USA holiday advice

Discussion in 'Holidays & Travel' started by ReForce, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. ReForce

    ReForce Member

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    Hey guys

    Seeking some holiday advice here.

    My girlfriend and I (both 27) are planning a trip to US this year for around a month from early Dec '14 to early Jan '15. Neither of us have been to the States before.

    So far the itinerary we have in mind is:

    NYC for 7 nights then fly to
    Washington DC for 3 nights then fly to
    New Orleans for 3 nights then fly to
    San Antonio for 3 nights then fly to
    LA (inc. Disneyland) for 4 nights then drive to
    San Diego for 4 nights then drive to
    Vegas (inc. Grand Canyon) for 5 nights.

    I've left off Boston and San Francisco as I've heard the weather is fairly horrendous at this time of the year (even though NYC will be cold too, it's NYC). Miami almost made the list, too, but beyond the beach I'm not sure what else it has to offer (but am happy to be corrected on this).

    Our interests/aims for the trip are mainly to check out cool bars and restaurants, historical landmarks, museums, galleries, a game or two (NBA, NFL), some shows/concerts and some natural beauty.

    I'm keen to get some advice on the places we've chosen given our interests, the amount of time we're thinking for each place, and any cool places that are missing from the list.

    I'm slightly concerned 3 nights in some places might be too rushed given you often give up half a day or more waiting for flights/transfers from hotels to airports. However, we've had plenty of good 3 night holidays within Aus (Sydney, Brisbane etc) so figured the same logic would apply to the US.

    Thanks guys.

    Rob
     
  2. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    3 days seems enough to check out the sights and do a bit of exploring, but will leave you wanting more - maybe extend to 4 days. also, instead of flying from NYC to DC why not take a bus or the amtrak? may not be as fast as flying but definitely get to see some nice scenery and try a different mode of transport...my guess will be about a 4-5 hour ride.
     
  3. millhouse

    millhouse Chief Tiger Dentist

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    Was there in Sept-Oct 2012. When you make the awesome drive to San Diego to Las Vegas, go the "back way".
    We went up and detoured to Palm Springs for brunch - then headed to 29 Palms - Amboy - then Kelbaker Road north through the Mojave. This then joins up withthe main highway to Vegas in California. Was a great trip and only added another hour or so.
    Great scenery. Got some nice clear desert weather when we were there.

    Google Map Route

    Oh and stop in Laguna Beach on your way down to San Diego from LA - really lovely spot :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
  4. Badger

    Badger Caveat lector

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    You haven't mentioned where and who you want to watch in the NFL, but I suggest organising the tickets well in advance. Most stadiums are sold out well in advance, and the only way to get tickets is to buy them from season ticket holders who aren't going to that game. There are quite a few websites that offer this, watch out for hidden fees, and I'd advise buying tickets that can be emailed to you.
     
  5. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    go watch college football as well...damn good, especially if it's either two biggest teams in the NCAA - Oregon and Texas.
     
  6. 5tumpy

    5tumpy Member

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    Looks like a good itinerary... You're spending good amounts of time every where... The only thing I'd suggest is maybe using your time a little better... For example, you're pretty much wasting your first day in NYC due to travel/jetlag... It's much easier for your body to adjust to the West Coast, and then the East coast time zone... So I would suggest doing it LA/SD/LV then moving on to San Antonio and New Orleans, then DC and finishing up in NYC... It will knock you around a bit more when you're back home, but I like being knocked about for the flight home, makes it easier to sleep for me...

    However, being that you'll likely be in NYC over New Years, it will significantly increase your accomodation costs, it may not be economically faesible for you guys...

    At that time of year, the Weather actually won't be too bad in either of those cities, SFO is a beautiful city, and I would thoroughly recommend it, however, I can't suggest a place to take time off, so it might not be possible... Maybe San Diego?

    When you say, Grand Canyon are you talking South Rim or the West Rim that's closer to NV? Either way, I wouldn't recommend driving unless you're comfortable with driving in the snow... Northern Arizona is very mountainous and will likely be icey and snowing at that time of year...

    +1 to this... NFL Ticket Exchange is the official channel for getting tickets... They're not cheap either... Given where you're going, your only options for NFL games will be New Orleans, New York or San Diego... Of those 3, I'd be most inclined to see the Chargers given their recent form, they're one of the better teams in the NFL atm... However, they also have the biggest shithole of a stadium, with a fairly low capcity so tickets will be pricey... In terms of the best spectator experience, I'd say see a Jets or Giants game at Metlife... The Superdome in New Orleans is apparently not too bad, but it's on the older side too...

    See the Lakers in LA for NBA IMO... I've been to a Lakers game and Kings game, and the Staples Centre is a fantastic place to be... We were in the top of the nose bleeds for the Lakers game, like the very back row, but we still had a fantastic experience, didn't feel like we were that far away...

    Do you follow any teams in particular in either of those sports?

    Lastly, I wouldn't worry about Miami... It's a shithole... Think of it as a seedier, hotter, more expensive version of the Gold Coast, given how far out of your way it is, I wouldn't bother...

    Oh, and if theme parks are your thing, check our Universal Studios in LA... It's a better "adult" experience IMO...
     
  7. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    the people on the west coast a nicer than on the east coast.
     
  8. 5tumpy

    5tumpy Member

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    I never had a problem with either TBH... Even people in NYC were good to us, although, having a cute 10 month old girl strapped to my chest probably helped... Everyone loves a cute baby!
     
  9. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    not to mention one's own perception. i'd definitely visit the west coast again if i had the cash to burn!
     
  10. OP
    OP
    ReForce

    ReForce Member

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    Thanks for all the advice guys.

    5tumpy, tickets have already been booked for Melb > NYC, but you do make a good point. At this stage we'll be in Vegas for NYE, though, which I'm fairly amped about :) Just booked accommodation in NYC too - shit that place is expensive.

    I'm mostly keen to see NBA rather than NFL, but now I know I've gotta get onto it sooner rather than later. No team in particular, so probably just whatever is most cost effective but still a good game. How much were nosebleed Lakers tickets?

    As for weather in SFO and Boston, when does it get bad? Middle of Jan? I just assumed mid-Dec would be freezing...

    I thought the weather around the Grand Canyon would be reasonable in December, given it's similar latitude to Vegas? I definitely don't want to be driving in snow, though, so it sounds like flying there would be the best choice...

    What you've said about Miami pretty much confirms what I thought - thanks.

    As for theme parks, the GF is a massive Disney fan, but I have heard good things about Universal Studios. How long did you spend in each? There's also a theme park in San Antonio that is meant to be epic, so that's another option.
     
  11. PapaRubbery

    PapaRubbery Member

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    ReForce - I'm in NYC for xmas this year, and Vegas for NYE too!

    Good luck with the planning - when you're in Vegas, go to the Hoover Dam/Grand Canyon as a helicopter tour. Will take most of the day. Check out heart attack grill, too, do some gambling, shoot some guns and maybe race a car around a track.

    'MURRICA!
     
  12. OP
    OP
    ReForce

    ReForce Member

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    Sick! Where you staying man?

    Thanks for the tip about helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon - someone else told me that was the best way to see it by a mile. It sounds amazing, but I'm guessing not cheap - a couple of hundred bucks each?

    'MURRICA!
     
  13. 5tumpy

    5tumpy Member

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    If you booked through Qantas, might be worth giving them a call... Because you connect via LAX, they used to let you have a stopover for as long as you wanted... The first time I went to the US, I had a "stopover" in LA that lasted 3 days... Could only do it over the phone...

    IIRC they were about $30 each, from NBA ticket exchange... You buy someone else's season tickets that they can't use, and they're not allow to sell them for more than face value...

    You would think so, wouldn't you? But it's not the case... It does snow in the north east at that time of year, but the weather is worst from January to March... The further north you go, the earlier the snow hits... Bear in mind though that it snows there every year, they're used to dealing with it, and do a fantastic job of making life liveable with that sort of weather...

    As for SFO... It doesn't snow there, the weather would be on par with what you get in a Melbourne winter... It gets foggy there at times, but it's nothing...

    Nope... Can't speak for the West Rim... But the South Rim, where the most spectacular scenary is, gets snow... See this page for more info...

    The only thing that's really worth seeing in that part of the world is the Everglades, and if you're into deep sea fishing, it's apparently pretty decent too... Apart from that though, I'd be heading to Vegas!

    The thing about Disneyland is that the characters aren't as accessible... At Universal, they wander around and pose with tourists, at Disneyland, you have to line up to see them, get you photo and then move along... The park itself is cool, but if your GF is expecting to be able to see all her favourite characters, she could be disappointed...

    Universal has better ride too... We spent at 3/4 of a day at Disneyland, and 1/2 a day at Universal... Less time at Universal because it's a smaller park, but there was more rides... The backlot tour is awesome too...

    For San Antonio, are you talking about Six Flags? There are a few of them around, and they're fantastic for thrill rides etc...

    Glad to help... I love the USA... Easily my favourite place to visit! I love just getting in to the cities and hanging out with locals... A lot of the touristy shit is OTT and irritating, but when you get behind all that you get see some really interesting stuff...

    Oh and the shopping is amazing... You will literally get things like clothes for half the price, even less if you find a good outlet mall... We always take an empty suitcase for our purchases (empty suitcase with a full one inside it on the way over there)...
     
  14. KriiV

    KriiV Member

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    I went around about the same time 2013. Take VERY warm clothes to NYC. I was actually stuck in Toronto for a little bit because of the snow storms. But anyway, the wind between the buildings in NY chills you to the bone.
     
  15. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    beginning or end of 2013 cos toronto has some pretty strong storms at the end of 2013.
     
  16. KriiV

    KriiV Member

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    Beginning of 2013. A big snowstorm. Awesome place though! I've got family there. :thumbup:
     
  17. ni9ht_5ta1k3r

    ni9ht_5ta1k3r Member

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    Man I am not looking forward to the winter here LOL
     
  18. PapaRubbery

    PapaRubbery Member

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    Ahh The Empire Hotel in NYC, and Vdara in Vegas.

    You're up for about $300-$500USD pp from what I've found online.

    Just bend over and take the prices.

    #yolo
     
  19. Zee

    Zee Member

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    I've stayed at a lot of places in Vegas. A lot. My GF used to work for a company based in Vegas, so was going there 3 or 4 times in 12 months at one stage, and usually checking out 3 or 4 hotels on each trip.

    Vdara was, for me, the clear winner for the best hotel in terms of price and location, and generally, as an overall package. The only downer was the valet parking (I hate having to cough up a few bucks just so someone can do a trivial task that I am more than capable of, but anyway...).

    Pretty sure the pricing was below $200/night. Though, in the interests of full disclosure, we both have gold status with various hotel chains, so we always get upgrades...

    The fact that they don't have a Casino that you have to walk through to get to the elevator to your room was a bonus.

    49 Lex in NYC was also quite nice.

    Z...
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  20. _slappy_dn

    _slappy_dn Member

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    Yeah I agree, I have been in the rooms of all the big hotels, and the Vdara was the best of the bunch imo. Beautiful hotel.
     

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