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Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

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Adelaide
posts: 152
reviews: 1
Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

Hi

We are planning a 28 day holiday to the east coast of USA. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Diego, Tijuana and Hawaii in Dec/Jan. We are a married couple with a 14 yo daughter.

I have 2 questions.

1. Why is it cheaper to fly return to LA (or SF) than it is to Hawaii?

2. What would be our best itinerary with a 5 day stay in Hawaii on our return journey?

Thanks in anticipation.

Peter

11 replies to this topic
Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 14,078
reviews: 57
1. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

I think you mean US west coast, not east.

I would ask in the Tijuana forums and the San Diego forums about Tijuana and then and only then decide if its somewhere you want to go. If you want to go to Mexico, or just say that you've been to Mexico, there are much better places within Mexico to go.

Generally, you should decide if you want to drive exlusively on the US mainland, or fly between some of the cities. LA and San Diego are too close to fly between, but you can fly between LA/San Diego, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Also, the drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the coastal route (Highway 1) passes through Big Sur and is one of the most scenic drives in the world, but really needs at least one and preferably three overnight stops along the way to do it justice.

Generally, you could do something like fly to LA, then take train or drive to San Diego, then fly or drive to Las Vegas, then from there go to the Grand Canyon - possibly as a day trip but perhaps overnight - and then back to Vegas. Then fly or drive to San Francisco, then preferably drive back to LA. The other popular thing is Yosemite which you could do in between San Francisco and LA - from San Francisco drive to Yosemite, then from there drive to Monterey and then proceed south down the coast to LA. If you want to skip Yosemite, drive from San Francisco south to Monterey and then on to LA.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 23,553
reviews: 114
2. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

1) it is supply and demand and there are more flights to CA than to HI. HI is always a popular state so you are competing with plenty of travelers

2) This is the California forum for planning your CA trip. I would do some research by reading the Top questions in the states you are visiting and then you can take a first crack at an itinerary and then ask for feedback. We don't know your likes and dislikes so hard for strangers to create one. I would skip Mexico unless you are going to a resort.

Once you have a sample itinerary -- please post in the ROAD TRIPS forum with info about your interest so you can get relevant feedback. In CA most would suggest 3-4 full days in the major cities such as SF, SD, LA -- the sample itineraries on the right side of this forum page will help you plan a great CA vacation. Are you just looking at major cities or the national parks and the coast in between ? Are you going to drive or just use planes/trains/buses ?

Oh. MachThree may be correct -- I thought you meant East coast plus the Western part of the US. But if it is just the cities you mention, then the sample itineraries will help you.

Edited: 10:17 pm, January 25, 2014
Adelaide
posts: 152
reviews: 1
3. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

Apologies - my mind said West Coast but my fingers typed East Coast!

Adelaide
posts: 152
reviews: 1
4. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

As I'd hoped, 2 thoughtful replies from 2 of Tripadvisor's Destination Experts.

Thanks MachTree. I've read a lot in the forums about Tijuana and Rosarito and am not locked into them at this stage. I like the suggested itinerary in your last paragraph.

Thanks also belomiser, Of course the answer about fares is the one answer. Do Americans pay cheaper domestic fares to Hawaii? After all it is one state to another. I know the that weight of numbers of pax will make the fare more expensive. I will do as you suggest and "have a crack at an itinerary" using all the resources of Tripadvisor and then post it and seek feedback. I will post on the Road Trips forum - new to me,

Thanks

Peter

SoCal
posts: 4,557
reviews: 8
5. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

The question about airfare within the US is not a simple answer. In the end it is about supply, demand, what the market will tolerate, dates of travel and how much competition there is between airlines. Tax and fees are generally lower when flying domestically vs. internationally though. One other quirk in the US is that normally buying a 1 way ticket does not come at a premium, no discount for buying a round trip often. However, there can be better fares for round trips to HI. Prices really vary here. I can fly an equal distance to different cities on the same day and the price will be all over the place. I would not spend time thinking about why but rather spend time constructing an itinerary that has the lowest cost for air and hotels.

Flying to LV on a Friday and out on a Sunday is the most expensive. Friday and Saturday nights can be 2 to 4 times more expensive in a hotel vs. Sunday to Thursday in LV.

One airline that does not come up on air fare search sites is Southwest. They offer 2 bags free as well. www.southwest.com. For buying tickets say to Las Vegas it may be the best fare or between N and S CA.

For Mexico consider Ensenada as well.

There are many ways to do this. I do agree that driving 1 way between SF and LA is the way to go though. Hearst Castle and the Monterrey Aquarium are good stops (other scenic places as well).

I would look at an incomplete oval route. There are many ways to do this so you just need to spend some time pricing out options. As there are non stops from Australia to Honolulu, LAX and SFO those are the gateways I know of. Beyond that, there are non stop flights from Honolulu to San Diego, SF (San Jose and Oakland also have nonstop and are near SF), LA and LV. I would start in any of the cities (SD, LA, SF or LV) and end in one of the others. Look at a map and you will see you can make a rough oval between those cities.

For example, start in SF, drive to LA via the coast, drive to SD, go to Mexico from there, return to SD. Fly to LV or Phoenix, rent a car and drive to Grand Canyon and spend 2 nights (book ahead and stay in the National Park), on to LV, fly to HNL from LV. The exact same thing can be done in either direction and starting and ending in any of the cities to avoid back tracking.

If you want to visit Disneyland do that between LA and SD as it is in between those two cities.

Adelaide
posts: 152
reviews: 1
6. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

Dear JenniferRealtor.

What a wonderful response. I've only just read it and want to thank you straight away. When I have further time to absorb your advice, I may choose to reply further.

Your "oval" route suggestion is what I had in mind - you have crystallised it for me.

Your Ensenada mention is also of interest. It is further south requiring more planning. Why do you suggest Enseada and how would you get there from LA or San Diego?

Thanks again

Peter

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 23,553
reviews: 114
7. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

Well do be careful in the airports you choose as you may get a few bucks in savings only to spend it on a cab or transport for 50 miles -- an example of that would be San Jose which is 50 miles from SF and unless you want to haul bags via a bus to a train and spend about 2 hours traveling or spend around 200 in a cab, it would not make sense . Southwest is a good airline though and no issues about that

If you do a week in HI then you have about 3 weeks to do SF Yosemite Monterey Pismo beach LA, Anaheim San Diego Palm Springs LV GC. And you can then fly from there to HI or do it the other way around

Another factor to look at is snow in the GC area or Yosemite . Hard to predict winter conditions next year so you have to go by historic averages

Edited: 6:46 am, January 27, 2014
SoCal
posts: 4,557
reviews: 8
8. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

Yes, for the entire trip figure out you will get to the airport if you do not have a car. In SF you do not need a car but you may have a car (very expensive parking in the city at hotels btw) depending on the route you take.

If you end in SF and are deciding to fly from San Jose vs. Oakland vs. SFO you need to factor in getting there. From SF, Execucar charges $130 to San Jose, $80 to Oakland and $60 to SFO. Depending on the savings, it could be worth it as the OP is buying 3 tickets.

I happen to be in the midst of arranging a trip to Hawaii that involves organizing flights from several different areas, including the Bay area and southern California, so I am up on travel options. To give an example of the oddities in pricing, I can book a ticket that flies SD to HI but you change planes at LAX. That routing is less than half the price of starting the trip at LAX and just flying nonstop. This is not always true but on our dates, this option has consistently been the cheapest. Flying a different day I get a similar discount using very small Carlsbad airport and changing planes at LAX. It is just how pricing is here. The savings is significant and is therefore worth it to us because we are buying several tickets.

One thing I am not sure I was clear about in my post before is that it may be cheaper to book a round trip from Australia to HI and then another HI to the mainland US. The HI to mainland US can usually be open jaw (HNL to LAX, SFO to HNL for example) and you may get better pricing.

I enjoyed a day in Ensenada off a cruise ship recently. We visited La Bufadora and shopped. I felt safe and the drive from the city of Ensenada to La Bufadora was quite scenic. I am not sure about your plans and how long you plan to stay etc. You can get good advice in the Baja California forums on visiting that part of Mexico, better than you usually get from any of the CA forums. Some rental car companies will let you drive into Mexico and other options are to cross into TJ and get transport from there. If you are looking to just walk over for a quick visit, TJ is the easiest from SD but not as scenic as going further into Mexico. Tecate is another border town, I have not been but I am visiting for the day in early March. There are also short 3 and 4 night cruises from southern CA that stop for the day in Ensenada (4 night also stops at Catalina which is a very nice place to visit).

Edited: 11:47 am, January 27, 2014
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 40,338
reviews: 74
9. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

Hi

Just to be clear, if you want feedback about a nearby Mexican destination, the cities/destinations are listed on the Baja California page. But you need to select the specific forum and to post there. Very few people look at the Baja California collector forum, but knowledgeable folks read the Ensenada forum, for example.

Altamonte Springs...
Destination Expert
for Saint Augustine
posts: 9,344
reviews: 23
10. Re: Air Fares Aust to US and best Itinerary for US east coast

Please rethink your idea of visiting Tijuana, in light of the violent crime there.

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