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Fly drive ,help on booking it please

NOTTINGHAM UK
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Fly drive ,help on booking it please

Hi, we are 4 adult's looking at doing a fly drive Aug 2011, has to be Aug as son's partner is a teacher, and i was wondering if anyone has booked their own flight's, car hire and hotel's on line. I am thinking it will save me a bit of money this way? If i put the car hire & hotel's on my credit card will this come out straight away or when we go over there? Can i book these now or is it to early? I dont think i can book flight's till Sept is that right? We are looking at flying into SF for 3/4night's then hiring the car and going to Yosemite for 2 night's, then driving to death valley for 2 nights finishing in Vegas for 5/6 nights, anybody reccomend any hotel's, not top class but about 3/4 star, what about Vegas We want one with a good pool as it will be hot. Hope someone can point us in the right direction, thank's

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

If you've got the time to research, you'd be crazy to book flights and accommodation through a travel agent. TripAvisor (and similar sites) are a great help when identifying hotels. Everything is now on-line. I recently organised and booked my family trip to the US all on-line and spent half what I had been quoted by an agent and found accommodation that better suited our family of 5.

You probably won't be able to book anything until a year prior to arrival, and in some cases, even nearer to the date. Do your research on the internet, and then call the hotel directly, especially if you have any questions re room size, etc. Hotels and car rental places will need credit card details to hold your booking, but shouldn't deduct anything until your actual stay (the only exception to this I found was Yosemite's Lodge at the Falls, which deducted 1 night's accommodation prior to arrival). Most hotels will allow you to cancel your booking up to a few days prior to arrival.

For accommodation it depends whether you all want to be in the same room (eg: family suite) or whether separate hotel rooms is ok. It's probably cheaper for you to stay in a family suite (or similar), which will also often have living areas and/or kitchens - a bit of extra space. These are some of the hotels we stayed in - check whether they sound ok for your needs(prices will vary depending on time of year):

- San Francisco: family suite at Grosvenor Inn ($180/night);

- Yosemite Valley: 2 bed room at Lodge at the Falls ($240/night) - definitely not flash and expensive for what you get, but unless you want to camp, this is probably the cheapest option);

- LV: the Desert Rose was our preferred hotel (2 bedroom suite @ $100/night), but we ended staying with family instead.

Hope this helps.

San Diego
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2. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

YES, Many folks plan and book this sort of trip themselves.

The only place you MUST book one YEAR in advance is lodging in Yosemite.

All the other hotels need not be booked that far ahead.

You can watch for hotel deals on a site like:

www.travelzoo.com It looks for hotel and airfare deals around the world and then gives you discount codes to use. I find that deals come out one season ahead sooo for summer I see deals in the spring or late winter.

IF you book directly from the hotel web site then you may be offered a lower price if you pay right when you book. Otherwise you generally pay at the end of your stay.

IF you use a 3rd party booking web site then you generally are asked to pay at the time of the booking.

NOTTINGHAM UK
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3. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

Thank's for your help if we rent 2 car's in SF will we be able to drop them off in LV and who are good for car rental's?

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

I've used Alamo and National (different brand, same company though) in the US without any problems. Check the other reputable ones too - Budget, Avis, Hertz. I've heard some dodgy things about Eurpoecar, so can't recommend them. I've also had some good prices through a third party agency called Happy Tours USA (www.happytoursusa.com).

Be prepared to pay a one-way fee (especially if dropping it off in a different state), for some rental companies this will be a major cost.

I recommend that you get a GPS - makes travelling in a foreign country so much easier for $5-10/day.

Pacifica, California
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5. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

You'll probably be better off hiring a car from a European company like www.carehire3000.com. They seem to be less expensive, and the charges are spelled out up front. As was mentioned though, someone was recently complaining about Europcar.com.

Unfortunately, standard business practice for car hire/rental companies in the US is to quote you very low rates upfront, and then hit you with undisclosed, surprise charges later. I've personally had Alamo, Budget and Dollar try to pull this on me in the past, so I don't do business with them anymore. I consider Avis, Hertz and Enterprise to be the US car rental companies with the best reputations.

San Diego
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6. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

Why would you hire 2 cars???? There are vehicles large enough for 4 to drive in comfortably! Some folks from the UK also use yescarhire.com

The reason is that all the insurance is included in the price.

Most times USA rental agencies add on insurance later.

Pacifica, California
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7. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

I believe yescarhire went out of business.

San Diego
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8. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

Oooops! Sorry!

Fullerton
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9. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

As PerroGrande said above about lodging in the park

"- Yosemite Valley: 2 bed room at Lodge at the Falls ($240/night) - definitely not flash and expensive for what you get, but unless you want to camp, this is probably the cheapest option);"

For years we felt the same way, so we stayed at the lodge. Last summer, we couldn't get reservations and we didn't want to camp or stay outside the gates of the park. So we looked for alternatives.

We found that there are cabins in Foresta, Wawona, and in Yosemite West. These range from a simple condo to 5500 sq. foot freestanding homes. Also , there are Bed and Breakfast Inns in Yosemite West .

Here are some wikipedia links to Foresta, Yosemite West and Wawona that will explain where they are in the park.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foresta,_California

…wikipedia.org/wiki/Yosemite_West,_California

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wawona,_California

Here are some links that may help you find this kind of lodging.

http://www.yosemitewest.com

http://rentalo.com/vacation-rentals/yosemite/

http://yosemite-pine-arbor.com

villa4vacation.com/rentals/…

http://pinearbor.com

http://VRBO.com

http://www.yosemitelodging.com

http://aboutyosemte.com

http://www.homeaway.com/search/keywords:Yosemite+National+Park

We found the cabins to be low cost, very convenient and allow us to make our schedules not the restaurants. Even more so, we could make our own meals rather than drive to restaurants and spend the "big bucks".

Have a great trip!

NOTTINGHAM UK
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10. Re: Fly drive ,help on booking it please

Thank's again for your reply's, we need 2 car's as we are going with our son & partner , and it mean's we can go off on our own, and trust me i can not put up with the pair of them in the same car for 2 weeks LOL.