Travel : United States

School terms keep kids in school and parents sane. Holidays can be boring to kids if they are left alone. Discuss vacation ideas and how to make good use of the free time for both children and adults.

US Travel on June holidays - any tips?

Postby melody68 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:28 am

We (with hubby and 2 sons aged 13 and 11 yrs old) are going to US in June for 2 weeks and would like to ask if you have any tips on must-see attractions, recommended hotels, rent-a-car, etc.... We are planning to go to Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles (hopefully in that order). We are hoping to get tickets where we can land in Las Vegas & depart from Los Angeles or vice versa to save on a one-way 4-hour drive to/from Las Vegas.

Places in our must-go list now :
LA - Disneyland, California Park Adventure, Universal Studios, Hollywood, etc.
San Diego - Legoland, Seaworld & San Diego zoo or Safari Park
Las Vegas - Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, Mandalay Bay, etc.

Is June a good time to travel to US? Will it be too hot there?

For now, we are thinking of going via Philippine Airlines since this is the cheapest airline we can find which does not have a connecting flight in Japan. Do you know of other airlines?

This is my hubby's first time to go to US and for myself, I went there when I was still in primary school :lol: So, we are not familiar with the roads and we plan to drive to San Diego & Las Vegas/Los Angeles depending on our point of entry. Do you have any idea whether the rent-a-car companies have GPS which covers the map for LA, San Diego & Las Vegas? And also, how are the parking rates there or would it be better to ride public transpo once we're in the city?

Lastly, do you have hotels to recommend which have reasonable rates and which are also near the attractions?

Or you have other tips or anything, would really be glad to hear them.

Thanks!

melody68
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Postby tamarind » Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:48 am

Hi Melody,
My hubby and I used to work in USA for a few months before, we drove around a lot. Note that in USA, cars travel on the right side of the road, it is opposite of Singapore, so you need to get use to it.

My advise is, try not to drive long distances because I have experienced it and I think it is very tiring, and can be very dangerous. Even if we do not make mistakes, things can happen to the car. For example, once we had our car parked at Lake Louise. When we returned after sightseeing, a huge tour bus had crashed into our car. Make sure you pay for all the insurance. Though we didn't have to pay for the damage of the car, it was troublesome to arrange for a new car.

My advise is to fly in between the cities. In LA, you have no choice but to drive, unless you want to join day tours there. It is not so bad to drive short distances within a city, but take note that the highways of LA are nothing like what we have in Singapore :wink: It is not necessary to drive in Las Vegas, unless you want to go to Grand Canyon. It is a very long drive there. There are also tours going to Grand Canyon. I have not been to San Diego. Why not visit San Francisco ? It is a lovely city with very good public transport.

Now every rental car company should provide GPS .

One very important advise. If you rent a car in LA, never leave anything important in the car. The first time we drove to LA, we left the car only for a few minutes to inquire at a hotel, and all our luggage including our passports were stolen from the car, even though it was securely locked.

For recommended hotels, search http://www.tripadvisor.com/ for honest customer reviews. There are many hotels that are within walking distance to the main gate of Disneyland :
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g2909 ... otels.html

tamarind
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Postby tankee » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:27 pm

Ya, don't miss san francisco. It is a very lovely place.

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Postby Lynn2 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:36 pm

Agreed, lovely place.

tankee wrote:Ya, don't miss san francisco. It is a very lovely place.

Lynn2
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Postby Lynn2 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:38 pm

Hi Tamarind,
Thanks for the great tips.

We are planning to go there somewhere in oct.Thought of flying to LA, drive, and exit from san francisco.

Still planning, not sure to stop by in new york and head to disney world.


Cheers
Lynn





tamarind wrote:Hi Melody,
My hubby and I used to work in USA for a few months before, we drove



around a lot. Note that in USA, cars travel on the right side of the road, it is opposite of Singapore, so you need to get use to it.

My advise is, try not to drive long distances because I have experienced it and I think it is very tiring, and can be very dangerous. Even if we do not make mistakes, things can happen to the car. For example, once we had our car parked at Lake Louise. When we returned after sightseeing, a huge tour bus had crashed into our car. Make sure you pay for all the insurance. Though we didn't have to pay for the damage of the car, it was troublesome to arrange for a new car.

My advise is to fly in between the cities. In LA, you have no choice but to drive, unless you want to join day tours there. It is not so bad to drive short distances within a city, but take note that the highways of LA are nothing like what we have in Singapore :wink: It is not necessary to drive in Las Vegas, unless you want to go to Grand Canyon. It is a very long drive there. There are also tours going to Grand Canyon. I have not been to San Diego. Why not visit San Francisco ? It is a lovely city with very good public transport.

Now every rental car company should provide GPS .

One very important advise. If you rent a car in LA, never leave anything important in the car. The first time we drove to LA, we left the car only for a few minutes to inquire at a hotel, and all our luggage including our passports were stolen from the car, even though it was securely locked.

For recommended hotels, search http://www.tripadvisor.com/ for honest customer reviews. There are many hotels that are within walking distance to the main gate of Disneyland :
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g2909 ... otels.html

Lynn2
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Postby melody68 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:01 pm

Hi Tamarind, Tankee & Lynn,

Thanks a lot for the tips.

My hubby is used to left-hand drive coz it's the same in our home country. But seems it's more of safety & security that we should be worried about. Tamarind, thanks for the warning.

I think we won't have time to go to Grand Canyon given the limited time we have... it's mostly visiting the hotels and watching shows in Vegas. If we're not driving, how do we move around - taxis, buses, etc?

We had considered going to San Francisco at first but after doing some research, looks like there's not much to do there for my sons. When I went there last time, I remember visiting the museums in Fisherman's Wharf but I think they have all these museums in L.A.

Again, thanks very much for your inputs.

melody68
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Postby hypergatak » Sat Apr 23, 2011 4:05 pm

Hi, we watched the "Tournament of Kings" in Excalibur Hotel. My boys enjoyed the show as it is a live show, full of actions, and you also eat your dinner with fingers. The food served was good. You can check it out.

hypergatak
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Postby tamarind » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:39 pm

Hi melody68,
You can spend a lot of time just walking up and down Las Vegas strip, it is basically hotel/casino hopping. Bellagio, Caesar's Palace, Mandalay Bay are hotels with casinos along the main strip.

If you are just there to shop and take photos of the hotels, there is enough to do along the main strip, don't need to take bus. There is a monorail :
http://www.vegas.com/transportation/monorails.html

More information about taxis, buses :
http://off2vegas.com/transit.html
Last edited by tamarind on Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

tamarind
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Postby Happy Mama » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:43 pm

The buffet dinners at Las Vegas are CHEAP and GOOD! Must try! :celebrate:

Also nice to take a flight to see the Grand Canyon. It's awesome!

Happy Mama
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Postby 3Boys » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:06 pm

If I may suggest, please do not turn your trip into one large circuit of theme parks. You are visiting a foreign land for the first time, do try and take in the culture and a feel for the place. Disneyland, Universal Studios, you can do in Singapore, HK, Osaka and Gold Coast.

San Fran, in my view is a must do. Your boys are not that young. Go see some of the sights, Alcatraz in my view is so interesting, and so is the Museum of modern art, they can get a feel for some of the issues of American history like slavery and how that impacts race relations. I can give you some tips of interesting cuisine. My DW and I had dinner at Kokkari, a Greek place, it was fabulous. If are inclined, you can take a drive up to Napa Valley and do some of the vineyards. Do check ahead if they allow underaged persons on the premises. If you go a little further north, you can get into the parks with Giant Redwoods. They are a fantastic experience to see and feel, and cannot be gotten anywhere else in the world.

Driving 2-3 hours at a stretch is manageable, perhaps just try not to do that on your first day as you arrive. If you want to do a longer stretch, break it up with lunch break somewhere. LA to LV is manageable in one day, start at 9 in the morning, take a lunch and another mini-break somewhere and you should be fine.

SF to LV, on the other hand, is too long a drive, unless you take a night stop somewhere.

LV is another thing altogether! Glitzy, but in a fun way. Go catch Cirque de Soleil at the Bellagio. Great show. Take a walk up and down the strip, bear in mind though, the distances between hotels are long. Shopping is another thing you can do. There are a couple of outlet malls you can get to with really good prices for designer wear, and with the US dollar the way it is, you can get some fabulous deals. Kids clothes in particular, wonderful quality for prices that you would cry for compared to the exhorbitant charges in Singapore.

I've never had issues with break-ins with my car rentals, and I have probably rented in the US 5-6 times in the last 2 years. But do use common sense.

If you are doing the West Coast, then keep it there, you do not really want to be shuttling back and forth between East and West coast with such a short time. Your boys are young, you can bet they will be back to the US again some time in the future, no need to pack too much into the itinerary and diminish the experience. You'll be spending all your time packing/unpacking, checking in, transferring, and that eats up all the vacation time.

Do you really want to fly Phillippine Airlines? I think UA and SQ have flights through HK, if that really matters to you. Seoul, Shanghai are other ports of transit.

Great time to be visiting the US. Keep your wits about you, and you will be fine! Americans are generally helpful and friendly people.

3Boys
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