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Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

Phoenix, Arizona
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Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

First of all, thanks to all who contribute to this forum - I've already learned so much!

Planning a trip to San Francisco for May 24-28. We currently have a hotel (Bay Landing) booked near the airport that includes free parking, free internet and free wi-fi for a great rate ($550 for 4 nights, including taxes). We booked this on Saturday and we were so excited to be done with it and move forward in our planning. The hotel looks great and has great reviews. We do have a free cancellation option.

Now that I've started planning our activities, I'm worried we'll either A) spend a lot of time and money trying to find parking around the city and at all the attractions or B)spend hours on public transit just to get downtown. I've recently done a lot of research on the BART and realized that we'll be paying a lot to use it to get around because we'll be farther away, not to mention how much time we'll spend on it, which does not sound like fun. The MUNI sounds like a much better option, but would obviously be better if we were centrally located.

Are we better off staying more centrally located, or can we manage to drive into the city every day? Is it worth it to pay for parking at a nicer, union square area hotel? I would love the option to just take the MUNI everywhere...

For Reference:

We'll be driving from Phoenix to SF (we're staying overnight and splitting up the drive) and then continuing on a vacation down to southern Cali for the next week.

We are a late 20s married couple, no kids, and it will be our first visit to SF. I should also add that SF is going to be a totally different experience from where we live and what we are used to. I'm good with directions and research and planning, so I think I could figure out how to get around by car - But I love the idea of all the downtown culture, the ability to walk everywhere, and all the unique attractions. I must admit, I am a little nervous about getting around and staying within our budget.

We know we'll get what we pay for, so we want to stay in at least a 3 star hotel. A clean room and feeling safe is a must. We are not nightlife party people, but do enjoy being out at night (romantic dinner, fancy dessert place, living music). We like to be busy during the day - attractions, events, activities, etc. and have a nice place to come back for a break in the afternoon before heading out for the evening.

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

Yes please stay in the city if you want to see SF. You don't need a car to see SF. Have you gone through the top questions on the SF forum on the right side of this page. What to do and see in SF. Why a car is not needed and where to stay with a car. Budget hotels. All the info you need is there. Please spend sometime reading it and then we can help you plan a great vacation.

There are trip repors for you to read and to understand what there is to do and see. TA regulars have spent their free time coming up with the top questions. Huntlawoffice has spent his with the list of bargain hotels. Please please read it and look up rates so that you can find something in your budget

Also your profile should state your home city and not the city you are visting. If you are in SF from SF, unless you are relocating, you wont need help

No one is going to post suggestions for DIRTY ROOMS in UNSAFE places.

LA
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2. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

Yes, it is a bad idea:

1. If you want to enjoy San Francisco, stay in the city so you can walk to sights, dining, theater, shopping

2. You will just pay a significant daily fee to park your car as you will not want to be driving around SF to see the attractions you describe.

There's a reason the airport hotels seem to have such great deals.

Oh. That;s Memorial Day weekend. Better get working on reservations. You aren't going to find a deal like the one you have found very easily.

Edited: 30 April 2013, 20:44
Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

Hi belomiser! Thanks for your quick reply. And thanks for the notice about my profile, I must have overlooked that when registering.

I have read through all the questions and they were so helpful. We already have our list of what we are seeing and where it is, etc. And I have read countless hotel reviews and opinions on the areas- I have about 10 places we are looking at in the city, specific package deals, AAA rates, with dates, etc. I am a type A planner and wouldn't have asked without doing that research first. I just didn't find anything about my specific situation where i was not renting a car, but would have one anyway and wanted to know if driving was doable or not.

Sorry if I was unclear, I was not looking for suggestions for a hotel, I only posted that information because it was suggested by trip advisor to state our likes and dislikes. No need to be rude.

Hope that didn't sound defensive, I just felt a little attacked for asking a question. First time poster, just looking for some friendly advice. :)

Edited: 30 April 2013, 20:48
Phoenix, Arizona
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4. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

Hi PareoB, You said that - 2. You will just pay a significant daily fee to park your car as you will not want to be driving around SF to see the attractions you describe.

I was afraid of that. I think that when we booked I stumbled across someone's recent trip where they found a parking garage and could park for 12 hours for like $10-15. But i haven't been able to find it again. Plus I feel like this would be a nightmare to try and find - chances are most are going to be high priced. And, if we are in different areas, I don't want to have to keep searching for parking.

I'm definitely leaning towards one of the more centrally located hotels.

Thanks for your input!

San Diego
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5. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

Driving is doable but parking in the city is not easy!!

We are originally from the east coast and I am used to finding parking in NYC so in San Francisco we manage but I'd not suggest trying it for someone more used to suburban areas.

IF you are not used to dealing with city parking problems/cost then I'd suggest one of the motels on Lombard Street which are reasonably priced and offer parking. I believe strongly that the only way to experience San Francisco is to stay IN the city . IF you try to use transit to get in you won't be able to go back to your hotel to relax middday . IF you plan to spend a lot of time in the hotel and little time exploring the city then your hotel sounds fine, otherwise I think a change would be best.

LA
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6. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

SF is eminently doable by public transportation.

When I've had a car in SF, it's usually because I was buying something big and needed to pick it up (furniture). It always ended up being a massive hassle trying to find on-street parking.

And I have had my car broken into a pay garage, right in Union Square, so you can't really feel very safe about leaving your car in a public lot. (Hotel lots are OK). However, you will pay $30+++ daily to park it in a hotel. That gets annoying fast.

San Francisco...
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7. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

I was just being matter of fact. you are correct you do need to give supporting details as that does help us but we work best if you ask us specific questions as well. if your only question is, is staying near SFO a bad, idea, then yes.

If you do have a shortlist of hotels in SF, please do post it here and we will be happy to comment on that with respect to location etc. There is a map in the Top Questions that has all the major attractions and the location of the main hotel areas as well. That should help as well.

If you are planning to drive and have a car, the Lombard Street Motels from Cow Hollow to Coventry, to Del Sol to Buena Vista to Columbus Motor Inn have parking included in their rates

Eugene, Oregon
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8. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

What about leaving your car at a long-term parking lot at the airport while you come into the city without it, then take BART back to the airport when you're ready to leave? Most airports have long-term lots for air travelers that are pretty reasonably priced (they won't know or care that you're not flying anywhere).

Edited: 30 April 2013, 21:09
Pacifica, California
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9. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

Rather than parking in long-term parking at the airport and using BART, it would be cheaper and much easier to park at a BART lot for $2-$3 a day.

There are lots of parking lots in the South of Market area where, if you get in before 9 AM or so, you can park at the all-day rate of $15-$20.

San Francisco, CA
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10. Re: Please help - Is staying near airport w/ car a bad idea?

I think you may want to look at the motor inns on Lombard Street. They provide free parking; some provide free wi-fi. They're all in a better and more convenient location than the airport.

I just did a dummy booking for your dates and there is availability at Cow Hollow Motor Inn and Chelsea Motor Inn for just slightly more than your rate at the airport hotel. It will pay off, I think, to be in the City, being able to leave your car at the inn and take buses to attractions. Trying to find parking in the City can be a nightmare and a waste of your holiday time.

http://www.chelseamotorinn.com/

Good luck with your plans. I hope you settle on something that suits your travel style and budget.