example).

    It's pretty exciting, I havent really seen the snow (unless you count as a very young kid - I have no memory of it) and neither has the wife or kids.


    We are pumped for this trip, and have now paid almost all of it off. By xmas, we will have paid for the lot (roughly $6.5k) and then have ~4 months to save spending money, which should leave us plenty :)


    EDIT: ^^^ wow Josh, that's a friggen awesome honeymoon!
     
  16. josh1990

    josh1990 Member

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    Still better to have the chains and not need them, than to need them and not have them. We will be having them on board (pretty sure it's a legal thing for these routes too) for the grand canyon, death valley and probably Yosemite. When we leave Vegas, till be the G.C then death valley and decide which way to San Francisco we go from there. State road 120 through Yosemite will be closed so no straight through the middle unfortunately.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Hahahaha. That's the route I wanted to take. Its only open end of may to about november. All other times closed due to snow. Shame, cause it's a bloody awesome looking bit of road!
     
  18. mcfee03

    mcfee03 Member

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    Hey,

    I'm looking to start pretty much the same trip on Tuesday (yes- next week!). I'm extremely ill-prepared.

    What's this ford mondeo situation you speak of?
     
  19. OP
    OP
    GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    I was going to hire a Ford Fusion (it's a mondeo sedan) but ended up getting a 528i for ~250 more (for 16 days hire). Nothing really unusual about it :)
     
  20. OP
    OP
    GTR27

    GTR27 Member

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    Hoping the kids passports arrive before trump screws us on dropping the ESTA visa........

    Madly saving for the trip now :) Very excited, should be a blast. We have friends here (through sons school) from seattle, and they are moving back next year. Have spoken a heap to them and they reckon we've made a good choice on locations and how we do our trip, so here's hoping it turns out as fun as we have planned. :lol:
     

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