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road trip - hotels

Wigtown, United...
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road trip - hotels

planning a road trip next spring, travelling from vegas to san diego via - death valley, yosemite, san Francisco, monterey, cambria, LA, anaheim (disney&knotts)

question is - should we book hotels now or just see where we end up once there? we were thinking it might be cool to just drive places, look around and decide whether to stay there - is this a good idea or might it be difficult to find places on the day - or might we save money doing it in advance, has anyone booked this kind of trip through a tour operator in the UK and can suggest one to package it up?

San Francisco...
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1. Re: road trip - hotels

Each city or area forum has info in the top questions on where to stay and on that same page one can use TA as a hotel search engine to find deals in the cities you plan to visit and more importantly read reviews and ask the local city forum if you need help deciding among a few .

Yosemite hotel reservations get booked a year in advance . It is always a great idea to book all hotels in advance a cancelable reservation and keep an eye on deals or rates in the rare case that some may go down

Trying to find a hotel last minute instead of seeing an area and perhaps getting a bad deal may not be fun .

Edited: 12 November 2013, 13:28
Wigtown, United...
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2. Re: road trip - hotels

thanks,

im slightly worried about getting somehwere and wanting to stay longer/wishing id not spent so much time there. I guess thats just parr for the course anyway - would you suggest camping might be an option? were both massive fans and usually take our tent everywhere in the UK!

Birmingham, United...
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3. Re: road trip - hotels

Hi HClark

We are in the process now of booking our USA road trip next September . We have booked everything ourselves with the help of amazing people on here : -)

There are tour operators in UK who do it... but we wanted to go our own route, our own timescales and choose our hotels..not to mention not pay their prices!

All we have done so far is hotels and flight and route plan ...feel free to read through my posts if any of the info helps

I have done loads of research on the hotels we've booked so far though..

I'm in the really early stages and have no real 'days out' planned but the backbone of the trip is defo taking shape :-)

I actually booked Yosemite before we booked anything and San Francisco has various conventions on while we are there so got our hotel booked up quickly there too

ps, I am a complete novice at all of this but happy to help or share ideas if you need :-)

Anne

Edited: 12 November 2013, 13:59
Wigtown, United...
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4. Re: road trip - hotels

Hi Anne,

that really kind of you,

I've so far planned our route, and seen flights i want to be on (at really good prices) all thats left is to book those and decide how long each place needs, Ive made a little spreadhseet with each place we fancy, and the attarections in each so I know how long we may need, I just tohught it might be easier (less sorting) to just book with a company and have it all done... hmm

San Francisco...
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5. Re: road trip - hotels

Camping outside the large cities is always an option . YNP has tents in Curry village in the valley and there are other camp sites as well. There are camping sites from state parks and county parks along the coast as well as private KOA campsites

Birmingham, United...
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6. Re: road trip - hotels

You're welcome :-)

Where are you flying from / to? do you mind me asking how much flights are?

we are about to book ours in next few days ..... have been keeping eye on Virgin and prices look pretty good... into San Fran out of LA

Exciting eh!!!

Washington State
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7. Re: road trip - hotels

Anne ~ that's terrific advice! Yosemite and San Francisco are the big challenges; you did a marvelous job collecting advice from the city forums and creating an itinerary (with hotels!) that works for you. hclark_21 can definitely learn from your experience.

hclark_21 ~ "Next spring" could be a challenge without reservations. Yes, it's tough when you have to plan ahead, but some parts of spring and some locations are so popular for travel. When do you intend to begin your trip?

Camping thoughts...

Death Valley NP ~ there are some first come first served campsites and some featureless (no shade) campsites that you can probably get without reservations. Of course it gets pretty hot in Death Valley by April.

Yosemite Valley ~ there is one campground that has first come first served shared campsites, but it's very popular with climbers. Yosemite Valley is 4,000' elevation so it's chilly at night and in the shady morning & evening. Reserved campsites are only $20 per night. In summer, all campsites are reserved within minutes of becoming available. In spring, depends on the time... April is easier to get a site, May is more challenging.

Hwy 1 coast ~ there are some state parks with campgrounds. I think spring is easier, but I haven't camped along the coast.

Spring travel thoughts ~

Las Vegas has some busy times in spring. Weekends are always more expensive.

Tioga Pass will be closed in spring so you'll be using the southern route. Crossing the Sierra tripadvisor.com/Travel-g61000-c158581

Families will be vacationing with you during their children's Spring Break. Public schools pick their own week(s) for this but it's usually mid March till Easter. With Easter so late, you will see kids out between March 17 and April 25.

Birmingham, United...
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8. Re: road trip - hotels

ah thanks PacificNWF :-)

Los Angeles
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9. Re: road trip - hotels

Does "next Spring" mean March or June? If it's March, April, May or early June, you have the closure of Tioga Pass to contend with (and different routes entirely). There's now way to "plan out the route" unless you're starting after June 15th or so OR you have already decided to take the less scenic route around the southern end of the Sierras.

I would not recommend camping in March or April, but by May, it's not only nice - it's exceptionally crowded in many national park campgrounds (and of course, campgrounds in Vegas are much more like parking lots than campgrounds; campgrounds in Los Angeles are not that easy to find either).

Everyone thinks it's cool to play it by ear, but that means you will end up staying where ever you can stay - it does not mean you can stay as long as you like in the most popular places. That's because many, many people have exactly the same idea. It also means stopping earlier in the day and often means taking either very cheap or very expensive lodging.

Let's put your itinerary into an order. You fly into Vegas, so let's start there (you can then go to San Diego, but...what about Death Valley and Yosemite?) How many nights do you have? Because as stated, you are likely to do some backtracking/long travel days.

Vegas (x nights)

Death Valley 2 nights (1 in Lone Pine)

either Bakersfield/Modesto/Fresno area next or Yosemite area (depending on Tioga) 1 night

Yosemite 2-3 nights

San Francisco 4 nights

Monterey 1 night

Cambria 1 night

Los Angeles 4 nights (you will not be arriving early on that first day)

Anaheim 3 nights

San Diego (x nights)

Camping along the California Coast is doable, assuming you have a tent (more flexibility). But in and around Big Sur, I'd still get reservations; southern part (Cambria, Pismo, Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara - plenty of campsites unless a weekend)

Stay in Hollywood, most likely, to see the standard tourist sights of L.A.

Disneyland/Anaheim could be cut down to fewer days, but I wouldn't.

That's 18 nights, and assuming 3 nights in Las Vegas, 4 nights in San Diego, that's 25 nights and you'll have seen only the highlights of each place and there will be lots left undone.

Is that what you were thinking?

Washington State
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10. Re: road trip - hotels

Ooops. Modesto does not belong in that list of possible towns to stay in on the way from Las Vegas to Yosemite.