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PatrickC May 29th, 2019 04:44 AM

US Itinerary for January 2020
Hi everyone

I will be in Memphis from 12/30/20 to 1/2/2020. We are a party of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) and I was thinking of the following itinerary:

1. Drive from Memphis to New Orleans. Spend 2 nights in New Orleans. (1/2/2020 and 1/3/2020)

2. Fly to Vegas and spend 3 nights in Vegas. (1/4/2020 to 1/6/2020)

3. Drive to LA and spend 3 nights in LA. (1/7/20 to 1/9/20) Would it be better if I stayed in Anaheim since I am planning to go spend a day at Disneyland?

4. Drive to San Francisco via the Pacific Coast Highway, staying at Cambria (1/10/20) and Monterey.(1/11/20)

5. Spend 5 days in SF (1/12/20 to 1/17/1/20)

Any comments on the itinerary would be appreciated.


AJPeabody May 29th, 2019 06:02 AM

If you remove travel time and location change overhead time (pack/unpack, hotel check in/out, eating, local orientation) from your itinerary, you will have very little real time in too many places. Cut out half of your targets and replan for a much better vacation.

jmoyogi May 29th, 2019 06:12 AM

Have you driven in the US before? That is a lot of driving and not much time anywhere. At the least, I'd cut out Vegas and fly to LAX instead.

janisj May 29th, 2019 07:26 AM

January can be very wet in a lot of those places. Driving Highway 1 might be fine -- or could be a totally washed out slog. Three nights in Las Vegas is a lot with children. You will be quite limited to what you can do. It will be too cold to swim and they can't enter the casino areas (they can go to the restaurants inside the casino hotels)

I wouldn't bother driving from LV to LA. I'd fly straight from Las Vegas to John Wayne Orange County, take the Disney shuttle to the parks and stay in Anaheim at least 2 nights (or you can fly into LAX - Disney does a shuttle from there too) - you can't see both parks in one day. That would only leave you one day for all of LA - what are your plans there?

Then, whether driving up the coast works or not will entirely depend on the weather at that specific time. Which is too late to decide.

jamie99 May 29th, 2019 02:03 PM

Whether to stay in Anaheim, LA or both depends on what you plan to see in LA. Disneyland has two parks the original Disneyland and California Adventure.
Check the website for Caltrans road conditions before setting out on Highway 1 to make sure it is open (it gets closed sometime due to rain and mudslides).

tomfuller May 29th, 2019 03:22 PM

Where are you coming from to get to Memphis in late December 2019? If you are flying into Memphis, you might not want to rent a car at all. Take the Amtrak "City of New Orleans" from Memphis to New Orleans unless you have something you feel that you need to see in between. The train leaves Memphis in the morning and arrives in New Orleans at the Amtrak/bus station in the mid afternoon. The train station in NOL is next to the Superdome and is within walking distance of streetcar lines and the French Quarter.
Fly from New Orleans to Las Vegas. The rental cars there are much cheaper than the ones in southern California.

PatrickC May 30th, 2019 03:21 AM

Yes, I am considering removing Las Vegas from my trip as suggested by jmoyogi.

PatrickC May 30th, 2019 03:26 AM

Janis and Jamie99, I am considering removing Vegas and stay longer in Anaheim, Maybe 2 nights in Anaheim and 2 nights in LA. I am not keen to spend more than 2 nights in LA.

Thank you for the advice on the coast. Is it possible to drive to SF on another route since I will be renting a car?

PatrickC May 30th, 2019 03:29 AM

Hi tomfuller, I am actually arriving in New York on 12/23 and leaving NY for Memphis on 12/30.

Thank you for the advice on getting to NOL by train. Not sure what is there in between as we just decided to go the NOL from Memphis. Thought driving would be fun and exciting. Would look into the train option.

tomfuller May 30th, 2019 06:56 AM

Consider flying from New Orleans to San Francisco (or Oakland, San Jose or Sacramento) and renting the car there and driving the coastal route southbound. Driving the Pacific coast southbound is more enjoyable to me with all right turns to make stops along the coast. Spend your time in Anaheim and LA before driving north on I-5 to return the car where you rented it in the San Francisco area.
Enjoy your time in Memphis and New Orleans. Is there a reason you chose to spend NYE in Memphis instead of New Orleans?

MichelleY May 30th, 2019 01:19 PM

If Hwy 1, the coast road is closed, you can take US 101.

jamie99 May 30th, 2019 03:36 PM

What Michelle said, if Highway 1 through Big Sur is closed, take the 101, the I-5 is boring as heck (plus in the early mornings in winter you can get dangerous Tule fog).
Here is the website for Caltrans, enter 1 for Highway 1 road conditions a day or two before your drive:
Division of Traffic Operations - Road Information - California Highway Information

PatrickC May 30th, 2019 10:22 PM

My sister lives in Jonesboro, AR and was planning to spend NY with her. Memphis is closer to Jonesboro. Dont mind spending NY in New Orleans either provided my sister comes to NO.

I do agree that Pacific coast southbound is better but was concern about the time to drive from SF to LA and back. I dont have many days to spare unless I can drive from LA to SF in a day on I-5.

PatrickC May 30th, 2019 10:23 PM


janisj May 30th, 2019 10:39 PM

>>I do agree that Pacific coast southbound is better . . . <<

People are always recommending doing the drive north to south but in actuality, the difference is minimal -- especially at that time of year when there will be much less traffic. The 'advantage' of being on the ocean side of Hwy 1 is also a disadvantage because that is the 'scarier' side of the road with shear mountainsides plunging straight down to the water. That is white knuckle driving for some. In fact, many people prefer the drive south to north. So I certainly would not jump through hoops and force myself into an extra jaunt north back to SFO.

You can have just as good an experience no matter the direction of travel.

PatrickC May 30th, 2019 11:30 PM

janisj, that's true since I am not used to driving on the right. The scarier part applies to me 100%.

PatrickC Jun 11th, 2019 06:48 PM

Hi everyone

Would it be better to drive during the summer period between LA and SF on the coastal road? I might just fly from LA to SF and do the road trip in summer on my next trip.


janisj Jun 11th, 2019 07:32 PM

Originally Posted by PatrickC (Post 16935186)
Hi everyone

Would it be better to drive during the summer period between LA and SF on the coastal road? I might just fly from LA to SF and do the road trip in summer on my next trip.


Well -- the weather will be better, except it can be quite foggy at times in the summer. Accommodations will cost more in summer and most places on the coast will require 2 night stays on weekends and depending on exactly when you are traveling 2 and 3 night minimums (like around the 4th of July holiday or Labor Day weekend at the beginning of Sept). But yes, summer is more 'certain' than winter.

PatrickC Jun 24th, 2019 11:17 PM

Hi All

On another note, it is advisable to stay in San Jose and travel to San Francisco or better to just stay in SF? My cousin offered me a place to stay in SJ. I believe travel time is around 1.5 hours. Not sure whether feasible or not.

janisj Jun 25th, 2019 01:32 AM

I would not stay in San Jose as a base to see San Francisco. The commute will be long (and expensive - either by train or driving yourself and paying for parking)

Now, you could stay with your cousin for a couple of days and use it as a base to see a redwood park (Big Basin or Henry Cowell) and maybe visit Santa Cruz, or do some wine tasting . . . but then move up to San Francisco to tour the city.

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