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Bob Aug 1st 2011 8:09 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by md95065 (Post 9530203)
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.

I agree with that, I wouldn't bother. More hassle than it is worth and a good chunk of the east coast will be cold and miserable, so even more clothes and gear to pack.

E3only Aug 1st 2011 8:15 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by Bob (Post 9531631)
I agree with that, I wouldn't bother. More hassle than it is worth and a good chunk of the east coast will be cold and miserable, so even more clothes and gear to pack.

yeah, I have already told them about weather and asked them to forget east coast / leave it for the next visit!

So I am aiming to cover the places I mentioned...just need to work out the best way to do it all.

Mummy in the foothills Aug 1st 2011 8:36 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by E3only (Post 9531497)
Been there, not impressed at all.

Yes, trying to stop over at Monterey and Santa Barbara on our way to LA.

I'll strike that one off my list then and stick to the ones in Folsom. :thumbup:

E3only Aug 1st 2011 8:40 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills (Post 9531675)
I'll strike that one off my list then and stick to the ones in Folsom. :thumbup:

I mean when I want to go to an outlet mall, I want to have an experience...like you know go there, lunch, shops are decent, prices are cheaper.

Let's face it. I don't want to drive miles away and pay toll - just so that I pay the same money as I would have paid at the mall next door...and don't get me started on the food. There is one place you can actually have some lunch..and that too food is pathetic.

Put it this way, I would never go back there....

Mummy in the foothills Aug 1st 2011 9:27 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
Then Folsom is better, I really get some great bargains form shops I love. The only restaurants are a Mexican and and Chilis, or those expensive cafes they have between the shops.

Brit In TN Aug 1st 2011 10:56 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
My suggestion would be to try and ensure it is a vacation and not some kind of enforced non-stop route march (something I've been guilty of doing myself in the past.)
With this in mind I recommend doing the more arduous travelling early in the holiday whilst everyone is still fresh and excited, and leave the latter part for options that can easily be blown off in favour of having lazy days doing nothing.
Therefore, budget allowing, after a couple of days of settling in and relaxing, I would fy from SF to LA and pick up a van.
Spend the next eight days doing the Vegas/Grand Canyon/LA/San Diego exploring. Then drop off the van at LA and fly to San Antonio.
Pick up a van in San Antonio and spend three or four days doing your thing in TX.
Drop off the van at San Antonio and fly back to SF (making sure it is a direct flight, not connecting through Denver.).
Flights for this itin would be about $350 (according to US Air) depending on the exact dates.
Using one of the travel sites (Expedia etc) you should be able to pick up a good package deal for flights, hotels and van.
This would leave you about a week to explore (or not explore) at your leisure places within reasonably easy driving distance of home; Sonoma, Tahoe etc.

Bob Aug 1st 2011 11:02 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by E3only (Post 9531641)
yeah, I have already told them about weather and asked them to forget east coast / leave it for the next visit!

So I am aiming to cover the places I mentioned...just need to work out the best way to do it all.



I don't know if you've got AAA membership, but if you did, you might find discounts on car rental, I know they offer it, I forget who with though, Hertz I think? Also same with a few motels, and if your friends want to go shopping, a lot of outlet malls will offer discount books at the service desk if you show your membership card.

They might be able to use their local equivalent to AAA if they have that too, such as the AA/RAC in the UK, though I've no idea what that would be for Oz.

tonrob Aug 1st 2011 11:19 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
Car rental 101:

Try UK sites for all-inclusive pricing if you don't have insurance already that covers the rental. (UK-based sites offer great rates packaged with insurance). Check any credit cards you have for insurance too if this is the case.

One way fees are not "inter-state" fees (as is sometimes thought) but can be triggered for any one-way rental.

Car rental pricing is heavily (really heavily) dictated by supply and demand. If using companies' own sites then check every possible permutation of pick-up office and drop-off office available to you (many cities have multiple offices for each company). This tactic often makes prices fluctuate widely, and some seemingly random combinations of pick-up and drop-off may even make the one-way fee disappear (I have done this successfully a number of times and, in fact, have yet to pay a one-way fee).

Look for other deals that include car rental vouchers (e.g. purchase of hotel gift cards - I had one where every $150 of Marriott GCs I bought included a free $50 Hertz coupon where multiple coupons could be used per rental).

When you have got the best rate you can find start Googling for discount codes to plug into your booking. These can be anywhere from 5% to 20% off the rate you already have. Note that some exclude one ways.

Finally the AAA rate is seldom the cheapest, indeed it often makes no difference and in one or two instances I have seen the code actually push the rate up! AAA membership sometimes does confer additional privileges, e.g. free extra drivers, but you shouldn't have to actually use the AAA code to make the booking (if there is a better one you can find that gives you a greater discount) - just show your card on pick up.

E3only Aug 1st 2011 11:45 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by Brit In TN (Post 9531909)
My suggestion would be to try and ensure it is a vacation and not some kind of enforced non-stop route march (something I've been guilty of doing myself in the past.)
With this in mind I recommend doing the more arduous travelling early in the holiday whilst everyone is still fresh and excited, and leave the latter part for options that can easily be blown off in favour of having lazy days doing nothing.
Therefore, budget allowing, after a couple of days of settling in and relaxing, I would fy from SF to LA and pick up a van.
Spend the next eight days doing the Vegas/Grand Canyon/LA/San Diego exploring. Then drop off the van at LA and fly to San Antonio.
Pick up a van in San Antonio and spend three or four days doing your thing in TX.
Drop off the van at San Antonio and fly back to SF (making sure it is a direct flight, not connecting through Denver.).
Flights for this itin would be about $350 (according to US Air) depending on the exact dates.
Using one of the travel sites (Expedia etc) you should be able to pick up a good package deal for flights, hotels and van.
This would leave you about a week to explore (or not explore) at your leisure places within reasonably easy driving distance of home; Sonoma, Tahoe etc.


Very helpful thank you.

I am starting to think

LA-SF fly
LA-SD-Vegas-LA drive
LA-Texas fly, Texas driving
Texas-SF

The other option is to get the visitors on the road late night driving practice and then get them to drive. Downside is, I will have to then think of insurance...which is a killer.

E3only Aug 1st 2011 11:46 pm

Re: Visitors in December
 
Thank you Bob and Tonrob,

saving money and enjoying is what we are looking for. Budget is not tight but I really want to make sure the options we pick, we can utilize coupons/discounts/combo deals etc.

I am going to go heavy on priceline for my van and stay that's for sure.

I plan to book all flights like very early say next week or so, so I can get best of the deals too.

Brit In TN Aug 2nd 2011 12:14 am

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by E3only (Post 9531957)
Very helpful thank you.

I am starting to think

LA-SF flyLA-SD-Vegas-LA drive
LA-Texas fly, Texas driving
Texas-SF

The other option is to get the visitors on the road late night driving practice and then get them to drive. Downside is, I will have to then think of insurance...which is a killer.

When you say 'LA-SF fly' do you actually mean SF-LA fly?
If so, that whole fly/drive itinerary is about the same as I suggested. I ran that through US Airways, using some random Dec dates, and was quoted close to $360 per person.
I'm pretty certain that by bundling your flights/hotels/van together and using one of the travel sites you'll get a fairly good deal.
The last time I did that was on a trip to Iceland and I basically ended up getting a three star hotel for $7 a night.

E3only Aug 2nd 2011 1:43 am

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by Brit In TN (Post 9531989)
When you say 'LA-SF fly' do you actually mean SF-LA fly?
If so, that whole fly/drive itinerary is about the same as I suggested. I ran that through US Airways, using some random Dec dates, and was quoted close to $360 per person.
I'm pretty certain that by bundling your flights/hotels/van together and using one of the travel sites you'll get a fairly good deal.
The last time I did that was on a trip to Iceland and I basically ended up getting a three star hotel for $7 a night.

Actually my bad...I meant to say SF - LA fly.

$360 a person is SF-LA, LA-Texas, Texas-SF?

Brit In TN Aug 2nd 2011 3:32 am

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by E3only (Post 9532141)
Actually my bad...I meant to say SF - LA fly.

$360 a person is SF-LA, LA-Texas, Texas-SF?

Yes, three flights booked on one itinerary. I used the following dates and US Air as the carrier.
Dec 4th SFO to LAX
Dec 13th LAX to San Ant
Dec 16th San Ant to SFO

I just did the same using Expedia and got the same itin and price.

SalopianFunk Aug 2nd 2011 6:02 am

Re: Visitors in December
 
The weather should be easily manageable everywhere mentioned and in between except the east coast.

As for the trip drive to LA, if you go through SF, then you could go the long way too the highway, catching the Pacific Coast Highway from Point Lobos, and catch a view of the Sutro Baths with the waves coming in pretty heavy.

If drinking's their thing, then taking a tour of the Anchor Brewing Company would be worth it, especially with the delicious Christmas Ale being available to sample. Although you have to book well in advance. Also going to the Trappist in Oakland, which draws in a lot of beer connoisseurs from what I understand.

Wouldn't the Gilroy outlets also be closer?

tonrob Aug 2nd 2011 10:42 am

Re: Visitors in December
 

Originally Posted by Brit In TN (Post 9532235)
Yes, three flights booked on one itinerary. I used the following dates and US Air as the carrier.
Dec 4th SFO to LAX
Dec 13th LAX to San Ant
Dec 16th San Ant to SFO

I just did the same using Expedia and got the same itin and price.

Remember that the FAA still isn't collecting tax for a limited period of time while this debt shambles gets worked out, so all-in prices quoted today could jump a little when that happens (although I read yesterday on a travel blog that it could take most of August to sort out).


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