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Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

Brisbane, Australia
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Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

Hi everyone,

My boyfriend and I (22 and 21 years old respectively) are planning a trip to the West Coast for January next year (not an ideal time for travel but its all we can get off university/work).

We would like to do/see the following things: Anaheim (Disneyland), LA/Hollywood, beaches on the way (Huntington, Laguna etc - even if we just quickly stop driving on the way to somewhere), San Diego, La Jolla, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Francisco.

My boyfriend has visited these places before when 17yo but we really have no idea what to do and how to get there. He says he feels comfortable to drive so wherever we can we will drive or catch an internal flight/Amtrak. Could anyone please suggest an itinerary, ways to travel to places, things to see, what not to miss etc.?We are also looking to keep the price low (we are only students!).

Thanks in advance!

Manhattan Beach...
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1. Re: Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

Please check the suggested itineraries on the right side of the full-up Trip Advisor webpage (not the app or the mobile webpage), under answers to FAQs. There are a lot of good suggestions.

You really do want to rent a car. On the West Coast of the US, only San Francisco is really well suited to touring without a car. LA and San Diego are so much easier to visit with a car. If you can get over driving on the wrong side of the road, navigating and driving in California is really easy. Our roads are really wide and well marked. Traveling between cities, and to places like Grand Canyon, is much easier with a car. The alternative is buses, which are viable, but not a mode of transit that I would enjoy.

Unlike Europe, we do not have a culture of Youth Hostels and really nice and cheap B & Bs. There are some, but not a lot. Outside of campgrounds, I'm not sure where you would meet other travelers, so you really will be spending a lot of time together on this trip.

January is sort of off-season for California. Our weather is better than most other places on the planet, even in our winter, but you should encounter rain and lows in the 50s (Farenheit) by the coast. You also have a high probability of hitting warm sunny days and even have a chance of encountering hot desert days. You can probably find cheap hotels in not great locations for around $100 US per night. With a car these might not be too bad. For $150 per night you will probably be able to find good places on sale. Check on a website like Travelocity or Trip Advisor for what kind of hotels you can find and at what rates.

Theme parks are expensive. Figure out which ones you want to visit.

I love Yosemite, it is spectacular to see, but in the winter it is complicated to visit because of snow. If you do decide to go, make your reservations there first because lodging inside the park is hard to get. The park does have a good bus system.

Grand Canyon is also spectacular, but it is remote and takes about a half day to get there from Las Vegas. Lodging there is easier to get, especially in the winter.

Las Vegas is not that expensive if you don't gamble and see shows. They have a lot of deals on hotel rooms and it is on the way to Grand Canyon. It is worth seeing the spectacle of the place at night, but don't plan on spending a lot of time there.

Santa Cruz...
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2. Re: Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

Be aware that renting a car if you are under 25 will have a premium added to the rental cost. There are inexpensive flights between destinations....LA-Las Vegas-San Francisco, for example, which help with the cost of a rental car plus gasoline. The trade off is missing places in bewtween which you might want to see, but the time you have is important as these locations are not near each other.

Please tell us how any days you have for this trip.

Uden, The...
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3. Re: Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

Yes, how long do you have for this trip?

Maybe first check about carrental and young driver fees with www.traveljigsaw.com.au If you want to rent a car do this already from Australia with a broker and have all insurances included.

Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

We are looking at 3 weeks from the 2/1 to the 23/1. We are looking at mainly only driving to see the beaches between LA and San Diego and then may fly between the rest (except for getting a car for a day in Vegas to do the Grand Canyon) due to the excess of being under 25. I have looked at the other examples of itinerary's but if anyone can write one out for this particular trip it would be amazing! We are also aware your school holidays are in the early weeks of January so we may look at going to Disneyland last to avoid the cues and craziness of DL on school holidays! We have no idea how long to spend in any place either as we don't want to feel rushed. My boyfriend is also an avid diver and was looking at diving La Jolla Cove if anyone has information on that or other dive sites in the area (he has a license).

Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

With regards to hotels, we have been told by many friends they found accommodation in Las Vegas, Anaheim, and San Diego for around $60 per night. Is this the case? Our view of a hotel is as long as there is a bed and its clean (and in a safe area) we really don't mind! We have done the 5-star resorts in South East Asia so it isn't a priority, we more want to experience your country!

Manhattan Beach...
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6. Re: Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

I previously did some brief on-line research on hotels within 3 km to the beach south of LAX, that I'd be OK having a nephew stay at. That's where my numbers came from. To the hotel rates you have to add on tax. I would just be guessing at the amount and it varies by city (10%?). You can get a good idea on hotel rates doing an internet search. There are definitely hotel deals midweek in Las Vegas. You can stay near, but not on, the Strip,for less. Ditto the beach in LA.

For between $100 and $150 you can get a 1 day Gray Line bus tour from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) or to the Indian Reservation ("West Rim") that is on a different section of the canyon. The bus trips are a long day, but somewhat simple since they pick up at the major hotels. This would save you from renting a car. You could also do something similar for Yosemite from San Francisco.

As noted, you can get deals on plane flights between LA, SF, & Las Vegas if you book in advance. Check the Southwest Airlines web site to get an idea on fares. If you fly you would miss the nice drive along the coast between LA & SF.There is also the quicker monotenous inland drive that you could avoid by flying. Between LA and San Diego there is good train service.

Edited: 9:41 am, April 16, 2014
Uden, The...
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7. Re: Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

Pacific waters will be cold, not like in Brisbane at all.

GC in winter can have snow because it's 7000' I always suggest to stay at least one night there and make a reservation www.grandcanyonlodges.com From vegas to south rim (north rim will be closed) and back means 10 hours in the car. I wouldnot do that Daytours by bus will take the same amount of time. Highlights at the rim are sunset and sunrise. I also would not go to Grand Canyon West. many call this an expensive tourist trap. The National Park is much wider, deeper and more colorful.

Stay out of las Vegas in the weekend when prices are much higher.

Tet

8. Re: Itinerary help for LA, Vegas, San Diego and San Fran trip!

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