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USA Travel thread #17


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#1 GeraniumQueen

Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:35 PM

New thread time original.gif

link to last thread

#2 jorgo

Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:40 PM

thought some of you might like these links

how to #1_ save mega money at disney land

#2

#3 carls888

Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:05 AM

QUOTE (jaxxie @ 23/02/2012, 04:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am so sorry for always asking questions in here but I need more help please.......

Just wanting to know if San Diego is worth visiting? or should we just stay in Anaheim for the whole 14 days and do day trips etc? or will we end up running out of things to do?

What else is in S/D besides going to the Zoo and Seaworld? My family are no help at all.....they are all just so excited about going to America that they really have no interest in the details  rolleyes.gif

The plan so far is fly in and head straight to Anaheim and then just sorta roll with it, but at some stage go to a couple of Basketball games (kids are bb mad) and American Girl, spend a day just shopping etc in LA area, Holloween at Disney but that is the extent of plans so far.

The big draw card of staying in Anaheim is the fact that it is only about $100 a night for HoJo's

So please any suggestions on  must see/ do would be awesome  original.gif



Jaxxie, we are giving San Diego a miss this time as it seems that the theme parks there are the major draw cards and I would prefer to stay at Disney longer, as it's the ultimate theme park. I know the zoo gets good reviews but a zoo is a zoo and we can visit one of those here. But that's just my opinion...

Instead we are heading north from LA to SF.

Maybe check out Santa Barbara, or a place on that road if you have time. Otherwise, there is just so much to see in the LA region I think you stay 6 months and still be having a blast.
14 days isn't long. We are having 7 nights in Park Vue in Anaheim and I am looking forward to exploring but not racing around like a crazy woman.

Veggiemuma, how exciting for you, I just cannot wait, it's so much fun booking hotels and stuff. I love how you can book 2 or three hotels and then cancel, we have done that in SF as we have been on request for a particular room at a hotel and last night we were granted it. YAY, so now i have to cancel the other ones.

Has anyone hired a Dodge 4WD from traveljigsaw? I wanted to hire a Buick or Cadillac but DH is driving and he thinks the Dodge's look cool.  I don't really care as long as it's an American car that we don't have here.

Do you also get the fuel and GPS and extra driver package?

C  biggrin.gif

#4 Jo_P

Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:06 AM

Geez we can talk, we're going through a thread in less then a week!

Very jealous of you girls that are leaving soon, but on the other side I cant wait to hear all about your trips!!!

Carls, I drive a Dodge Journey here so wouldn't hesitate in hiring a Dodge, we've hired a Dodge Caravan before, it's a minivan like a Chrysler Grand Voyager.


I copied my post from the last thread I case you missed it:


Becca/Kee, don't forget that for all of my luggage allowance I do have to deal with four or five kids for the holiday! Lucky they are cute  wink.gif

Jaxxie, We really love San Diego, it is a really nice city, and the air seems cleaner there then in LA & Anaheim, I think I would choose to live there if we ever got the chance!
Other places to visit that we love are, Legoland, USS Midway aircraft carrier, La Jolla and Coronado Bay. Have a look through my photos from 2009 and 2010 and you'll see some photos from our time in San Diego.
We drove slowly up the coast one day from La Jolla to Carlsbad just stopping at beaches along the way to have a look, really beautiful.
Oh and that's the other thing to do, Carlsbad Outlets!

Edited by Jo_P, 24 February 2012 - 07:12 AM.


#5 Isadora

Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:15 AM

Thanks for the links jorgo, had a quick look and there is a lot of talk about Dole Whip  biggrin.gif  Guess I'll have to try one!  What is it exactly lol

We are staying in Carlsbad which is about 20 mins from San Diego and where Legoland is.  I just wanted to stay somewhere other than Anaheim for a bit.  Oh and ther is a shopping outlet there...that could have been it  wink.gif

Glad your holiday is back on track Sims

carls888 - I couldn't decide what sort of car/package to choose on traveljigsaw, it all got a bit much and I ended up booking with the travel agent and including a GPS.  We were looking at the Dodge Durango which I think may have been too big in the end.  We ended up with a Jeep Cherokee

Need to get my head back in our holiday, we have had a busy time here with the kids and have to drive to Sydney next week for a week as my daughter is playing sport for school.

#6 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 24 February 2012 - 07:51 AM

Jo: Our rate of tearing through these threads is incredible! We're a chatty bunch but that seems to happen as we get close to people leaving and it's all last minute planning. I find it dies off a little and is quieter when there's heaps of people off enjoying themselves on their long-planned for trips. I know last October/November/December when a heap of you were over in America, I felt like I was here talking to myself! laugh.gif

vegiemumma: When do you get back? I want to read all about your adventures but I think you might get back after I leave. I will be checking in here as often as I can while over there though, although forgive me if I ditch you all when I hit the Bahamas in order to hit the beaches and swim with sharkies!

It's my 5th wedding anniversary today and DH surprised me with a white and cognac diamond ring. I got him a leather wallet. I feel a little like I was the cheap half of the relationship now! I thought I might up the ante by booking us in at the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki for our one night stop over on the way to Las Vegas. DH has always wanted to stay there but at $450 a night, I've never been happy spending that much for a 2 week holiday. Since it's just us that night (my parents will be with us when we get back to Hawaii the second part of this trip), I thought I'd splurge on him as a late anniversary present. The other option is one of the newly renovated Oceanfront suites at the Pacific Beach Hotel where we have stayed before (but not in a suite) or up a little further in an Oceanfront room at the Aston Waikiki. I've heard that's quite nice too. Either way, I want to stay beachfront for that night. I think I just have to contact each hotel and see what they can do for me. Decisions, decisions. I was originally thinking of maybe just buying him something over there as a present and staying at Ohana West as usual but he's so hard to buy for. I was lucky his wallet fell apart last week so I had something to buy him for our anniversary otherwise I wasn't sure what to get him. Now all I can come up with is the hotel upgrade for one night. I won't tell him and when the taxi drops us off he'll think it's a joke. Any other suggestions for hotels in Waikiki?? I know, you're supposed to ask me the Hawaii questions but here's me asking you all now original.gif

Sorry, I sorta rambled a bit then. I think I just typed everything I was thinking!





#7 cassi8

Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:45 AM

tthumbs.gif thanks Jorgo! Will have a read later.

wub.gif Kee, happy anniversary! I think the surfrider sounds awesome, I say do it!

Isadora, Dole is a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, Whip, well soft serve so it pineapple soft serve wink.gif It took me about 4 months to figure that out.

#8 carls888

Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:12 PM

kee, what a lovely idea!
We are doing a similar thing with Pebble Beach and also the Beverly Wilshire in LA.
I think experiences are much more fun than actual stuff most times.
Creating memories...
C

#9 Jo_P

Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:42 PM

QUOTE
Dole is a pineapple plantation in Hawaii, Whip, well soft serve so it pineapple soft serve It took me about 4 months to figure that out


Except if you're in DisneyWorld, then you can also get orange flavoured Dole Whip and ever an orange and pineapple swirl....umm I didn't try it, sounded too weird for me!

Edited by Jo_P, 24 February 2012 - 12:43 PM.


#10 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:00 PM

DH loves Dole Whip and I've told him that it's available in DL but he says it would most certainly not taste as good if you aren't standing in the middle of the Dole Plantation in Hawaii while you eat it wink.gif I guess we'll have to make it to DL to try some there and compare one day! Not that I eat it, I hate anything pineapple apart from a little bit on Hawaiian pizzas.

Oh damn, why did I have to mention pizza?! I've been doing a juice detox and lost 5kgs in a week but the thoughts of all the food in the US is ruining me. I am determined to try and lose at least 5kgs more before I go so I can eat all that yummy food!



#11 New_display_name

Posted 24 February 2012 - 10:21 PM

juice detox????

Im doing yoghurt and berries for breaky, cuppa soup for lunch and meat and salad for dinner.....

#12 ~*Marti*~

Posted 25 February 2012 - 09:04 AM

Oh gosh, speaking of diets!! Its my 31st birthday today and I just had a breakdown at my brother when he called to wish me Happy Birthday! I lost 12 kilos last year, and have gained it all back on, so I am feeling old and fat sad.gif

#13 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 25 February 2012 - 09:28 AM

Happy Birthday Marti! I hope that it turns out to be a wonderful day for you. Never mind the scales, they are a measure of a body not a measure of a person. I'm sure you're gorgeous just the way you are and anyway, you lost the 12kgs once and ok, it may not be your ideal to have put it on again but at least you know you are capable of losing it. What we do once, we can do again. I get where you're coming from though, I lost 12 kilos pre-wedding for my big day and have since put on 20kgs in 5 years.


Becca: The juice detox (or reboot as it's called) is part of the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead program. I saw the doco on telly 2 weeks ago and DH and I started immediately. I lost 5kgs in 7 days on week one, I have had a heap of family dinners to attend this week so I made week 2 about maintenance because I knew I'd have cake and other bad things shoved at me to eat and my goal was to not put those 5kgs back on. I've been successful so far. Next week I'm getting back into the program again and hoping to lose another 5kgs. It's actually been the easiest thing I've ever done and I feel great. I've tried shakes, meal plans, Weight Watchers - the works - and this one actually works and agrees with me. There's heaps of info online and a FB group so just look up Fat Sick and Nearly Dead to find out more. It's not for everyone but I'm so glad I gave it a shot.

k, back onto travel! I had a thought yesterday - do you all suppose that my luggage will be forwarded on automatically on my Delta flight between Hawaii and Las Vegas? We stop in LA for 50 minutes and it looks like it's a plane change to a different gate. Do I get off the plane and just go to the new gate or will I have to get off, go collect my bags and check back in to the second flight? It's all booked on one ticket so I assumed we just go to the next gate but I can't find any info one was or another on my paperwork so I am now wondering if I should call them to confirm. I guess I can just check when we check in for the flight in Hawaii. It doesn't make much difference to our trip but I was curious about it. 50 minutes is not a lot of time to be running all over LAX.



#14 baf65

Posted 25 February 2012 - 09:27 PM

Because Hawaii is already AMerica you would have cleared customs in Hawaii Im thinking....usually LAX you would have to clear your bags thru customs and then drop at the bag transfer counter....do check the minimum connecting time in LAX though ....if you have to change terminals not just gates i think 50mins is going to be pushing it

#15 vegiemumma

Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:07 AM

morning everyone  original.gif

happy anniversary for the other day Kee, I think the nice hotel in Hawaii sounds like a lovely surprise for DH

quick question about disney magic mornings. We have a 6 day pass for disneyland and the magic morning days are tues,thurs, sat and sund. we have something planned for the Thursday we are there and want to get the quietest day possible which would be tuesday. the problem is we arrive on the monday night so the first day we would use the tickets would be tuesday. Are we able to use the magic morning that morning if we havent used the tickets yet and just have the print out ticket that we bought from the disneyland website?

only 5 more sleeps to go for me  biggrin.gif

#16 ~*Marti*~

Posted 26 February 2012 - 08:18 AM

199 sleeps for me, but who is counting?? Lol. I have a friend over there atm, and she sent me a message saying IT IS SNOWING ON YOUR BIRTHDAY! Very jealous!!! 10 days until we take the kids on a holiday to the Gold Coast, so at least I have a holiday to look forward to! Hehehe.

#17 Brownie22

Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:26 AM

Hi,

I introduced myself in the previous thread but just a quick refresher - we are off to Hawaii in December. Nothing us booked yet as I'm keeping my eyes out for specials. Yes this intro is less long-winded than my first lol.

I have 2 questions I was hoping someone can help with.

1. How do you know what is a good deal for flights? I was quoted $1200 per adult and $917 pet child. It seems good but I'm wary of booking this early. Should I wait to see if a better deal comes up?

2. We are thinking of sticking just Honolulu but I thought for something different we'd splurge and spend 2 nights at Turtle Bay resort. Thinking of an Oceanfront Cottage but they aren't cheap. I'm justifying it that it is cheaper than flights to Maui. Any thoughts on Turtle Bay resort?

Thanks

#18 SleepyJean

Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:16 PM

Hi all,

Thought I would introduce myself too! We're off to Hawaii at the end of August for our 10th wedding anniversary and we can't wait. DH & I travelled a bit pre-kids, but this will be our first overseas trip in a decade and the first with the kids. Thought Hawaii would be a fairly good way to ease the kids into it. We're hoping to do mainland USA in around 2-3 years and I'm already getting heaps of great ideas from you all.

Brownie - not sure about Turtle Bay, however depending on the ages of your kids have you considered the Disney Resort? We were going to try & squeeze in Maui, but have decided to splurge on three nights at Disney Aulani instead. I have a feeling Hawaii may be somewhere we'll return to, so I'm thinking Maui next time. Those airfares sound pretty good. We managed to get $740 return with the Jetstar specials, however from what I have read that is exceptionally cheap and no-one seems to know whether they'll come up again this year.

Kee - your blog has been awesome! Have you looked at Trump Waikiki for your splurge night? We've costed it for four of us & were able to get around $260 per night, so a lot cheaper than the $400 you were looking at. It's 5 star & looks amazing. What does appeal to me though is the consistent Trip Advisor reviews on just how good the service is.

Cheers
SleepyJean



#19 Jo_P

Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:41 PM

Brownie, you are looking at going in December sometime aren't you? If you're going early december you should be able to get some cheaper fares, but if it's around Christmas then those are good prices.

Welcome sleepy jean, they are great airfares! I would love to stay at Aluani sometime it looks fantastic.

Marti, how nice would it be to have your birthday in the New York snow! Very cheeky of your friend to be texting you!!

Edited by Jo_P, 26 February 2012 - 12:42 PM.


#20 New_display_name

Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:24 PM

30 more sleeps for me. I have just taken all our TSA locks out of the packets and each packet has its own set of keys and are numbered accordingly... Although the locks don't identify which is which so will need to do the every key till it opens thing lol.

I have also brought some pink ribbon with cute numbers to tie around the handles of the suitcase.

I have picked up the forms on how to unlock my phone, so we can put the new sim in once overseas.

We go in for our injections tomorrow, not looking forward to that and I hope that we don't get turned away as we are starting to get the flu.. Perfect timing.

Just got off the phone with traveljigsaw as I got a real numpty reply to my last amendment request, saying that the price that I requested was correct for that day but not any more. So I wrote back a harsh email pointing out I requested the amendment on the day and it's not my fault it takes them 4 days to respond to an email, and so I checked again and it was cheaper than my last request for adjustment (only by 6c). So I called the 1800 number and eventually got through and had it amended. The nice woman on the phone said to just call them through in future...

I have a question about taking days off prior to departure, We fly out on a Wednesday and I had not planned on taking the previous day off, but DH was saying that maybe one of us should to do the last minute running around to pick things up etc.

So do you think this is a good idea and what are some of the last minute things that you have forgotten?

#21 Jo_P

Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:43 PM

Becca, With the luggage locks I use a permanent marker and mark the locks and corresponding keys with the same letter, so A lock goes with A keys and B lock with B keys etc, much easier if you need to open them in a hurry for the customs inspectors!
I like to have the day before we travel at home just in case any last minute things pop up and also I can go over the suitcases once more to make sure I have everything organised, I forgot to take my pjs last trip, I have no idea how I managed that, I remembered everyone else's of course!!!

Edited by Jo_P, 26 February 2012 - 06:44 PM.


#22 ~Kee~In~Hawaii~

Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:58 PM

Jo: laugh.gif Forgot my pj's once too and thought I'd just buy some at Ala Moana Mall. Of course I got to the mall and was sidetracked by so many other, shiny, pretty things that I got back to the hotel that night and still didn't have any pj's. ETA: Your ticker says 1 month now! Woo-hoo!

Becca: Because of DH starting a new job, he is going to go in to work the Monday of the week we leave and tie up loose ends and fill in his boss on where he is at with projects - a sort of "handover" I guess. We then leave the next day on the Tuesday. I will be staying home on the Monday and I have asked DH that he at least get his packing ready, even if he doesn't actually pack it (I pack the suitcase better than he does anyway) but at least have out what he wants to take. Then I'll give the house a scrub, make sure there's nothing in the pantry that can go off and switch the fridge to holiday mode. I'll probably have a last minute check that all the paperwork is correct and check balances of travel cards and bank accounts/cash etc.

SleepyJean: That's how much I paid to fly with Jetstar last year and how much I just paid to fly to Hawaii with Air Australia ... which hasn't turned out how I'd hoped sad.gif I'm waiting around for Jetstar to do some specials for September/October again too in the hopes of re-booking the flights I lost. I'm glad you like my blog. I know of the Trump Waikiki as I was wandering around one trip and was dragged inside by a salesman who wanted to get me to buy a condo in the premises. Although DH is a huge Trump fan, the hotel isn't beachfront and that's specifically what he wanted to splurge on one day. I'm sure you'll love Hawaii, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask original.gif


Brownie: Welcome, it's always good to have more Hawaii travelers to talk to original.gif Turtle Bay is BEAUTIFUL as is everything on that side of Oahu. It's not far to drive so you can easily hire a car and come over to Waikiki while you are there if you like. There is plenty to see on that side, like the Byodo Inn Temple and of course Pipeline and Sunset Beach. There's a reason so many movies (Forgetting Sarah Marshall for example) are filmed at Turtle Bay, it's paradise! Maui is also beautiful but there's less to do with kids there. Oh, and it will be twice the price.

vegiemumma: 4 sleeps! biggrin.gif

sims11: 2 sleeps for you now that you leave early ... I hope you pop in before you go but if not, have a wonderful time! I look forward to hearing all about your trip when you get back!


I'm stuck at home with a very ill DH so I've done a lot of research and checking up on things in the last 24 hours while he's been sleeping and I'm bored. With my question about Delta airlines, I've found out that we fly in to terminal 5 at LAX from Honolulu and then we fly out of the same terminal to get to Las Vegas. All it is, is a plane change and they will change our bags for us. We don't leave the terminal and don't have to check in to the second flight as it's all ticketed on one ticket. We just get off the plane, walk to the other gate and take a seat until boarding. The thing that's got me a little freaked out is that the flight from LAX to Las Vegas is with Skywest Airlines (operating code share for Delta) and it's a CRJ900 plane. That's a small jet that seats only 70 passengers. I like my planes big - like A380 big. I feel safe in big planes. I have always said to DH that he'll never get me on a holiday with his parents to places like Pt Lincoln in SA because I won't fly in a small plane. Now I've gone and booked one without realising! I am freaking out! Hopefully I'll love it and it will be like having some private jet but right now I am so worried. And we come back from LV on one too. Having kittens!

I booked a Diamond Oceanfront room in the Moana Surfrider and with taxes, it came in at $470usd for the night. I then went on youtube and saw a bad review of the rooms. The guy filmed his way through a Diamond room and the decor was dated and the balcony was a juliette balcony so there's room to just stand on it and look at the view but no table or chairs. The bathroom was also TINY so I was getting a bit disappointed that for that much money, I wasn't going to be in a room that blew your socks off. In the end, I've cancelled that and booked an oceanfront suite at the Pacific Beach Hotel where we stayed on our honeymoon. I checked that out on youtube as well and the suites have a huge bathroom as well as a second vanity/dressing table with the hollywood lights around it in the bedroom area. There is a sitting area and the balcony is a lot bigger and has an outdoor setting on it so we can sit out there and enjoy the view. It's also further up the beach in an area we love swimming in and hanging out in so at least we are where the action is. I have booked us in that night for an all you can eat seafood buffet in their specialty restaurant and paid for it with the room so DH will have a nice surprise. He liked when we stayed there and I think I'm getting more for my money. It seems the Moana Surfrider plays on it's history but doesn't give you much when you actually book. The rooms didn't look all that when I was checking out the pictures, certainly not $470 per night's worth. I'm much happier with this booking and am now going to contact the hotel to see if they can get the diver to go in the huge aquarium in the restaurant with a Happy Anniversary sign to embarrass DH original.gif It will be a late "Happy Anniversary" but it still counts.

Edited by Sicily/Kee, 26 February 2012 - 08:06 PM.


#23 snugglybug

Posted 27 February 2012 - 05:47 AM

Kee - That sounds awesome! I agree you are getting much more bang for your buck with the second place.

Not long now til some departures! it's all getting very exciting!!

I have booked our accomodation at the start and end of our trip as I wanted to make sure we got a suite witha  bit more room and didnt want to risk them selling out. But all the inbetween accomodation, should I wait for better prices? it's still a while away. I have to book Yosemite, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Phoenix.

I jsut noticed that Tenaya lodge still has vacancy 2mths out and they are cheaper than prices for Oct. We are staying there two night and then 1 at the lodge at the falls so we dont have as far to drive the next day on the way out....given the the Tioga road is open!

#24 sims11

Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:54 AM

snugglybug - I would book Grand Canyon and Yosemite early to make sure you get what you want. I still checked them out after booking to see if there was anything better or cheaper but knew I had the booking regardless.

One sleep to go  biggrin.gif. Have spent the morning packing the suitcases and cleaning up. Have dd's doctors appointment and swimming lesson, and a trip to the vet for the cat this afternoon. In good news my refund from AA (or the bank?) has come through so now I have some more spending money.

I am soooooo excited.

#25 Brownie22

Posted 27 February 2012 - 02:03 PM

SleepyJean you got a great deal. Hope something like that comes up again.

Jo P. We are going early December so will keep an eye out for deals. Have signed up for newsletters from Jetstar and Virgin in the hopes that a great deal makes it to my inbox.

Kee. Funny you mentioned Forgetting Sarah Marshall because that's what made me think of Turtle Bay. I googled where it was set and found Turtle Bay. I'm leaning towards 8 nights in Waikiki (Outrigger Reef on the beach probably) and 2 nights at Turtle Bay.

Thanks




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Got a few old formula, Milo or coffee cans around the house? Use these fantastic upcycling ideas to create items for around the house and yard.

Dads meet their newborn for the first time

Emotional photos of two fathers meeting their newborn son have resonated with viewers worldwide, attracting thousands of Facebook likes and shares.

Skin safety isn't just a summer worry

Lax about the slip slop slap with your kids as weather turns cooler? Here's a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant for our children?s future health.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

Creative sleeping baby photoshoots

See how some parents and photographers have captured sleeping babies in unusual positions and using different props.

DIY kitchen and food hacks

DIY your way to a better kitchen and make cooking easier with our clever hacks. (Some content reproduced with permission from mashable.com.)

Winter warmers for babies and toddlers

Your baby or toddler will be nice and snug in these beautiful and fun winter pieces. Most are hand-made or knitted, and they're all designed to keep your little one toastie - and adorable!

 

Mind, body, beauty, life

Making time for me

We look at your wellbeing, covering health, relationships, beauty and fashion, mind and body.

 
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