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  1. #1

    Default 17 days in California: LA, Yosemite, Tahoe, Lassen, Humboldt, Frisco, LA

    Hello, we are a young couple from Italy, planning for a roadtrip in California. We have 17 days from the beginning of September 2007 and our startpoint/endpoint will be LA.

    We would kindly ask if you could review this roadtrip plan and please tell us if it looks reasonale/feasible.

    1. Itinerary:

    LA to Sequoia (2 overnight stay)
    Sequoia and Yosemite (2)
    Yosemite to Tahoe (2)
    Tahoe to Lassen Volcanin Park, Shasta Lake (1)
    Shasta to Napa (1)
    SF (2)
    SF to LA (2)
    LA and SoCal (5) - We have friends in the area;

    2. Car Rental: what car type would you recommend for such a trip? We noticed that using local rental companies (LA: midway and others) you can save a considerable amount of money even on convertibles. We are giving more importance to the kind of car rather than the place to stay, which might be mom and pop style;

    3. Motels: what would be an average motel price in September? We considered in our guesstimate approx 60 USD per night. In SF we will avoid staying in the city since parking is just crazy out there. Would you recommend some place in the bay and then using public transportation? I heard about good connections with Oakland;

    4. Food expenses: does anybody have some stats for daily expenses? We will definetely have a cooler with sandwiches and lots of water in the back seat. We think restaurant every other day for supper might be OK.

    5. Overall daily cost: We came up with a daily cost of 200 USD per day for the two of us considering: car rental, gas, motels, food, park fees. Consider that in the LA area we have friends so we might be able to avoid expensive hotel rates.

    Your notes are more than welcome.

    Thank you

    Ponny and Hunny

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Some Thoughts

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think your timetable should be just fine. I don't see anyplace that seems unreasonable.

    As far as the car rental goes, I've never found a huge difference between the major chains, and I've used some of the smaller companies too without problem. For the most part, the local company's cars will probably be a little bit older, but if the cost savings are significant, I'd certainly consider them. Just make sure they can tell you what you are supposed to do if you have a problem out of town.

    For motels, I'd say $60 a night might be possible, but it would be on the low end for this part of the country. I would probably budget at least $75 a night just to be on the safe side.

    For Food, it will depend upon what kind of restaurants you'll be eating at and what you plan to do for dinner the nights you aren't eating out. Sandwiches for every meal will get old quickly. I'd say $15-20 per person/day should cover a budget breakfast and lunch, with a modest dinner at the end of the day.

    Overall $200 a day total seems a little on the low side, although it might be possible. If I was going to ballpark the numbers I'd say you'll need about 50 for car rental, 75 for hotel, 20 for gas (averaging together your driving and non-driving days), 30 for food, leaving you just 25 a day for incidentals and entertainment. If that's all you can afford, then I wouldn't let it stop you from going, but if you can afford a little more, I would add it into your budget just to be on the safe side.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 06-17-2007 at 05:49 AM. Reason: Finishing Thought

  3. Default

    One quick add. If you want to stay on the good side of the locals, DON'T call San Francisco "FRISCO." ;)

  4. #4


    Thanks for precious advice...would you explain that to me? Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A field report

    Member Uclid filed this report -- he went to many of the places you are considering. And a couple more ideas -- this one from the southern Sierra and this one from the Sequoia and Kings Canyon region


  6. #6


    Mark, thanks for your review and additional info.

    About rentals: I noticed that major rental companies have different fares for non US citizens. Sometimes you might pay the double! Local companies fortunately apply the same fare.

    About Budget: looks like 250 USD per day is the way to go for a safe trip...

    Thanks again

    Ponny and Hunny

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default $250 per day? What are you driving????

    Quote Originally Posted by Ponny & Hunny View Post
    About Budget: looks like 250 USD per day is the way to go for a safe trip...
    What kind of vehicle is that! $250 per week is more appropriate. Before you book, use our search tool and see what kinds of rates you can find! $250 per day is extremely high -- unless you are renting a sports car!


  8. #8


    I referred to the overral daily cost I was discussing about with Mike...

    Car rate should be somewhere around 50$ for US resident-

    250 USD All included: car+gas+motel+food+park fees+?


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Budget and Money

    Budget is the name o one of the major car rental chains in the US, so I initially read your response the same way Mark did, before I realized that you had gone back to your intial statement.

    I'd say $250 would be a better number to plan for, and of course, you might find that you don't end up spending that much, which just means you'd have that much money saved up for your next trip!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default One more for Yosemite


    To me, your plan looks like it could use one more day in Yosemite (the hiking and sight-seeing are just too magnificent to squeeze into one.)

    And I feel somewhat the same way about San Francisco. (Would you recommend someone stay just one day in Firenze or Venezia? Yes, it can be done, but it can't be done well.)

    Speaking of San Francisco, the term "Frisco" has a long history going back at least to the gold rush days of the 1850s, but has been considered somewhat disrespectful since the 1870s. Kind of like calling San Gimignano "Gimo", (I don't know if that would be considered disrespectful, but you get the idea). When in SF (acceptible) it is usually called "The City" (very acceptible). Of course, there are lots of Americans who don't know better and show how uncouth they are by using "Frisco" indiscriminately. (There is a town called Frisco in Colorado and one in Texas, which may have been named after San Francisco, but that is another research project.)

    As for a place to stay in "The City" I can suggest the Seal Rock Inn, which is a modest but clean motel within walking distance of the beach (down a fairly steep hill) on the west side of town. And it has its own free parking garage on the property. I'm sure there are others in the less crowded western part of "The City."

    As nice as the hotels are in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Emeryville, etc.), and "down the peninsula" (San Bruno, San Mateo, Burlingame, etc.) they aren't in "The City", and you may have to cross often-crowded bridges to get to "The City." My guess is you'll love it ("The City") and will hate to leave.


    Craig Sheumaker

    co-author of A Traveler's Guide: America's Living History - The Early Years

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