vandenheuvel
Topic Author
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:59 pm

US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:11 pm

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,
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:54 pm

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!
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
vandenheuvel
Topic Author
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:18 pm

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?
 
kbmiflyer
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:06 pm

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).
 
blueflyer
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:22 pm

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.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
HT
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:33 pm

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 !
 
PI4EVER
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:34 pm

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.
 
delimit
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:42 pm

Have you been to the US before? For a first time visitor I am not sure I would chose any of those cities.
 
vandenheuvel
Topic Author
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:48 pm

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,
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:53 pm

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
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
vandenheuvel
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:59 pm

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?
 
PI4EVER
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:49 pm

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.
 
vandenheuvel
Topic Author
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:25 pm

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,
 
PI4EVER
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:50 pm

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.
 
FlyingSicilian
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:56 pm

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.
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
RamblinMan
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:38 pm

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.
 
PITingres
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:19 am

+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!
 
HT
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:37 pm

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 !
 
blueflyer
Posts: 3657
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:17 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:43 pm

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.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
OP3000
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:45 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:07 pm

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.
 
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CrimsonNL
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:22 pm

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
Always comparing your flown types list with mine
 
L410Turbolet
Posts: 5438
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:12 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:46 pm

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]
 
aklrno
Posts: 1190
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:28 pm

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.
 
vandenheuvel
Topic Author
Posts: 479
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:22 pm

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,
 
OP3000
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:45 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:57 pm

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.
 
blueflyer
Posts: 3657
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:17 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:48 pm

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 23):
NOT going to drive a Prius on my first US road trip.

Green doesn't automatically mean Prius (or hybrid for that matter). Hertz has three hybrid models in their Green collection (Prius, Altima, Camry) and four low-consumption standard models (Fortwo, Fusion, Corolla and Camry). Whichever car you end up in, I strongly suggest a satellite radio if you're going to be driving for long stretches of hours at a time.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 23):
That's great to hear. I was surprised by the low hotel rates already.

If you're looking for good deals, most casino-hotels send out deals by SMS, twitter and email. They usually have a pretty short shelf life (24 - 72 hours), some are for reduced rates, other are for extra goodies along with the standard rates. Whatever you do, stay away from the Circus Circus and the Riviera.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
L410Turbolet
Posts: 5438
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:12 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:25 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 25):
If you're looking for good deals, most casino-hotels send out deals by SMS, twitter and email. They usually have a pretty short shelf life (24 - 72 hours), some are for reduced rates, other are for extra goodies along with the standard rates.

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 deals and terms under which it is possible to book these special rates, but it has recently moreless died out.
 
FlyingSicilian
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:53 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:36 am

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 18):
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.

This is a false, illinformed statement.

In Houston for example, Other than George Ranch Historic park, and the San Jacinto Monument/Battleship Texas, all museums, major shopping, tourist attractions (including NASA) and sporting events are well covered by mass transit, and it easy and cheep. I know, I've done it, and had scores of others do it. For a day trip from the airport in Houston, no rental car is need at all. You can get from IAH to Downtown for 4.50 on a direct bus in 30 minutes. From hobby on buss 88 downtown in 30 as well for a 1.25. From downtown light rail will take one to museum distric, med cneter, zoo, Rice U, Reliant, etc.

Fort Worth is well covered by buses as well, especially to the western museums and up to stockyards.

Central Austin also. The one area of Austin that needs more is the Western edge of town, but a day tripping tourist wouldn't go there anyway. Bergstrom airport is certainly farther than the old Mueller, but it is easy to get into town.

vanden, pm or e-mail if you would like any Airport to town specifics for Texas (or New Mexico) I will be glad to help. When I was at NATO in Maastricht, Schinnen, and Geilenkirchen I took many a Dutchman on extended US visits. I'd be glad to send you some good links. I'll be back in Texas soon myself. For my time in America I've lived in 10 states, and been to all 50. Just PM me and I'll share my opinions and suggestions in depth if you like.

Come to Sicily, I'll hook you up here too  

Good luck.
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
blueflyer
Posts: 3657
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:17 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:35 am

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 27):
This is a false, illinformed statement.

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 have made a better job of making that clear.
b) As much as I spend a lot of time in Vegas and elsewhere for professional reasons, I still live in the DFW (or North Texas or Metroplex or whatever the hell it goes by nowadays) area, and I still maintain that its public transportation network is a joke, compared to that of the other cities, in and out of the US, I have lived in or visited regularly.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has no clothes.
 
HT
Posts: 5857
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 6:20 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:45 am

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 23):
NOT going to drive a Prius on my first US road trip.

Like Blueflyer pointed out, there are other models.
I recently had a Toyota Camry (non-hybrid) driving around Atlanta,GA which is in Fullsize-category.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 25):
Whichever car you end up in, I strongly suggest a satellite radio if you're going to be driving for long stretches of hours at a time.

  

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 23):
I have some time left on my trip. I do consider visiting Death Valley or some other natural parks.

Two things:
Respect that there are entrance fees for most National Parks, often good for a week of re-visits.
If you plan to visit a number of parks of higher popularity, you might be better off to purchase a annual pass vaid nationwide. http://www.nps.gov/index.htm is very helpful both on information about National Parks itself and annual passes.

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. I will make this drive in about 14 days. Maybe I can replace Los Angeles by Death Valley or maybe Lake Tahoe.

Can be done in 14 days although it does not leave too much time to explore each stop in depth.

Especially the sidetrip to the coast will consume time.
Might be an option to stick inland on this trip and leave the Pacific Coast-experience for a later trip, like drving souht from San Francisco via Highway #1 to L.A. and onto San Diego, exploring each city for a couple of days ?

Then in turn you could route as follows:
Fly into Phoenix, drive via Sedona to William/Flagstaff, visit Grand Canyon South Rim, head northeast and explore more National Parks and -Monuments in NE Arizona, cross into Utah (Grand Canyon North Rim ?) Bryce Canyon, drive through Utah and Nevada towards Reno/Lake Tahoe, Yosemite Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas, back to Phoenix.
(still a challenge for 2 weeks - maybe skip Reno/Lake Tahoe ...).
Or you could skip the highlights in NE Arizona and head west from Williams/Flagstaff.
In any case, use Google Maps or the likes to calculate distances and driving times for each daily trip.
_____________________
Are you interested in aircraft storge yards ? If so, consider a daytrip from Phoenic to Tucson and visit Pianl Air Park (near Marana) enroute (off I-10), and the PIma Air & Space Museum where you can book a tour across the Storage facility on Davis-Monthan AFB.
Another highlight in Tucson would be the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum highligting flora & fauna of the Sonora Desert. Very recommended if one is around.
-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 !
 
PITingres
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:59 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:08 pm

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 23):
NOT going to drive a Prius on my first US road trip.

?? 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 (depends on what tires are on it), and has perceptible acceleration unlike some of the econoboxes.

Open road distance driving is not the best way to show of the Prius's virtues, though; and I've never driven one in the western mountains. (It does just fine on the steep but short hills here in Pittsburgh.)

Anyway, if you don't want a Prius, fine, there are plenty of alternatives.
Fly, you fools! Fly!
 
FlyingSicilian
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:53 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:01 pm

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 28):
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 have made a better job of making that clear.
b) As much as I spend a lot of time in Vegas and elsewhere for professional reasons, I still live in the DFW (or North Texas or Metroplex or whatever the hell it goes by nowadays) area, and I still maintain that its public transportation network is a joke, compared to that of the other cities, in and out of the US, I have lived in or visited regularly.

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 day trip, I still contend the infrastructure there is just fine. With a major caveat for D/FW, that the TRE needs to run on Sunday.


And I say this having lived in Fort Worth, and studied urban planning for my first degree. You cannot compare Texas (or the sunbelt) in general to a place like Manhattan (not saying you are here just a generality) or Boston. Land use and patterns are too different. Sadly many in the South contend public transit is for minorities or poor people, when that is not the case.
I don't want to get too off post, so I'll close by adding for the OP. Renting a car, or busing it, you can still see much in the short time you have in Texas. Another factor is how much you will budget for those days of the trip.
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
pwm2txlhopper
Posts: 1142
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RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:32 am

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 all three of the trips, the roundtrip cost was about 50% less than what all the other major airlines published fares were! For example, I did JFK-DUS-TXL for $500 instead of the other airlines published $1,100 R/T during the peak summer season of 2008. Then last summer I flew TXL-DUS-RSW, One-Way for $400 vs. $850 on all the other airlines. From there, I just hopped on a cheap B6 flight back up to BOS to get home to New England.

I only wish I had discovered Air Berlin (LTU) years ago for getting to/from Europe! They don't list fares on sites like Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, etc., so I never even checked out their airfares compared to other airlines until I came upon their website by chance when I was looking for a flight. I'd recommend checking them out if you want to save some money? In my opinion their A330-200/300's in Economy were no worse than any other major airline's.

I know they currently fly to MIA from DUS, but I think that flight ends in May or June when they start TXL-JFK? However, I'm sure you could fly them DUS or TXL-JFK and then find a cheap flight down to southern Florida from there. There's always loads of cheap flights to Florida from the Northeast. RSW isn't too far from MIA/FLL. Maybe an hour and a half drive across the Everglades?

I'm also finding flights from FLL-LAS, LAX, and LGB on Jet Blue and Virgin America for between $124-160 One-Way in June. There are usually cheap flights to LAS from LAX and LGB with airlines such as Jet Blue, Southwest, US Airways, American, etc. It's only about a 45 minute flight.


As far as lodging in Vegas.... You can stay right on the strip in the big hotels for as little as $25 per night. Just use a site like hotels.com to book a room. When I was there last year I took a chance on a $25 per night room at the Pyramid. It was kind of disappointing for a strip hotel. (Worn out, old, in need of renovations) but it was doable. Especially if you wanted to save money. Although, for about $50-70 per night you can get room at a nicer hotel such as MGM Grand. For $100 per night, you can get a super nice room on the strip! They have so many rooms in that city, the almost give them away.





[Edited 2011-02-27 19:41:14]

[Edited 2011-02-27 19:56:11]
 
vandenheuvel
Topic Author
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:59 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:01 am

Quoting OP3000 (Reply 24):
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.

That's nice to hear. Sedona looks like a nice place to spend a few hours. I will definitely do that.

Quoting OP3000 (Reply 24):

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.

That's alright. I won't spend too much time in Phoenix anyway. Though I'm sure the nearby cities are just as hot. Maybe the coastal cities are more comfortable.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 25):
Green doesn't automatically mean Prius (or hybrid for that matter). Hertz has three hybrid models in their Green collection (Prius, Altima, Camry) and four low-consumption standard models (Fortwo, Fusion, Corolla and Camry). Whichever car you end up in, I strongly suggest a satellite radio if you're going to be driving for long stretches of hours at a time.

You're right on this. Their Camry indeed looks like a nice car. This car isn't known in The Netherlands. I think I will rent one class below that. The Impala or similar.

Quoting blueflyer (Reply 25):
Whatever you do, stay away from the Circus Circus and the Riviera.

I will keep this in mind. I thought about staying in the Trump hotel. That will be a nice place to come to rest before driving to San Francisco.


Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 27):
vanden, pm or e-mail if you would like any Airport to town specifics for Texas (or New Mexico) I will be glad to help.

FlyingSicilian, thanks for this offer. As stated above, I think I will go for the Western states of Nevada, California and Arizona.

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 27):
Come to Sicily, I'll hook you up here too

I like visiting Italy. So maybe I'll have a trip to Sicily someday.

Quoting HT (Reply 29):
Like Blueflyer pointed out, there are other models.
I recently had a Toyota Camry (non-hybrid) driving around Atlanta,GA which is in Fullsize-category.

The Camry is indeed available. I think I will opt for the Chevrolet Impala. That's also a fullsize car. I will like riding a big America car on my first roadtrip there.

Quoting HT (Reply 29):
Two things:
Respect that there are entrance fees for most National Parks, often good for a week of re-visits.
If you plan to visit a number of parks of higher popularity, you might be better off to purchase a annual pass vaid nationwide. http://www.nps.gov/index.htm is very helpful both on information about National Parks itself and annual passes.

I've noted this website already. That's good advice. I see the entrance fees for these national parks are usually 20USD per car for a full week. Since someone will join me this is not too much. I will check out some annual passes though.

Quoting HT (Reply 29):
Especially the sidetrip to the coast will consume time.
Might be an option to stick inland on this trip and leave the Pacific Coast-experience for a later trip, like drving souht from San Francisco via Highway #1 to L.A. and onto San Diego, exploring each city for a couple of days ?

It will indeed be nice if I've got some more time to explore these cities. I thought about driving to the Pacific coast first because Las Vegas, San Francisco it too far to drive on one day. I do like to see the coastal road to the north. Maybe staying just North of LA. Like Santa Barbara.

Quoting HT (Reply 29):

Then in turn you could route as follows:
Fly into Phoenix, drive via Sedona to William/Flagstaff, visit Grand Canyon South Rim, head northeast and explore more National Parks and -Monuments in NE Arizona, cross into Utah (Grand Canyon North Rim ?) Bryce Canyon, drive through Utah and Nevada towards Reno/Lake Tahoe, Yosemite Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas, back to Phoenix.
(still a challenge for 2 weeks - maybe skip Reno/Lake Tahoe ...).
Or you could skip the highlights in NE Arizona and head west from Williams/Flagstaff.
In any case, use Google Maps or the likes to calculate distances and driving times for each daily trip.

This looks so good. I think I will opt to go a bit more to the West. Skipping Reno and the Grand Canyon's North rim. I can drive Northbound along the coast to San Fransisco and drive South passing Yosemite and Death Valley.

Quoting HT (Reply 29):
Are you interested in aircraft storge yards ? If so, consider a daytrip from Phoenic to Tucson and visit Pianl Air Park (near Marana) enroute (off I-10), and the PIma Air & Space Museum where you can book a tour across the Storage facility on Davis-Monthan AFB.

That will be nice. But since I'm with someone I will have to do my best to get this in.

Quoting PITingres (Reply 30):
?? 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 (depends on what tires are on it), and has perceptible acceleration unlike some of the econoboxes.

I know nothings wrong the the Prius. It's just that I will like having a big American car on my first US roadtrip. I haven't driven a Prius yet, so I don't know how it handles.

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 32):
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.

I know about AirBerlin. This is a great airline offering great fares. DUS is just over a two hour drive from were I live (autobahn). Too bad their flights don't suit my schedule for this trip. The BA trip AMS-LHR-PHX goes for just over 600 euro return. So that's also very affordable. It will save me the drive to DUS.

Quoting pwm2txlhopper (Reply 32):
As far as lodging in Vegas.... You can stay right on the strip in the big hotels for as little as $25 per night.

This is much less expensive than I've ever expected. I was thinking about staying at the Trump hotel for 70 Euro a night. This is already the two person fare. Other than that the Pyramid is also very tempting.

Tim,
 
OP3000
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:45 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:49 am

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 33):
That's alright. I won't spend too much time in Phoenix anyway. Though I'm sure the nearby cities are just as hot. Maybe the coastal cities are more comfortable.

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.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 33):
You're right on this. Their Camry indeed looks like a nice car. This car isn't known in The Netherlands. I think I will rent one class below that. The Impala or similar.

If renting with Hertz make sure to ask what inventory they have when picking up - they might have some nice surprises available. The Chevy Malibu is a better drive than the Impala while conserving the American-style interior, and if you really want to sport it then the Ford Mustang convertible is the way to go (albeit expensive rates and gas consumption).

The other flexible choice option is making a reservation with Alamo/National. They allow you to pick the model and exact vehicle off of the parking lot yourself, as long as it is within the category you reserved. They will typically have 2-4 models in each category lined up in a row. Beyond model type it can also be nice to select a lower mileage vehicle.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 33):
I know nothings wrong the the Prius. It's just that I will like having a big American car on my first US roadtrip. I haven't driven a Prius yet, so I don't know how it handles.

It drives surprisingly well, but there's definitely nothing like a big american gas guzzler 
 
delimit
Posts: 759
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:08 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:37 pm

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 Francisco. It's a great city for visitors to the US as it is small, there's a ton to do, and it's very easy to get around. I personally would skip Las Vegas (I hate it, and think honestly it's not really worth visiting compared to some other places in the US) and do SF and LA, as both cities are pretty amazing. Air fare between LA and SF is usually pretty cheap as well, so rather than drive up Highway 1 (very scenic; but takes forever) you might just want to fly.

You can skip Phoenix entirely.

If I were to rank the places in the US to visit it would go something like this:
NYC
DC
Chicago
San Francisco
LA
New Orleans
Boston
Seattle
Drive through New England
Drive through West Coast
Everything else
Miami
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Get hit by a bus
Las Vegas
 
HT
Posts: 5857
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 6:20 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:50 pm

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 33):
This looks so good. I think I will opt to go a bit more to the West. Skipping Reno and the Grand Canyon's North rim. I can drive Northbound along the coast to San Fransisco and drive South passing Yosemite and Death Valley.

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 via Peach Spring instead. This is a stretch of the original Historic Route 66 giving you some nostalgic feeling, but the detour isn't too much, as much of that road also may be driven at 70 mph (or even 75 ?) IIRC.
You rejoin the I-40W at Kingman, which also makes for a good stop for fuel and food.

If you want more historic experience, consider to take County Hwy 153 "Oatman Rd" from exit 44 of I-40W west of Kingman (or coming in from AZ-66 drive through the city center instead of taking I-40. This is the original Route 66 passing through Sitgreaves pass. This road narrows after a few miles and has some bends - and a nice lookout near the pass ("before" coming from Kingman).
Oatman itself is a small touristy village, most times accessed from the west. From Oatman you either take Hwy 10 "Oatman-Topock-Rd" south towards Topock where you rejoin I-40 or Hwy 153 west to Mequite Creek and Hwy 95 south to Needles (also I-40). But be warned that the detour via Oatman will set you back by 1 hour or so compared to staying in boring I-40.

Further to the west, you will come to Barstow. Again a city where you can stop for fuel & food.
Take exit #1 from I-40W and drive along E Main Street. McD will be on your right, IIRC, just before passing I-15 (leading to Las Vegas).
About 500 yds past the underpass under I-15, turn right onto Yucca Ave, then past the railroad left onto Riverside Dr. joining into 1st Ave N (left turn). From the old bridge across the railroad yard you get a good glimpse onto the yard. You re-join Main St shortly after and turn right for Bakersfield.

A drive Flagstaff - Bakersfield can be done within one day with a few stops. If you make a beeline west, a continuation to, like, Paso Robles, CA could be an option as it would place you even closer to the Pacific Coast. OTOH, you should carefully consult any route mapper, if you intend to drive more than, say, 500 miles a day. Let the route mapper calculate driving times, as telling from a map alone, it often is hard to tell how fast one will be able to progress.
.
.
.
Consider to purchase a good Road Map for planning purposes and to have it at hand. Planning long-distance travel while in the car often is problematic without a good map, relying only on a GPS:
Rand McNally's Large Scale Road Map is on sale here in Europe by Amazon @ about 15 €.. Will be shipped from the U.K. at no extra cost.

So much for now. If you need any more specific advise, send me an IM or eMail through my profile.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 33):
I think I will opt for the Chevrolet Impala.

Keep in mind, that these models are examples only (this statement excludes Hertz' Green Collection which guarantees a specific model). I have had Impala's, a Malibu, a Hyundai Sonata, Toyota limos and Rav4, some Buick Century and, upon my first stay, a sporty-looking Dodge Intrepid.
The even bigger cars included Buick LeSabre, Mercury Grand Marquis.
And I also once specifically rented a Ford Expedition HIgh-Clearance 4WD all for myself which I used extensively to explore the backroads of Death Valley (including Titus Canyon and a dirt road from Father Crawley Point to Teakettle Junction - see picture below - and on to RaceTrack) and more dirt roads around Ridgecrest, CA as well as in CA's Anza-Borrego Desert State Park..
Teakettle Junction, Death Valley, CA in 10-2005


If Alamo allows to pick your car from a number of models available, this might be an interesting option.

However, especially if renting a car oneway, the rental car company often will asign a model that needs to be driven back to its original licensing state (or at least into direction of it ...).
-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 !
 
aklrno
Posts: 1190
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:18 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:41 pm

Quoting delimit (Reply 35):
.
.
.
Get hit by a bus
Las Vegas


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's should see Las Vegas. Nothing like it anywhere else. Maybe Macau some day, but it isn't there yet.
 
vegasplanes
Posts: 656
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:22 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:16 am

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 23):
NOT going to drive a Prius on my first US road trip.

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 to have some fun, see if the car rental has a Dodge Challenger, Chevy Camaro, or Ford Mustang for rent. They won't have a V-8, but will still be a quick, fun ride and I don't believe they have many in Europe, if at all.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 33):
This looks so good. I think I will opt to go a bit more to the West. Skipping Reno and the Grand Canyon's North rim. I can drive Northbound along the coast to San Fransisco and drive South passing Yosemite and Death Valley.

From PHX, I'd recommend heading south on I-10 to I-8 West and start in San Diego. Take the trip up the Pacific coast for incredible views. Reno is not much to see, a small Vegas. Tahoe is nice, basically an Alpine lake in the mountains, more gambling on the Nevada side. Other than doing some boating or relaxing on the lake, there is not much going on in Tahoe during the summer.

A word of advice regarding traveling in the southwest during the late spring/summer. BRING WATER ! ! ! ! I can't empathize that enough. If you are planning on traveling off the Interstates to explore Death Valley and what not, make sure you have lots and lots of water with you, at least a case or several gallons! I'm not joking, if your vehicle breaks down out there you may be MILES from anywhere with no cell phone reception! Also, GAS. When traveling through the more "undeveloped" areas, it may be 100 + MILES between filling stations, make sure to keep an eye on the fuel gauge and when in doubt, fill'er up.
 
aklrno
Posts: 1190
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:18 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:03 am

Quoting vegasplanes (Reply 38):
A word of advice regarding traveling in the southwest during the late spring/summer. BRING WATER ! ! ! ! I can't empathize that enough. If you are planning on traveling off the Interstates to explore Death Valley and what not, make sure you have lots and lots of water with you, at least a case or several gallons! I'm not joking, if your vehicle breaks down out there you may be MILES from anywhere with no cell phone reception! Also, GAS. When traveling through the more "undeveloped" areas, it may be 100 + MILES between filling stations, make sure to keep an eye on the fuel gauge and when in doubt, fill'er up.

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 ago a bunch of friends and I carted bicycles to the top of Dante's View in Death Valley (elev around 6000 ft) and proceeded to ride all the way down to Furnace Creek (elev about 0) in AUGUST. We took several liters of water each, mostly to keep our bodies wet while we coasted downhill. There were too many patrols. We were stopped so they could see if we were insane or stupid. One guy asked us to kill ourselves in someone else's park so he didn't have to deal with the paperwork. We knew what we were doing, it didn't take long, and we were wet in a brisk breeze.
 
L410Turbolet
Posts: 5438
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:12 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:38 pm

Quoting vegasplanes (Reply 38):
A word of advice regarding traveling in the southwest during the late spring/summer. BRING WATER ! ! ! ! I can't empathize that enough. If you are planning on traveling off the Interstates to explore Death Valley and what not, make sure you have lots and lots of water with you, at least a case or several gallons! I'm not joking, if your vehicle breaks down out there you may be MILES from anywhere with no cell phone reception! Also, GAS. When traveling through the more "undeveloped" areas, it may be 100 MILES between filling stations, make sure to keep an eye on the fuel gauge and when in doubt, fill'er up.

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 avoid paying fortune for towing service should your car break down... partcularly useful in the western part of the US where distances to neares civilization are significant.
If the rate does not include roadside assistance, purchase one. Alamo charges about $5/day.
 
tsugambler
Posts: 149
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:01 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:04 pm

Quoting delimit (Reply 35):
If I were to rank the places in the US to visit it would go something like this:
NYC
DC
Chicago
San Francisco
LA
New Orleans
Boston
Seattle
Drive through New England
Drive through West Coast
Everything else
Miami

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 take place here--Chicago is perhaps the exception to this). If you want to see the REAL America, where real people live and work, avoid these places. Go ahead and go to Boston, and Phoenix, and Seattle, and Houston, and Minneapolis, and St. Louis, and Wichita... I would never presume that I knew the real France from only visiting central Paris, or all about the Netherlands just from visiting Amsterdam. I know it's probably too late to change your itinerary, but perhaps on your next trip to the USA you can try some places off the beaten path.
 
vandenheuvel
Topic Author
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:59 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:22 am

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 parts of the US. I'm probably not going to see LA and SF as I've seen enough big cities already. I will also try to keep my driving distances limited to less than 4 hours a day. Yosemite is about the farthest point I will go.

Quoting OP3000 (Reply 34):
If renting with Hertz make sure to ask what inventory they have when picking up - they might have some nice surprises available. The Chevy Malibu is a better drive than the Impala while conserving the American-style interior, and if you really want to sport it then the Ford Mustang convertible is the way to go (albeit expensive rates and gas consumption).

The Chevy Malibu also looks like a nice car. Any of these will be fine. I like the Ford Mustang but that's just too expensive for now.

Quoting delimit (Reply 35):

San Francisco. It's a great city for visitors to the US as it is small, there's a ton to do, and it's very easy to get around. I personally would skip Las Vegas

I will try Las Vegas as I pass it anyway. As mentioned above, SF is a bit out of the route. I think I will leave it for later. I'm not that much in to big cities anyway.

Quoting delimit (Reply 35):
You can skip Phoenix entirely.

Too late, the plane will land there.

Quoting HT (Reply 36):
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 via Peach Spring instead. This is a stretch of the original Historic Route 66 giving you some nostalgic feeling, but the detour isn't too much, as much of that road also may be driven at 70 mph (or even 75 ?) IIRC.
You rejoin the I-40W at Kingman, which also makes for a good stop for fuel and food.

That's a nice idea. I will like to see some of Route 66. I think I'm going to do this.

Quoting HT (Reply 36):
But be warned that the detour via Oatman will set you back by 1 hour or so compared to staying in boring I-40.

I will consider this as it sounds great. I think I will try to get to Las Vegas more efficiently. That's what you get when you travel with someone else.

Quoting HT (Reply 36):
Further to the west, you will come to Barstow. Again a city where you can stop for fuel & food.

Also Barstow is a nice idea. I will drive to Yosemite which is too far for a one day journey. I don't want to overnight next to some highway with nothing to do.

Quoting HT (Reply 36):
Rand McNally's Large Scale Road Map is on sale here in Europe by Amazon @ about 15 €.. Will be shipped from the U.K. at no extra cost.

I will have a look in a local bookstore first. If they don't have any sufficient map I think I will order this. Ive got some more things that I want from Amazon anyway.

Quoting HT (Reply 36):
Keep in mind, that these models are examples only

I know about this. I trust them to have a nice car ready for me.

Quoting HT (Reply 36):
If Alamo allows to pick your car from a number of models available, this might be an interesting option.

Alamo is a lot more expensive for underage drivers. I will go for Hertz on this trip. I heard a reference to The Alamo in a Bob Wills song. I never knew what it was  
Quoting aklrno (Reply 37):
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's should see Las Vegas. Nothing like it anywhere else. Maybe Macau some day, but it isn't there yet.

I will see Las Vegas. Maybe it's not the nicest place to be. I just want to see it.

Quoting vegasplanes (Reply 38):
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 to have some fun, see if the car rental has a Dodge Challenger, Chevy Camaro, or Ford Mustang for rent. They won't have a V-8, but will still be a quick, fun ride and I don't believe they have many in Europe, if at all.

I agree on this. Nothings as fine as driving through Germany in my Opel. The bigger cars will be too expensive for me now. My neighbors own a massive Ford. I like that car already. Too bad every spare part has to be shipped from the US.

Quoting vegasplanes (Reply 38):
From PHX, I'd recommend heading south on I-10 to I-8 West and start in San Diego. Take the trip up the Pacific coast for incredible views

That's a great idea. I can maybe do this on my way back to Phoenix. Coming from Yosemite and drive back via San Diego. If I don't have time for that I can easily drive directly to Phoenix and skipping this part. Thanks for your many advice.

Quoting vegasplanes (Reply 38):
if your vehicle breaks down

So I have to take the Toyota anyway?  
Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 40):
I would add another one: when renting a car make sure the rate includes a "roadside assistance"

This is included at Hertz already. I see the importance of such insurances. I will take no private risk at all.

Quoting tsugambler (Reply 41):
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

You're right on this. I was at NYC which is exactly like the movies. I really liked DC though. DC was so quiet and peaceful. The monuments there are worth going.

Quoting tsugambler (Reply 41):
REAL America, where real people live and work, avoid these places

That's why I am going to make the roadtrip instead of the airtrip. All the nice places in the US are not easily reachable by air and public transport. Also Amsterdam is a bad example if you want to see The Netherlands. I'm a bit ashamed of it's image.

Tim,
 
PITingres
Posts: 997
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:59 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:04 pm

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 42):
I will also try to keep my driving distances limited to less than 4 hours a day.

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 pretty reasonable to me.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 42):
I don't want to overnight next to some highway with nothing to do.

Overnight in a bed-and-breakfast if you can find one, and if you afford it. Not only is it an likely to be a very pleasant experience, the owners will be able to direct you to whatever is happening locally.
Fly, you fools! Fly!
 
PI4EVER
Posts: 629
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 10:29 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:26 pm

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 in other desert areas. The drive from Phoenix is just a couple hours so you can stop for sightseeing and lunch if you decide not to overnight there. You could drive on to Flagstaff or Williams to overnight as the drive from Sedona to the South Rim is about 4 hours.
I'm glad you opted to go to Las Vegas. It is at least a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to see this town and all it is famous for, and you'll decide if it will ever be on a future "do again" list. You'll get to say "Been There Done That" or "What Happens in Vegas stays in the Netherlands".
Please as noted by others - it will be H*O*T in June just about every inch of your route. That said, keep stocked up on water, don't overdo alcohol and understand it simply is where you are geographically. Eyes on the car operation as to coolant and tire pressure, but enjoy the ride and scenery. You're going to enjoy parts of America many of us don't see in a lifetime, and I sincerely wish you a fun, safe and memorable trip.
Thomas
watch what you want. you may get it.
 
vandenheuvel
Topic Author
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:59 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:21 am

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 Canyon and overnight in Kingman. After this I will stay in Las Vegas for two or three days. Then I'll continue driving to Lake Powell, Monument Valley, Albuquerque, Silver city, Tucson and back to Phoenix. This will leave me 3 days to spare before my return flight leaves. Do you think it's better to see something of California or Utah? Or will it be better to just take some more time and explore the places I'm already visiting a bit more?

Quoting PITingres (Reply 43):
Overnight in a bed-and-breakfast if you can find one, and if you afford it. Not only is it an likely to be a very pleasant experience, the owners will be able to direct you to whatever is happening locally.

I think I will try to do that as much as practical. Also these locations can be better than for hotels.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 44):
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 in other desert areas.

I like the idea of Sedona a lot. I think I will book one of the aerial tours from there.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 44):
I'm glad you opted to go to Las Vegas. It is at least a "once in a lifetime" opportunity

I will give Vegas a try. I I don't like it I can just spend some time at the hotels pool or spend some more time at one of the national parks.

Quoting PI4EVER (Reply 44):
You're going to enjoy parts of America many of us don't see in a lifetime, and I sincerely wish you a fun, safe and memorable trip.

Thanks you for these kind words. You've been of good help to me.
 
OP3000
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:45 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:31 pm

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 45):
This will leave me 3 days to spare before my return flight leaves. Do you think it's better to see something of California or Utah? Or will it be better to just take some more time and explore the places I'm already visiting a bit more?

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 go for it. (Though you're already covering a lot and driving quite a bit - so take your own tolerance level for road trips into account).

In Utah I would recommend Zion National Park - somewhat similar settings to Grand Canyon, with a lot more caves and rock formations you can hike and explore through.

But to add variety to your trip I would personally go the Southern California route. The distance to/from Phoenix isnt all that much, and though its a wide area perhaps limit it this to the San Diego area (Coronado and La Jolla for example). One or 1 1/2 days there should be more than enough to get a glimpse of the laid back Pacific coast culture. Standard of living its one of the most idyllic places to live in the country.

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 45):
I will give Vegas a try. I I don't like it I can just spend some time at the hotels pool or spend some more time at one of the national parks.

There's a few easy half-day trips - Red Rock Canyon and Hoover Dam. The latter may actually be on your way into town to/from Arizona.
 
HT
Posts: 5857
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 6:20 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:31 pm

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 45):
After arriving in PHX I will drive towards Sedona, Flagstaff and Williams. The next day I will visit the Grand Canyon and overnight in Kingman. After this I will stay in Las Vegas for two or three days.

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 Seachlight).
I'd recommend to make a slower start and stay at Williams or Flagstaff for 2 nights, allowing a full day for Grand Canyon. Drive all the way to Las Vegas on day 3.

Allow more time for Las Vegas.
A full day should be allocated to explore Death Valley, driving out on Blue Diamond Rd. Make a stop in Pahrump and fill up on gas, food and water. Also have a look onto locals playing slots at the filling station. Gambling is so diverse ...
Exit DV heading north: Either on Scotty's Castle Rd which turns into NV-267 or Daylight Pass Rd turning into NV-374 (heading to Beatty, NV). In both cases then use US-95 S. south back to LV. A few miles past junction with NV-160 (from Pahrump) but just before the 2-lane highway turns into 4 lanes there will be a Historical Marker on your left for the Atomic Tests carried out in the area past the fence.
If time allows, make a detour through Spring Mtns to cool down a bit.

In LV, compare gamblers in those glitzy Casinos on Las Vegas Blvd to a place like Sams Town. Head east on Flamingo and turn sourh onto Boulder Hwy for a few yards. Hotel & Casino is to the left.
As with all places in LV, self parking is free.
Only problem with the bigger hotel-casinos on LV Blvd S is, that they will guide you through their casino or shopping arcade from the parking decks to get outside.

One handy place to park your car in a central place on LV Blvd S is the small parking garage of the Barbery Coast on E Flamingo opposite Bally's. Access best is by driving west on E Flamingo.
Elevator spits you out into the modest casino, but finding the exit is a matter of seconds (compared to *hours* in places like the Luxor or Cesar's Palace...).

Quoting vandenheuvel (Reply 45):
This will leave me 3 days to spare before my return flight leaves.

Instead of staying in the Phoenix area prior to your flight home, consider to stay in Tucson. Much more relaxed down there and only a fairly short drive to PHX.
Quite different landscapes to explore depending on where you head to. Lots of Saguaros when heading west to Ajo. Historic Tombstone, AZ to the southeast with some (dude) ranches en-route and, if you are lucky, some local rodeo. Straight south you get to Nogales on the border. Cross into Mexico on foot, leaving the car behind. Historic mission in Tucumcari / Tubac enroute to Nogales. Around that place is also the Titan II missle silo available for visit (tours). And the aviation related options I mentioned earlier. Plus the Desert Museum ...   
-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 !
 
WROORD
Posts: 667
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 5:36 pm

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:47 am

Quoting kbmiflyer (Reply 3):
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).

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 have a stop over in Texas.
Besides, places like DC or Chicago have easy access from the airport to the city using public transportation. In DC I would fly to National DCA rather then Dulles IAH.
 
L410Turbolet
Posts: 5438
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 9:12 am

RE: US Travel Advice Needed

Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:50 pm

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. Is it reallly true?

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