Attention: Please take a moment to consider our terms and conditions before posting.

Advice needed- USA

Hi folks.

Apart from wondering whether Katrien Meire is completely out of her depth and unsuited to being an executive and coming to the conclusion that, yes, undoubtedly, Katrien Meire is completely out of her depth and unsuited to being an executive. I have been spending time thinking about a more pleasant conundrum.

My elder son is 21 in June and has been talking for a while about visiting the USA for a driving holiday. After some negotiation with Mater and younger son, he and I have the magic pass so we are free to go later in the year. My problem is I don't know where to start. I've been to the states several times on business but not for a few years. He's never been. I drive, he doesn't.

The criteria:

1. We both want to do the Grand Canyon.
2. He wants to do Vegas. I don't but it's his holiday.
3. We both want to do New York but it's a long way from 1 and 2
4. I'm past the point of bucket shop flights and take your chances when you get there.
5. Package tour or book our own. Either possible.
6. Budget is not super tight but needs to be within reason.

Would be grateful for any advice on flights, packages, places to see, how to go about it all etc

Cheers in advance.

SB
«1

Comments

  • Cheers FCF. Good advice. Think we might fly to Phoenix or Vegas and do a drive holiday around there for a week then fly back to NYC for a few days.
  • You should try Southwest Airlines for flying in the US... they're the American version of our low cost airline but I'd put them on a par with Norwegian Air Shuttle (rather than the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair), they're really good and used them going from Las Vegas to San Francisco when I took a holiday there.

    The only issues were the fact that San Francisco was having a bad day of fog so the plane got heavily delayed but went without a hitch other than that.

    Or you could do something like what @FishCostaFortune says... Fly into New York, stay there for a few days, fly on to Chicago before doing Route 66, then come home from Los Angeles?

    (Just checked and at present, Southwest Airlines don't fly from New York to Las Vegas but they'll be flying from Newark as from 12 April).
  • Cheers FA. Could well be a plan.
  • edited January 2016

    Cheers FA. Could well be a plan.

    Either way am jealous... Would love to drive the West to East Coast of America someday and certainly drive down Route 66 across Monument Valley.

    Little trick I always do with flights though is before I start a web search I go on to the Wikipedia page for the Airport that your flying into... See all the flight companies that fly direct from where your flying from so you've got a good idea of choice
  • If you don't fancy flying internally and want to see some of the country, get a Greyhound bus. You will get to see the states in all of their glory and you'll come across some very 'interesting' people!
  • You should try Southwest Airlines for flying in the US... they're the American version of our low cost airline but The only issues were the fact that San Francisco was having a bad day of fog so the plane got heavily delayed but went without a hitch other than that..

    I learnt about the San Fran fog to my despair when after about a 3 hour walk I was under the Golden Gate Bridge, but could literally not see any of it it was that bad :(.
  • edited January 2016
    Been to that part of the States a couple of times and worked in Malibu just outside LA briefly but going back 20 years now. Sounds like you won't be going but if you end up in San Fran at any point then my advice is to book Alcatraz before you arrive. If it is still the same as when I was there it was fully booked 3 or 4 days in advance so I never made it.

    Only done Grand Canyon once as a teenager but my abiding memory is that on one side it is (was) less touristy and you had a lot of bears. We stayed in a little lodge type hotel in some woods and it had floor to ceiling glass windows in the restaurant. When we sat down to eat dinner each night these bears would walk on past and everyone would jump out of their seats for the view.

    Also did the donkey trip down (ok) and the helicopter above (incredible).
  • You should try Southwest Airlines for flying in the US... they're the American version of our low cost airline but The only issues were the fact that San Francisco was having a bad day of fog so the plane got heavily delayed but went without a hitch other than that..

    I learnt about the San Fran fog to my despair when after about a 3 hour walk I was under the Golden Gate Bridge, but could literally not see any of it it was that bad :(.
    Yeah one moment its fine and clear... the next moment the Golden Gate Bridge has disappeared.

    San Francisco is an odd place which I learnt the hard way... Didn't get sun burnt in Las Vegas once, when I eventually landed in San Fran I had to put my cold on as was a chilly June day, two days later I was out and about and was like a lobster because of how discreetly sunny it had been
  • I would fly into New York (any airport) and spend as long as you want there and then fly over to the West coast, somewhere central like LA, rent a car and do a loop dropping it back off at the same airport when you're done to avoid drop off fees.

    Return flights to NY £400ish
    NY --> LA return should be <$100 each way
    Route you could do that I'd recommend is Las Vegas, San Diego, (maybe Phoenix), Las Vegas & Grand Canyon, up to Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, and back to Los Angeles as it takes you in a loop.
    Just book motels as you go or you could work out where you're going to be and book ahead, doesn't make much difference except peace of mind that you know where you're gonna be staying (or stress you out that you need to be somwhere by a specific time)

    General stuff...
    - Not been to Phoenix so don't know what it's like
    - Didn't rate L.A. so much but Santa Monica (just south of the city) was a really cool place to stay at
    - Take the opportunity to visit Yosemite whilst you've got a car, you'll be glad you did
    - This 'road trip' (for want of a better word!) would take a good 2/3 weeks so you might want to just do a north to south/south to north if you've got less time.
    - I stayed at hostels, motels obviously a bit more expensive but I was paying around $40 a night and motels are pretty cheap too.

    Expensive trip overall, but very worth it in my opinion!
  • Sponsored links:


  • Yeah definitely go to Yosemite National Park if you can...

    The Pacific Coast route from LA to San Fran is also supposed to be one of the best in the World.
  • 1. We both want to do the Grand Canyon. - Do it.
    2. He wants to do Vegas. I don't but it's his holiday. - Do it.
    3. We both want to do New York but it's a long way from 1 and 2 - Do it.
    4. I'm past the point of bucket shop flights and take your chances when you get there. - Do it.
    5. Package tour or book our own. Either possible. - Do your own. Do it.
    6. Budget is not super tight but needs to be within reason. - Do it.

    Genuinely you'll bond, you'll argue, you'll have fun.

    Just make sure it all happens.
  • I had a similar conundrum but in true CAFC fashion we are doing it by train.
    As I don't drive and my boy is only 12 driving is obviously not an option.

    Check out Amtrak.com, I know they don't go to Vegas but maybe Greyhound* to there??

    *My Father in law went from Miami to Chicago by bus just for the hell of it when he retired. A nightmare he said!
  • You have to sort out what you actually want to do, and then go for it. The States is a very big country, and impossible to do on one trip. Driving on the east coast (ie NYC) is an awful experience, while driving on the west coast (ie LA or LV areas) is much, much easier.

    If you want to combine Las Vegas and Grand Canyon, it is very easy to do. Decide if you want the trip to be city based or countryside (national park) based. Then it all depends how much time you have to spare...

    My own suggestion (for a 14-16 day trip) would be to fly into Vegas (Virgin and BA both fly direct), stay a couple of nights (which is all you need in my opinion, as you will either love it or hate it!), rent a car, drive a loop taking in Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Capitol Reef NP, Moab (for Arches NP and Canyonlands NP). Monument Valley, Grand Canyon NP (you can do either the north or south rim (but not both), depending how much time you have), and back to Vegas. You could then either fly home and do NYC on another trip, or add an extra couple of nights and fly home via New York (an open jaw ticket will be a bit more expensive though)?

    If you want a more city based experienced, fly into LA, and drive to Vegas (you can do a day trip to Grand Canyon from there), then drive up to San Francisco (via Death Valley and either Kings Canyon NP or Yosemite NP), then back to LA along the coast road.

    There are plenty of hotels/motels you can stay at without booking, but it is always less stressful to book the first night, and any other nights at key locations which might be busy (ie Zion Lodge, GC North Rim lodge, Yosemite, etc). Hotels will normally be priced at around $100 - $150, while motels will be cheaper at around $65 a room/night. Car hire should be under $20 a day if booked in advance. You don't need a car in Vegas (until you decide to leave), but you do in any other city.

    Just an aside from someone else's suggestion, I would not venture into Phoenix - huge sprawling city, with nothing much to offer in my opinion.
  • Las Vegas can be a lot of fun, even if you don't gamble.
    Regular access to the tourist side of the Grand Canyon is on the Arizona side. You could stay in Flagstaff.
    From Vegas, you might to fly to Washington, DC, then make your want to Philadelphia, New York City and then on to Boston.
    A lot of good, cheap flights from Vegas. Boston is an easy last destination before flying back.
  • Buy a flight out, buy an old car there (Top Gear style) and wherever you please
  • Cheers folks. Lots and lots of food for thought there. Will ponder and get on t'internet. Thanks again.
  • Ok, here we go with my tuppence worth.
    Spent 6 weeks in 2004 going from LA to Seattle in an RV.
    Seriously think about renting an RV - you can stay where you like, and its like taking your home with you .For me, it was the best decision we made - no worries about getting places - just go where the RV takes you- and there are RV campsites everywhere.

    My thoughts about places to visit....

    Grand Canyon - a must.
    Vegas - a total must - i only wanted to go there for 1 night just to say i'd been there but ended up staying for 5 - its so OTT it is absolutely brilliant.
    Oatman - Route 66 - Old goldmining town kept as was, cowboy shoot-out every day plus sheep wandering down the main(sic) road.
    Meteor Crater (if you're into that sort of thing) is quite a sight - one of the biggest meteor craters on the planet - gob smacking.
    San Fran is just fantastic
    Napa Valley if you like your wine!

    And so, so many more up that west coast - including Mount St Helens, Boeing Factory.

    I'm jealous !
  • Sponsored links:


  • You should try Southwest Airlines for flying in the US... they're the American version of our low cost airline but I'd put them on a par with Norwegian Air Shuttle (rather than the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair), they're really good and used them going from Las Vegas to San Francisco when I took a holiday there.

    The only issues were the fact that San Francisco was having a bad day of fog so the plane got heavily delayed but went without a hitch other than that.

    Or you could do something like what @FishCostaFortune says... Fly into New York, stay there for a few days, fly on to Chicago before doing Route 66, then come home from Los Angeles?

    (Just checked and at present, Southwest Airlines don't fly from New York to Las Vegas but they'll be flying from Newark as from 12 April).

    We flew into Newark when we went to New York last year. I don't think a taxi ride would be too expensive, but we took the cheaper option of lugging our bags on public transport - its a short train ride to Manhatten where you can pickup the Subway which should get you close to anywhere you are likely to be staying.

    Just make sure you do New York, probably my favourite city I have been to.
  • You should try Southwest Airlines for flying in the US... they're the American version of our low cost airline but I'd put them on a par with Norwegian Air Shuttle (rather than the likes of Easyjet and Ryanair), they're really good and used them going from Las Vegas to San Francisco when I took a holiday there.

    The only issues were the fact that San Francisco was having a bad day of fog so the plane got heavily delayed but went without a hitch other than that.

    Or you could do something like what @FishCostaFortune says... Fly into New York, stay there for a few days, fly on to Chicago before doing Route 66, then come home from Los Angeles?

    (Just checked and at present, Southwest Airlines don't fly from New York to Las Vegas but they'll be flying from Newark as from 12 April).

    We flew into Newark when we went to New York last year. I don't think a taxi ride would be too expensive, but we took the cheaper option of lugging our bags on public transport - its a short train ride to Manhatten where you can pickup the Subway which should get you close to anywhere you are likely to be staying.

    Just make sure you do New York, probably my favourite city I have been to.
    Strange how peoples views are different, but New York is the last place on the planet i would like to go back to - ovrcrowded, rude people (so rude), airport which is a shithole, and so expensive full of hidden taxes - apart from that, its ok.
  • Driving in the U.S. is a very cheap way to travel right now, gas is under 2 dollars per gallon, (US) and if you get a small rental car two can travel very cheaply. Wouldn't recommend buying an old clunker, you don't need to be breaking down somewhere in the desert, or in some dark city somewhere. If you're looking to be on both coasts, flying coast to coast is not as cheap as some are making out on here. You can usually find a hotel to stay in without booking ahead when on the road, but again not usually as cheaply as some are making out on here. What I usually do is find a motel, then book a room online from my phone in my car instead of walking into the lobby to ask if they have a vacancy. You'll pay full rate if you do that. I don't care for New York, dirty, noisy and smelly, and as others have said, the people seem rude. I like London much better. If you can do New York on a separate trip, that's what I would recommend. Driving in the US is not as easy as most expect, the roads are rarely quiet and driving can be very stressful, especially on the coasts, and distances are huge.
    The more planning you do, and the more decisions about where you want to go ahead of time, the better. Above all, realise that when over here, it is you that is weird, not the Americans.
  • We're doing the West Coast for our honeymoon at the start of May. We're flying into LA, staying with friends for 3 days on their boat in the Marina at Santa Monica then driving all the way up to San Francisco, stopping in a few places on the way. 4 days there then up to Napa for some wine tasting then we pick up a RV and do the National Parks and Death Valley before we end up in Vegas for 5 days.

    We booked everything though Trailfinders in their shop at Canary Wharf. They were good but you probably pay a premium on their prices.

    Apart from booking a couple of shows in Vegas, a sunset Grand Canyon helicopter trip and our visit to Alcatraz, we havent done any significant planning of what we want to see. Just havent had time yet. The Mrs is threaening to book a hot air balloon trip somewhere. I'll be honest, the thought terrifies me.

    Will happily pass on any tips we pick up, pending your time scales.

    I'm really looking forward to driving out there, even the RV.
  • Why does the thought of a Hot Air Balloon terrify you?

    I've never done one but my parents have done a couple and they're fine (Or are you not a fan of flying / heights?)
  • I'm terrified of heights. I've only just got over my fear of flying.
  • JohnBoyUK said:

    I'm terrified of heights. I've only just got over my fear of flying.

    Always feel for those with a fear of heights or flying... As people who refuse to fly miss out on so much - My other half is terrified of getting on the plane when we go on our honeymoon but knows she has to so will just get on with it
  • A few comments. I must admit I haven't read everyone else's.

    1. when at grand canyon do the dingy trip along the Colorado/grand canyon. As a family (my kids were 18-21 at the time), this was much more enjoyed than the helicopter tour (although that was also good)
    2. Phoenix/Vegas are really in middle of desert. There is nothing much around there imho. fly to there; drive places more interesting;
    3. personally California was my favourite to drive round. Getting there from Vegas or New York by flight is very easy. Lake Taho, Yosemite as well as SF, LA and SD.
    4. Traifinders would be extremely helpful and have US experts. You can probably do cheaper personally in US but they would give some expert/practical help. Would personally design something
  • Being from there and whatnot:
    1. I'd advise to start in San Fran. It's a city that is pretty small in terms of distances to travel to things, but it's also incredibly beautiful.
    2. From there you can either drive down the coast (longer but nice) or down the I5 (through ugly farm country but faster). If you do the coast you could break it up and spend a night in central CA area. It's beautiful, there are a ton of wineries there (not as up scale and trendy as Napa, but still really good and incredibly beautiful).
    3. From central CA you can either do LA, or Vegas. I grew up in LA, and while it's nice, it's ridiculously spread out, we're talking an hour to try between things, and there are some interesting things to see in Hollywood, and some really cool museums downtown and on the west side (The Getty), but I'm never convinced it's worth the trouble for a tourist.
    4. Vegas: I really can't stand it. Got to go back in early march for a healthcare IT conference. But if you're in the states, you should do it. It's a spectacle.
    5. Grand Canyon is fantastic. If you have the time, there are 2-3 day treks where you hike down into the canyon and stay there. I've heard it's awesome.

    So from the Grand Canyon, in terms of the country as a whole, you're sort of far away from everything. So you could try driving north east, into Colorado (weed is legal there if that's your thing) to see Denver, and the rockies. Tons of beautiful parts in that part of the world. From Colorado there is Utah, and Mt. Zion National park, which is very nice but very touristy. I've heard there are other parks around there just as nice but less famous and thus less crowded.

    After that, chances are you're looking at a 2-3 day drive to wherever you want to go. I recommend Chicago, it's an old fashion America city that still has some of that architecture and charm. People are nice, food is great. You can do it in a couple days. After that, I'd recommend flying to the east coast, and then doing DC, New York, and Boston. I'm sure there are plenty on here that have been to the east coast more than I have.

    You could also easily do this all in reverse.

    Just my $.02. If you need anything, feel free to PM me.
  • The drive from San Francisco to LA along the Big Sur is amazing. Golf courses (Pebble Beach etc), beaches, the Hearst mansion and fantastic views.Would suggest you keep going on to San Diego if possible, another fabulous place. Deffo, start or finish in New York for 2/3 days. Personally, I have no desire to see Vegas but the Grand Canyon would be a must if ever we go back that way.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Roland Out!