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Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

knr
Houston, Texas
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Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

Family will be travelling July 8-10. Is the savings worth the distance to stay at airport and commute to FW everyday. I see the fares for BART+cab fares on right side are about $50, is that each way for 4, or roundtrip?

If airport hotel is okay, is it better to stay on north or south side to catch BART?

Any non-chain hotels that are really clean, safe area for us? We do not need a pool or full service hotel.

Thanks!!

San Francisco CA
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1. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

In one word, NO!

San Francisco is unique in many ways, one being that the suburban areas do not have the same feel as the City. It quickly becomes (almost) like most of the rest of the country. Two days ago I observed a family speaking German arrive at the Colma BART station, looking like it had taken some time from their hotel. They got 2 stops and the mother noticed she was missing something, so they got off at Balboa Park and went back. If your vacation time is valuable, it is better to stay in the City. Please give your price range and someone here will point you to some good choices.

Corona del Mar, CA
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2. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

No, staying by the airport is a very bad idea.

Don't worry, very few hotels in SF even have pools.

It would help to know what your budget is and how old your kids are. A place that might work for mom, dad and a 7 and 8 year old might not work for a 13 and 15 year old.

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

tripadvisor.com/…50363659

tripadvisor.com/…50165138

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60713-i30-k646094…

Bloomington, Indiana
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4. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

Can you guess . . . No.

BART (from SFO) is $16+/person/day roundtrip (less from other stations, but it still adds up). Cab fare will be about the same. Plus you'll lose about an hour (or more) a day "commuting" on your vacation. These are two of the main reasons, there are many others.

Add this commute cost figure to your SFO hotel rate and let us know the result. We can probably recommend a handful (or more) of hotels in the city at that price point. All of which will put you in SF rather than at a generic airport hotel.

That's my $.02.

hlo

San Francisco
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5. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

All good advice above (excellent links from sfo310toyko) ... check the Top Questions (right side of screen on non mobile device) and check out the one on Budget Hotels.

I'm going to guess that you commute to your job ... do you want to commute to your vacation as well? Especially considering that SF is one of the great walking cities in the country. Even if you save a few bucks by staying out in Timbuktu -- wouldn't you rather be in the thick of things and within walking distance of much of what you wanted to see?

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

Sal, we get this question a lot. Is it time to make it a TQ?

San Francisco...
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7. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

The South San Francisco hotels are confusing to people since they see the name and think it must be part of San Francisco or adjacent, which it really isn't. Brisbane, Daly City and Colma are all in between the two cities, depending on your route. By staying in SSF, you're really staying a significant distance away, especially when you consider traffic or commuting hassle.

The distance also means those hotel rates aren't as good as they look when you consider the costs of Bart, taxi, or rental car and parking just to get into the city for your group. Plus you get to waste more of your precious vacation time commuting. You really need to take into account all the hidden costs of the airport hotels to make a good comparison since you wouldn't need to ride Bart, take a taxi or rent a car if staying in the city. While you might want Muni passes while staying in the city, the costs of muni tend to be much less expensive (such as $2 a ride for single tickets for vehicles besides cable cars).

I also think visitors (from most of the US, anyway) have their usual habits in mind and don't really understand that jumping in a car isn't always the easiest and cheapest way to get around here. The strategy of taking a car everywhere works pretty well in big sprawling cities or suburban areas in the US (including parts of the bay area like San Jose), but doesn't work so well in the more compact core of San Francisco (and other high density cities like Boston, New York, Chicago).

A problem with staying in SSF is that it's less dense and far enough out that public transit isn't super fast or cheap, but having a car is expensive and then you have to deal with having a car and hassling with parking when visiting the dense urban core of San Francisco.

If at all feasible for your budget, I'd stay in San Francisco itself. In most cases it's not significantly more expensive when you take into account all the hidden costs of staying outside San Francisco (and South San Francisco is outside San Francisco).

For some dates, hotel rates can rise very high if hotel occupancy is very high because of large numbers of conventions and events. Often you'll see rates that are 2 or 3 times the normal prices (extreme rates at these times such as $200 to $400 a night for even the most budget hotels and often $500+ for more midrange hotels). At those times, I could understand staying outside San Francisco, but if you want to be without a car there may be some other neighborhoods besides the airport hotels to consider. For example the area around the San Bruno Bart stop has a couple of hotels in walking distance to the Bart station by the Tanforan mall. Downtown Oakland has a few hotels near the 12th street Bart station that are only a 15 minute Bart commute into downtown San Francisco, and Emeryville has a few hotels that aren't a bad commute into San Francisco by bus. I'd leave these options as a last resort, though, since you'll generally be better off staying in San Francisco if you can afford it. See the lists of budget hotels in the top questions, for example. You also may be able to find some bargains through priceline or hotwire or similar blind booking sites, but you generally need to do some research and be careful about the area and star level you choose for blind booking to work out well for you.

knr
Houston, Texas
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8. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

Thank y'all. Figured you would say no to that idea. We usually get good deals on airport hotels, but think we'll pay up and stay at the wharf or somewhere in the city.

Don't really have a budget, just like someplace where I don't have the "ick" factor to worry about. Kids are 7 and 12 and they have never been to SF. A good 3-4 star hotel is good for me.

How much does the "America's Cup" impact the city?

Thanks again!!

California
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9. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

Stay in San Francisco. Those airport hotels aren't that great and the BART ride takes quite a while. I've done both and now use a taxi from the SF Airport rather than take Bart. A minivan cab might even be less expensive.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: Staying at SFO airport, worth the savings?

To directly answer your question about commuting costs. Taxis will cost you around $50 each way from near the airport (around $100 a day, perhaps more if you get stuck in rush hour traffic). Bart will be between about $4 and $8 per person per ride and the ride from the airport is the highest cost of $8.25, and you will probably need to take a hotel van to get to the airport from your hotel to get on Bart.

While many of the budget hotels listed in the top questions are near Union Square rather than fisherman's wharf, the union square area is nice and much preferable to staying near the airport, imo.