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US Travel Advice Needed  
User currently offlinevandenheuvel From Netherlands, joined Dec 2008, 495 posts, RR: 2
Posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 4218 times:

Hi all,

Coming June I am going to have a holiday in the US. The best itinerary I could come up is acceptable, yet I am trying to find something a bit cheaper. This is the itinerary I came up with.

9 June AMS LHR BA A320
9 June LHR DFW BA 747 (just as expensive as a direct service to MIA)
9 June DFW FLL AA 738

12 June FLL NAS UP 732

14 June NAS ATL DL MD80
14 June ATL LAS DL 753

18 June LAS ATL DL 763
18 June ATL IAH DL DC9-50

19 June IAH LHR BA 777
20 June LHR AMS BA A319

I wonder if any of you have any suggestions about this itinerary. I'm not fixed to any of the destinations or flights. I do like the 737-200 and 757-300 in my trip. But this is not necessary. So is there a way to save some money, or do you think I can better visit some other places?

Tim,

55 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1318 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 4214 times:

Quoting vandenheuvel (Thread starter):
18 June LAS ATL DL 763
18 June ATL IAH DL DC9-50

19 June IAH LHR BA 777
20 June LHR AMS BA A319

I am not sure if you are trying to max airline/aircraft types or airports or what not. But,

there are non-stops LAS-IAH/HOU on CO and WN to avoid the major back trap flying via ATL

and Non-stops IAH-AMS on both KL and CO (and privatair for KL if you want all biz on a 737!)

Enjoy the trip!



Ciao Windjet mi manchi
User currently offlinevandenheuvel From Netherlands, joined Dec 2008, 495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 4199 times:

Thanks for your advice. The nonstop flights between LAS and HOU/IAH are only marginally cheaper than flying through ATL. Also the nonstops AMS-IAH are too expensive for me.

What do you think about Houston, Las Vegas and Miami from a tourist point of view?


User currently offlinekbmiflyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 128 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4187 times:

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 2):
What do you think about Houston, Las Vegas and Miami from a tourist point of view?

I like Miami and Las Vegas as destinations. Are you are only spending one day in Houston? For me, Houston would be low on my list of cities to visit. I would hit LA, San Fransisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelpia or Dallas before I would visit Houston, or I would spend an extra day in DC. Not saying Houston isn't a cool city, just less to do (other than NASA).


User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3967 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4182 times:
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Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 2):
What do you think about Houston, Las Vegas and Miami from a tourist point of view?

It's really hard to say without knowing what you want to do, but for my money, I prefer the Dallas area over Houston, unless you intend to visit NASA of course.

The other advantage is that, if you are trying to keep your transportation budget to a minimum, you can get a cheap return AMS-MIA/FLL and then do FLL-DFW-LAS-FLL on NK.

AMS-MAD-MIA vv on AA is €568.
FLL-DFW-LAS-FLL should be less than $400, I'd think.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4178 times:

Quoting vandenheuvel (Thread starter):
I'm not fixed to any of the destinations or flights.

First question is: What purpose is this trip going to serve ? You randomly keep criss-crossing the NA-continent, staying for not more than 4 nights in any place.
With only 10 nights in the U.S. my personal preference would be to pick any given area within the U.S. and explore that one in more depth. For example it took me 5 trips of 10 to 14 nights each to explore Southern California, Southern Arizona and the area around Las Vegas alone, but still there are things to do on my agenda.

With this trip being in early June, you pretty much are able to visit any corner of the U.S. without having to consider adverse weather (cold weather, hurricane season, ...).
The Southwest very well can be explored in late March or in April, so you might save it for some later trip.

Next question is:
Are you more interested in visiting cities or in exploring the countryside ?
Any other special interest ?
Should the trip include some days on the beach ?
Is it okay for you to rent a car and drive around ? For shorter distances or for longer distances ?

Potential itineraries:
1. Fly to Washington (IAD/BWI), explore the city for 3 days enjoying its museums (incl. the Udvar-Hazy Center at IAD) and life outdoor.
1a) From D.C. head north to Phildelphia, New York and, maybe, Boston if time allows, exploring each city.
1b) From D.C. head south driving along the coast via the Carolinas to Florida. Or fly some legs.
1c) Fly to the Florida Panhandle (Mobile, AL, PNS, Panama City, ..). Check out the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola. Spend some days on the beaches around Pensacola (+/- 50 miles or so).

2) Fly to Chicago. Explore the city. Continue to St. Louis (Gateway Arch) , then Memphis (Elvis' Graceland), continue south to New Orleans. Fly home from there.

3) Chicago, then head west into the Dakotas, visiting Mount Rushmore, then turn south towards Denver.

So many more options, but I think it would be best to get some more specifics from you and your expectations.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Thread starter):
14 June ATL LAS DL 753

18 June LAS ATL DL 763

Get out of Las Vegas on Friday, do not stay for the night until Saturday. Weekend hotel rates in Las Vegas go up significantly.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Thread starter):
NAS

Have you checked on hotel rates for Nassau ? Is it a pre-requisite to stay there for the night ?

-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 665 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4177 times:
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Tim -
I know you Europeans enjoy hot weather...my friends in England and Norway love Florida in the summer, but you have picked all the "hot" spots for June. Florida, Vegas, South Texas. and the Bahamas. Meet me at the pool....
That said, a couple questions before I offer any suggestions or fare help.
1. Are you going to the Bahamas to visit friends/family or just want to go? Hotels and food can be very expensive. As an alternative, stay in the South Florida area to visit West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and maybe venture down to the Keys.
2. Are you going to Houston to visit friends/family or to visit the Texas Gulf Coast area? As an alternative have you considered a trip from LAS to say SFO/LAX or even SEA and then direct return to AMS?
3. Other cities/areas of the US East Coast you've not visited but would consider?
4. Are you renting a vehicle to drive in these locations/cities or relying on public transport?
5. Do you really like hot, humid sweaty weather? HA!
Consider any city changes and price out the long-haul itineraries on airlines using their "multi-city" function. International fares may be based on mileage and you can maximize your fare discount by booking as much of your flying on one carrier, even allowing for open jaws. Such as using the KLM or DL website to price:
AMS-LHR-MIA/MIA-LAS/LAS-IAH/IAH-AMS. Or book your TATL flights with one airline.....KL/DL or BA/AA and fly other airlines in the US booking one-way or roundtrips for your domestic flights. You can sometimes find great fares for one-way flights depending on the day of week but keep in mind that LAS is a very popular city for us "natives" here in the US and flights are always booked and "cheap" seats disappear quickly.
I'll be happy to help further with some pricing and routing ideas....and if you stay in Florida, consider coming to see us up in Tampa. Beautiful beaches and great food.
Thomas



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlineDelimit From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1507 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4174 times:

Have you been to the US before? For a first time visitor I am not sure I would chose any of those cities.

User currently offlinevandenheuvel From Netherlands, joined Dec 2008, 495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4160 times:

Thanks for the many reply's so far.

My main reason for this travel is to see something of the US. I don't really care what area. Finding information about what cities to see appears to be difficult. I was considering some east coast cities. I have already seen NY and DC. I do like to rent a car, yet I can not afford one for my entire stay.

Quoting kbmiflyer (Reply 3):
I like Miami and Las Vegas as destinations. Are you are only spending one day in Houston? For me, Houston would be low on my list of cities to visit. I would hit LA, San Fransisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelpia or Dallas before I would visit Houston, or I would spend an extra day in DC. Not saying Houston isn't a cool city, just less to do (other than NASA).

kbmiflyer, thanks for your help. I picked Houston because of the airfare from Amsterdam. The airports of IAH, DFW, MIA, FLL, ORD, JFK and EWR all over the same affordable tickets. I can leave an open jaw and pick two of these.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 4):

It's really hard to say without knowing what you want to do, but for my money, I prefer the Dallas area over Houston, unless you intend to visit NASA of course.

Blueflyer. Thanks for your advice. As mentioned above, Houston is only on this list because of the lower airfare. That's also the reason for the short stay.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 4):

The other advantage is that, if you are trying to keep your transportation budget to a minimum, you can get a cheap return AMS-MIA/FLL and then do FLL-DFW-LAS-FLL on NK.

This looks nice. My flights NAS-ATL-LAS and LAS-ATL-ORD were about just as expensive. So I won't have any decent savings here. The BA/AA flights are for 604 euro. I do appreciate your efforts.

HT, you're always of good help. Maybe you're right about focusing on a more specific area. It's a big country and there is enough to see in most of the states.

Quoting HT (Reply 5):
Next question is:
Are you more interested in visiting cities or in exploring the countryside ?
Any other special interest ?
Should the trip include some days on the beach ?
Is it okay for you to rent a car and drive around ? For shorter distances or for longer distances ?

I am looking for a mix of visiting cities and the countryside. Thats the reason for Las Vegas. The hotels there are surprisingly cheap and it's close to the Gran Canyon.

I do like some days at the beach, but that's no priority. We have beaches in Europe too.

As mentioned above, I am willing to rent a car. Yet I can't afford one for my entire stay. I am interested in doing some roadtrip instead of the longer flights.

Quoting HT (Reply 5):

2) Fly to Chicago. Explore the city. Continue to St. Louis (Gateway Arch) , then Memphis (Elvis' Graceland), continue south to New Orleans. Fly home from there.

3) Chicago, then head west into the Dakotas, visiting Mount Rushmore, then turn south towards Denver.

This is a great idea. I like the idea of a roadtrip. Chicago might be a good starting point for this. I will be able to see the landscape and some of the smaller towns. I do like Elvis.

Quoting HT (Reply 5):

Have you checked on hotel rates for Nassau ? Is it a pre-requisite to stay there for the night ?

I have looked deeper into the Bahamas. Probably a wonderful place. Yet it's too expensive to visit it now.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 6):
I know you Europeans enjoy hot weather...

PI4EVER, you too thanks for your help. I don't really like the hot weather. That was actually a point against going the these places in June. I do like going to a nice beach and to swim in the ocean. You have a good point about the Bahamas. It's not necessary at all to visit that place. Florida itself has nice enough beaches and cities. Just staying there will be just as good and more economical.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 6):

2. Are you going to Houston to visit friends/family or to visit the Texas Gulf Coast area? As an alternative have you considered a trip from LAS to say SFO/LAX or even SEA and then direct return to AMS?

Houston is only in the trip for the cheaper flights. Maybe it's a good idea to change Houston for Boston or Raleigh. I'm also interested in SEA or Portland.

You're right about the open jaw flights. That's how I got the idea to fly through IAH and FLL. There are a lot more options than flying BA. I will be looking into that some more now.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 6):
I'll be happy to help further with some pricing and routing ideas....and if you stay in Florida, consider coming to see us up in Tampa. Beautiful beaches and great food.

Looking deeper into a specific area is probably what I have to do. Seeing something of Florida or the Midwest will be great.

Quoting Delimit (Reply 7):
Have you been to the US before? For a first time visitor I am not sure I would chose any of those cities.

I have been to the US once before. I have seen the cities of NY and DC, so I haven't really seen the country yet.

Tim,


User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1318 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4160 times:

I would certainly choose Houston over Dallas (I'd choose Fort Worth over Dallas). Houston is more international, has better food, arts, is bigger, and friendly. But I presume that debate is for another thread.

Houston has the largest and best museum district and arts scene in Texas. There will be a great Exhibit on Texas history at the Musuem of natural science, and impressionists on exhibit at Museum Fine Arts Houston. all accesable by light right.

NASA is a destination on its own in southeast Houston

early June will be warm but not hot.

If you take the flight via ATL that eats up alot of your time. If you go LAS-IAH/HOU you would have a bit more time in Houston. Either way you can take the Airport Direst bus from IAH downtown, where you can connect via light rail to the musuem district for example. There are a couple of restaurant and enteratinment districts downtown also.

With the shorter trip NASA will not be an option unless you rent a car and ge tthere early as you will have to leave mid day to head back to IAH for your night flight. There is a bus down to the space center, but it is longer than driving directly back to the airport.
If you want to stay downtown or near the museum district let me know and I can suggest something.

Have fun



Ciao Windjet mi manchi
User currently offlinevandenheuvel From Netherlands, joined Dec 2008, 495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4157 times:

Thats some more good advice. Maybe a couple of days in Texas will be nice.

I have been looking into car rentals again. I just found full week fares even lower than the day fares I found last week. Is 200 euro acceptable for a 7 day rental from LAS?


User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 665 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 4142 times:
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OK Tim, it appears you're getting some great feedback. I understand a bit more about your trip and I've come full circle on what to suggest. I'll explain why I've made the suggestions as I go along. As the expression here in the US is, "Go West Young Man". I would skip Florida and Texas this trip and consider those locations in Spring or early Fall. So here you go,
Route yourself to start in Chicago. Stay a minimum of 2 nights to really enjoy this great city. Great public transportation, great food and friendly people. Continue on to,
St. Louis. The Arch is the "Gateway to the West." A smaller city than Chicago, but ease of getting around. A light rail train system with inexpensive fares will let you see all the sights and you can board the train at the airport to get into the city. A beautiful city with parks and museums, and the Arch, and weather is very nice in June. Continue on to,
New Orleans for a least one overnight. The French Quarter is well worth the trip and food is not your standard American fare...Cajun and foods rich in history to New Orleans and the South. Not as convenient for public transport, but once you are in town from airport (a quick taxi or shuttle bus) a great walking city. Continue on to,
Las Vegas. Yes you've got to go. Once in your lifetime. A large selection of sightseeing tours because otherwise your feet give you access to everything you want to see and do on the Strip. Buy a day tour to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam/Lake Mead. You'll enjoy the contrast of the desert geography compared to your previous cities. It will be HOT in June. Minimum stay 2 nights. Continue on to,
Seattle. Cool and beautifully green. A mix of water and beautiful mountains. Weather is great in June. Plan on at least 2 nights here to really take in the city and all it offers. Great public transportation system and friendly people who are proud of their city. Again a great contrast in geography up to what you've seen at this point.
Home to AMS on June 19.
You can fly Southwest from Chicago to St. Louis, on to New Orleans, on to Las Vegas, and on to Seattle all on nonstop of direct flights. Shop around with every airline but watch flying times and routings; you don't want to waste a day flying and connecting just to get a cheaper fare and burn up your time visiting the city.
A wide-range of accomodations are available in all these cities but be sure you stay in the city center to make use of convenient public transport. No rental car is necessary in any of these cities. A lot of hotels in the US do not offer "bed and breakfast" as is standard in Europe, so look if any food service is provided in your daily room rate.
You will have covered the entire United States considering you've already been to NYC and WAS. As you price out the final leg home to AMS, factor in California as an alternative to SEA. SFO more so than LAX due to public transport options as Vegas to SFO is an easy flight...on WN and many others. SFO is a destination in its own right but consider it only over SEA if you have a much better fare for your AMS-ORD and SEA-AMS or SFO-AMS routings.
Good Luck and keep in touch with all of us as you proceed to your final booking itinerary.
Thomas



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlinevandenheuvel From Netherlands, joined Dec 2008, 495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4137 times:

That is some more great advice.

I just found out rental cars are a lot less expensive than I expected them to be. A trip like you've suggested sounds great and can be combined with some driving. I also save some money by not going to the Bahamas and Florida.

Chicago and St Louis were high on my list of interest. I can spend some time on both cities and maybe drive instead of flying. After that maybe I can fly to LAS from STL or one of the Chicago airports. I do want to see the city and make a scenic air day tour to the Gran Canyon.

Seattle is also a great option for ending my holiday. SEA has a good connection with AMS.

I think doing some travels by car gives me the possibility to see some more of the country. Instead of the Bahamas and Florida I can spend some more money on a rental car. Also the roadside motels are a lot cheaper than Miami's beach resorts and other cities hotels. I think I can work out quit a nice trip with this information. I will keep you posted about my final decision.

Thanks for your help.

Tim,


User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 665 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4129 times:
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Tim,
If you fly KL AMS-ORD and DL SEA-AMS out on Jun9 and back on Jun19, fare is $722Euro including all taxes. If you choose to return from SFO - nonstop on KL - fare is $742Euro. I priced this on the DL website but didn't pursue other price quotes because of the great service these nonstop flights provide you. Once you decide exactly where you're going beyond Chicago, all the stuff in between will be easy to price out.
You can fly nonstop Chicago to St. Louis and nonstop St. Louis to Las Vegas or nonstop Chicago-Las Vegas.
If you rent a car, pick it up and drop it off in the same city and in most cases you should be able to find a car reasonably priced in most locations for less than $40-50 per day. You will pay a big penalty "drop off" charge if you rent a car say in Chicago, drive to St. Louis and then fly from St. Louis. Think of renting a car only if you have sufficient time to really get out and drive around. Chicago is a big city, with traffic congestion so routinely you likely would not need a car to see the sights. Consider too that parking in big cities is limited and expensive. St. Louis is easy to drive around, but also their public train service is so convenient you would not need a car. A car in Las Vegas maybe - if time permits you can drive to the Grand Canyon but you'll likely spend the night somewhere else than trying to drive back to LAS for the night.
I personally see no reason to rent a car in Chicago, St. Louis or Seattle so you can allow for a 2-3 day rental in LAS if you simply want to head out of town and see the desert or head to the Canyon.
Just a couple more things for you to consider.........



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlineFlyingSicilian From Italy, joined Mar 2009, 1318 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4115 times:

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 11):
OK Tim, it appears you're getting some great feedback. I understand a bit more about your trip and I've come full circle on what to suggest. I'll explain why I've made the suggestions as I go along. As the expression here in the US is, "Go West Young Man". I would skip Florida and Texas this trip and consider those locations in Spring or early Fall. So here you go,
Route yourself to start in Chicago. Stay a minimum of 2 nights to really enjoy this great city. Great public transportation, great food and friendly people. Continue on to,
St. Louis. The Arch is the "Gateway to the West." A smaller city than Chicago, but ease of getting around. A light rail train system with inexpensive fares will let you see all the sights and you can board the train at the airport to get into the city. A beautiful city with parks and museums, and the Arch, and weather is very nice in June. Continue on to,
New Orleans for a least one overnight. The French Quarter is well worth the trip and food is not your standard American fare...Cajun and foods rich in history to New Orleans and the South. Not as convenient for public transport, but once you are in town from airport (a quick taxi or shuttle bus) a great walking city. Continue on to,
Las Vegas. Yes you've got to go. Once in your lifetime. A large selection of sightseeing tours because otherwise your feet give you access to everything you want to see and do on the Strip. Buy a day tour to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam/Lake Mead. You'll enjoy the contrast of the desert geography compared to your previous cities. It will be HOT in June. Minimum stay 2 nights. Continue on to,
Seattle. Cool and beautifully green. A mix of water and beautiful mountains. Weather is great in June. Plan on at least 2 nights here to really take in the city and all it offers. Great public transportation system and friendly people who are proud of their city. Again a great contrast in geography up to what you've seen at this point.
Home to AMS on June 19.
You can fly Southwest from Chicago to St. Louis, on to New Orleans, on to Las Vegas, and on to Seattle all on nonstop of direct flights. Shop around with every airline but watch flying times and routings; you don't want to waste a day flying and connecting just to get a cheaper fare and burn up your time visiting the city.
A wide-range of accomodations are available in all these cities but be sure you stay in the city center to make use of convenient public transport. No rental car is necessary in any of these cities. A lot of hotels in the US do not offer "bed and breakfast" as is standard in Europe, so look if any food service is provided in your daily room rate.
You will have covered the entire United States considering you've already been to NYC and WAS. As you price out the final leg home to AMS, factor in California as an alternative to SEA. SFO more so than LAX due to public transport options as Vegas to SFO is an easy flight...on WN and many others. SFO is a destination in its own right but consider it only over SEA if you have a much better fare for your AMS-ORD and SEA-AMS or SFO-AMS routings.
Good Luck and keep in touch with all of us as you proceed to your final booking itinerary.
Thomas

Ok advice, but I'll make two counter opinions. Louisana and New Orelans are both East of Texas (Fort Worth is "where the west begins") and secondly, from someone that has lived in St Louis, be careful on the public transport. Frankly do New Orleans instead of St Louis. Then hit Texas from New Orleans and head home.
No rental car is needed in Houston or Dallas or Austin or Fort Worth or San Antonio either. I've lead countless NATO delegations in all of them with out rental cars. It can easily be done. Wherever you go you can always come back for more.



Ciao Windjet mi manchi
User currently offlineRamblinMan From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 1138 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4107 times:

Another thing to keep in mind is that rental cars in the US tend to become quite a bit more expensive if you rent one-way, that is, to return it in a different city. Some companies won't even let you do it.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 13):
I personally see no reason to rent a car in Chicago, St. Louis or Seattle

Maybe not in Chicago (as long as you are only planning to explore downtown and along the lake) but St. Louis and Seattle? Maybe it's just me, but I HATE being in any place without my own wheels.


User currently offlinePITingres From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 1132 posts, RR: 13
Reply 16, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4102 times:

+1 on New Orleans. It's worth a full day if you can fit it in. You won't need a car there unless you want to explore some of the areas up the Mississippi (such as the antebellum homes in Natchez, MS).

If you're in either Vegas or Los Angeles with a car and about 4 full days, don't miss Death Valley (but get there first thing in the morning! it's HOT), and then work your way up US 395 along the Sierras to Yosemite. Then, back down the other side, and visit Sequoia. I can recommend the Alta Peak trail if you're in good shape; it can be done in a day. (I hiked it in 6+ hours , but I had unfortunate time constraints; a 9 hour round-trip is a more rational pace.)

I can't get excited about either St Louis or Seattle, although Seattle at least has the potential of a Boeing tour. I'd be more inclined to head for Denver and visit Rocky Mountain National Park.

And, if you want to see a little bit of the great "fly-over" land in the middle, you could do worse than Rapid City, SD. Visit Mt Rushmore, the Badlands, and don't miss Wall Drug -- it's corny, but classic.



Fly, you fools! Fly!
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 17, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 4066 times:

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 10):
I have been looking into car rentals again. I just found full week fares even lower than the day fares I found last week. Is 200 euro acceptable for a 7 day rental from LAS?

Some advice on renting a car:
1. Assuming that the age-information in your A.net profile is up to date, you should have a look into each rental car agency's Terms & Conditions for Minimum Age Requirements.

2. Oneway rentals within one state usually are free of charge, while oneway rentals from one state to the next one usually incur a Oneway Rental Fee, calculated from the distance between Pickup and Drop-off point.
Exceptions are:
- Oneway rentals between California and Nevada (either direction) usually are free of charge.
- Oneway rentals between Western Teas (= El Paso) and places further east in Texas sometimes incur a oneway rental fee, often depending on class of (reserved) car.
- Conditions for Oneway rental fees can vary by company and by car class.

3. Smaller models like "Economy" and up to "Intermediate" are okay to drive shorter distances (U.S.-interpretation of distances this is), but usually only from "Full Size" onwards you will get a guaranteed Cruise Control and a car that is okay to cover longer disntances.

4. Do not be concerned about the cost for fuel. For us Europeans gas in the U.S. is much cheaper than at home. Consumption of cars has gone down, but if you are concerned about the cost, either reserve a smaller model (and have the chance to get a U.S.-model) or specifically reserve a fuel-efficient car. Hertz calls them "Green Car"-fleet, not sure what others call them. They come at a slightly higher rate but, depending on distance to drive, this can be counter-balanced by lower fuel costs.

5. Check which insurances are included in any quoted rate.
If you book with a european broker, you will have all insurances included with no excess to be concerned off. But often at these brokers you ca not select a specific rental car agency.
OTOH I found that the major operators of rental cars (Hertz and AVIS) often have similar rates on offer (varies by model and state), also including all insurances, if you identifiy yourself as a Dutch-national on their websites.
The positive thing of booking directly with the rental car agency is, that you usually enter all your details (person, drivers license, credit card, ..) online which speeds up the process of getting processed at the counter considerably (if you should decide to sign up with any program like AVIS's Preferred, you usually not even have to visit any counter but will find all papers and keys waiting in the car readied for you ...).

6. Fuel options.
Either pre-pay fuel upon picking up the car and bring the car back as empty as possible.
Or fill up prior to dropping the car (which can mean that you have to search for a filling station in the vicinity of the airport - something hardly desirable if you should run late ...).
Least good option is having the rental car agency filling up the tank and charge you for it. The charge per gallon usually is much more than at a filling station and/or a handling fee is charged.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 10):
I have been looking into car rentals again. I just found full week fares even lower than the day fares I found last week. Is 200 euro acceptable for a 7 day rental from LAS?

What model ? Which insurances included ? How far do you intend to drive from Las Vegas ?
Driving for hours to Grand Canyon's South Rim you really want to make sure to have Cruise Control in your car. Believe me.
The same goes for visiting Death Valley (also 2+ hours drive from LV, depending on route).
Unless "under age" prevents, go for a "Fullsize" model ("FCAR" at some agencies).
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3967 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 4059 times:
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Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 12):
I do want to see the city and make a scenic air day tour to the Gran Canyon.

Your timing is pretty good for Vegas, right in between the tail end of convention season (no major convention in June) and the beginning of the summer tourist season, both of which drive rates up.

If your primary goals are to see the city (by foot/monorail) and the Grand Canyon by air, you do not need a rental car in Las Vegas. You can walk the strip and use the monorail all day long, every day tourists pick up a car at the airport and end up leaving it in the hotel parking garage for the entire stay.

I would however strongly recommend a visit to Death Valley, If you're adventurous, go to Dante's Peak at night to see the sunrise. Spectacular. Whether daytime or nighttime, the drive at first is very monotonous, the East side of the road is mostly bordered by a fence all along, beyond which lies the US Air Force's Nevada Test And Training Range (home of Area 51 among other things). No, you're not going to see aliens jump over the fence, but if you're very lucky you might see interesting aircraft on the way to/from an exercise. A few years ago I nearly jumped out of my car when 2 A10 Warthogs flew literally overhead at a rather low altitude and headed straight for a peak, turning at what seemed to be the absolute last second. Noisy and scary as hell, but exhilarating.

The road also goes by Creech AFB, the training home of the Thunderbirds (never seen one though) and the place where UAVs fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are controlled from. I've been told Creech is also used to fly in supplies inside the test range and that one can often see C-17s there, but I don't remember seeing anything bigger than a C-130.

The best option would be to rent a car on arrival and then drop it off either back at the airport (the strip is really close) or at one of several on-strip/in-town car rental locations, rather than keep a rental car for the entire stay.

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 14):
No rental car is needed in Houston or Dallas or Austin or Fort Worth or San Antonio either.

As long as you stick to downtown Dallas and downtown Ft Worth, sure... Beyond that, the public transportation system for the region is a joke.



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineOP3000 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1763 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4047 times:

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 12):
Seattle is also a great option for ending my holiday. SEA has a good connection with AMS.

Seattle also has awesome weather in June - sunny, warm, lots of outdoor activities. The lakes around the city are quite pleasant, and there are aviation-related points of interest (ie. Boeing).

http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/aboutus/tours/index.html

You can even take the 2-3 hour drive across the border to Vancouver, which along with San Francisco is probably the most beautiful city (scenery-wise) in North America. And is probably the most Asian city in the continent, with a population hovering around 50% (mostly Chinese). Both car rentals and airfare out of SEA tend to be a lot lower than YVR.

Quoting HT (Reply 17):
- Oneway rentals between California and Nevada (either direction) usually are free of charge.


This is a good point, particularly if you want to make the 4-hour drive from LAS to LAX, a frequent weekend commute among Southern Californians. June is not the best month weather wise (foggy at times, though it varies from year to year), but still there is a ton to see to keep you entertained for a day or two (hollywood movie studios, santa monica/malibu beaches and surfing, disneyland). And plenty of hotels in all price ranges. You really have to like driving to do this trip, both to get to Los Angeles and while navigating through freeway heaven.


User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1858 posts, RR: 42
Reply 20, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4045 times:
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Tim, these are some very large distances to cover over 11 days. I'd suggest narrowing it down to one specific area. Don't underestimate the distances and you will find the lack of a car severely restricting your movement around town, and especially to places outside urban area's. Let me know if you need any inspiration for a destination.

Martijn



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5694 posts, RR: 18
Reply 21, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4042 times:

Quoting vandenheuvel (Thread starter):
or do you think I can better visit some other places?

I think you are doing the same mistake Americans or Japanese do when coming to Europe... trying to see too many places in too little time. A mad dash through Europe.
If you don't want to spend all the time sitting on an airplane, waiting in a line to have your balls fondled by the TSA and/or be on your way to or from the airport, 10 days is enough to pick one city to fly to and do a roadtrip from there, e.g. Las Vegas to San Franciso via Lake Tahoe.
This will give you both the cities as well as the nature... and natural wonders are really what's worth to spend time at while visiting the US. The cities... well, you have seen NY and DC so basically have seen them all already.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 12):
I just found out rental cars are a lot less expensive than I expected them to be. A trip like you've suggested sounds great and can be combined with some driving.

I'd suggest to rent via third-party broker that offers comprehensive, all-inclusive package that includes insurance like Holidayautos, Auto Europe, Carhire3000, Cartrawler etc.
As foreigner you usually get a much better deal than renting directly with rental companies and http://www.holidayautos.de for example includes free one-way rental CA-NV, NV-AZ, CA-CO, WA-CA (and vice versa), etc.
http://www.carhiresearch.co.uk/
http://www.comparisoncarhire.com/
http://de.swoodoo.com/cars

US Travel Advice Needed (by vandenheuvel Feb 25 2011 in Aviation Polls)

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 10):
Is 200 euro acceptable for a 7 day rental from LAS?

You can get a much better deal than that. Let's say 155-160 EUR for a midsize.
If your profile which says 21-25 is up to date... then be prepared to pay another 100-120 EUR on top of that (holidayautos.de, Comfort under 25)

Quoting HT (Reply 17):
3. Smaller models like "Economy" and up to "Intermediate" are okay to drive shorter distances (U.S.-interpretation of distances this is), but usually only from "Full Size" onwards you will get a guaranteed Cruise Control and a car that is okay to cover longer disntances.

I'd disagree with that. Intermediate/midsize is more than enough and sufficiently equipped (incl. cruise) if he plans to drive by himself/travel alone.
If they let you choose a car on the lot just pick a Japanese or Korean car instead of a US brand as they tend to have better fuel economy and as far ergonomy is concerned they are more similar to what you are used to from Europe.
There is no point in wasting money on a gas-guzzling full size, definitely not by intentionally booking it. If the oil price continues to shoot through the roof, my guess is that by June they will be more than happy to upgrade him from midsize.

[Edited 2011-02-26 13:44:46]

User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 929 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 4032 times:

I am one of those mystified by the proposed itinerary. There is way too much backtracking. Have you ever been to the US before? Many Europeans don't realize how big N. America is. You will be spending a significant part of your holiday flying. Maybe that's what you want, but if its just to save some money think about how much of your money and time will be spent in aluminum tubes.

I agree with the idea of renting a car and seeing some of the US on the ground. I agree with the suggestion of driving LAS to SFO. LAS is one the the oddest places in the world. I describe it as the world capitol of poor taste, but where poor taste has become an art form. You are the right age to have a great time.

You can drive from LAS to Death Valley (past Creech AFB) in a few hours. Death Valley will be hot, but a fantastic experience if you have never seen desert. Lots of great sights there. You can continue out the west side of Death Valley to highway 395, then north to Lake Tahoe. It will be the perfect time of year. The scenery all the way is beautiful, and Lake Tahoe in June is the perfect opposite of Death Valley. From Lake Tahoe it is an easy 4 or so hour drive to San Francisco.

Between Death Valley and Lake Tahoe you pass the east entrance to Yosemite National Park, one of the best scenic wonders in the US. You could stop there a day or two, or continue through the park to San Francisco.

Just get out of the airplanes and see the USA! Let me know if you need info about Yosemite, Las Vegas, or Lake Tahoe.


User currently offlinevandenheuvel From Netherlands, joined Dec 2008, 495 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4020 times:

Hi all,

Over the last day I have decided not to make any domestic US flights. I've found a travel companion to share a lot of costs and I think it's best to just rent a car and to explore a smaller area. I came up with flying to PHX and have a little road trip to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Pacific coast, San Francisco, Yosemite park, Los Angeles and back to PHX. I will make this drive in about 14 days. Maybe I can replace Los Angeles by Death Valley or maybe Lake Tahoe.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 13):
If you fly KL AMS-ORD and DL SEA-AMS out on Jun9 and back on Jun19, fare is $722Euro including all taxes. If you choose to return from SFO - nonstop on KL - fare is $742Euro.

This is quit helpful again. Since I'm going to rent a car this will be too expensive. The drop off costs are very high and like you've said, flying such distances is a waste of my holiday time. I just didn't realize this yet.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 13):
you can allow for a 2-3 day rental in LAS if you simply want to head out of town and see the desert or head to the Canyon.

Definitely going to do this.

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 14):
Ok advice, but I'll make two counter opinions. Louisana and New Orelans are both East of Texas

This advice is greatly appreciated. I'm just going to the south west coast on this trip. There is undoubtedly going to be another trip to see some of the Southern states.

Quoting RamblinMan (Reply 15):
Another thing to keep in mind is that rental cars in the US tend to become quite a bit more expensive if you rent one-way, that is, to return it in a different city. Some companies won't even let you do it.

You're very right on this. That is the reason I will start and end in PHX. Is saves so much money, it's definitely worth brining the car back to PHX.

Quoting HT (Reply 17):
Some advice on renting a car:
1. Assuming that the age-information in your A.net profile is up to date, you should have a look into each rental car agency's Terms & Conditions for Minimum Age Requirements.

HT, thanks for you continuing advice. I have checked this on the Hertz website. They charge an additional 15 USD per day for driver under the age of 25. This is acceptable for me.

Quoting HT (Reply 17):
2. Oneway rentals within one state usually are free of charge, while oneway rentals from one state to the next one usually incur a Oneway Rental Fee, calculated from the distance between Pickup and Drop-off point.
Exceptions are:
- Oneway rentals between California and Nevada (either direction) usually are free of charge.

I'm going to look into this tomorrow at work. California and Nevada are both state's I'm willing to see. This combination can save me some time on returning the car.

Quoting HT (Reply 17):
3. Smaller models like "Economy" and up to "Intermediate" are okay to drive shorter distances (U.S.-interpretation of distances this is), but usually only from "Full Size" onwards you will get a guaranteed Cruise Control and a car that is okay to cover longer disntances.

This is a good suggestion. My own car has Cruise control and I use it all the time. The distances I attempt to cover are surely long enough to be worth it.

Quoting HT (Reply 17):
Hertz calls them "Green Car"-fleet

NOT going to drive a Prius on my first US road trip.

Quoting HT (Reply 17):
What model ? Which insurances included ? How far do you intend to drive from Las Vegas ?

This is another good point. I will definitely take the highest level of insurance. I don't want to take such risks.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 18):
Your timing is pretty good for Vegas, right in between the tail end of convention season (no major convention in June) and the beginning of the summer tourist season, both of which drive rates up.

That's great to hear. I was surprised by the low hotel rates already. Some of the famous hotels go for like 50USD a night. I am going to have a good time there.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 18):
Death Valley

I have some time left on my trip. I do consider visiting Death Valley or some other natural parks. I'm certainly going to see Yosemite and some of the surrounding forests.

Quoting OP3000 (Reply 19):
Seattle also has awesome weather in June - sunny, warm, lots of outdoor activities. The lakes around the city are quite pleasant, and there are aviation-related points of interest (ie. Boeing).

Seattle is on my wish list for a long while now. Maybe I'm going do to a quick air trip there. I can still opt for the DL service out of there.

Quoting OP3000 (Reply 19):
You really have to like driving to do this trip, both to get to Los Angeles and while navigating through freeway heaven.

That sounds great. I think if I travel from Los Angeles to PHX I will get to see a lot of scenery.

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 20):
Tim, these are some very large distances to cover over 11 days. I'd suggest narrowing it down to one specific area. Don't underestimate the distances and you will find the lack of a car severely restricting your movement around town, and especially to places outside urban area's. Let me know if you need any inspiration for a destination.

Martijn, thanks for your comment. You're right about the distances. This isn't Europe. Any inspiration on how to improve my roadtrip is welcome. It's hard to find any quality information of what to do in most of the US cities.

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 21):
10 days is enough to pick one city to fly to and do a roadtrip from there, e.g. Las Vegas to San Franciso via Lake Tahoe.

This is some great advice. I don't have to see the entire US right now. I probably get many more opportunities to explore this country.

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 21):
You can get a much better deal than that. Let's say 155-160 EUR for a midsize.
If your profile which says 21-25 is up to date... then be prepared to pay another 100-120 EUR on top of that (holidayautos.de, Comfort under 25)

I've never looked into these broker companies. Thank you for pointing this out to me. I will definitely have a good look on this.

Quoting aklrno (Reply 22):
I am one of those mystified by the proposed itinerary. There is way too much backtracking.

I agree on you on this proposed itinerary. I've been looking into traveling to the US a bit more and found out this is not doable in combination with having a relaxed holiday.

Quoting aklrno (Reply 22):
I describe it as the world capitol of poor taste, but where poor taste has become an art form. You are the right age to have a great time.

I realize Las Vegas is not a good representation of the US. I will enjoy seeing some of the famous sights and casinos. Also it's located exactly on my proposed route. I will want to see this place at least for a short while.

Thanks for all your replies. Any more advice is very welcomed.

Tim,


User currently offlineOP3000 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1763 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (3 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4015 times:

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 23):
I came up with flying to PHX and have a little road trip to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Pacific coast, San Francisco, Yosemite park, Los Angeles and back to PHX.

Grand Canyon works out well - the best views are from the south side (coming from Phoenix). Along the way, I would definitely stop by the town of Sedona for lunch - great red rock formations.

Phoenix regularly has temperatures of 100-100 degrees fahrenheit in the middle of the day during summer, so plan your activities while there either morning or late afternoon. The good thing (in the southwest generally) is that it cools off significantly at night.


25 blueflyer : Green doesn't automatically mean Prius (or hybrid for that matter). Hertz has three hybrid models in their Green collection (Prius, Altima, Camry) an
26 Post contains links L410Turbolet : For couple of years there was a looong thread on a forum under www.fatwallet.com dedicated just to these deals, where people posted these special dea
27 Post contains images FlyingSicilian : This is a false, illinformed statement. In Houston for example, Other than George Ranch Historic park, and the San Jacinto Monument/Battleship Texas,
28 blueflyer : This false, ill-informed statement is based on the facts that: a) It was limited to the Dallas and Ft Worth area. I'll grant you I could definitely h
29 Post contains links and images HT : Like Blueflyer pointed out, there are other models. I recently had a Toyota Camry (non-hybrid) driving around Atlanta,GA which is in Fullsize-categor
30 PITingres : ?? Nothing wrong with a Prius. It's just a car, and a rather decent one at that (I own one). Quite comfortable, surprisingly roomy, handles decently
31 FlyingSicilian : My mistake for extending your comment to all of Texas then, "Fair enough" I'll say on the fact you were just noting D/FW. However, for a tourist on a
32 pwm2txlhopper : On my last three Trans-Atlantic trips, I've used Air Berlin out of JFK and RSW to/from DUS where I've connected to my final destination in Europe. On
33 vandenheuvel : That's nice to hear. Sedona looks like a nice place to spend a few hours. I will definitely do that. That's alright. I won't spend too much time in P
34 Post contains images OP3000 : The issue with Phoenix is that unlike the other cities it is in a desert valley. Vegas comes close but averages about 5 degrees cooler. If renting wi
35 delimit : Rather than reply post by post, I am just going to respond to a few highlights. New Orleans over Texas. For a tourist they aren't even comprable. San
36 Post contains images HT : If you head west out of Williams or Flagstaff on I-40, consider to leave the Interstate at Seligman, AZ about 45 mi west of Williams and use AZ-66 vi
37 aklrno : If you try to cross the strip on foot without using one of the pedestrian bridges you could combine these two. I still think that someone in their 20
38 vegasplanes : LOL, I don't blame you! As a "son" of Detroit I highly recommend a big, American car, it's the only righteous way to see the USA! If you really want
39 aklrno : Sure, you should take some water, but the main roads like Las Vegas to Death Valley and Death Valley to US 395 are constantly patrolled. Some years a
40 L410Turbolet : That's a great piece of advice. I would add another one: when renting a car make sure the rate includes a "roadside assistance". This way you will av
41 tsugambler : I don't think you need to see the touristy places like NYC, DC, Las Vegas, San Francisco, or Los Angeles... just watch a Hollywood movie (they all ta
42 Post contains images vandenheuvel : Hi all, I just booked myself on the BA flight to PHX the 7th of June returning the 19th of June. I will rent a car and see some of the Southwestern pa
43 PITingres : Check, but don't be too dogmatic about it. Quite a bit of western roads are miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles. Overall your plans sound
44 PI4EVER : I also recommend OP3000's #24 response to route and stop in Sedona. Striking landscape wih the Red Rock formations (hills) unlike anything you'll see
45 vandenheuvel : I've planned thinks a bit further now. After arriving in PHX I will drive towards Sedona, Flagstaff and Williams. The next day I will visit the Grand
46 OP3000 : I'm personally of the type that loves to drive and prefer covering new ground, so for me I'd say that if you can comfortably see something else then
47 Post contains images HT : Kingman has little to offer. And setting off from Kingman to Las Vegas will be a 2-hr drive via Hoover Dam (longer if driving via Laughlin and Seachl
48 WROORD : I agree. In June Houston will be humid and besides NASA there is nothing really touristy. San Antonio would be a logical replacement if you want to h
49 Post contains links and images L410Turbolet : Has anyone ever rented a Ford Flex? Under what car size was it listed? A fullsize? I've heard that Budget usually has a lot of Fords in their fleet. I
50 exFATboy : I'm not sure that Albuquerque is worth the additional driving required - I'm not familiar with it, but I've never heard of any compelling reason to go
51 CrimsonNL : Tim, if you can squeeze it in, Zion is definitely worth visiting. Bring good walking shoes though! I'm not really a fan of Utah (Salt Lake City gives
52 vandenheuvel : The photo's I've seen of Zion National Park look great. I think I'll skip Utah though. Nevada, Arizona and California take enough time already. Maybe
53 HT : Refer to the tri-state area as "CalNevAri" - but it also is the name of a small village in Southern Nevada on US-95 about 8 mi south of Searchlight,
54 L410Turbolet : Leaving Las Vegas... on a 6.00 AM Southwest flight. How much time should I leave for hassle-free getting to the airport (staying at the Golden Nuggett
55 Post contains links vegasplanes : (Reply 54):Leaving Las Vegas... on a 6.00 AM Southwest flight. How much time should I leave for hassle-free getting to the airport (staying at the Gol
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