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E3only Aug 1st 2011 4:06 am

Visitors in December
 
Mods, please feel free to move the thread to appropriate forum subsection if this is not the right one.

Hi all,

We have some good friends visiting us from Australia. They will be here for 3 weeks in December and we are trying to sketch out a plan for them. We are based in Bay Area (Walnut Creek).

Currently the plan is to cover
San Francisco (Yosemite or Lake Tahoe included)
LA (Universal Studies, Disney, Hollywood - normal touristy stuff)
San Diego (Sea World)
Some shopping at the outlet malls at Ontario
Vegas
Texas (Austin - San Antonio - Houston)
Potentially East Coast (I need some help here)

Questions
1, Firstly given the time of the year they are going to be here how are the places mentioned above? We don't mind it being cold but certainly want to avoid visiting places that are snowed under
2, We will be 6 of us so will have to book/rent a suitable minivan or something. The plan is to book it for 3 weeks so we can drive to LA, SD, Vegas. Park there and fly to San Antonio. Book a minivan there for 3 days to cover the 3 cities. Any experience in terms of where I can get deals. I don't want to pay $100 a day....
3, Any websites if you can help me save $$ on tickets to say universal/disney or sea world
4, First week of December - would it be possible (weather) to travel to East Coast
5, Around 20th December - would it be possible to travel to Grand Canyon?

Looking for any help/ideas that you may have.
Thanks in advance.

Michael Aug 1st 2011 4:27 am

Re: Visitors in December
 
About the best price you can get for a van will be about $500 a week including taxes.

http://www.orbitz.com/App/NavigateCa...ed=true#result

md95065 Aug 1st 2011 5:13 am

Re: Visitors in December
 
Unless there is something very specific that your friends want to see or do on the east coast I would suggest skipping that - you already seem to have a pretty full itinerary planned - and while it is impossible to predict you certainly could run into weather issues there.

penguinsix Aug 1st 2011 6:54 am

Re: Visitors in December
 
Minivans are generally $100 a day but after about 4 days you get kicked into the weekly rate which will be a bit easier on you. Your Yosemite and Lake Tahoe portions are going to be weather dependent. You'll just have to check the 5-day forecast when you get to SFO and make a game time decision.

You've got a heck of a lot of driving there. Some days won't be that much fun.

I should note it will be a bit chilly in some places. Even Vegas can be cold in December. Did you consider staying for the New Year?

Should you decide to go up East, you'll probably have more flight options out of Dallas than say Houston, but I'd second the opinion you might be a bit tired from all the travel. You might also consider swinging over to New Orleans if you are in Houston.

If you do go up East then you could work something between Boston/NY/Washington DC. Unlike most of the country there are rail options (Amtrak Acelas) here to get you between these cities. But you'll really be playing with the weather gods here--you could get a blizzard and find yourself stuck for a few days while they plow the airports and reorganize all the planes.

GeoffM Aug 1st 2011 7:30 am

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by E3only (Post 9530132)
outlet malls at Ontario

That's useful to know - thanks!

I agree with the others that with the east coast you're attempting too much - and tempting fate. Don't forget your visitors will likely be jetlagged and sleeping at odd times, so you should probably keep the first few days simple, less intense, and local.

If you've got a van then taking a very leisurely drive down the Pacific coast and stopping wherever takes your fancy is often touted as fun to do.

I'd take New Orleans over Houston any day - I love the food and the (tourist) nightlife, and there's plenty nearby too. San Antonio was alright but only for a couple of days at most.

Jerseygirl Aug 1st 2011 11:57 am

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by E3only (Post 9530132)
Mods, please feel free to move the thread to appropriate forum subsection if this is not the right one.

Hi all,

We have some good friends visiting us from Australia. They will be here for 3 weeks in December and we are trying to sketch out a plan for them. We are based in Bay Area (Walnut Creek).

Currently the plan is to cover
San Francisco (Yosemite or Lake Tahoe included)
LA (Universal Studies, Disney, Hollywood - normal touristy stuff)
San Diego (Sea World)
Some shopping at the outlet malls at Ontario
Vegas
Texas (Austin - San Antonio - Houston)
Potentially East Coast (I need some help here)

Questions
1, Firstly given the time of the year they are going to be here how are the places mentioned above? We don't mind it being cold but certainly want to avoid visiting places that are snowed under
2, We will be 6 of us so will have to book/rent a suitable minivan or something. The plan is to book it for 3 weeks so we can drive to LA, SD, Vegas. Park there and fly to San Antonio. Book a minivan there for 3 days to cover the 3 cities. Any experience in terms of where I can get deals. I don't want to pay $100 a day....
3, Any websites if you can help me save $$ on tickets to say universal/disney or sea world
4, First week of December - would it be possible (weather) to travel to East Coast
5, Around 20th December - would it be possible to travel to Grand Canyon?

Looking for any help/ideas that you may have.
Thanks in advance.

Why would you go to outlet stores in Ontario? Apart from the fact that it will be brass monkey weather in The Great White North...US stores/outlet malls are far less expensive. Your plan seems very ambitious for 3 weeks...if it were me I'd stick to the west and south coast for the warmer winter weather.

rallybug Aug 1st 2011 12:54 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl (Post 9530815)
Why would you go to outlet stores in Ontario? Apart from the fact that it will be brass monkey weather in The Great White North...US stores/outlet malls are far less expensive. Your plan seems very ambitious for 3 weeks...if it were me I'd stick to the west and south coast for the warmer winter weather.

Ontario Mills, Ontario, California, I expect they mean.

Jerseygirl Aug 1st 2011 12:57 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by rallybug (Post 9530907)
Ontario Mills, Ontario, California, I expect they mean.

Thanks...I think you are right. Living in the NE I presumed it was Ontario, Canada. :o

AmerLisa Aug 1st 2011 2:23 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
Try bidding on Priceline for a minivan.... I've had great success on bidding for cars and hotels for some of our vacations.....

joto Aug 1st 2011 3:37 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
They might like to do some wine tasting in either Napa or Sonoma valleys. Although they're probably a bit spoiled with the Australian wines.

tonrob Aug 1st 2011 3:55 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by joto (Post 9531208)
They might like to do some wine tasting in either Napa or Sonoma valleys. Although they're probably a bit spoiled with the Australian wines.

There you go. :thumbup:

E3 - are they Australians? If so:
  • Napa valley wineries
  • San Francisco brewpubs
Job done.

avanutria Aug 1st 2011 4:29 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
Avoid any flights through Chicago at the end of the year - you're almost guaranteed to have weather delays of some kind. I would skip the East Coast entirely on this trip, if I were you.

Weeze Aug 1st 2011 5:08 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
We got vouchers for the seaworld at San Antonio at the visitors information centre opposite the Alamo. Think it was for 30% off but I am awful with numbers.

E3only Aug 1st 2011 5:31 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
Thanks a lot guys for your suggestions.

I am starting to do the math in my head and yeah underestimated the driving. Doable but I am be shattered after that.

I think East Coast will be something that they will do themselves. Fly into New York and back. Although they already know that it only takes one storm and flights are backed up. So like a few folks suggested, we will have to wait until 10 days before the first week December and then see if weather is any good.

The key I think is to stick to the west coast and would love to cover SF (Napa and Tahoe potentially), LA (Universal, Disney, some shopping and Hollywood), San Diego (Sea World), Vegas (3 days), Texas (Austin, San Antonio and Houston – 3 or 4 days) back to SF.

At this stage I am starting to think if it’s worth covering SF and LA portions with a bus tour. It’s hectic but at the least not driving around nuts…..some tour that will take us from SF to LA (covering Universal and Disney) exit in LA and then do the LA – SD – Vegas with a minivan. Fly to Texas and back to Vegas. Then the long drive back to SF.

Roughly the driving would be
SF to LA – 370 Miles
LA to SD - 460 miles
Vegas to SF – 550 miles (over 2 days)

I am the only driver and the complication would be to pick up a minivan in LA and returning that in SF.

The other idea would be to go to Napa and get drunk of course!

Honestly – I am back to square one. I know the places I want to visit but it just does not add up in terms of driving. Even if we do tours, it would involve some driving. I think I need to start considering flying to some places.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Also any help where to look for deals for tickets and any ideas on what to do in the cities mentioned above would be appreciated too.

Thanks in advance.

Jerseygirl Aug 1st 2011 5:45 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
We've been planning a road trip from NJ to Vancouver...down the west coast...Yosemite...LV...may drive by the Grand Canyon again and Death Valley...then back to NJ. I reckon 5/6+ weeks. Otherwise it's going to be too much travelling in the car.

Avoid the NE airports in winter if possible.


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