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Old 13 Nov 16, 10:48 PM  
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tonymc
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CA - Possibly, Maybe, Now Definitely!

Here we go again! Following our Florida escapades in August, we were keen to have another non-Disney holiday next year.

The plans were originally somewhat up in the air, as DD was starting University this year and may have been working at Camp America in summer 2017. However, she decided not to pursue the Camp America option, so that left us with the "maybe" option.

With Alex's course being in Film & TV Production, she mentioned she would like the chance to visit one of the film studios, so it really was a foregone conclusion that we would be heading for the West Coast.

Having previously visited in 2013, we were keen not to revisit previous locations, but visit some new places, and so a few evenings of looking around the various websites led us to the "must dos" being LA/Hollywood, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco and Yosemite - a tall order to fit into 16 days!

A bonus was that Alex won't return to University until the end of September, so gives us the option of travelling outside the peak holiday season.

The first step was booking flights. Always a tricky one this, as nowadays any mention of economy is usually greeted with a stony silence as both ladies have now become accustomed to the luxuries of PE/Business Class Travel.

Following our bargain VA U/C flights last year which meant we freed up our VA Miles and Avios, I ended up managing to book BA flights outbound MAN-LHR-LAX in Club World for 31st August using Avios. A few weeks later, I booked the direct SFO-MAN flight using VA Miles in Upper Class on 15th September, so the ladies have another year travelling in the style they have become accustomed!

Now having our "timeframe", it became apparent that we wouldn't be able to fit everything in we had planned, so our current plan is:

31/08 Arrival in LAX
31/08-07/09: 7 nights probably in Santa Monica or Long Beach, and using the Metro Rail service to get downtown. Probably booking a studio tour for Alex, and a visit to Hollywood.
07/09: Fly from LAX to Prescott, then rental car for the 2 hour drive to Grand Canyon. Overnight at Grand Canyon Village.
08/09: Mid-afternoon drive from GC to Las Vegas, calling at the Hoover Dam. 4 nights in Vegas.
09/09-11/09: Full days in Vegas
12/09: Early flight Vegas to SFO, remaining time to 15/09 in San Francisco.
15/09: Flight back to UK

So unfortunately it means we will be dropping Yosemite from our plans, but maybe another time.

And so far, that's all we have booked. I have been looking at accommodation for the various locations, with the possibility of renting a condo in Santa Monica/Venice Beach/Long Beach area, a lodge at the Grand Canyon Village to maximise our short time there, and various hotels for Vegas and San Francisco.

I've also signed up to Groupon for LA, Vegas and San Franciso for any hotel or trip bargains that may crop up, so looks like an interesting few months of planning to come
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Old 15 Nov 16, 09:09 PM  
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Lell
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Sounds great. We have just booked for our first West Coast trip and I feel we are spending hours trawling the Internet looking for hotel options. We have also signed up to Groupon, hoping for some bargains😀
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Old 16 Nov 16, 12:41 AM  
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tonymc
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It felt a struggle at first for our first visit back in 2013, but now we have some sort of itinerary, at least we can narrow down the hotel options!
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Old 6 Jan 17, 10:53 PM  
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Two hotels booked tonight for the Grand Canyon (Yavapai Lodge - one night 06/09) and Las Vegas (Tuscany Suites - 07-12/09), the latter being a substantial sized suite. Both booked via Quidco and hotels.com with their price match guarantee, plus free cancellation up to a couple of days before arrival.

Surprised at these prices as up until a few days ago, hotel prices were substantially more.

Just need to sort out a condo for Santa Monica, and our San Francisco accommodation.
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Old 15 Feb 17, 10:41 AM  
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tonymc
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Managed to book flights from Las Vegas over to San Francisco using some Delta Miles Skymiles that were languishing in our accounts - grand total of $18 for the three of us!

Also managed to find our Las Vegas hotel cheaper by some £50 on both hotels.com and Expedia. However, as I had a £50 Expedia certificate (thanks to a problem with a previous booking I had made), this has further reduced our 4 nights in Vegas to under £400 which isn't too bad I guess.

Still looking for Santa Monica and San Francisco accommodation - just off to look at a couple of trip reports about SF to get some inspiration.
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 25 Feb 17, 01:19 PM  
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Finally taken the plunge and booked a reasonably priced hotel in San Francisco - the prices here are frightening!

Found the Cow Hollow Inn on Lombard Street for £215/night but with 12% Quidco cashback, bringing the price down to around £190/night. It gets good reviews on Trip Advisor, and also has free parking if we decide to rent a car for a day or two.

Also fully cancellable up to the day before travel, so if proces do come down, we can get a full refund.
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 25 Feb 17, 05:40 PM  
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carolynne67
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Originally Posted by tonymc View Post
Finally taken the plunge and booked a reasonably priced hotel in San Francisco - the prices here are frightening!

Found the Cow Hollow Inn on Lombard Street for £215/night but with 12% Quidco cashback, bringing the price down to around £190/night. It gets good reviews on Trip Advisor, and also has free parking if we decide to rent a car for a day or two.

Also fully cancellable up to the day before travel, so if proces do come down, we can get a full refund.
Hi Tony, we've booked here as well for September. Glad I booked last October as managed to get it for £135 a night and quidco. Prices really are expensive in San Francisco but it will be worth it - great city.
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Old 25 Feb 17, 05:45 PM  
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Weve booked the Cow Hollow Inn as well.
Looking forward to SF.
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Old 25 Feb 17, 07:54 PM  
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Blimey - may need to reconsider my idea of "reasonable" !

Also just changed our Las Vegas booking to one of the Hilton Grand Vacation properties, and also decided rather than the expense of flying to Prescott for the Grand Canyon, to add an extra night to our Vegas stay and we'll drive to Grand Canyon.

Overall, this has saved us a further £200, so the "value engineering" continues. Now if only I can persuade DW and DD to downgrade to Economy (TBH I can foresee a visit to Casualty if I mention this).
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2021 now 2022 Long Haul to Aus & NZ - Thanks Amex & Avios!, 2020 A second unexpected staycation - Budapest to West Wales!, 2019 Itís Disney... but not as we know it!,2017 CA Possibly, Maybe, Definitely..,2016 Economy and a Studio Just Isn't Good Enough! 2015 East AND West is Best Take 2: Canada...
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Old 25 Feb 17, 08:36 PM  
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Same as us again Tony can, we've added a night so we can drive to the West rim, we're not really in to scenery or hiking so West rim should be fine for us.
Have you booked your car hire yet?
Carolynne
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