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Best way to book holiday to California

(14 Posts)
Pinkpeanut27 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:04:33

First time travelling out of Europe since we had the kids .
We want 2-3 weeks along Californian coast .
Have had quotes from trail finders and Virgin for around £13k for 5 flights hotels and car hire .
Thought I could do it cheaper but to start with flights seem to be £1200-£1500 each which makes my own quote massive!

What am I doing wrong .
Usually I book early with easy jet and self catering from owners direct !

nmg85 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:17:23

Have you tried something like sky scanner to find cheapest flights? Have you tried flying on a week day? Have you tried flying into a different airport? If you are looking at school holidays those prices don't shock me.
To be honest you are flying to the US not Europe so it will be different... what is your budget or what did you expect to pay?

mummytime Tue 27-Oct-15 17:21:52

Well are you using your cheapest airport? I found much cheaper flights from Gatwick as opposed to Heathrow. Also do consider non-direct flights.

But flights will be a big part of the budget.But I'm not sure if now will have the cheapest seats or not.

For Car hire, try a few companies and also look at consolidators, like Holiday Autos.

For hotels there is a real hierarchy of hotel chains in the US. Places like Motel 6 and 8 are the cheapest. Then there are places like Comfort Inns. Then places like Hampton Inns. And so on up to ultra luxurious.

US school holidays start in about June, but can end in mid August. Lots of workers only get 2 weeks a year.

I would use Trip advisor, but do read between the lines. If each bad review is followed by a good review, it could be the owner is trying to counter bad publicity. People complaining about noise in a city centre Hotel could just be complainers.
It doesn't hurt to ask for discounts.

afromom Tue 27-Oct-15 17:31:08

Have you thought of trying air bnb for accommodation over there? You can rent apartments which gives you more home comforts with children and they will very often accept 1 or 2 night stays if you are travelling around. My sil is from Cali and we have travelled there a couple of times, mum and dad several times. We always use air bnb with a hotel stop off booked if we travel up the coast to San Francisco.

In terms of places to see, I loved Santa Barbara, San Francisco and LA has loads to do. Mum and dad just got back from San Diego and said it was great, so that's next on my list!

Pinkpeanut27 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:56:34

I thought 10-15 k tbh but I did think if I got that from the travel firms I could knock it down a bit . Or add in some luxury bits! It is a one off holiday . Will be back in rainy Devon next year
Not confident with using air Bnb tbh have heard bad things.
We are going last 2 weeks in August flying direct from heathrow with Virgin or BA.

Have decided probably want to do San fransisco, Yosemite universal studios and was thinking of a week in San diego at the end . Just need somewhere between Yosemite and universal.

Also I am not big on theme parks and have 2x 13 and a 6 yr old so thought a few days in universal woul do . Not sure if it's worth staying onsite ?

Pinkpeanut27 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:57:41

Seriously don't think I could face going to Glasgow as we live near Heathrow!

nmg85 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:58:31

Why don't you consider other airlines? Or an indirect flight? It's still peak season so you may need to be flexible.

nmg85 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:59:49

Do you mean Gatwick? Another possibility is to fly via Dublin or Amsterdam that can save 100's x

justabigdisco Tue 27-Oct-15 18:07:55

You definitely need to look at other airlines. We flew to the pacific islands via LA with air New Zealand (twice the distance of London - LA) and it cost about the same as the quote you got. BA are v expensive

mummytime Tue 27-Oct-15 18:21:49

Do look at Gatwick and other airports, I would happily drive to Luton for £300+ per person off the flights (I live between Heathrow and Gatwick). Sometimes if you pay for BA you don't get them but USAirways or someone anyway.

For your tour I would do: 1 night at the airport in SF ideally a hotel with a shuttle, so you don't have to hire the car until the next day. Then drive to Yosemite for a few days, then back to SF (you can either dump the car and rehire when you leave, or try to find a hotel with cheap parking). Then take Route 1 to slowly drive down to LA, do Universal (or Knott Berry Farm or Disney, whichever your DC will like most). Then down to San diego - do see the Zoo. Drop the car at San Diego and fly home or return it to LA and fly home whichever is cheaper (don't forget to allow for one way car hire charges).

Pinkpeanut27 Tue 27-Oct-15 18:25:23

Ok will look at other airlines and airports , do they fly from Luton to San fransisco? I'm off to look!!

nmg85 Tue 27-Oct-15 18:29:47

No but try Gatwick.

Foxesinmygarden Tue 27-Oct-15 19:00:06

I had 3 1/2 weeks with DH and DD on a road trip this summer. We went from Seattle to LA and it was fab. We booked with The American Road Trip Company www.theamericanroadtripcompany.co.uk who organised everything. They were great and because they got bulk deals on hotels it didn't work out much different from us doing it ourselves. They were very flexible, we customised one of the standard trips and added in a few detours etc. Things that reduced the price were a mix of cheap hotels alongside a few higher price (in the big cities). We also flew back from LA not San Diego at less cost and if we'd done a round trip going in and out same airport it would have been substantially cheaper. We would also have avoided the extra supplement on the car hire for different airport drop off. We flew BA Heathrow and they were good at telling us what different costs we could have by changing day / time etc. once we were there it was fairly cheap especially away from big towns, we bought a cheap picnic lunchbox and filled it up with ice every morning so we could have picnic lunches which helped! I'd say if you can add in some time in the redwoods at the top of California (you can drive through a giant tree for 6 dollars) as well as the studios etc. Enjoy it was worth every penny.

overthemill Tue 27-Oct-15 22:53:14

Look at sky scanner and kayak for flights. Check for accommodation on trip advisor. It's a very very expensive destination and you will be shocked by how expensive it is!

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