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  1. Default LA-San Diego-Vegas-San Fran-LA!!15 days!

    Hi Everyone!!

    My girlfriend and I from Ireland just booked flights for the trip of a lifetime this summer 2009.So,thought I'd try get advice on planning it....hopefully some of you guys can help!!
    So,heres the deal.We land LAX 2pm Sat 27th June and am going to rent a car(Chevy Cobalt,Pontiac G6 etc) or maybe a Chevy Equinox as we plan to do a bit of driving.Heres a very rough itinerary,so please feel free to recommend changes or add on anything!!

    *June 27th-Land LAX,pick up car/4x4,go south towards San Diego.Dont fancy staying in LA cos I was there before,didnt think much of it.
    *28,29,30th June-Chill and explore San Diego.
    *July 1,2,3-Hit Vegas and party hard!
    *July 4th-Tempted to stay in Vegas for Independence Day but could be too costly so might head towards Death Valley,Yosemite,Tahoe and spend 4th,5th,6th July along here.
    *7th,8th,9th,10th July-Pull into San Fran,chill and explore.
    *11th,12th,13th July-Explore coast from SF to LA along route 1,maybe stay in Monterrey,Carmel,Santa Barbara etc.
    *14th July-Arrive into LA,explore a little bit cos have early flight home on 15th July!!

    So,thats about it folks!I might be taking on a bit too much but we both will share the driving.So basically looking for recommendations re: this trip and also any hints/tips re: car rental or just general good old friendly advice!!!

    Much appreciated,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Thoughts Big and Small

    Céad Míle Fáilte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Yours is perhaps one of the most talked about and taken RoadTrips around. So rather than rehash all the previous great advice, I'll just offer a few specific comments on your plans. Having made the flight across the Atlantic many times myself, I urge you not to plan to drive from Los Angeles to San Diego on the day you arrive. True it's only 124 miles, but you will arrive severely jet-lagged, and by the time you retrieve you baggage, clear Customs and Immigration, get your rental car and get out of the airport, I would be willing to bet that you are will be starting to feel the effects of that 8 hour time shift and little or no sleep on the plane. Add to that the fact that you'll be sitting on the 'wrong' side of the car and driving on the 'wrong' side of the road, and that L.A. freeways are no place for diminished reaction time even when you're used to them. and I think you'd be much better served, and set yourselves up for a much more enjoyable journey if you just head south as bit and get a motel room somewhere in Orange County, say around Santa Ana or Irvine, and continue on to San Diego the next morning.

    As far as the Fourth of July goes, I'm sure there will be several spectacular fireworks displays in Las Vegas both that evening and the night before. Be sure to ask at the Visitors Bureau. Also check to see if there won't also be other events in some of the smaller towns around Las Vegas. I've often found these more intimate displays more rewarding and a local Volunteer Fire Department pancake breakfast or small town parade is closer to Americana than the big do's that the Strip hotels will be putting on.


  3. #3


    I agree with AZBuck, after a long plane ride like that and having to deal with the airport crowds to get bags and get through customs, I am sure the last thing you are going to want to do it jump in a car. Stay the night a place near the airport, give yourself a 12 - 15 hour period to adjust to the jet lag and time difference.

  4. Default

    Hi folks!

    Thanks for the advice.I'll probably pick up the car and drive a little south to park up for the night to get over jet lag.

    I read that the drive from San Diego to Vegas is very long(over 7 hours) so was possibly thinking of leaving car in San Diego and catching a cheap internal flight to Vegas 1st July??Then picking up another car in Vegas on 4th,drop it off in LA on 15th July.Or would it be useful to have a car in Vegas to do a few short tours around it?

    Regarding car rental is the Chevy Equinox a lot harder on gas than say the Pontiac G6?The Chevy looks a lot more comfortable and safer to drive.We dont have either type of those here in Ireland so I need your good advice again!Many thanks guys,


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default unlikely

    While its possible that it could take 7 hours or more to travel from San Diego to Vegas, if you hit bad traffic. About 6 hours would be more typical.

    An SUV like the equinox will probably get around 20 mpg, an G6 would probably be about 25-30. Considering the relatively short distances you are traveling and the current low cost of fuel, I don't think you'd be spending too much more on fuel if you went with the SUV.

    Having a car isn't critical in Vegas, if you are sticking to the strip. There are options to get from one end to the other, including cabs, buses and the monorail. However, if you are planning to travel around a lot or off the strip, you might find it easier to have a car.

  6. Default Las Vegas, Death Valley, San Francisco and Los Angeles


    Leaving Vegas 5th july early,want to be in San Fran 8th July evening time.Need advice on were to stay/check out.Was thinking either Stovepipe wells or Lone Pine on night of 5th to explore a bit of Death Valley.All decent budget accom in Yosemite seems to be booked so prob stay in Lee Vining on 6th and stay on western side of park(Yosemite Bug or somewere in El Portal) on night of 7th.That gives a short enough drive to San Fran on 8th.But I'm open to all suggestions so feel free to comment!

    Leaving San Fran on 12th July,need to be in LA 14th as we have early flight on 15th.So I was wondering does 2 days give us enough time to (briefly I know) sample the coastal drive??Possibly take in Monterey,Carmel,Big Sur Coast,Hearst Castle.Was thinking os staying one night In Cambria and another in Santa Barbara.Anyone got any advice on how best to spend this short 2 days?Any nice clean budget($100ish) accomadation?Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-23-2009 at 02:46 PM. Reason: Merged 2 posts and combined with original thread. Please do not create multiple threads for the same trip.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    2 days from SF to Santa Barbara is enough time. I have never stayed in Cambria, but San Simeon has a Motel 6 which is about 70 bucks. You may want to see the castle the next morning, the road gets a lot faster not far south of Cambria.

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