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Visiting SanFran for a week

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MKE
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Visiting SanFran for a week

Folks , I plan on being at SanFran right after xmas and all the way upto new years.

I was thinking of staying near the airport (cheaper) and taking train to downtown. Does that plan make sense? from what i have researched its easy access but want to confirm with the pros here.

Thanks much.

Berkeley, Ca.
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1. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

Don't stay near the airport. You'd have to get to the BART station, then ride into San Francisco. It's not a particularly nice area--the areas around airport usually aren't.

Tell us what price range you're looking for in a hotel/motel, and we can offer suggestions--there are cheaper places within San Francisco itself.

Bloomington, Indiana
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2. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

First, welcome to TA!

Second, your idea of staying near the airport to "save money" is a recurring one on the forum and, with a few specific exceptions that don't seem to apply to your situation, is generally given a big thumbs down by the forum regulars (and pretty much everyone else too).

Here's a few of the reasons:

1) You can generally find a hotel in SF proper within the same budget range as your airport hotel, perhaps not as "nice" (re: amenities), but at the same or similar cost. If you give us a budget, we can make suggestions.

2) With an airport hotel you could be anywhere. They're generic, often have little (if anything) nearby re: restaurants, shopping, nightlife, etc.

3) You'll probably lose one to two hours a day "commuting" to your vacation and may even find yourself having to leave your hotel later and/or returning earlier than you would like.

4) Commuting costs (BART mainly) and/or gas & parking fees often shows how this choice can be penny-wise & pound foolish. If you take these costs into consideration you can often spend an extra $15-20 (or more) *per person* *per day* on a hotel in SF and still come out even (or maybe ahead).

5) *Lots* of intangibles, in fact too many to mention at this time.

As this is only a short list you might search the forum, you'll find plenty of other threads on this topic. Every once in a while, the consensus comes down that it's a good idea, but it's pretty rare.

Hope this helps,

hlo

MKE
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3. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

60 bucks a night (before tax). I think I can get a 3 star for that range on hotwire/priceline. Can you recommend some safe areas within the city that I should look for a hotel?

Washington State
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4. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

Would you consider a hostel or a room rental in someone's apartment?

MKE
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5. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

Huntlawoffice, thanks. Some good points to consider. I'm planning on staying near the city now.

pacficNW, depends on how much i can save vs a hotel and the location.

Bloomington, Indiana
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6. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

Your budget may be hard to meet, but less so if you'll bump it up to account for the commute costs I mentioned. How many people will there be and how were you planning on commuting? (if BART via SFO you can add ~$16/person to the daily rate.) This would make the daily (SF) hotel rate more like $75-80/day (minimally) and perhaps closer to $100/day or more (as you mentioned pre-tax). When you get to this range you can probably find something; either a regular rate at a budget hotel or something nicer via Priceline/Hotwire.

Last point (this posting?) is to make certain you are aware that the total tax on SF hotel rooms is ~15%.

hlo

Prescott, Arizona
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7. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

I just looked at Hotwire (which I use a lot). There are places available in your price but they are like 2 1/2 star. Still you'll be in SF, not at the airport.

When you bid or book, leave NYE out of it. That seems to be what keeps the price up for the rest of the week. I've found that Priceline works best if you only bid for 2 nights at a time.

You may get 2 different hotels then, but, so what.

I'm staying this week at Le Meridian in the financial district. I bid $85 per night and got it. (Total $205 w/taxes & fees for 2 nights).

Just bid for up to Friday and forget about NYE. You can work that out when you get here. Wherever you land, they may give you the same rate for NYE.

Good hunting.

R.P.

Southern California

San Diego...
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8. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

I'm not from the Bay Area but I have been there many more times than I care to remember. I completely agree that there are benefits to living in the city than near the airport but having said that.

I don't think it is fair to say that Millbrae and Burlingame which is where the AIrport is close to are not nice areas. They are cleaner and safer than the places on Mission Street and in the Tenderloin but very boring. Come on folks. As was said above I can betcha that staying at the Hyatt or Marriott or Embassy Suites just near the airport is better than the 2 star dumps in some parts of SF and much more safe. But as i mentioned you will be bored there with nothing to do -- so do use a broker site to find a deal in the city.

Secondly. BART is $8.10 only from the Airport and not from Millbrae or any other stop. I don't think people who live near the airport go to SFO to take Bart so let's not scare people with extra costs. There are plenty of benefits in staying in the city as are mentioned above.

Happy New Year

Edited: 20 December 2011, 21:52
Bloomington, Indiana
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9. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

Carl,

I don't mean this too harsh (heck after all you agree the OP should stay in the city) . . . so please don't take it that way. I'm leaving it as much for future readers of this thread.

It's worth noting that *many* (most?) of the posts considering staying near SFO talk about taking the hotel's shuttle to SFO and then taking BART into the city. Not saying all of them do and certainly some of the SFO area hotels run shuttles to the non-SFO stations, but I hate to see people considering saving a few bucks on the hotel only to discover that they will end up spending $16/person/day to get into the city & back to their hotel.

Believe me I've got nothing against Burlingame, Millbrae, etc. (and the cliche is true, some of my best friends live there). They are nice in their own way; but they're not SF. I can safely say that in many respects staying in a hotel there would be more like staying in a hotel in my (current) city of Bloomington, *Indiana* than they staying in a hotel in SF.

As far as the airport hotels being better than a 2 start dump in a bad area of SF, sure they are; but I don't think anyone is suggesting the OP (or anyone else contemplating this plan) stay at a dump. There are plenty of good, basic, clean, budget (2 star type) hotels located in nice enough locations in SF.

Now, that's not to say there is the risk to the uninformed of booking at a *bad* hotel in a *bad* neighborhood, but I think you've set up a false choice if you make it appear that the options given a lower budget are to be an nicer airport hotel or a dump in a bad neighborhood in SF.

hlo

San Francisco
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10. Re: Visiting SanFran for a week

I've been to Milwaukee and I can understand how you might think that staying at the aiport is a cheaper alternative. It's fine for a night for those who have early morning flights but as a base to stay and see the city, it's not a great idea.

It sounds like you are traveling solo so you might check www.airbnb.com which does offer rooms in people's homes. A friend of mine has a room there and she provides breakfast. For those traveling alone, it might also be a homier alterntive.

Otherwise, Priceline/Hotwire are good alternatives.

Finally, there are some bargain Lombard motels such as the TraveLodge and Days Inn.

For all of these you will be walking distance to any number of restaurants -- which won't be the case with an airport hotel. Plus you have to worry about "pumpkin time" ... ie the last BART train or last shuttle from BART or the airport to the hotel.