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Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

Amsterdam
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Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

Hello people,

We are thinking about travelling to California in the end of august, beginning of september.

We have no drivers license, so our trip is mostly by train and bus. Based on some info we found on internet, this seemed to be the best schedule for two weeks:

Day 1

Amsterdam - San Francisco (plane, 15 hours, 800 euro)

Day 2-5

San Francisco

Day 6

San Francisco - San Jose (train, 1 hour)

San Jose - San Luis Obispo (train, 5 hours, 25 euro)

Day 7

San Luis Obispo

Day 8

San Luis Obispo - Santa Barbara (train, 2.5 hours, 20 euro)

Day 9-10

Santa Barbara

Day 11

Santa Barbara - Los Angeles (train, 2.5 hours, 20 euro)

Day 12

Los Angeles

Day 13

Los Angeles - Las Vegas (bus, 4.5 hours, 45 euro)

Day 14

Las Vegas

Day 15

Las Vegas - Amsterdam

Note that this schedule is an indication: if a place turns out nicer than we expected, we might stay longer.

We'd like to mix some nature / relaxation with citytrips. It would be our first time to CA... so any (better) suggestions are very welcome!

Thanks in advance!

Joeri & Alicia

Edited: 17 May 2011, 18:42
California
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1. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

You can fly from LA to LV for $49 via Southwest if you make advance reservations. Much better way to go than via bus.

San Diego
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2. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

Southwest Airlines is an internal USA airline that will not show up on normal air search engines. You need to go to their web site to book.

It is a good way to get to Las Vegas.

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

Amtrak, the national rail company, has a bus that picks up at various stops in San Francisco and will take you across the bay to the station in Emeryville for the train to San Luis Obispo. There isn't really any good reason to take the CALTrain to San Jose.

Otherwise it sounds fun, with a good mix of urban, small town, and beach resort.

I agree with suzie and riffsmom that it is much better to fly to Las Veags from either LAX or Burbank. It is a dull bus ride on a busy interstate through the desert.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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4. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

you should be aware your dates of travel may be when there is a busy holiday weekend, labor day weekend (for 2011 dates are sept 2-5)

i agree to just fly to las vegas, there isnt really anything special to see when traveling from the LA area to las vegas if you take the bus.

Oregon Coast
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5. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

I'm going to disagree with the above posters about flying to Las Vegas. That is, if you want to see the countryside? Yes, it's desert, which to many of us is dull . . . but you might enjoy the vastmess of it as there are no deserts around Amsterdam!

Once you add in the waiting hours at the airport, it's not that much different in timing. Plus, you have to be careful about the USA carry-on regulations.

Overall your trip sounds well planned and it's great that you did the advance research yourself :-) Many posters do not!

Are you over 21 years old? If not, you'll be a bit "restricted" in Las Vegas.

Amsterdam
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6. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

49$ for a plane ticket. As Europeans we're definately not used to those kind of prices. Here we pay twice or three times that amount within Europe!

We'll consider both options though. It might be nice to see the desert, but maybe we'll check out some excursion around Las Vegas, which makes a bustrip less "necessary".

Talking about excursions, does anyone know about any possible trips to national forests, like Los Padres or parks around Las Vegas?

*We're 24 and 21, so thank god no restrictions for us. Otherwise a trip to Las Vegas would hardly be worth the trouble. ;)

Edited: 17 May 2011, 20:56
Pacific Grove...
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7. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

Do a tour of Hoover damb, the hard hat tour, outside of Vegas

California
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8. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

It wasn't the seeing the desert part of the trip I was having them avoid it was the bus ride. Ick.

Amsterdam
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9. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

Thanks for the info!

Quite a long tour, but we'll definately consider it.

We're also thinking of taking a hike through Los Padres near Santa Barbara (www.captainjackstours.com).

Does anyone know if this forest is impressive (in august) or if it's better to skip?

Uden, The...
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10. Re: Our plan for an individual tour through CA: any good?

With just one day in Las Vegas maybe refrain from taking a tour.. If you have never been to LV before I'd stay in town. Enough to see and explore. Maybe take a tour to Red Rock NCA just west of Vegas but it still will take half a day. Red Rock has some great desert landscapes.

I'm not a fan of bustravel either but I agree with H-B and take the bus between LA and LV. It's quite spectacular to first time visitors from Europe with the endless views and desert landscapes. Have your cameras ready for the xxyzx sign along the road before milemarker 233 and look at the Big Thermometer in Baker on your left hand side. Its 134' tall and reminds of the ever highest recorder temp in Death Valley NP. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2893

Tet