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    Question Personel Trip Planning

    Contemplating a trip to the San Francisco area come May, but I haven't gone anywhere that didn't require driving since I was 5 - so my trip planning and knowledge of flying is lackluster at best.

    I would welcome any tips - be it buying tickets, planning schedule, etc., and recommendations on flight information (airlines, connecting flights, etc.) I will also need a car of course, so another variable to consider.

    Again excuse the incompetence on this subject, but if I ever went anywhere, you hopped in the car and left...


    "You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren't happy in one place, chances are you won't be happy anyplace." -- Ernie Banks



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    Make sure you leave enough time between connecting flights. It sucks to sit around an airport for an hour, but it's better than being the guy running desperately from one terminal to another. I usually like to have 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

    I also prefer to avoid O'Hare when possible. Going to SF, I'd guess you can connect through Denver or Houston, neither of which are bad in my opinion. If the weather is clear, landing/takeoff over the Front Range of the Rockies is pretty cool.


    You can spend a lot of time and money picking out the perfect floral bouquet for your date ... but you're probably better off checking if you have bad breath and taking the porn out of the glove compartment.

    The moral: you gain more by not being stupid, than you do by being smart. Smart gets neutralized by other smart people. Stupid does not.

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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    Also, what have others used to plan trips - travel agent, websites? If we don't decide on San Fran, we may consider an extended weekend somewhere within driving distance. I haven't gone on a trip other than Chicago in over 10 years...


    "You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren't happy in one place, chances are you won't be happy anyplace." -- Ernie Banks



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    We're planning a trip to San Fran in mid march! I've only looked at Expedia and Priceline, but I would bet that there are other sites out there for buying tickets


    'Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.'
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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    Organize everything through Tripit (free version). Use Tripadvisor for questions on SF.



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    Any website like priceline or expedia will get your tickets with connecting flights already included. I go through Kayak.com when buying my tickets. It's a website that will actually compile prices from all of those websites and give them to you from cheapest to most expensive.

    I used a travel agent when I went to Hawaii and reccomended it, but for travel within the continental US I don't know if I'd do it. Someone who has may need to tell their experience. But with a place like California, I'd think it'd be pretty cheap to look up prices and book them yourself. The only bonus for a travel agent is that they usually can get you cheaper deals, and depending on what you're planning on doing there, may make your trip cheaper than doing it yourself.



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    I like this for airfare comparisons

    Matrix - ITA Software (now owned by google)



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    I would recommend staying in/near Fisherman's Wharf. There are tons of things you can do down there within walking distance including all the boats that tour the bay and Alcatraz. I would highly recommend going on the Alcatraz tour. I enjoyed that and they even have a tour at night that would be pretty intense.



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    My advice would be to stay as far away from the government Nazi's as you can. There was one guy who before getting into the TSA search chamber took off all his clothes and stripped down to a thong. He said as a joke "I need to be searched because I have bomb in there (the thong)". He was mobbed by twelve security officers, beaten, tasered, and charged with terrorism. He was never heard from again. Interwebs speculation says he was sent to Gitmo to be waterboarded into admitting that all his neighbors and members of his church were terrorists too. Its scary out there ... be careful.

    Seriously, my advice would be to not fly at all until the TSA is disbanded. The Gov has spent 21 Billion dollars since 9/11 on airport security and has not prevented a single terrorist incident. Its the biggest waste of taxpayer money ever. Boycotting air travel until the government gets a clue is the only way to get things changed, IMO.



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    I went out to SF in June summer or '09. Cool town, Alcatraz bay area is pretty nice.
    Definitely go to a Giants game, I did. I assume the tickets might be tougher to come by now because of winning the WS. I sat above that splash down ticker in right field, watched Lincecum pitch for $40. It was a blast and I'm not a Giants fan!
    Go down to the Wharf and don't go to Joe's Crab Shack, go hit up one of the local places/vendors that fry fish/crab right off the sidewalk.
    Go get a beer at the Anchor Steam brewery, fantastic beer.



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning


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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickybaby View Post
    My advice would be to stay as far away from the government Nazi's as you can. There was one guy who before getting into the TSA search chamber took off all his clothes and stripped down to a thong. He said as a joke "I need to be searched because I have bomb in there (the thong)". He was mobbed by twelve security officers, beaten, tasered, and charged with terrorism. He was never heard from again. Interwebs speculation says he was sent to Gitmo to be waterboarded into admitting that all his neighbors and members of his church were terrorists too. Its scary out there ... be careful.

    Seriously, my advice would be to not fly at all until the TSA is disbanded. The Gov has spent 21 Billion dollars since 9/11 on airport security and has not prevented a single terrorist incident. Its the biggest waste of taxpayer money ever. Boycotting air travel until the government gets a clue is the only way to get things changed, IMO.



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    Quote Originally Posted by guitarchitect7 View Post
    Contemplating a trip to the San Francisco area come May, but I haven't gone anywhere that didn't require driving since I was 5 - so my trip planning and knowledge of flying is lackluster at best.

    I would welcome any tips - be it buying tickets, planning schedule, etc., and recommendations on flight information (airlines, connecting flights, etc.) I will also need a car of course, so another variable to consider.

    Again excuse the incompetence on this subject, but if I ever went anywhere, you hopped in the car and left...
    My wife and I went there for our honeymoon back in '03 and I booked everything through Expedia - flights, hotel, car service to/from the airport, day trip to wine country, and a dinner cruise in the Bay for one of the nights we were there. Once you are there, you can check with your hotel's concierge for things to see and do, other than the obvious tourist hot spots.

    We stayed near the financial district, which was a nice central location. Walking distance to Chinatown, restaurants, museums, etc. You can either take the bus around town or the cable cars, which are slower, but pretty cool to ride every now and then.

    Very cool city, lots of stuff to do, easy to get around. Highly recommend to give it a shot, and have a good time.



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    I guess I got my facts wrong, I was informed it's actually the Fresno area - and it's pushing $350 a piece for a round trip ticket right now. Lodging and food are accounted for, but the price to get out there may be pushing our budget right now...

    So now, it's looking at finding somewhere within driving distance, although food & lodging won't be free so not sure how this becomes any cheaper (I'm just the planner). Any thoughts on a destination. It would become an extended weekend trip away from the kids. I've considered Memphis, Branson, Minneapolis, and Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio (kids are too young to ride most of the roller coasters). She threw out Denver (again still not seeing how this is cheaper).


    "You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren't happy in one place, chances are you won't be happy anyplace." -- Ernie Banks



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    Re: Personel Trip Planning

    Depending on where you fly out from, you have a lot of options.

    In some cases, individual airlines offer their cheapest airfares if you book on-line directly through their website. Sometimes it is the exact same fare on Expedia or Orbitz. Sometimes not.

    I generally start with a search on Expedia or Orbitz and they do a comparison on cost of flights. You can punch in flexible dates and possibly get lower fares. Some airlines charge baggage fees. Some don't. And do a check on flights originating from smaller regional airports as well.

    My wife flew from MCW (Mason City) to San Diego in November with a connecting flight in MSP (Minneapolis). That flight cost $40 less than the same non-stop flight that left from MSP that she was connecting with on the MCW to San Diego ticket. Go figure.

    Keep in mind also that airline ticket prices are constantly changing. They can change by the minute or the hour. Up or down. No real rhyme or reason. So if you find a flight you like at the price you like then book it. It will most likely change at some point.

    And mid-week flights are usually cheaper than weekend flights, but not always. And generally a Saturday stay results in a cheaper fare as well.

    I like to do my own research and if it is just a flight I book it myself on the cheapest source possible. I have a Delta Gold Card so I get free luggage on the first bag and everyone that I book travelling with me gets that benefit as well when I fly Delta.

    Good luck. It is a complicated world. But I enjoy researching and booking my trips. In fact, I leave for PDC on Monday.



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