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London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

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London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas


This is my first time asking a question on the Trip Advisor forum, and my trip is going to be to multiple destinations, but I'm hoping to start in LA, so hopefully i've posted in the right place!

So, I'm currently planning a trip for 4 for about 2 weeks in total to LA, San Fran and Vegas in April 2015, around Easter time. We must travel at this time as we are teachers and need the UK school holidays!

We plan to fly from London around Saturday 28th March, and return Saturday 11th April. I have currently planned the trip and costed it up in the following way:

LHR - LAX direct flight (spend 4 nights in LA, 1 night in Santa Monica and 3 nights in West Hollywood), we hope to see the main sights using public transport or taxi's if possible.

LAX - SFO direct internal flight (spend 5 nights near Union Square, and see the main sights. Again, using public transport).

SFO - Las Vegas direct internal flight (spend 5 nights on the Vegas strip, a little bit of gambling and sight seeing in Vegas, including the Grand Canyon, again no car rental).

Finally, Las Vegas - back to London Heathrow on Saturday 11th April.

I haven't costed up the trip to include car hire, as I was thinking that flying between cities internally would be quicker, and flights seem very reasonable between cities. I have costed up flights, hotels and taxi fares but not spending money and my total currently sits at around £2385 per person for a 14 night trip.

All flights were costed up through SkyScanner, and hotels through Expedia, taxi fares through TaxiFareFinder.

Does this seem reasonable for the time of year, and the amount of places I will be visiting?

Is there any other suggestions that could save me money for the duration of the trip, or anything else I need to consider before I go?

Some people have driven the coastal route between San Fran and LA and have commented on the beautiful scenery, and I was wondering if this works out cheaper than flying, when you include car hire and fuel?

Thank you all very much in advance.

Washington State
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1. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas


You can look at costs for a car rental on the .co.uk website of your favorite company or try a 3rd party broker that others have recommended, www.RentalCars.com I think driving up Hwy 1 is a terrific idea. The California state forum page has info about that drive (Top Questions on the right.)

Also look at the Top Questions on the Las Vegas page. There is information about the close trip to tourist attraction/trap grandcanyonwest and to the incredibly scenic Grand Canyon National Park. If I were in your shoes, I'd rent a car and make an overnight trip including Hoover Dam. Sunset & sunrise at the South Rim is spectacular.

If I were planning this trip for 4 UK residents, I'd probably do something like LAX - L.A. / Hollywood neighborhood - Pismo Beach or Cambria - Monterey - Yosemite - SF {drop car} Fly SFO - LAS Las Vegas - GCNP - Las Vegas - LAS

Things to keep in mind

- booking directly with the hotel usually means the reservation is easier to change

- National Parks are already taking lodging reservations. Again, book with the official concessionaire

- Las Vegas is more expensive on the weekends

- Top Questions on each forum will help. The California state forum page has great Top Q. The Top Q here can help with your long time in L.A.

- Southwest Airlines doesn't usually show up on airfare comparison pages but is a good price and allows two bags to fly free! There are other airports in the L.A. area to fly up to San Francisco, if that's your choice.

Santa Monica, CA
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2. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

First, welcome to the Los Angeles forum, Mr_B87.

It's a good idea to tell us what hotels you've booked, especially because you're relying on mass transit. We sometimes find that folks choose a hotel that isn't convenient to mass transit.

With any luck, the Expo light rail line will be up and running, which will get you from Santa Monica to downtown, and the ability to make transfers between (to Hollywood, for example). If not, there are buses.

As to the cost benefit analysis of driving the coastal route, I couldn't help you with that, but it is a very beautiful, worthwhile trip, that will highlight the best of the California coastline. Instead of flying to Las Vegas, there are buses that can get you there very cheaply, especially if you book ahead.



LA - reduce to 3 days (just stay in West Hollywood the entire time - make a day trip to Santa Monica), take Megabus to LV on 5th day. Take another day off of Vegas, bus to SF on the 5th day. Spend 3 days in SF, drive the coast highway on days 4&5 (check the California forum for suggested stops; this route is very well traveled - lots of suggestions on that forum), returning the car to airport before departing. I am a bit worried about driving on the day you depart, though, so another tweak of the itinerary is necessary if you choose to use a bus instead of flying.

Edited: 12:02 pm, June 04, 2014
Corona del Mar, CA
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3. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

The #1 thing that jumps out at me is the Grand Canyon. It is not really a day trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP). Do not be sucked into a tour to the so called "Grand Canyon West". It is nothing comparable to the GCNP.

There is a bus tour that is an all day thing where you drive 5 hours there, spend two hours at the GCNP and then drive back 5 hours. I'd rent a car and get a hotel at the GCNP so you can see the sunrise over the canyon.

Next is to drive or fly to SF from LA. I'd take one night off SF and drive via Highway 1, stopping for the night in Cambria CA. Here is the aprx route I'd take.


Even though Google Maps says it is 9 hours, it is close to 12 or 14 hours depending on traffic. Pay special attention to the start and stop of the trip. Leaving LA I'd take Highway 1 through Malibu and ending in SF I would go all the way up Highway 1 to the Cliff House and take Geary Blvd into the City.

San Diego...
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4. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

If you want to focus on cities, fly between the cities as you have planned to. If you want to include natural scenery that lies between these cities, rent a car and do a driving trip, but this will take up more time and you will have less time for the cities. A possible route which would mean renting a car for part of the trip and driving could be:

Fly to San Francisco, spend 3 nights. Use public transportation while in San Francisco.

Rent a car when leaving San Francisco. Drive to Yosemite National Park, stay 1 night in Yosemite Valley.

Drive to Monterey. See Point Lobos SNR in the afternoon. Stay 1 night in Monterey, Carmel or Pacific Grove.

Drive to Cambria via Highway 1 through Big Sur. Stay 1 night in Cambria.

Drive to Los Angeles. Stay 3 nights in Los Angeles.

Drive to Grand Canyon National Park. This is a long drive and could be broken up into 2 days, with a possible overnight stop at Kingman, Needles or Lake Havasu City. Possible sights along this route would include Palm Springs, Aerial Tramway, Joshua Tree National Park, London Bridge, Oatman and Route 66. Stay overnight 1 night at Grand Canyon National Park.

Drive to Las Vegas. Stay 2 nights in Las Vegas.

Drive to Death Valley National Park as a day trip from Las Vegas. About 4 hours of driving plus time spent in the park.

Stay final night near LAS airport.

This would be 14 nights and would include all the cities you mentioned plus 3 national parks and other scenic areas such as Big Sur.

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5. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

Thank you all so much for your information so far, it's greatly appreciated.

In regards to car rental, is it expensive to park in LA? I've heard the city is quite spread out so there isn't really such thing as an "ideal" area to stay.

For example, if I left my hotel in West Hollywood and wanted to visit Universal Studios or the Hollywood Walk of Fame, would parking be an issue? I was planning on using taxi's but i've heard they can be expensive if you hit bad traffic?

Norwich, United...
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6. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

There's information about the cost of parking at Universal here: universalstudioshollywood.com/faqs/park-info

Santa Monica, CA
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7. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

For your example, we'd probably recommend you drive to Hollywood and Highland shopping center (I'm not sure what parking rates are) and take the red line to Universal Studios from there. Parking is very expensive at Universal.

If you have a tentative itinerary, we can help you with what's easiest to reach via mass transit as opposed to self-driving.

Parking at most other places is reasonable. You have the ability to park on the street at meters, public lots, and mostly shopping malls. At the malls, you generally get 2-3 hours of free parking with validation. Beach lots are around $10.00, flat rate.

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8. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

Parking is normally not a problem, you may pay but it is easy to find. If you stay in West Hollywood, I would not say drive to H and H shopping center and take public transportation to Universal. Parking at Universal is $16 for the day in the regular lot and H and H is $13 per day, so you need to drive, park, Red Line, shuttle to the park if you do that. I would just drive to Universal.

The parking lot at H and H is great for visiting the Walk of Fame area and getting a good view of the Hollywood sign. You get 2 hours for $2 with validation and the location is convenient. Last time we validated at Beard Papa's, the most delicious cream puffs! http://hollywoodandhighland.com/2-parking/

Warrington, United...
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9. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

Check out flight centre as well as sky scanner - we ended up finding a better deal with them even though I usually use sky scanner! Also lastminute.com, if you find a good deal on one the other company will usually match it!

Edited: 5:26 pm, June 06, 2014
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10. Re: London - LA - San Fran - Las Vegas

Hi all,

Based on your brilliant suggestions so far, I have come up with a revised itinerary finishing a couple of days earlier, this time with a hire car. Could you please let me know how this looks, and if i've missed anything out or will be rushed for time:

28th March - Fly from London to San Fran, collect car

3 nights in San Fran. 28th March – 30th March

Drive San Fran - Yosemite

1 Night stay in Yosemite National Park. 30th March – 31st March

Drive Yosemite – Monterrey (half day visit)

Drive Monterrey - Cambria (stay 1 night, 31st March – 1st April)

Drive Cambria – LA

Spend 3 nights in LA. 1st April – 3rd April

Drive LA – Lake Havasu City (1 night stopover, 3rd April – 4th April)

Lake Havasu City – Grand Canyon (1 night stopover, 4th April – 5th April)

Drive Grand Canyon – Vegas.

4 Nights in Vegas. 5th April – 9th April

9th April - Fly Vegas – London

Thanks in advance.