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San Francisco - car or public transport? little time avail!!

Melbourne, Australia
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San Francisco - car or public transport? little time avail!!

Heading to San Francisco for three nights in October this year with myself, my husband and another couple.

Given the price of accommodation, I am thinking of booking an apartment via airbnb and booking a car for our stay.

Given we are there for such a short space of time, we are really pushed for the things we want to do.

1. Visit all the hot spots, union square, fisherman's wharf, golden gate bridge etc

2. do a tour of alcatraz

3. We would love to do a tour of yosemite, but can't really justify the 10-12 hours required that most tour agents are suggesting.

I am thinking of renting a car, given that gives us the flexibility to do yosemite for a short visit, as opposed to a full day one.

I am aware public transport is quite affordable, but not sure if it's worth getting a car so we have more flexibility and are not too stretched for time.

Any advice is appreciated.

Santa Clara...
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1. Re: San Francisco - car or public transport? little time avail!!

Welcome to TA Brianna!

Please jump down to the SF subforum here: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g60713-i30-San_Fra…

On a non mobile web browser, check out the Top Questions on the right hand side, including this most helpful on reasons NOT to have a car in SF: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60713-c192967/San-Fr…

All the things you want to see and do are easily visited by public transport. The only reason to have a car would be to do a day trip out of the city, which I do not suspect you have time to do given your very short time in the city.

Happy planning!

San Francisco...
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2. Re: San Francisco - car or public transport? little time avail!!

Yosemite by car or bus is around a 8-9 hours round trip just to get there and back so not sure what you want to do . Surely you are planning a ca visit so please post your overall itinerary here and we can help.

5 days Vegas 5 days Disney ? LOL

San Jose, California
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3. Re: San Francisco - car or public transport? little time avail!!

Yosemite is a full day visit no matter how you cut it.

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: San Francisco - car or public transport? little time avail!!

day one we arrive in la - we will be staying in beverly hills

day 2 - disneyland

day 3 - san diego and zoo

day 4,5,6 - hollywood / universal studios / factory outlets etc

day 7, 8, 9, 10 - san fran

day 11, 12, 13 - vegas

day 14 - 20 - new york

we will have a rental car for the whole first week - and am seriously considering one for san fran too!? :)

West Hollywood...
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5. Re: San Francisco - car or public transport? little time avail!!

Do you guys LOVE driving? That's what you'll be doing with this itinerary. You won't be seeing much but you'll be doing lots of driving.

Let's look at it day by day. The first day you'll hang around Los Angeles/Beverly Hills -- so far, so good. Then, on day 2, you'll drive to Disneyland in Anaheim. Assuming it's a weekday, you'll have some rush hour traffic so it will probably take about an hour, then you'll need to queue up to get into the parking area/pay your parking fee and then you'll need to find a parking space, walk to the nearest tram stop, wait for the tram, and ride it to the entrance to Disneyland (you've now spent 90 minutes getting to DL. You'll spend about 60 minutes getting back to Beverly Hills, that night).

Okay, not bad.

On day 3, you'll again head south from Beverly Hills and you'll drive past Disneyland and head for San Diego. There will be some rush hour traffic so it will take about 3 hours and about 2-1/2 hours on the way back (so that's 5-1/2 hours of driving on the second day -- let alone the time you'll spend in the car driving around San Diego).

On days 4 and 5, you'll visit Hollywood and Universal (you'll need more to do to fill 2 days, btw, and there is a lot more to L.A. than Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Universal. In fact, of those three areas, only Hollywood is actually IN the sprawling city of L.A.).

On day 6, you're driving to do some outlet shopping. On days 2 and 3, you drove past a number of outlet malls and now, you're again, heading out of Los Angeles to do this.

You need to re-think your itinerary -- maybe stay in Anaheim (near Disneyland) for 3 days -- go to DL on one day, drive to San Diego (a 1.5 hour drive) on another and go to a nearby outlet mall like the Outlets at Orange on the third.

You've got 4 days for San Francisco but it will take the better part of a day to drive there (are you driving or flying?). I recommend flying.

Having a car in San Francisco is a complete waste of money. Parking at hotels and at attractions is ridiculously expensive and public transit is plentiful. Take a taxi or two if you want but don't get a car. If you're determined to go to Yosemite, rent a car for the day.

If it were me, I'd take a day off of New York and put it in San Francisco or even L.A. since you really need 3 days in each of these cities to see them thoroughly. Certainly if you drive to SF, and drive to Yosemite, you'll need one more day in SF.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: San Francisco - car or public transport? little time avail!!

What HopSkip says -- infact you would pay a travel agent plenty of money (commission) for the free advice you just go here.

What was not clear was if you were driving or flying to SF and that as HSJ said would add more time. Did you read the Top question in the California , SF and LA forum. If you spend 15 minutes just looking them over you would have had a much better first draft of an itinerary.

Edited: 03 February 2014, 08:57
7. Re: San Francisco - car or public transport? little time avail!!

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