We are new to Trip Advisor but are frequent contributors to other forums here in the UK, so we sorta know the drill.
We've planned our first holiday to California for the first week in May and are doing the following route
Arrive LAX, drive to Santa Monica for 4 days and then to Laguna Beach for 2 and San Diego for 3 days. Then 2 days in Palm Springs then to the Grand Canyon for 2, Las Vegas for 2 days. We then fly to San Fran for 3 days, rent a car when we leave and go to Monterey for 1 day and Pismo Beach for 1 day before heading back to Santa Monica for the last night before our flight.
Having been on Forums, We read through a few of the forum posts and looked at the top questions and got a wealth of information on our travel -- Thank you. We know what we want don't want to see -- Hollywood and Disneyland and SeaWorld but we do want to see cities and beaches and enjoy the coast.
But when we read the article on Toll Roads and Carpool, I must say I am very confused. I saw a recent post in the Los Angeles forum where some other posters were in the same boat as well. Here are my questions
1. We are hiring a car and I have seen that some of them offer a transponder for a fee plus some sort of a processing charge as well. For visitors who have used them, what is the processing and per day charge for say Alamo and Hertz ?
2. We mapped our holiday travel on Maps from Google Inc. and we see some options which do not involve toll roads or paying tolls. From what i can see we can get around our trip without having to go just on the Toll Roads or using Express Lanes? is that true?
One of the other posters in that Los Angeles post mentioned that one could just avoid Express Lanes and not have to pay tolls. Is it that simple ? Is that really possible ? Visitors can go to the cities we are visting and not pay tolls ?
4. The article says we should check with the" Rental Car agent " (hire car agent I presume) on fees if we are planning to use toll roads. I appreciate that, but here is my question. How do we know if we need to use them?
Is the article for someone who lives in this area and wants to get to know the toll system or for visitors like us ? There are so many dates something in 2013, 2014 (which we can avoid I guess) but Is it possible to avoid using any of those toll roads and by that avoid paying the hire car toll processing and transponder fees ?
5. We won't have a car in San Fran but I do see there are bridge tolls coming into San Fran which won't affect us
Sorry for the rambling message but my bottom line question to the experts on this travel forum is -- for the visitor can we get around your state without tolls except for the bridges in San Fran?