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US trip: Please criticize

US trip: Please criticize

Old Mar 14, 12, 1:31 pm
  #1  
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US trip: Please criticize

Hey, I'm not sure if I'm posting the right section, so if I'm not - please feel free to move it.

I VERY MUCH NEED ANY HELP, TIPS AND ADVICE ON THIS TRIP AT THE END OF THIS THREAD! PLEASE GIVE YOUR OPINION ON THIS IF IT'S NOT TOO MUCH TROUBLE. THANK YOU.

I'm planning this 12 days trip for the beginning of July, and this below is what I got so far. I know it looks very rushed and insane, but that's what I'm looking for - I have 3 places I want to see (Washington's memorials, Grand Canyon and LA) and the rest of stuff I'm just visiting on my way. I DON'T want to stop for longer than a night's sleep in one place. So please feel free to criticize all of this if some parts look ridiculously stupid

ITINERARY

New York: 8th – 10th
> flight in with British Airways, land at JFK at 2pm
> 2 nights sleep at New World hotel [$150]
> evening bus to Washington, DC with Megabus [$15]

Washington DC: 10th – 12th
> 9.30pm arriving at Washington DC Union Station
> 2 nights sleep at Downtown Washington hostel [$80]
> 3.30pm Amtrak train from Union Station to BWI Airport (shuttle from there to airport) [$11]
> 7pm direct flight to Phoenix [$250]

Phoenix: 12th – 13th
> land in Phoenix at 10pm
> 1 night sleep at Econo Lodge hotel [$60]
> 11.15am Greyhound bus to Flagstaff [$25]

Flagstaff: 13th
> 2.10pm arriving at Flagstaff
> 3.45pm Arizona shuttle to Grand Canyon Maswik Lodge [$35]

Grand Canyon South Rim: 13th – 15th
> 5.45pm arriving at Maswik Lodge
> 2 nights sleep at the Bright Angel lodge [$170]
> 3.15pm Arizona shuttle to Flagstaff [$25]

Flagstaff: 15th
> 5pm arriving at Flagstaff
> 8.57pm overnight train to Los Angeles, LAX [$65]

Los Angeles:16th – 18th
> 8.15am arriving at Los Angeles, LAX
> 2 nights sleep at Beverly Inn hotel [$160]
> 12.10pm flight to San Francisco with Alaska Airlines [$100]

San Francisco: 18th – 20th
> 1.25pm arriving at San Francisco
> 2 nights sleep at some hotel [$100]
> 7pm overnight direct flight to London with British Airways

THIS IS THINGS TO DO LIST

NEW YORK CITY (buy City Pass - $89)
1st evening:
- C Metropolitan Museum of Art [city pass, only on Sunday]
- C Statue of Liberty, ferry [city pass]
- C Empire State Building, skyline (night time) [city pass]

2nd day:
- C Central Park
- C American Museum of Natural History (closes at 5pm) [city pass]
- C “Friends” building
- C Museum of Modern Art (closes at 5pm) [city pass]
- C Broadway (evening time)
- C Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Plaza (night time) [city pass]
- C Times Square (night time)

WASHINGTON DC (Walk through National Mall – all the memorials)
- C National Gallery of Art
- C Lincoln Memorial
- C The National Mall (lots of different memorials)
- C National Museum of American History
- C The White House
- C The Capitol (Segs in the City)
- C International Spy Museum [$20]

If there's time:
- Non-central Georgetown
- N National Zoo Park
- N Meridian Hill Park

GRAND CANYON
- Hiking, Bus tours, Photo Hot Spot (decide on place)

LOS ANGELES
- C Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
- C Hollywood Boulevard
- C Hollywood Sign
- C Griffith Park
- C Disney Hall
- C Langer’s Diner (hot pastrami)
- N The Getty Center
- N Staples Center
- N Venice Beach
- N Third Street Promenade
- N Rodeo Drive

If there's time:
- C Runyon canyon Park
- C Universal Studios Theme Park/Studio Tour [$90]

SAN FRANCISCO (buy City Pass - $69)
1st day:
- C Beat Museum – Kerouac (540 Broadway)
- C Vesuvio saloon, City Lights bookstore
- C Mama’s Diner
- C San Francisco Bay Area
- C Blue & Gold Fleet Cruise, Alcatraz (or Alcatraz night) [city pass]

2nd day:
- C Coit Tower
- C Telegraph Hill
- C Museum of Modern Art (opens 12am) [city pass]
- C Cable car (to Castro street)
- C Haight Street
- C Pacific Heights Photo spot
- C Exploratorium [city pass]
- C Twin Peaks Photo spot
- N Oakland Athletic’s vs NY Yankees [$20]

3rd day:
- C Golden Gate Park
- C California Academy of Science [$30]
- C Golden Gate Bridge


BOOKING PROGRESS


Booked Flights: London-New York, San Francisco-London, Los Angeles-San Francisco
Booked Transport: -
Booked Hotels: -
Booked Attractions: -

I've counted the cost of the mentioned trip, excluding buses in the city and stuff, to come around $1100. So counting public transportation, food, and attractions, I should be alright with $2000 - is that right, or am I missing something?

Thank you everyone for any tips, advice and notes!!

Last edited by Powka; Mar 20, 12 at 10:37 pm Reason: update
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Old Mar 14, 12, 2:11 pm
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Welcome to FlyerTalk! This may end up getting moved, but I have a few comments:

1) Any reason for Parsippany? It's a bit of a trek to NYC, and depending on where you are staying you might not be close to public transporation.

2) For the NYC-Philadelphia bus trip, you may also want to look at BoltBus, who offer similar fares. If you are staying in New Jersey it might be more convenient to take BoltBus' Newark-Philadelphia bus (which seems to have limited frequencies).

3) A 3PM train should get you into BWI rail station around 330-340, assuming it is on time. Keep in mind that the rail station is not located at the airport, and requires a bus transfer (or taxi) to the airport. This could take 20-30 minutes, which might be cutting it close for your flight.

4) The 5PM BWI-PHX flight is actually operated by USAirways. Probably doesn't matter a whole lot, but you would need to check-in with them. Southwest Airlines also flies BWI-PHX nonstop for a similar price, and they include 2 free bags and do not charge fees for changing flights after booking. Southwest also flies LAX-SFO for the same price as Alaska.
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Old Mar 14, 12, 2:12 pm
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Hi Powka. Welcome to FlyerTalk.

I have alerted the moderators to potentially move your post to a more appropriate forum. The Trip Report (aka TR) forum is generally for reporting travel experiences.

Anyhow, sounds like you have quite a trip planned. But a few more pieces of information could help us help you a little more. Is the $2000 figure you mentioned with airfare and bus fare included? If so, $900 could get a little tight, depending on what you are looking to do.

I do spend a substantial amount of time in DC. The nice thing about DC is that most of the entertainment (musuems and such) are free. But getting around DC on the Metro can add up. I would suggest you buy a day pass (If I remember correctly ~$9 per day), which would get you unlimited rides on the Metro for a day. But if you're not afraid of walking a few miles at time, DC is a great city to walk around in. That would help keep your costs down.

Although, I must say that $1100 for that much travel does seem a little bit low. But if it works out to that figure, more power to you!

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old Mar 14, 12, 2:18 pm
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Thank you for the warm welcome!

1) I'm staying at a friend's place for free.

2) Yeah, I've checked BoltBus, but they only have the schedule up to 6 weeks in advance. I'll check with them a month before the trip. Newark-Philadelphia seems way more convenient!

3) I've read on Amtrak website when looking through tickets that it departs from Washington, DC - Union Station and arrives at Baltimore, MD - BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport (24min trip). On GoogleMaps it shows that the final stop is at the airport itself. Am I missing something?

4) Thanks! I'll check the Southwest Airlines right away.

Thank you, very valuable info Bulldog! Much appreciated.

Harrison, cheers!

Yes, I've listed every price in the first post of this thread, but I'm not sure - maybe I've missed something. Although I've really tried to be very precise, counting hotel stays with taxes as well. Those are only flights, buses and trains between the cities (excluding public transportation within the cities). So that comes to around $1100.

Now, as I was planning my "things to do" list for every city, I'm mostly staying central every where and I'm a bit of fast paced walker myself. I figured, that a lot of the stuff can be reached by foot, if I have enough time. For example, in Manhattan loads of famous places are very close together. I'm also not staying for too long to spend much on public transportation.

So now it's attractions and food. Meals, I guess, shouldn't be too much trouble, as I'm not planning to dine at expensive places, I'll just grab something cheap and on the way (plus, some hotels have breakfasts included where you can stuff yourself for the rest of the day...) Except for maybe Philly, where I probably need to try Chese Whiz, and a sandwich.

Attractions - I've get city passes for New York and San Francisco. Most of the things in Washington DC, as you said it yourself, are free - memorials and stuff. In LA also half of the stuff I'd like to see is for free (like Rodeo Drive, Hollywood boulevard/sign, etc). So after a lot of math, I figured if I don't go crazy on food, I should be okay with about $800 (however, I'm not sure how much attractions might cost in Grand Canyon).

That's my math, which might be completely off, but that's why I'm here - to get a second opinion.

Thanks a lot for your response, Harrison!

Last edited by Powka; Mar 14, 12 at 2:29 pm
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Old Mar 14, 12, 2:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Powka View Post
3) I've read on Amtrak website when looking through tickets that it departs from Washington, DC - Union Station and arrives at Baltimore, MD - BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport (24min trip). On GoogleMaps it shows that the final stop is at the airport itself. Am I missing something?
You're welcome! For more info on the shuttle from the rail station to the airport, see here:

http://www.bwiairport.com/en/travel/...n/trans/amtrak

Also, you might be able to save a few dollars by taking the MARC train from Union Station to BWI (on the Penn Line) -- it takes few minutes longer though, and only runs Monday to Friday. More information is here:

http://mta.maryland.gov/marc-train
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Old Mar 14, 12, 2:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Bulldog83 View Post
You're welcome! For more info on the shuttle from the rail station to the airport, see here:

http://www.bwiairport.com/en/travel/...n/trans/amtrak

Also, you might be able to save a few dollars by taking the MARC train from Union Station to BWI (on the Penn Line) -- it takes few minutes longer though, and only runs Monday to Friday. More information is here:

http://mta.maryland.gov/marc-train
Cheers! I'll look into MARC train too. If it's cheaper, then that is what I'm going to take. I've noticed it also stops at BWI Marshall Airport - is that the place that I'll be flying to Phoenix, or do I need to take bus/shuttle from there to somewhere else? I'm confused after you mentioned 20-30min trip to the airport.
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Old Mar 14, 12, 2:45 pm
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(1) There is a Lakeland bus between Parsippany and NY. It takes about an hour.
There is a bus from Parsippany to Atlantic City, NJ. Then you can take train or bus to Philly.

(2) Time in Philly is tight. Maybe your friend can drive you to Philly the night before and you can buy the friend a cheesesteak.

(3) What are you doing in Phoenix? Perhaps cut out a day and add a day to one of the other cities.

(4) Overall it seems well planned out. Just expect the weather to be hot.
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Old Mar 14, 12, 2:56 pm
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Originally Posted by yoonny View Post
(1) There is a Lakeland bus between Parsippany and NY. It takes about an hour.
There is a bus from Parsippany to Atlantic City, NJ. Then you can take train or bus to Philly.

(2) Time in Philly is tight. Maybe your friend can drive you to Philly the night before and you can buy the friend a cheesesteak.

(3) What are you doing in Phoenix? Perhaps cut out a day and add a day to one of the other cities.

(4) Overall it seems well planned out. Just expect the weather to be hot.
Thanks, yoonny!

1) Bus to Atlantic City sounds nice. I wonder how far away the bus station is from the beach.

2) Do you suggest leave New York day earlier and have a 1 night sleep in Philly?

3) Damn, I did the exact opposite. But yes, I'm not sure what to do in Phoenix, I thought I'd figure it out. Which city do you think it's better to add that day to?

4) I'd rather have the weather hot, than rainy, I guess...

Originally Posted by Bulldog83 View Post
You're welcome! For more info on the shuttle from the rail station to the airport, see here:
Also, you might be able to save a few dollars by taking the MARC train from Union Station to BWI (on the Penn Line) -- it takes few minutes longer though, and only runs Monday to Friday. More information is here:
Thanks Bulldog! I'll check out MARC train, and if it's cheaper, I'll take that. I'm still a bit confused on this one: does the train - either Amtrak or MARC - stop at the Airport that I'm leaving from, or will I still need to take a shuttle to somewhere?
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Old Mar 14, 12, 3:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Powka View Post
Thanks Bulldog! I'll check out MARC train, and if it's cheaper, I'll take that. I'm still a bit confused on this one: does the train - either Amtrak or MARC - stop at the Airport that I'm leaving from, or will I still need to take a shuttle to somewhere?
Sorry if there's any confusion -- the rail station is about 2 miles from the airport, and a free shuttle runs from the station to the airport (kind of like how rental cars work at many airports). Both MARC and Amtrak will stop at the station 2 miles from the airport.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=bwi+ra...en&sa=N&tab=wl
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Old Mar 14, 12, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Powka View Post
Thanks Bulldog! I'll check out MARC train, and if it's cheaper, I'll take that. I'm still a bit confused on this one: does the train - either Amtrak or MARC - stop at the Airport that I'm leaving from, or will I still need to take a shuttle to somewhere?
There is a "BWI Airport" stop on the rail line, which is close to but not directly at at the airport. You have to take a shuttle from the rail stop to the airport itself.
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Old Mar 14, 12, 3:10 pm
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As this is not a trip report I shall move it on to TravelBuzz.


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Old Mar 14, 12, 5:08 pm
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How are you planning to get between LAX & your hotel? Although I don't know that hotel specifically, LA is not a particularly friendly city when it comes to public transportation.
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Old Mar 14, 12, 5:45 pm
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Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
How are you planning to get between LAX & your hotel? Although I don't know that hotel specifically, LA is not a particularly friendly city when it comes to public transportation.
That was also my question. I just googled Beverly Inn and it appears to be in a good location for walking to The Farmer's Market, The Grove, close to West Hollywood. Farmer's Mkt at 3rd and Fairfax is very close to Beverly Inn and offers a great variety of inexpensive dining options. As well, you can likely take a bus on Beverly Boulevard in to Beverly Hills, if you are interested in seeing BH.
Have fun. Terrific itinerary.^
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Old Mar 14, 12, 5:53 pm
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Originally Posted by Powka View Post
Thanks, yoonny!

1) Bus to Atlantic City sounds nice. I wonder how far away the bus station is from the beach.
Couple of blocks, I believe.
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Old Mar 14, 12, 6:03 pm
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Too rushed. Skip San Francisco? You've already mentioned what you want to do and San Francisco is not on the list. Do you just want to see one view of the Grand Canyon then leave or hike? If just one view, consider saving time and flying over it from Las Vegas.
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