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    Iwork2shop
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    California Trip ideas please
    • #1
    • 4th Oct 10, 11:04 AM
    0 WOW
    California Trip ideas please 4th Oct 10 at 11:04 AM
    Hi

    I wonder if someone could help with ideas please?

    My OH is 50 next June and we are planning a family trip to celebrate (!!). There will be 4 of us aged from 19 to 50. We have been to Florida many times and although we really enjoy it there I'd like to try something different.

    We're thinking of flying to San Francisco, making our way to Las Vegas and flying home from there. We will be there for just over 2 weeks.

    Having done a little research I know there are lots of 'must see's' but rather than travel continuously we'd like to stay for a week somewhere before going to Vegas but have no idea where. Can anyone help please?

    Thanks a lot
Page 3
    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 16th Oct 10, 4:07 PM
    • 893 Posts
    • 7,231 Thanks
    misa.blue
    HI guys, do you know how is it with Easter in USA?I just google it and it doesn't seem to be their bank holidays? Was think of going then to save holidays from work..
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 16th Oct 10, 4:28 PM
    • 15,895 Posts
    • 22,246 Thanks
    Gloomendoom
    Hi Jackie,
    I was hoping to find somethin for about 60. Is it possible or am I too naive?
    Originally posted by misa.blue
    We stayed at the Vagabond Inn in San Luis Obispo. It was cheap, but I'd stay there again. At that sort of price you don't expect to be able to relax in an outdoor hot tub with humming birds hovering around you.
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 18th Oct 10, 9:27 AM
    • 8,565 Posts
    • 13,766 Thanks
    jackieblack
    HI guys, do you know how is it with Easter in USA?I just google it and it doesn't seem to be their bank holidays? Was think of going then to save holidays from work..
    Originally posted by misa.blue
    Hi
    We've been several times, to various states, over Easter. In our experience the Friday, Saturday and Monday are normal days nothing should be affected. On Easter Sunday anything tourist orientated runs as usual, but we've found found that some shops & public transport (anything not aimed at tourists/visitors) are closed or operate on a reduced schedule.
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading

    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

    MFW #4
    (2018 - 866.89 OPd)
    2019
    Jan - 105.26, Feb - 103.31 Mar - 50

    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 18th Oct 10, 9:47 AM
    • 893 Posts
    • 7,231 Thanks
    misa.blue
    Jackie: that sound good! Thank you!
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 12th May 11, 8:06 AM
    • 8,565 Posts
    • 13,766 Thanks
    jackieblack
    misa.blue
    Are you back from your trip? How did it go?
    Were you happy with everything you booked?
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading

    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

    MFW #4
    (2018 - 866.89 OPd)
    2019
    Jan - 105.26, Feb - 103.31 Mar - 50

  • johnwey
    Wow this sounds like great plan! In how many days is reasonable to manage this trip?

    I'm so impressed with this trip plan!!!!
    Thank you Dan for great suggestion!
    Originally posted by misa.blue
    i would do the reverse as you would want to drive from san fran towards LA as the pacific highway coat road will be on " your side of the road " better views when driving . if you go the other way you have another lane with cars in to spoil your views when driving

    I know what I am talking about , I have done it
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 12th May 11, 11:48 AM
    • 8,565 Posts
    • 13,766 Thanks
    jackieblack
    i would do the reverse as you would want to drive from san fran towards LA as the pacific highway coat road will be on " your side of the road " better views when driving . if you go the other way you have another lane with cars in to spoil your views when driving

    I know what I am talking about , I have done it
    Originally posted by johnwey

    So has misa.blue, by now - she was going in April!
    (and although I agree, having also done it myself, this advice has been given several times already )
    Last edited by jackieblack; 12-05-2011 at 11:58 AM.
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading

    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

    MFW #4
    (2018 - 866.89 OPd)
    2019
    Jan - 105.26, Feb - 103.31 Mar - 50

    • richardw
    • By richardw 12th May 11, 11:54 AM
    • 18,922 Posts
    • 7,986 Thanks
    richardw
    misa.blue should be back soon, a bit of feedback would be appreciated.
    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 12th May 11, 12:29 PM
    • 893 Posts
    • 7,231 Thanks
    misa.blue
    West coast holiday
    Hello my great advisors!!!
    I'm back from amazing 17 days holiday Had absolutely brilliant time and enjoyed every minute!
    I will write about our hols from start. Went just with my husband.
    After hours and hours of research we got flights and hotels booked up over 3 month period.
    Bought flights on Christmas, there was sale on Iberia, direct London to LA, return from Vegas via Chicago 470 per person.

    Flew from London direct to Los Angeles on Thu 21 April with BA, economy class. Really cannot fault BA and our flight at all, all was perfect, so effortless. Settled in our seats ready for 11 hour flight. Checked out our in flight entertainment (which is free) and were impressed by movies offered, so I spent about 9 hrs watching movies. Got very nice lunch, there was plenty of complimentary drinks, also there were snack available in kitchen during the flight, really great.
    Landed in LA at 3PM, queued for 2hrs to pass immigration, which we passed without a problem. Got our cases and there was another huge queue as they were again checking your passport before leaving the airport, did not understand point of that at all..

    Found bus stop for Dollar rent a car and bus was already there waiting, took us to Dollar branch. Book our hire car through usrentacar.com, Uk broker, had all inclusive deal, add driver, full tank prepaid on our Ford Escape for 8 days (204)

    See photo of our car at Highway 1 San Simeon.
    [IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    I was very worried we might get coned by their up sell techniques..But made it clear that we had everything prepaid and did not want any extras when they asked me to sign on electric screen. The sales lady said, of guys but you cannot drive without Road Safe insurance, it would cost you $800 for tow truck if you get flat tyre...
    We said we take that risk, so she went back to booking and removed the Road Safe which she previously added without mentioning and word to us!
    Were given row number and told to pick any car in that row. Ford Escape which we wanted was there, so we took it. As I'm from Czech republic, I'm used to driving on the other side of the road, so we agreed with my British hubby, that it will be easier for me to drive in US. After few jumps and skips I got used to automatic car, we switched on Sat nav we borrowed(lend? never know which one to use) from friend in UK and off we went towards our California adventure!

    This is our itinerary:
    2 nights Los Angeles
    2 San Diego
    1 Laguna Beach
    1 Santa Barbara
    1 Pismo Beach
    1 Carmel Mission Ranch
    4 San Francisco
    Southwest flight to Los Angeles (55 incl suitcases)
    4 Las Vegas
    Last edited by misa.blue; 12-05-2011 at 2:26 PM.
    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 12th May 11, 12:46 PM
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    misa.blue
    Here are listed all the hotels we stayed in, all of them exceeded our expectations

    Thur 21-22 April LA Hollywood Liberty Hotel 62 per night http://www.hollywoodlibertyhotel.com/hl/index.html

    Sat 23 -24 April San Diego Holiday Inn Express Downtown 55 per night http://www.hiexpsandiego.com/
    Mon 25 April Laguna Beach Best Western Laguna Brisas 74 per night http://www.lagunabrisas.com/index.htm
    Tue 26 April Santa Barbara Sandman Inn 58 per night http://www.thesandmaninn.com/

    Wed 27 April Pismo Beach Holiday Inn Express 43 per night http://www.hiexpress.com/hotels/gb/e...ca/hoteldetail
    Thur 28 April Carmel by the Sea Mission Ranch (Clint Eastwood's) 88 per night http://www.missionranchcarmel.com/
    Fri 29 April - 3rd May San Francisco Baldwin hotel 70 per night http://www.baldwinhotel.com/
    Tue 3 - 7 May Las Vegas Flamingo 52 per night http://www.flamingolasvegas.com/casi...ol-detail.html


    Most of our hotels were booked with Hotels.com via Quidco so we got 10% cashback of the prices I listed above.

    For Holiday Inn San Diego I used the Friends & Family link that is published here on MS, that took cost of Holiday Inn Express to 55 per night (incl taxes) with breakfast. Same link used for Holiday Inn Pismo beach (43 per night). See: http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/....php?t=1535105

    In Vegas I got link from SmarterVegas for cheaper Go Rooms in Flamingo - 52 per night.
    Last edited by misa.blue; 12-05-2011 at 1:28 PM.
    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 12th May 11, 1:16 PM
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    misa.blue
    From Dollar depot at LAX we drove to the hotel which was right behind Guarman's Theater at Hollywood Boulevard, took it via Rodeo Drive. Checked in the Hollywood Liberty Hotel(free parking 62 per night, free breakfast), by that time it was 8PM LA and 4AM British time. We decided to have stroll at Hollywood boulevard, went to see Chinese theater, saw some stars at the Walk of fame. Were too tired for proper dinner, so bought hot dogs on the street and went to bed.

    Next morning we were fresh and ready for exciting day at Universal Studios, had breakfast at hotel and walked to Hollywood Highlands subway station which was about 4 minutes from hotel. Universal was just one stop from there, $1.50 per one way ticket per person.
    As proper moneysaving person, I found Arrowhead mineral water promotion running to get discounted tickets at Universal, however this cannot be bought online if your credit card does not have US adrress. We picked up small bottle of Arrowhead water in our hotel vending machine (saw them in every convenience store too), there was no special marking about the promotion at all anywhere on the bottle.
    Had nothing to lose so took bottle to ticket booth at Universal and lady there just asked us to peel the sticker of the bottle and gave us discount for both of us. This saved us $30 ($15 each), price of 1 day admission is $74 we paid $59. Better in my pocket


    Had absolutely amazing day at Universal studios, both agreed with husband, that it was best experience during our holiday, arrived there at 10AM and left 8PM, they extended opening hours by 1 hour as it was lovely busy day.

    Here is picture from film set of one of my favourite TV series :-) Desperate Housewives!

    [IMG]
    Last edited by misa.blue; 12-05-2011 at 1:26 PM.
    • jackieblack
    • By jackieblack 12th May 11, 1:25 PM
    • 8,565 Posts
    • 13,766 Thanks
    jackieblack
    Thanks misa.blue
    Looking forward to the next installment!
    2.22kWp Solar PV system installed Oct 2010, Fronius IG20 Inverter,
    south facing (-5 deg), 30 degree pitch, no shading

    Quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur

    MFW #4
    (2018 - 866.89 OPd)
    2019
    Jan - 105.26, Feb - 103.31 Mar - 50

    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 12th May 11, 1:45 PM
    • 893 Posts
    • 7,231 Thanks
    misa.blue
    Universal Studios LA
    One note to people who are on budget or just don't want to pay $3 dollars for small bottle of water at Universal. You are allowed to bring your own bottle of water, on their website it says it must be unopened, but I just refilled already opened bottle and took it, nobody checked.

    This can easily save you $12 dollars per day for 2 people. It was hot when we went, so were very thirsty, specially when waiting 45minutes in queue for Jurassic park ride!
    They also allow you to bring fruit and vegetables and baby food.
    Last edited by misa.blue; 12-05-2011 at 3:50 PM.
    • northwest1965
    • By northwest1965 12th May 11, 3:42 PM
    • 1,791 Posts
    • 4,648 Thanks
    northwest1965
    Thanks misa.blue, loving the trip reports. Looking forward to a Vegas one, we have booked the Flamingo!
    Loved our trip to the West Coast USA. Death Valley is the place to go!
    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 13th May 11, 9:18 AM
    • 893 Posts
    • 7,231 Thanks
    misa.blue
    LA & San Diego
    Our day at Universal Studios was real experience we will not forget, it is huge place with so much to do and see!
    Movie characters are walking around so you can get grubbed by Dracula, or have photos taken with Simpson family..

    That day we had dinner across the street from Hotel Renaissance (which was right next to our hotel), we found tiny Chinese restaurant called Le Oriental Bistro on N. Highland Avenue, didn’t look anything special but the meal we had was amazing and so cheap!
    I had set menu for $11.99, soup, fried shrimp and spring roll starter and for the first time in my life I had Orange chicken, which was absolutely gorgeous and I had it every day of our holiday since J Portions were so huge that we could not even finish them. So this is my tip for cheap lovely meal only 3 minutes walk from Grauman’s theatre in Hollywood!



    Next morning we were off to San Diego with stop for lunch at Dana Point, which was beautiful beach town.
    In San Diego we stayed in Holiday Inn Express in Gaslamp area, were very impressed with the hotel which cost us 55 (incl breakfast and wi-fi) using Friends & Family link published here at MS. When in SD we visited Sunday market at Hillcrest where we had some lovely tacos($3 for 2) and cakes, then we were off to their famous Balboa park, I was surprised to learn that all park was covered by free Wi-Fi, so I could post my photos of FB, how cool is that!
    Next day we drove to Old Town, which was really amazing, our favorite part of San Diego, make sure you go there and walk around Fiesta del Reyes.
    [IMG]




    In the evening we did something in my eyes very American, we drove our comfortable hire to Drive in Cinema!! What a great experience!!Watched Scream 4 on huge screen in front of our car, the sound was received through radio, they give you the frequency when buying tickets ($7 per person). It was brilliant, and definitely recommend it. (www.southbaydrivein.com).
    Last edited by misa.blue; 13-05-2011 at 9:23 AM.
    • Vikki_74
    • By Vikki_74 13th May 11, 8:23 PM
    • 749 Posts
    • 662 Thanks
    Vikki_74
    In the evening we did something in my eyes very American, we drove our comfortable hire to Drive in Cinema!! What a great experience!!Watched Scream 4 on huge screen in front of our car, the sound was received through radio, they give you the frequency when buying tickets ($7 per person). It was brilliant, and definitely recommend it. (www.southbaydrivein.com).
    Originally posted by misa.blue
    Ooh thanks for that...we've just decided we're going back to San Diego for a few days this year and I love the idea of a drive in. You're right, it does always seem to me like a very "American" thing to do, and looks much more fun than just going to the cinema! Added it to the favourites list
    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 16th May 11, 2:14 PM
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    misa.blue
    On Easter Monday we went to Sea World in San Diego. It was very quiet and not busy at all, it is normal working day over there. Our hotel did free shuttle to Sea World, but we were leaving to Laguna beach that night so we just checked out and drove there. The car park costs $12 per day.
    Again little moneysaving me found out about discount on Sea World tickets when you show your Southwest Airline card.
    It is free to join Southwest Rapid Rewards, and you can get your membership number instantly when you sign up on the Southwest web site. SeaWorld will accept a computer printout of your Rapid Rewards card. I took my print out to the booth and they have discounted both our tickets by $14 (20%), normal price is $69.99 per adult we paid 55.99.
    Spent lovely 6 hours there, it was very hot! Had to buy hat there to keep our heads in shade.
    We saw all the shows possible, Shamu, Dolphins, Sea Lions..Went to the pool with dolphins, you can touch them if you are lucky and they come to you, that was amazing!

    [IMG]


    [IMG]

    However compared to Universal, the park was not as well organized, difficult to navigate by their map, but nothing major, think we just expected similar day to the one at Universal..


    Last edited by misa.blue; 16-05-2011 at 2:20 PM.
    • stphnstevey
    • By stphnstevey 17th May 11, 12:49 AM
    • 2,957 Posts
    • 483 Thanks
    stphnstevey
    Hi

    We are doing a similiar trip in Aug - came across some of the similiar hotels - how did you find the parking at the Liberty Hotel in LA? Was it safe and off the street?
    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 17th May 11, 10:44 AM
    • 893 Posts
    • 7,231 Thanks
    misa.blue
    Hi

    We are doing a similiar trip in Aug - came across some of the similiar hotels - how did you find the parking at the Liberty Hotel in LA? Was it safe and off the street?
    Originally posted by stphnstevey
    Hi, the parking was off the street, at the back of the hotel, there was no gate to close the carpark, so anybody could walk in there I guess.
    But it was quite tucked away, it did not raise our concern for car's safety.

    Have look at google street view:
    fficial&biw=637&bih=464&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=Hollywood+liberty+hotel&fb=1&gl=uk&hq=liberty+ hotel&hnear=0x80c2bf07045279bf:0xf67a9a6797bdfae4, Hollywood,+Los+Angeles,+CA,+USA&cid=0,0,9092693156 561743471&ei=ykLSTY_sAsio8AO2_cmBCw&sa=X&oi=local_ result&ct=image&resnum=2&ved=0CEsQnwIwAQ">http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=i0w&pwst=1&rls=org.mozilla:en-GBfficial&biw=637&bih=464&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=Hollywood+liberty+hotel&fb=1&gl=uk&hq=liberty+ hotel&hnear=0x80c2bf07045279bf:0xf67a9a6797bdfae4, Hollywood,+Los+Angeles,+CA,+USA&cid=0,0,9092693156 561743471&ei=ykLSTY_sAsio8AO2_cmBCw&sa=X&oi=local_ result&ct=image&resnum=2&ved=0CEsQnwIwAQ

    Anyway if you are staying there on budget, definatelly try the Chinese restaurant I wrote about
    If you have any more questions, please do ask!
    Lucky you, all is still ahead of you
    Last edited by misa.blue; 17-05-2011 at 11:18 AM.
    • misa.blue
    • By misa.blue 31st May 11, 7:17 PM
    • 893 Posts
    • 7,231 Thanks
    misa.blue
    Laguna beach
    After hot day at the Sea World we arrived to the lovely hotel in Laguna Beach, our hotel room had whirlpool in the bathroom, which we gladly took advantage of. It was sooo nice to soak and relax in bubbling hot water If it wasn't for my starving stomach I would have camped in whirlpool tub overnight Were too tired to drive to city centre and look for restaurants there, on way in we noticed couple of restaurants next to the hotel, we chose Royal Thai. Thinking we were hungry we ordered menu for 2 people. Wow they brought so much food! They should note in menu for 2 American people (= 4 Europeans). There was no way 2 people could eat that amount of food!
    Next day checked out after breakfast and drove 1.5 mile to the city centre to have look around.
    Now here is thing I must warn you about.
    We parked in town carpark, we paid and displayed and of we went. When returned back to the car, there was ticket from police on our window!
    We got fined and the reason?! In Laguna Beach only, nowhere else in whole state, it is illegal to pull through in driving space or reverse into parking space!! Never heard of anything this ridiculous. We found small board on the wall as you drive in from main road, stating this..I'm sure all the locals are aware of it, so this is just to catch the tourists..
    As we had bigger car and car park was empty, we drove through one parking space to make it easy to drive out on departure..Well this made me a "criminal" in Laguna Beach we had to go and search for Police station to pay fine of $43. I know that ignorance of law is no excuse but come on, how weird is this..
    It is shame that this experience clouded our memories of Laguna Beach as the town is really gorgeous, so as long as you remember not to reverse into car parking space there, I definately recommend visiting Laguna Beach.

    Last edited by misa.blue; 31-05-2011 at 7:21 PM.
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