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Fly into San Fran, Drive the coast, Fly out of San Diego

Fly into San Fran, Drive the coast, Fly out of San Diego

Old Oct 12th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Fly into San Fran, Drive the coast, Fly out of San Diego

Planning on buying plane tickets for my girlfriend for Christmas. We will be most likely flying into San Fran, driving the coast and flying out of San Deigo (We're coming from Boston)... Or we could do it the other way... This will be mid April 2010

Any advise on this? Not looking to spend an arm and a leg, so any cost saving ideas are very appreciated...

Some of my biggest questions/concerns...

1. Car rental...

2. Is this a 3 stop Itinerary? or two one way flights? If it's a 3 stop itinerary what is a good site to shop on for travel arrangements (flights and car rental)?

I've never booked a vaca like this, so step by step and newbie instructions appreciated!

Thanks in advance
LetsGo508 is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2009, 09:35 AM
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There may be an additional charge for one-way drop of rental car fees.

There may be an additional insurance charge if you are under 25 years old.

How long are you going for? You don't mention it.

What do you mean by a 3 stop itinerary. I seriously doubt there is a direct flight San Diego to Boston, but maybe. Try www.kayak.com for some idea of available itineraries.
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 09:40 AM
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Many airlines sell tickets as one way flights even if you do a round trip so check with the airlines on that. Go to one of the sites like expedia or orbits and do some research on costs, then go to the airlines that look less expensive and check costs there. Usually I've gotten a better deal directly with the airline. If you don't feel comfortable with that, go to a travel agent and pay for the service they provide.

Check with some car rental agencies to see if the drop off fee is better going SF to SD or the other way if direction doesn't concern you.
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 09:52 AM
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I think American and Alaska both fly the Boston--San Diego route nonstop. With one stop, you can find flights from US Air, United, Delta, Virgin America and Delta--but I don't know which of those are "direct" as opposed to "change planes."
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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Ok, a few things i didn't mention, We will prob do the drive in 4 days. My company has an employee discount with enterprise, so i'll try to use them, I'm just over 25 so no added fee there.

I would be willing to fly out of LA if I had to...

In reference to the 3 stop itinerary... I have no idea what I'm talking about. But is there a way to get a "roundtrip ticket" the first leg on the trip be BOS to SFO and the return flight be from San Deigo to BOS?

Also, if anyone has done this, and has experiences or warnings feel free to post, or email me at [email protected]

Thanks everyone!
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Is your whole trip, SF to SD going to be done over 4 days? If so, I would say just pick one place to visit. Either SF or SD. Not both. SD is about an 8 hour drive from SF. There is plenty to do in the SF area for 4 days. OR, there is plenty to do in SD for 4 days. For a trip like this, you would need a week to 10 days minimum to enjoy yourselves.
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Sorry my bad. We will be going for a week, 3 [weekend] days in San Fran and 4 [Mon-Thurs] on the road. She's always wanted to drive the coast, i'm gonna make it happen... at least I'm gonna try...
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 10:36 AM
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It still may be too much to do in a week. Do the 3 days in SF, 3 on the coast in Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur. Or throw in a few days in Napa/Sonoma.

Have you thought about flying out of LA? Save SD for another trip.

The best part of the coast is SF down thru Big Sur.
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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Try Soutwest...I heard they will be starting service from Boston this fall....anyone know if they have. You could book each as one way. There will probably be a stop at Midway (Chicago) or vegas.

Drive south from SF to SD on the Pacific Coast Highway. This puts you on the outside lane near the edge so you will see the scenery as you drive instead of the rock face and oncoming traffic that you see going north. It also makes stopping at the scenic pull outs safer since you don't have to cross in front of oncoming traffic to do so and you will be stopping frequently.

Stop in the Monterey/Pacific Grove/Carmel area for the first night. Point Lobos State Park just south of Carmel on Hwy 1 is nice for a morning walk before heading down the PCH. Maybe Cambria or Morro Bay for the second. I have no knowledge of anything fatrther south than that. Have fun.
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 11:37 AM
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All comments noted!

Ok so it seems like the best way to do it is maybe to just go halfway down the coast and get a round trip flight out of SFO and get an unlimitted mileage car rental...

Any other suggestions are much appreciated!!! Thanks everyone again...

Peter, planning on stopping and taking crazy ammounts of pictures, that's kinda her thing...

Thanks Michelle, we will focus on the upper part of the coast (upper meaning San Fran), where do you suggest I call the cut off? Maybe Montery???? Maybe try and make it to Morro Bay? or is that too far???
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 12:27 PM
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For a week, Morro Bay/San Luis Obispo would be OK. Maybe play it by ear. Get down to Monterey/Big Sur and see if you have time to go further. You can start there, drop your car and finish your trip in SF.

Do some searches here for trip reports others have done to get ideas. So much to do and see. Your week will go by fast.

MY
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 03:12 PM
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Since you're being flexible, I'd suggest that you make the Monterey area your southernmost overnight. From there you can easily spend a couple of days enjoying the area including a day trip down HWY 1. In fact, I just did a similar trip visiting my sister in Oakland.

We spent a day or so in SF but, there are greater experts here on SF than I so I will defer to them on that.

What I will suggest is that you consider Pacific Grove as your base in the Monterey area. It is convenient to Monterey and Carmel but, the seashore is still accessible to the public with trails that go all along the shore. No better place to watch (and photograph) a sunset.

We're big walkers so, we stay at Andril's Cabins. They are right behind the Asilomar Conference Center. From there you can walk through the convention center and out to the boardwalk along the shore. Turn left and walk to Monterey. Walk right and go to the beach or continue along the shore.

There are lots of great lodging options in the vicinity.

If you have never been, a trip to the Monterey Aquarium is requisite and well worth the effort. If you go in a busy season, you might have to buy tickets in advance to insure that you can go when you want to. Your photographer will love the place

Then there's Point Lobos. We just did a sunset visit and there were no clouds so the dramatic sunset failed. On other visits, we've gotten up early and gone as early as possible when the park opens and it was much more photogenic IMO.

Here's a couple of link...first these are the images form our trip down to Cambria in '06 starting at Point Lobos and then down the coast.

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/california_06&page=3

and here's the images from the last trip starting at the mission in Carmel. We didn't drive the PCH this time but did a trip to Tahoe and Pacific Grove after visiting my sister in Oakland:

http://www.pbase.com/peterb/california_09&page=8
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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The prettiest section of Hwy 1 (it is not called the Pacific Coast Highway up here) is from Carmel to San Simeon, IMO. That's the section of the coast you should concentrate on. Also, the prettiest place to spend a half day admiring the coast is at Pt Lobos State Park, just sought of Carmel. I would try real hard to do this section of the trip on a week day so you won't have to make reservations, and if the weather is awfull, you can go to plan B. We were in Carmel and Big Sur about 3 weeks ago, and there were lots of vacancies. If there are lots of vacancies in mid Sept, there should be lots in April also.

Here is a suggested plan:

Fly into SFO and spend 3 nights in San Francisco. Try to take an early flight, so you have plenty of time that first day. Read my previous post about things to do in San Francisco
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35129049

Around 10am on a week day, head south on 280 to 101, then follow the signs to Monterey. The trip is about 2 1/4 hrs if you avid most of the commute traffic Stay 2 nights in the Carmel/Monterey area. For a first-timer I would choose Carmel. I'm not a big fan of staying in Monterey, but I like Pacific Grove if you can get a Victorian B&B on the Bay.

After Carmel, head south on the Cabrillo Highway (hwy 1) & spend a half day at Pt Lobos. My previous post above has info about that - but it's down at the bottom half of all the replies. Stay 1 night in Big Sur (info about that on the prior post too). We stayed at the Big Sur Lodge a few weeks ago. Have dinner at Nepenthe - this is a "must see/do", IMO.

After Big Sur, continue down the coast staying at San Simeon. Others like Cambria, but I'm not that keen on it - especially after Carmel. Visit Hearst Castle if you have time.

After San Simeon, head north on 101 to San Francisco, and stay the last night in either San Francisco or Half Moon Bay. I would not stay at an airport hotel - especially after just visiting one of the most spectacular sections of coast in the US (Hwy 1 - not 101).

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 12th, 2009, 06:09 PM
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Here’s what we know about you and your plans:

mid April...
Not looking to spend an arm and a leg, so any cost saving ideas are very appreciated...
I've never booked a vaca like this
I'm just over 25
I would be willing to fly out of LA if I had to...
We will be going for a week, 3 [weekend] days in San Fran and 4 [Mon-Thurs] on the road. She's always wanted to drive the coast, i'm gonna make it happen... at least I'm gonna try...
planning on stopping and taking crazy amounts of pictures, that's kinda her thing...

Questions/Remarks:

This tells us a bit about you. Are you an on-the-go person, one who likes to cover as much territory as possible? Or, do you prefer to take things slowly? Describe yourself as more indoors or outdoors? This is not getting personal, just trying to build an image of what sort of travel person you might be.

Interestingly, your trip to the west coast is a reverse of what we would do going to Boston, then road tripping through Cape Ann, staying in Rockport, then driving up to Bar Harbor for a night and back. In fact there is some similarity between Rockport and the rocky cliffs on the Monterey Peninsula.

If you can picture that amount of time and distance starting with several nights in the city as Stu recommended, you will have an idea of how much ground you can cover here. eh?

Have you done a trip like that on your coast before?
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 06:43 AM
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Peter, Thanks for the Pics! Hopefully they will still be up when I give her the tickets and we can check them out together!

Stu, thanks for the suggestion, that seems to be right on pace with what I'm thinkking

Bear, I've been all up and down the North shore and the cape, I'm not putting it down, just not too impressed, excited about Cali!

Yeah we are not outdoors style people when it come to hiking and getting dirty so much, but I'll be the first one to climb a tree to help get the shot she wants... I fyou know what I mean. We would like to cover a lot af ground but somewhat passively, so we won't be rushing, but we wont be crawling...
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 06:47 AM
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Michelle, I am going to try and make it to Morro bay, some of the pictures I've seen are awesome, but that may be one of those, drive there and leave there in one day kinda things... can it be done a few hours? (meaning pictures, ect)
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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You could go down the Pacific Coast Highway to Morro Bay and then back up 101 to the Monterey area. According to mapquest, the return leg will take 2 1/2 hours.

The drive down the PCH will probably take 6 hours or so. It would be a long day and is only really possible if you don't boomerang back up the PCH...it would be slow going past scenery you've already seen. Not a road to drive on tired either...101 is the way to go if you attempt this.
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:06 AM
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>>You could go down the Pacific Coast Highway to Morro Bay and then back up 101 to the Monterey area. According to mapquest, the return leg will take 2 1/2 hours.
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:18 AM
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Thanks for the clarification Stu...actually I'm an Upstate NY guy. All this time I've thought I was on the PCH.

Check out this link...even National Geographic is confused!

http://traveler.nationalgeographic.c...FdVL5QodnytqiQ
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:33 AM
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Letsgo: If you do head down Hwy. 1 towards Morro Bay, you can take in San Simeon and Hearst Castle. There is also an elephant seal colony near San Simeon right along the road. Morro Bay and Montana de Oro are lovely, but I would only do it if you have plenty of time.

This plan to leave out S. Cal and SD is much better and you will enjoy the pace much more.

Please do a trip report when you return. These areas are also nice, romantic places to propose !
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