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Unread 3 Mar 19, 07:59 PM  
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BONZO
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Let's go... to San Francisco (pre trip report)

Pre-trip Report

Lets goto San Francisco
March 2019


Cast (its the usual one!)
Me: Shaun, 50s, loves travelling, eating and drinking (not necessarily in that order!)
Alison: 50s, ditto to the above!


Well, its another trip thanks to another bargain fare and following the brief break from tradition for our Cape Town trip we are back on track with flying indirect once again. I always thought that once wed starting chasing Tier points wed spend the bulk of the flights flying west to America but instead the really good deals have mainly been going east thanks to Qatar Airways.

A West coast trip has always been on the cards for us - my initial thoughts was that itd be a 3 or 4 week trip covering all bases. However, what weve done is to split it up we did Las Vegas in 2015 and Hawaii in 2016. So its California on the list now but thats a BIIIIIIG state! So weve decided to tick off San Francisco this time around.

So, whats the routing this time?

1. Heathrow to Inverness - (STAY OVERNIGHT)
2. Inverness to Heathrow
3. Heathrow to Los Angeles- (STAY OVERNIGHT)
4. Los Angeles to San Francisco -(STAY FOR A FEW NIGHTS)
5. San Francisco to Los Angeles
6. Los Angeles to Heathrow
7. Heathrow to Inverness
8. Inverness to Heathrow

So, why Inverness this time round?

In simple terms, Air Passenger Duty is not levied on flights from Inverness or any airport further north. This means that significant savings can be made if you technically start your journey from here. The higher the class of travel the higher the savings will be.

For us it gives more Avios and more Tier Points which is what we are after plus a chance to visit some more places in the UK that weve not explored that much.

So the actual holiday is Inverness to San Francisco, and back again. We have to go via Heathrow, and weve added a stop in Los Angeles (for 2 reasons 1 is extra tier points and avios, the other is that the aircraft are a bit more up to date on the Los Angeles flights).

Because were starting in Inverness (and ending up there at the end), we need to book flights to get there and back again! This is where the Avios come in handy weve booked reward flights to go there and back. On the homeward leg we were planning on landing at Heathrow, a couple of hours break then flying up to Inverness, then promptly flying straight back again on the same plane!


As luck would have it, after wed booked, the schedules changed which gave us a horrible long layover at Heathrow of about 8 hours, so Alison rang up and rescheduled flights 6 & 7 to another weekend altogether! Then we realised wed have a really early start on the Monday morning for the Heathrow to Inverness flight, trying to get round the M25 in rush hour, so after a quick chat we decided to book a hotel at Heathrow using a Hotels.com reward.

So what we booked so far is:

Sunday 24th March drive to Heathrow, park in long stay parking and stay at the Sofitel (attached to Terminal 5)



Monday 25th March flight 1 Heathrow to Inverness (it's not a big airport!)



pick up hire car, check into Heathcote B&B



then drive out to see the Loch Ness monster!





Tuesday 26th March flight 2 Inverness to Heathrow, flight 3 Heathrow to Los Angeles (on the A380)



check into Crowne Plaza hotel



Wednesday 27th March flight 4 Los Angeles to San Francisco, check into Grand Hyatt near Union Square




Thursday 28th March

Friday 29th March Alcatraz



Saturday 30th March

Sunday 31st March -

Monday 1st April flight 5 San Francisco to Los Angeles, flight 6 Los Angeles to Heathrow (on a 747)



Tuesday 2nd April collect car from long stay parking and head home


Saturday 27th April - drive to Heathrow, park in POD parking


flight 7 Heathrow to Inverness, check into Kinnock Lodge B&B, then see a bit of Inverness




Sunday 28th April flight 8 Inverness to Heathrow, collect car, head home

Thats all weve planned so far but we have bucket lists (as always!)

Inverness
Distillery tour not sure which one just yet
Loch Ness should do this on 25th March
Trip to Isle of Skye not sure if well have enough time


San Francisco

Alcatraz cruise: booked
The rest is going to be all the usual tourist stuff, depends on how much we can actually fit in. Thanks to the all the Dibbers that have posted recently in the West Coast Planning forum. Not an exhaustive list but a starter for us to pick through and to start scheduling things.
Ferry Building marketplace - Slanted Door for Vietnamese cuisine
Chinatown - The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
Lombard Street
Golden Gate Park
Pier 39
Golden Gate Bridge
Coit Tower
Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood
Mission district - Burrito at La Taqueria
Lands End hiking trail
San Francisco Go Car Tour
San Francisco Scavenger Hunt Adventure
Walt Disney family museum
Golden Gate Park
USS Hornet
Ferries - Sausalito/Tiburon
Anchor Brewery Tour


So over the next week or two well start working our way thought some of the above and decided how and when well do them!
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1994 ~ EuroDisney ~ Santa Fe
1999 ~ Off site
2001 ~ CBR (Aruba) ~ Poly (Tahiti)
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2004 ~ Pop Century, RPH, CSR, PBH, Contemporary
2006 ~ DLP ~ Newport Bay
2007 ~ POR ~ HRH ~ GF
2008 ~ All star sports, BCV, RPH, Vero Beach, VWL
2010 ~ OKW ~ BCV ~ HRH ~POP Century ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
2013 ~ AKL ~ HRH ~ BCV ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL

Edited at 08:15 PM.
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Unread 3 Mar 19, 08:27 PM  
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LOU LOU DISNEY
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Sounds great even with all those flights! I thought I had booked loads of flights for our trip to SF but not quite, weve 5 to get but that includes a internal flight to Vegas!
Hope you have fun, Ive quite a few of those things on my list for April, Im doing the Dylans famous tour & Muir woods with a trip to Sausalito in the middle. I cant wait!
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Unread 4 Mar 19, 11:28 AM  
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Melbatb
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Sounds like another fab trip! Not long to go!
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Unread 5 Mar 19, 06:14 PM  
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sparkles18
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Another great holiday, can't wait to read your trip report.
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Unread 8 Mar 19, 10:35 AM  
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BONZO
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Well,

Planning is moving on and we've managed to get some additional things booked.

On the 25th March we are going to do the Loch Ness by Jacobite experience - nice 2 hour trip on Loch Ness including a visit to Urquhart Castle.



At the other end of the trip on March 31st we'll be going to the Presidio Picnic

Tagline is The national park picnic returns with food and dance that celebrate the diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area!



Lots of food carts, craft beer, music etc.

presidio.gov/events/presidio-picnic

Looks like a nice relaxing thing to round off our trip.

More planning to do this weekend.
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1988 ~ Contemporary ~ Honeymoon
1989 ~ Off site
1994 ~ EuroDisney ~ Santa Fe
1999 ~ Off site
2001 ~ CBR (Aruba) ~ Poly (Tahiti)
2003 ~ WL & HRH
2004 ~ Pop Century, RPH, CSR, PBH, Contemporary
2006 ~ DLP ~ Newport Bay
2007 ~ POR ~ HRH ~ GF
2008 ~ All star sports, BCV, RPH, Vero Beach, VWL
2010 ~ OKW ~ BCV ~ HRH ~POP Century ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
2013 ~ AKL ~ HRH ~ BCV ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
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Unread 11 Mar 19, 11:34 AM  
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BONZO
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Well,

We had a very productive planning session at the weekend and soon realised that with such a short amount of time we cant fit everything in so as usual well cherry pick the must dos and see how we get on.

Latest booking is for the Anchor Steam Brewing company tour on 29th March.




Definitely going to fit in The Disney family Museum somewhere along the line.




At least one of us will cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and catch the ferry back.


__________________


1988 ~ Contemporary ~ Honeymoon
1989 ~ Off site
1994 ~ EuroDisney ~ Santa Fe
1999 ~ Off site
2001 ~ CBR (Aruba) ~ Poly (Tahiti)
2003 ~ WL & HRH
2004 ~ Pop Century, RPH, CSR, PBH, Contemporary
2006 ~ DLP ~ Newport Bay
2007 ~ POR ~ HRH ~ GF
2008 ~ All star sports, BCV, RPH, Vero Beach, VWL
2010 ~ OKW ~ BCV ~ HRH ~POP Century ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
2013 ~ AKL ~ HRH ~ BCV ~ Vero Beach ~ VWL
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Unread 18 Apr 19, 06:07 PM  
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red cuillen
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Used to live in Nairn near Inverness. You must go to Girvans (near Eastgate Shopping Centre).
Isle of Skye is quite a long way, scenery spectacular of course, but a couple of hours to Kyle.
You could explore the Black Isle (Channory Point for dolphins if the tide is right). Or drive along the A96 to Nairn to visit Culbin Forest, go inland on the B9007 between Nairn and Forres to visit Logie Steadings for cake then walk to Randolphs Leap, a narrow gorge on the Findhorn River, or drive and park there! Further east to Baxters (soup) visitor centre and you are nicely placed for a visit to a Speyside malt!
Should this trippie go into the California section - might encourage more people to use airports that don't attract APD!
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Unread 20 Apr 19, 10:03 PM  
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sounds good
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