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First time in US, need one more city!

Brisbane, Australia
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First time in US, need one more city!

Hey all,

I am planning a trip to the US in October this year. Will be travelling with my wife and best mate, all late 20's, and plan on coming over from Australia for 3 weeks.

This is what I have planned so far:

Fly to LA, 2 nights here, do all the Hollywood touristy things here (can't decide between Universal Studios or Disneyland, would like some opinions on this)

Hire a car, drive to Las Vegas. Spend 4 nights there (Thursday - Monday). Got a few things in mind for Vegas, obviously a Grand Canyon helicopter trip, the battlefield thing sounds pretty sweet, shows and PBR finals are on that weekend.

Then we were going to take the long drive to San Fran from Vegas. Happy to get up early and do the drive in a day. I don't mean to sound nieve but the in between part doesn't really interest us, so I'm happy to just hook in and get to San Fran as quickly as we can. Obviously taking in the scenic drive but not stopping unless we have to.

Drop the car off when we get there as I've noticed on a few other forums on here that having a car is pointless in SF. We will stay here for 3 nights, doing Alcatraz and all the touristy things.

After this we were planning to fly to NYC and spend 5 nights. Before flying back to LA and then catch our return flight home.

We have room to spend another 3 nights somewhere.

Whether it's before we go to NYC or after it doesn't really worry us, just whatever is geographically better off for us.

These the cities we have narrowed down:

Chicago, Illinois

Orlando, Florida

New Orleans, Louisiana

Nashville, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Miami, Florida

Seattle, Washington

Sedona, Arizona

Savannah, Georgia

San Antonio, Texas

Houston, Texas

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

So some differing opinions on any of these cities would be very helpful. We would obviously fly to these places from either SF or NYC.

Just please keep in mind, we are over here to have a good time, so the big draw cards are nightlife, good food, sporting events/attractions and an overall good time with the odd landmark/monument too see also. Not into arts, architecture or museums or anything like that.

Any information on which of these cities above would suit out needs would be great.

Thanks in advance

San Francisco...
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1. Re: First time in US, need one more city!

with zero input from you hard to say if you want to do a theme park like Disneyland or a movie/action park like Universal -- with one day perhaps Universal is better and it is in LA as opposed to the Disney parks that are in Anaheim . 2 nights in LA is ONE day and is that just for Universal -- 2 nights in the 2nd largest city in the US ? Humm.

You may want to fly from LV to SF instead of a long drive. To drive it in one day is indeed naive.

You are going to waste a couple of days shuttling back and forth between the West coast and NYC. Most would suggest spend time on the West Coast and do it properly instead of this cross country trip on a relatively short vacation

You could hang out in San Diego and do its night scene as well as sports scene in oct

I would pretty much reconsider. It is not that the other places mentioned are not great including NYC. It is just that in the short time you have, utilize it by short hops, doing the coastal cities and making the most of your vacation

Just my humble opinion.

San Diego
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2. Re: First time in US, need one more city!

The drive from Las Vegas to San Francisco takes about 9hrs. without stopping.

I don't really think it will be fun for you since you are not interested in really experiencing the countryside. I'd do an internal flight from LAS to one of the San Francisco airports, SFO or OAK. You can use a site like www.kayak.com to see flights/prices and then buy from the airline web sites. You should also check prices for our internal airline, Southwest Air , which will not show up on search engines. It only shows prices on its own web site and allows 2 free checked bags on every flight.

I agree that staying on the west coast makes more sense you cannot really see LA in 2 days,and San Diego has a whole area called "the gaslamp" for nightlife, but you Aussies like to get in as much travel time as possible so out of the cities you mentioned and your interests:

I'd skip Sedona, Houston,Myrtle Beach, and San Antonio.

You might like to fly into Miami but the "action" is on South Beach in Miami BEACH(separate city) nearby.

Orlando is just about theme parks and not nightlife.

New Orleans might be different and can be a really fun town!

I love Chicago but it might not provide as much contrast to NYC as you'd like.

Austin has a cool music scene but is quite small.

Others of course may have different opinions!

Washington State
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3. Re: First time in US, need one more city!

>>obviously a Grand Canyon helicopter trip<<

I assume that you are taking the fixed wing flight to Grand Canyon National Park and then the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Or do you mean that you're taking a "heli ride" to grand-canyon-west?

I agree with others. If you're not interested in Death Valley - eastern Sierra - Yosemite NP or in Cambria - Big Sur / Hwy 1 - Monterey, then just fly from Las Vegas to San Francisco.

Edited: 16 March 2014, 13:55
Sacramento, CA
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4. Re: First time in US, need one more city!

Are you spending more time in LA on your return trip? I had to laugh when I read that you are planning on "doing all the Hollywood touristy stuff" in LA in one day.

It's pointless to drive LV to SF if you are not stopping in Death Valley and Yosemite. That's a long stretch of some of the most boring pavement in California.

I would leave the car in LA and fly LA - LAS - SFO.

Better yet spend your 3 extra days with the car in SoCal (LA-San Diego) then drive up hwy.1 through Big Sur to SF. Drop the car there. Fly SFO or OAK to LAS then go to New York.

Edited: 16 March 2014, 14:09
Southern California
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5. Re: First time in US, need one more city!

Not sure when in October you are coming, if later in the month then Tioga Pass may or may not be closed due to snow. This year has been a very dry year but who knows what the coming fall winter will be like.

Your trip is very rushed and I agree with the others to skip New York and save it for another trip when you can spend time on the East Coast.

6. Re: First time in US, need one more city!

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Edited: 23 March 2014, 17:02
Brisbane, Australia
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7. Re: First time in US, need one more city!

Thanks for all the info guys.

I'll take the advice on flying from Vegas to SF. Sounds like a much more viable option.

I can't see how a 5 and a half hour flight to NYC would deter us. A short flight to see one of the greatest cities in the world.

I like the idea of driving into Vegas from LA, so that is something I'd like to do. Even though it wouldn't worry me doing LA at the end of the trip, I can't see how it's viable to do the drive if I attack it this way.

Miami/New Orleans/ San Diego seem to be the best options for us. I'll do an updated itinerary for you guys to give me feedback from.

I know it's only 3 weeks, that's why stopping to see a national park is not on my to do list. Coming from Australia we just want to see the major cities and have some fun.

All this information has been helpful, however, so thank you all for that

Washington State
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8. Re: First time in US, need one more city!


>>that's why stopping to see a national park is not on my to do list. <<

-Many many visitors to the US just want to see the National Parks and have little interest in cities.

-Most of the folks planning visits to California focus most of their time on California.

-Spending an hour or two at an airport, flying 2 or 4 or 6 hours, spending another hour getting out of the airport .... that isn't something I would want to do a few times during a 3 week vacation.

Your travel style is obviously different. It's helpful to members on a forum who are trying to give you advice if you share details about your travel style & travel group. For example, knowing more about your style now means that the heli-ride to grandcanyonwest might be just right for you.

If you want feedback about destinations that are not in California, I recommend you post on those city forums.

Best wishes creating the perfect itinerary for your trip!

Brisbane, Australia
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9. Re: First time in US, need one more city!

I understand that many people travel to the US to see national parks and things of the like. I just wanted an option for some travellers that might not... That's all.

I understand also delays getting to and from airports, I've been to a lot around the world, I just can't see that stopping me from seeing NYC when I just never know if I'll ever get the opportunity to see it again.

I've done some research on Miami and New Orleans and they both look great for a stop over city on the way home from the east coast, however, both seem expensive to travel back to LA on the dates I need (most probably because it's a Sunday). So San Diego is leading the charge, so thanks for whoever steered me onto that one. The Gaslamp district seems fun, plus lots of other attractions around the city, and the other added bonus of being 200km from LAX!

10. Re: First time in US, need one more city!

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