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3wks in USA, flying in & out of LA, in Jan 2018

3wks in USA, flying in & out of LA, in Jan 2018

Aug 17th, 2017, 11:37 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 1
3wks in USA, flying in & out of LA, in Jan 2018

Hi. We are an extended family (parents, 2 boys, 14 & 12yrs, and both mothers-in-laws) flying in and out of LA Jan/Feb 2018 for 3 weeks. In 2014, we (not the MILs) "did" LA, San Diego, Joshua Tree NP, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, San Fran. Now, we are heading back - cheap flights, hence Jan/Feb. We are outdoorsy more than big city folks, but realise that doing something like the Grand Circle of Parks in Utah may not be the best option for that time of the year (that was the first suggested itinerary, which looks pretty neat).
We plan on renting a vehicle, but keen for some ideas and suggestions. i have looked at maybe flying up to Seattle then driving south. Or, maybe fly over to New Orleans then drive back to LA. Are internal flights (we are from New Zealand) extreme cost-wise for that sort of travel?
Any suggestions welcomed! Thanks in advance!!
PlesFamily is offline  
Aug 18th, 2017, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 34,818
For so-called budget internal US flights you could look at a website that includes a variety of carriers to INCLUDE airlines such as Southwest and JetBlue . The former is not always included on some airline ticket sites.

Try using www.skyscanner.com as a possibility. The so-called "legacy" or "major" airlines will often try to match the fares offered by the budget carriers in some markets and that can be of importance to people who collect frequent flyer points on airline alliance member carriers.

Be aware that some budget carriers charge extra for things such as seat selection and baggage checking; others may not.
Dukey1 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2017, 04:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,431
Airfares in the US are quite cheap; in January, for example, the return airfare from Los Angeles to Seattle is actually cheaper than the return airfare from Auckland to Christchurch. Obviously if you're traveling between small or remote airports with little choice in carriers, the price can be considerably higher.

Weather will definitely be a factor in January/February, as will short daylight hours. The Pacific coast north of the San Francisco Bay Area is highly prone to long rainy periods then, and the mountain ranges that run north-south (Sierras and Cascades) will be snowbound.

You could certainly do a cross-country drive, although, again, you run the risk of hitting freezing conditions on any transcontinental route with the (probable) exception of the southernmost tier, Interstate 10 between New Orleans and San Diego/LA. I'd also be cautious about one-way car hire costs; these can be quite high compared to rentals where you return the car where you got it.

What about a "two loop" itinerary, one in California and one in the southeast? You could do a circular drive on the west coast - LA up to San Francisco and back via the desert, then fly cheaply to, say New Orleans or Florida, and do a second loop from there. That would give you a lot of variety without exposing you to long (and potentially boring) days driving cross country.
Gardyloo is offline  
Aug 18th, 2017, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,322
Gardyloo's suggestion is about the best you can manage at that time of year. Unfortunately jan/feb are our rainiest/snowiest months along in the west coast and southwest states. It is very hard to pre plan a journey in California/Oregon/Washington at hat time of year. It could be lovely on the CA coast. But Coastal roads can be shut due to mud/ landslides and mountain roads can be closed due to snow, or snow chains be required which rental agencies don't generally allow. And the big valle between the coast and the mountains can be socked in due to fog. so you need one or two plan B's.
janisj is online now  
Aug 18th, 2017, 07:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,540
You're the parent, but I probably wouldn't go to New Orleans with young teens at Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday is Feb. 13th in 2018, and the parades will start at the end of January. You could see a parade in more family-friendly Metairie, Slidell, etc., but the French Quarter, esp. at night, becomes IMO a fairly adult space for those two weeks. LOTS of public drinking, some nudity, adult behavior, etc. Not to mention hotel rates are higher.
Jean is online now  
Aug 18th, 2017, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 43
Check out kayak.com and Southwest Airlines to get an idea of how much airplane tickets cost. look at nearby airports (i.e. There are 5 LA area airports). When calculating flight costs check for baggage fees (many airlines charge for first checked bag and some even charge for carry on).
Renting a car one way (i.e. Pickup and drop off at different locations) is usually very expensive.
bjgchi is offline  
Aug 19th, 2017, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,276
You could do the parks loop in Jan/Feb if you are flexible--e.g. might have to wait a day for roads to clear. Zion and Moab are quite doable then. I take my kids from Salt Lake to Moab for a long weekend every February. Zion is packed on Presidents Day weekend in February. How are you driving in snow? If it doesn't snow, you get lots of sun and the blue sky with the red rocks and some snow on them are gorgeous. Zion will be warm and pleasant during the day. I would skip Bryce because it should have lots of snow. The bottom line is that pretty much wherever you go isn't going to be perfect weather--bring rain gear and you will be fine. That would be my choice for an outdoorsy family.

What about the Phoenix/Tucson area? They are great that time of year, you just have to watch which passes you do or don't go over. My family has loved Tucson--lots of stuff to do outdoors and the temps are great that time of year there.

I loved New Orleans and would take my kids there--just not for Mardi Gras but if you go there in January, you will be fine.
StantonHyde is offline  
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