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Hotel Location

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Texas
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Hotel Location

We're planning a road trip through parts of California and we're trying to not make it to structured, so we're free to stop at different places along the way. Just to give you a brief idea of our trip, we're flying into LA, renting a car and driving to Santa Barbara/Hearst Castle/Big Sur/Monterey/Carmel/San Francisco/Napa Valley and ending in Lake Tahoe. After spending a lot of time reading these boards, I'm finding that the only areas where I should reserve a hotel in advance is Monterey/Carmel/San Francisco. So, my question is, can I get one hotel in a central location, to visit Monterey/Carmel/San Francisco, or should I get two hotels. One when visiting Monterey/Carmel and then another hotel when visiting San Francisco? I've never been to these areas, but they look like their very close together. We're planning to be in these areas around the end of June, beginning of July. We're planning to spend 3 days in San Francisco.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Hotel Location

At best it is a 2.5 hour drive from San Francisco to Monterey. So you will need to get hotels in both places.

I'd reserve a hotel in Santa Barbara as well as you are travelling in June / July. Tahoe would be the only place that I would be comfortable showing up without a rez.

Santa Cruz...
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for Santa Cruz
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2. Re: Hotel Location

I would definitely reserve ahead of time. On your way up the coast, I wolu stop by Santa Barbara, or stay overnight if you have time, but probably an overnight in Cambria before driving the Big Sur Coast, and then Monterey/Carmel overnight and then San Francisco.

Edited: 24 February 2014, 21:35
San Francisco
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3. Re: Hotel Location

First of all, at that time of year you must reserve ahead of time at all your destinations. In fact, even in winter I'd be wary of winging it if you have specific places you want to stay or specific types of places.

<<can I get one hotel in a central location, to visit Monterey/Carmel/San Francisco, or should I get two hotels.??>>

There is no such thing. It's a 2+ hour drive from Monterey to San Francisco at the best of times -- by which I mean without traffic. Stay in Monterey/Carmel area for that part of the trip and IN San Francisco to see the city.

Edited: 25 February 2014, 03:15
Texas
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4. Re: Hotel Location

Thank you for your responses. We will stay in SF. I made a reservation at the holiday inn by the airport. It's not in the center of town but the price was in our budget & I was told it's only 13 miles from town. We' ll make sure we don't drive in/out during rush hour.

San Francisco
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5. Re: Hotel Location

I'm sorry, but it's really not a good idea to stay 13 miles away from any city you plan on visiting and SF is no exception. In fact, it may be less of a good idea as SF is on the tip of a peninsula which creates traffic bottlenecks based on geography alone.

What's your budget per night? I'd be willing to bet there is something that will suit within the city limits and SF and within walking distance of shops, cafes and restaurants -- which no airport hotel will be.

You indicate that you're flying into LA but "ending in Tahoe." Where are you flying out of? If you end your trip in SF you can turn your car in when you arrive as SF has very good public transit and is, geographically, not a large place. Many popular sights are in the downtown area and are relatively easy walking distance apart.

San Diego
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6. Re: Hotel Location

HI there,

I am not sure what your experience has been with traveling during the summer to busy destinations? You are planning to do a very popular drive at a very busy time so I agree that all your stops should be booked ahead unless you have unlimited funds. You won't get the best prices at the last minute because many motels will be booked solid!

San Francisco for 3 days is a great place and you can for sure stay in the city without your car and get around by public transit and by walking. The folks on the San Francisco forum will help you if you tell them your budget for lodging.

Staying out by the airport will not allow you to enjoy the city much.

You may also be thinking that distances are smaller than those in Texas?

The difference is that you cannot drive as fast as you do at home because these scenic roads are one lane in each direction and you must go slowly on them.

Please take your time so you can actually enjoy the trip.

Route 1 between Monterey and Cambria deserves plenty of time.

Texas
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7. Re: Hotel Location

We are thinking about flying out of Lake Tahoe. We are still working on the details, so this is not set in stone. I need to contact a rental company to see if we can drop the car off there. My budget for a hotel is under $175 a night (including parking). I pretty much stay at hotels like Holiday Inn or Comfort Inn. I've read about other hotels that people have recommended in my price range, but I don't know anything about them and I've been burned several times by taking advice from people on these boards and then get to the hotel and find the accommodations very uncomfortable. By that, I mean, not in the best side of town, or not clean and with beds that you didn't want to sleep in. So because of this, I'm sticking with hotels that I know.

Washington State
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8. Re: Hotel Location

>>I've been burned several times by taking advice from people on these boards<<

But you have never received bad advice from the people on the San Francisco forum. Painting everyone with the same brush is pretty inconsiderate.

The Top Questions on the right side of the page has some excellent information for visitors. In particular, reading the info about budget lodgings and lodgings with parking included might help. Or maybe you just want to find information about commuting into the lovely city of San Francisco.

You can drop a rental car many places, but you'll pay an extra fee for the privilege.

I'll join the chorus of voices recommending that you plan your trip and make lodging reservations.

sf
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9. Re: Hotel Location

I tend to agree with everybody above, you didn't mention the total time of your trip just that you're trying to go most of the length of California. You'll need reservations everywhere during this period, not just in a few places, this is high season. You'll need to pick a time and date for Hearst Castle(best online) unless you're prepared to wait for open slots, and you should do it on the way to Carmel/Monterey. The coast looks easy to traverse, but the road between Cambria and Monterey is very twisty, and can take a lot of time despite not being a very long trip in terms of mileage.

If you're worried about your budget, flying out of Lake Tahoe will definitely impact it, if you're seriously thinking about leaving that area for home, fly from Reno.

10. Re: Hotel Location

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