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First trip to US - help!

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Auckland, New...
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First trip to US - help!

We are planning a trip for about 3 1/2 weeks in January 2013 (work committments mean this is the only time we can travel).

We will be flying from Auckland, New Zealand just after Christmas.

We have our hearts set on New York, and I am trying to figure out the logistics of what else we can include. My partner and I prefer to spend a longer time in one place to really get a feel for it, rather than rushing from one place to the next just to see the sights.

At this stage I am thinking to fly from auckland straight through to New York and spend about 10 nights there. Then spend the next 9 nights divided somehow between San Fransisco and Las Vegas. Finally, I think we could depart from LA late in the evening and fly to Tahiti for the last 4 nights before flying home to Auckland.

I had orginally thought of NY > Las Vegas > LA > Tahiti, but my partner isnt keen on LA and many people we have spoken to have said that San Fransisco is much more enjoyable. However the flight out of LA to Tahiti means we would still need to get to LA without really wanting to spend any time there.

I guess my questions are -

Is this a feasable itinerary timewise -

Would it be worth it to fly from New York to San Fransisco, and then to Las Vegas, and then get to LA within 9 days or are we trying to do too much?

As we are not famililar with flights and airports in the US, I am concerned that we would be spending too much time in airports.

I have also considered driving from Las Vegas to LA as a pose to flying. Is it worth it or is flying much easier?

I hope this makes sense!

Fremont, California
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1. Re: First trip to US - help!

The flight time from San Francisco to Las Vegas is about an hour plus....

Southwest Airlines is a favorite of many to fly between Bay Area cities and Las Vegas.

The flight from New York to San Francisco will be long.

You can then fly into LAX from Las Vegas airport for your flight to Tahiti.

Driving is a pain and a half and can take 11 hours from San Francisco.

From Las Vegas to LA it can take 5 hours (or longer as they seem to have had several bad car accidents this year that has made the drive even longer)

its best just to fly about once you get to California....and since you are flying from Las Vegas to LAX you won't have to worry about finding your way around LA.

You can visit San Francisco and see all the sights without a car.

its up to you how you want to do the split between San Francisco and Las Vegas, but given 9 days I would spend at least 4 days in San Francisco, and if going to Wine country 5; then spend 4 or 5 in las Vegas

Have a fun time.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: First trip to US - help!

I would check individual city and state forums as you make plans.

As this is the San Francisco Forum, I'm a fan of this city. I find more interesting things to do here than in Las Vegas, but some who are more interested in gambling and shopping might feel otherwise. I would skew toward more time in San Francisco and Northern California than Vegas, especially if you intend to do some day or overnight trips during that San Francisco time such as to Napa or Monterey. Many people visiting San Francisco include such trips.

As far as weather that time of year then New York will probably be coldest of the cities you visit. San Francisco can be rainy that time of year, though it's hard to predict and it could be sunny and cool rather than rainy (or a mixture of weathers on different days). Further south tends toward warmer than San Francisco (Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego).

I do not think it's too much flying as you have a good chunk of time to be places in between flights. While the cross-country flight between New York and the west coast is going to be 6-ish hours, the other flights between cities in California and Nevada will each be less than two hours.

If you have specific questions about San Francisco, let us know.

Edited: 18 July 2012, 04:18
Pacifica, California
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3. Re: First trip to US - help!

Your plan seems fine.

I'd suggest driving between Las Vegas and LA. Do it more than once and you'd get tired of it, but I've heard lots of visitors from outside the US say that they loved the experience of driving through the desert.

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4. Re: First trip to US - help!

I would cut your time in new York. 5 nights is enough. Then fly to las Vegas. Stay 3 nights. Fly internally to San Francisco stay at least 5 nights. Now you could a). Hire a car AFTER you have explored San Francisco and drive some of the coastal road. Then come onto a highway and end up in L A. B). Fly from San Francisco to LA. then onto T .

C) hire a car and drive to Yosemite national park stay a few nights. Then drive to L A.

Your choice ! Depends how many places you wish to see. Personally, I MUCH PREFER San Francisco than L A. But everyone is different. Have. fun. It's a great part of the USA to visit !

Auckland, New...
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5. Re: First trip to US - help!

Thanks so much guys! Its reassuring to know Im on the right track and not trying to do the impossible!

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6. Re: First trip to US - help!

Your trip is fine as is. That said, let me throw out an option.


Fly to LV

Fly to SF

Drive from SF to LA along coast with stops in Monterey and Cambria. (You get to see much different scenry plus aquarium.)

Fly LA to Tahiti.

Maybe carve out a day from somewhere to visit Napa Valley.

Close to what NLB suggests above.

Edited: 19 July 2012, 02:30
New York City
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7. Re: First trip to US - help!

I agree with holodan that you should check TripAdviser forums

- and first of all Top Pages like "FAQ" and "Know Before You Go"

with TA expert articles - for each destinations separately.

Not only how to plan you days but also weather and what to wear. You may land into snow in NYC, not very common for this city but when it happens – it a disaster (for a while). And abrupt crazy wind through tunnel-like streets can make you unwilling to walk longer. Or it may be warm and cozy like European Spring. Plan in advance for what to take with you and check for updates right before you come.



as for limiting your days in NYC – if someone think 9 days could be too much, 5 days may be not enough in my opinion, especially for the first time visitor. Mark places you’d like to visit for each city + time to commute and see how they weight against each other.

And count in Time Zone change. As you may need more time to adapt in NYC or sleepwalk on your day tours!

Travel wise!

Edited: 19 July 2012, 03:45
8. Re: First trip to US - help!

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