California Tour Groups?

Old Feb 5th, 2012, 11:10 PM
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California Tour Groups?

Hi!
My friends and I from Germany will be traveling to Los Angeles, California, in March and April. However, we will not have a car (too young to rent). We would like to visit Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, or San Francisco. We want not to do this part of the trip alone without support. Does anyone know of a good bus company or guided tour group that has trips to this destinations? Many companies we are finding do not have good reviews. Suggestions will be wonderful. Is there any other places we must visit while in California (we will stay most near Los Angeles)? Thanks.
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 08:13 AM
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Most guided coach tours will be geared to older adults (largely elderly)

You do not need a tour group get to get to Las Vegas or to San Francisco. It is very easy and inexpensive to fly from LA. But once you are IN those cities there are PLENTY of organized tours -- walking and bus tours in San Francisco, and day tours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.

So even without renting a car you can easily do either Las Vegas or San Francisco (or both).
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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This site might have some tours that would interest you.

www.affordabletours.com/USA/West/
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 09:05 AM
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Thank you so much! I appreciate the responses.

Janisj, can one get from the airports to hotels or hostels easily? Or is transportation difficult or expensive once you get in the city?

Emalloy,have you traveled by this company before? Any recommendations?

Thanks again!!
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 09:17 AM
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I haven't, and I think there might be more than one company at the site.
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 09:18 AM
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www.greentortoise.com
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 09:31 AM
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You can take a train (Bay Area Rapid Transit, called BART) from the airport to downtown San Francisco. You'd have to then take a taxi, or bus/trolley, or walk, depending on where your hostel is located. The train from the airport costs about $8.50 one-way.

Public transportation within the city of San Francisco is excellent (BART, trolleys, buses and streetcars run everywhere).

If you go to Las Vegas, the airport is very close to "the Strip". I'm not sure if you can get to the Strip by public transportation, but a taxi won't be too expensive.
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 09:32 AM
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San Francisco is ALL about public transport. Super easy BART trains into the city center, and really excellent bus and streetcar connections to get around the city.

As for Las Vegas, there are buses and relatively inexpensive cabs. The airport is right in town.

The green tortoise Placename links is great for young travelers. Only problem is most of their tours only depart every 2 weeks or so (or less frequently), which is why I didn't mention it. IF they fit in your schedule -- they are funky and fun.
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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oh - I see I was posting the same time as sf7307 . . . Great minds and all that
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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Young people join Cosmos tour, especially from Australia and Britain when they don't want to drive on the right side

There are tours out of Vegas to Grand Canyon and other places in the area. Las Vegas and San Francisco are better visited on your own.
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 04:26 PM
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Hey - don't forget San Diego - an easy train ride from LA. I was just out checking the big surf at Ocean Beach this AM and there were a number of European Visitors walking out on the pier - most of whom I think are staying at the California Hostel on Newport Ave in OB. It's also fun to visit Old Town, the Zoo, etc.

see: http://www.californiahostel.com/
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 04:32 PM
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And for the best deals in Vegas - just google away like crazy. They have a lot of "deals" - and since you won't be in the room all that much anyway - just go for the bargains. Most of the hotels on the Strip are two plus star so you sholnd't have to worry.

But make sure of the total/bottom line cost of the room - and don't let them slip in a daily resort use fee of $10 to $20 or some such.

Gut Gluck:
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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Have you considered taking Amtrak, the train. Trains in California and the Southwest may not be what you're used to in Germany but they will get you around.

What are you interested in doing?

How much time in Los Angeles? And Why?

How much time do you have?

What does your budget look like?
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 07:51 PM
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Amtrak California has the #8534 bus leaving from LAX Union Station at 10:50AM every day. It arrives at the Las Vegas bus station up near Fremont Street about 4:40PM. The later bus arrives about 9PM . About $55 per person.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 05:41 AM
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I'm pretty sure I saw city buses at the airport the last time I flew to Las Vegas. We weren't paying that much attention, since friends were picking us up, but it's really, really close to the tourist areas. Also the tourist areas are quite easy with a car.

One caveat, since you say you are too young to rent a car. Las Vegas is kind of beside the point if you are not 21, and most hotels won't book you a room if you're not. All bars, casino floors, and some other facilities (like "adult" pools) are completely off limits to those under 21, and they are serious about it.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 05:42 AM
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Sorry, that was WITHOUT a car.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 07:16 PM
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Thanks for the ideas.
Some of us are age 21, but not all. Hopefully we can reserve a hotel, but we read that you must be older to rent cars. We will research more.
We want to keep the budget low, so it looks like Amtrak might be a good idea. We visit friends in Los Angeles, but we will visit Las Vegas, San Francisco, and (maybe) San Diego alone. The only concern will be transportation from a train platform or airport to our hotel.
We appreciate all of the ideas. Any more will be great!
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 07:33 PM
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You generally need to be 25 to rent a car - some companies will rent to younger people, but they charge extra, and it's a pretty high amount.

As for Las Vegas, what do you intend to do while there? The under-21 year olds will not be able to drink or to hang out in the casinos.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 08:31 PM
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They under 21s can go to shows, can't they?

The last time we were in Vegas, I was surprised how many young families were there with kids. (granted the last time I went to Vegas was 1998)
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