visiting California no hire car

(14 Posts)
Pootrouble Sun 16-Mar-14 02:26:29

Me dh and two dc would like to visit san fran and LA. Is it manageable without a hire car? Dh point blank doesnt want to drive out there. Csn you arrange to be picked up for excursions etc when in LA?

whitsernam Sun 16-Mar-14 02:30:48

There are buses, trolleys, rapid transit trains, etc. and taxis to take you everywhere... might get expensive, but easier than driving in big city traffic and paying for parking. If you can plan where you'd like to go, then you can find out online about transportation to get there. And lots of places you can walk to. But do plan in advance, at least day to day, so you figure out what is on the way to something else you want to do, and where you will catch your transport. It works.

I live in the States and don't always rent a car when I travel.

aroomofherown Sun 16-Mar-14 02:40:52

I've done that trip. My best friend lived in LA for 8 years and I visited her a few times as well.

Personally I wouldn't dream of LA without a car. You can get taxis though - as long as you are prepared for that.

I thought San Fran was pretty easy without a car - we walked most of the time, with an occasional cab (night out) and one bus.

Pootrouble Sun 16-Mar-14 04:06:38

Ok thanks. I did LA about 15 years ago when I was 18 but was located in anaheim and had a tour operator collect us for days out if I remember rightly. However want to trsvel further afield thid time

I live in LA and it's easy to be without a car if you're happy sticking to one area/city (Santa Monica or West Hollywood for example) but not if you want to do Universal and Disney and Venice and Hollywood. For example. Well, you can, but you'll be on crappy buses that take forever to get anywhere. There's the metro but aside from Culver City it doesn't service the Westside at all (yet, it will extend in 2015 I think)

Also it's a pain getting from SF to LA without a car and you'll miss one of the best sights of the West Coast (the Big Sur) if you don't

Nobodyputsbabyinthecorne Sun 16-Mar-14 04:58:24

We were in California about 18 months ago, and as with the others I wouldn't even consider not hiring a car.

Public transport out there is nowhere near as convenient as the uk. Driving yourselves, you get to see so much more than if you were on transfers or coaches. The drive up the pacific coast highway is stunning, one of the attractions of the area IMO.

Why is your DH so against it? It really is the best thing to do, and not scary at all if that's his concern.

duskymoon Sun 16-Mar-14 05:27:07

You will be missing out. SF is fine - you don't really want a car until you've done the city but you will miss out on Marin headlands and Calistoga/Napa and outlet malls!!

As others have said the drive South is part of the experience - Big Sur, Hearst Castle,stopping at 6 flags...

I would imagine LA would be pretty grim getting everywhere on buses (hot, slow and a bit dodgy)- not much of a holiday to me.

Do you not drive? Driving in the US is easy. I've done it lots. No different to France or Spain and easier because you will get an automatic car and the steering wheel will be on the correct side iyswim! Lots of merges rather than confusing junctions (they don't do roundabouts) and once you understand some basic principles that gooogle will help with (who has right of way at 4 way stop junctions, that you can turn right on a red light - and the like honestly you will be fine.

Go - get a car and have a great holiday - you are spending $$$$$ so don't compromise.

Otherwise, if it were me I would be looking to go elsewhere - half the fun (for me anyway) is driving about all over the place - its that kind of holiday -did I mention outlet malls....!

mathanxiety Sun 16-Mar-14 05:38:56

Driving in the US really is easy. What is your DH's objection? You will shell out a fortune in taxi fares otherwise, and you will be expected to tip on top of the fare.

Pootrouble Sun 16-Mar-14 08:23:51

I do drive but only driving a year. Dh has driven abroad before for work but doesnt enjoy it or think its relaxing! I shall have to persuade him

specialsubject Sun 16-Mar-14 15:22:43

SF works fine without a car as long as your accommodation isn't miles out. You can also do the headlands, Sausalito etc - there is good public transit and you'll be ok with some walking. In fact a car is a pain in SF.

Managed without in LA for 2 days (which is as long as I'd want to spend there) - but you spend a lot of time on buses feeling like you are in 'Speed'. Did the Hollywood central bit and the Getty museum.

mathanxiety Sun 16-Mar-14 15:59:31

You will easily manage driving with a year of experience in Britain under your belt.

It's nerve wracking at first when you are driving on 'the wrong side' but in an automatic you are relatively free to concentrate on what side of the road you're on, watch the other cars and traffic lights and signs, and even look at the scenery.

Don't hire a car at the airport as driving away in it could be quite a challenge -- lots of signage, lots of traffic all focused on getting to or getting away from the airport, and lots of taxis weaving around. Go to a car hire place near your hotel or one where there are side roads you could take your car onto for a little spin to get used to it.
I recommend finding a big carpark and practicing a bit before you head out on a road.

Creamycoolerwithcream Sun 16-Mar-14 19:07:13

We had a few days in L.A before a cruise and didn't hire a car as I couldn't find a company where I could pickup a car from the airport and drop back at the port. We booked transfers from the airport to the hotel and then onto the port. The hotel we stayed at provided a shuttle to Disney and Different excursions can be booked through Viator. Three days was fine as we mainly went to visit Disney and because our cruise started from L.A and but like others have said it would be much easier if you have a car. My DH sounds like yours and doesn't like driving when on holiday and the thought of driving on the other side of the road terrifies me. Do check out Viator, they offer excursions all over the world. I used them recently in Dubai and South America and had no problems. They come and collect you from your hotel.

mathanxiety Sun 16-Mar-14 19:33:23

The roads are so wide and well signposted driving would be a breeze compared to doing it the other way round.

specialsubject Mon 17-Mar-14 10:45:38

oh, and don't drive a car straight off a long haul flight either. This applies anywhere.

another reason to start in SF!

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