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San Francisco - New Year

9 May 2010 trkm06 said

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Hi All - I'm looking for some advice;

I have just paid my deposit for San Fran in the New Year through Contiki. I have never travelled alone before, but hope I meet some nice people.

I spoke to both STA Travel and Contiki who both raved about the area that the hotel is in, and its safety levels and I just booked on the back of that, thinking that they wouldnt surely book anywhere dangerous.

However, just spent the day doing research to discover that many tourist and natives of San Fran say that Market and Tenderloin are some of the worst districts and should be avoided.

Im now pretty scared to be honest, Im travelling the day before the tour starts and leaving the day after so Im kind of worried about what I have read. Apparently lots of homeless, drug dealers and general crime. Over 100 reviews said to avoid market street in day and night, and thats where the hotel is.

Has anyone stayed in this area previously on Contiki tours? Or been on the San Fran New Year tour? Any Advice?

As someone who has never travelled alone before, its kind of freaked me out and any advice would be great,

Thanks,
  • 28 May 2010 Solo Aussie said

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    Hello fellow explorer Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    I too have just paid my deposit for the San Fran New Year tour (and booked through STA Travel like yourself heehee).

    I arrive on the 26th of Dec and am wondering where to stay that is relatively safe as I will also be travelling by myself for the first time. Did you book at the pre and post tour place that was suggested by Contiki??

  • 22 Aug 2010 sarahjanekathryn said

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    Hello guys,

    I have also just booked for San Francisco New Year tour! I am arriving 3 days before the tour starts and have booked into a little inn near Union Square. Anywhere near Union Square, you are going to be close to the action with lots of people. Friends also suggested the North Beach area – very quintessentially SF with great Italian food and the birthplace of beat poetry.

    Yes, I’ve also been told to avoid the Tenderloin but the hotel for the tour isn’t there – it’s right on Market St, a busy main street with streetcars hurtling along until almost midnight. My thinking is that Contiki have done tours here for years and would not put us anywhere unsafe. If you want to find a different hotel for before/after tour, go to tripadvisor.com – I read through hundreds of reviews before settling on my hotel.

    A word about SF in general from US friends… the homelessness problem is widespread and just a part of everyday life in SF. There is usually no violence or threat associated with beggars and if you just say no and keep walking, you’ll be fine. Or just keep some spare change in your pocket if you want to help.

    I’m so excited for my trip! I’ve wanted to go to San Francisco my whole life so this is a dream come true for me :-)

  • 14 Sep 2010 Kate said

    Kate

    Hello

    I too have just paid my deposit for San Fran New Years. I have not travelled by myself before, but already a world traveller. First Contiki Trip for me, so do not know what to expect. Except that every time i mention Contiki people always tell me, oh ya thats a good travel group, been around for a long time, so must be great.

    I booked an Extra night with Contiki, arriving 29th.

    I am from Canada.

  • 14 Sep 2010 Kate said

    Kate

    Going to San Fran. Join the Facebook Group.
    http://www.facebook.com/home.p…?gid=150275631673861

  • 14 Sep 2010 Kate said

    Kate
    quote:
    Originally posted by trkm06:
    Hi All – I’m looking for some advice;

    I have just paid my deposit for San Fran in the New Year through Contiki. I have never travelled alone before, but hope I meet some nice people.

    I spoke to both STA Travel and Contiki who both raved about the area that the hotel is in, and its safety levels and I just booked on the back of that, thinking that they wouldnt surely book anywhere dangerous.

    However, just spent the day doing research to discover that many tourist and natives of San Fran say that Market and Tenderloin are some of the worst districts and should be avoided.

    Im now pretty scared to be honest, Im travelling the day before the tour starts and leaving the day after so Im kind of worried about what I have read. Apparently lots of homeless, drug dealers and general crime. Over 100 reviews said to avoid market street in day and night, and thats where the hotel is.

    Has anyone stayed in this area previously on Contiki tours? Or been on the San Fran New Year tour? Any Advice?

    As someone who has never travelled alone before, its kind of freaked me out and any advice would be great,

    Thanks,



    I am arriving the day before it starts too and leaving the day after.

  • 15 Sep 2010 ChrisSoll48 said

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    Don’t worry about the area. Just be cautious and follow the same safety rules you would traveling any where unknown. Keep your bag close, don’t travel alone at night and keep your eyes open. It looks like you won’t be alone in this. Just enjoy the trip. This is not an unsafe area compared to many other places in the world. The reviews you read are probally from americans who have never left the country. You will be fine, just enjoy it!

  • 15 Oct 2010 Kate said

    Kate

    HEY ChrisSoll48!!! not fair to say. Yes i am american but I do not live in america. I am Canadian, born canadian. And i have left the country many times. Just never been to san francisco yet and its always been on my list to see.

    I can not wait for the trip. I am arriving a day early. and then going down to LA after. anyone welcome to join.

  • 8 Nov 2010 Solo Aussie said

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    Hello fellow solo travellers Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> so great to meet the other people so far who are coming along on this tour. I’m arriving early and then staying on in San Fran for a couple of days after as well. Then heading down to LA to begin another Contiki tour mid-Jan. Looking forward to meeting everyone! I also joined the Facebook group so get on it and say hi there too Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 14 Nov 2010 Alex said

    Alex

    I did the Wild Western tour during August-September of this year and spent two days/three nights in San Fran. Market Street is not too dangerous, but the three blocks between the Hotel Whitcomb and the start of the Union Square shopping district is kinda sketchy and is way creepier at night. Follow ChrisSoll48’s advice and you should be ok.

    I’m thinking about booking the San Francisco New Year’s tour… I didn’t see everything I wanted to see in the short time I had and would love to come back!

  • 1 Apr 2011 Anna said

    Anna

    Does anyone have a trip report to share?

  • 16 Apr 2011 Alex said

    Alex

    Here’s my trip report. I ended up doing the San Fran New Year’s tour after all, and I don’t regret a minute of it! Almost four months later, and most of the memories of the good times are still fresh in my mind. =)

    The tour consisted of a smaller group, approx. 25 or so people, and a nice mix of people from different places… lots of Aussies, but a number of Canadians (such as myself), a few Americans, one person from Japan and another from Brazil.

    The night before the tour started, the pre-departure meeting was postponed, so me and a few of the tour mates that showed up headed off for drinks. We stopped by this nice bar called Smuggler’s Cove. Great drink menu and a nice, relaxing atmosphere; highly recommend it as a venue to chill out and get to know your tour mates.

    The first day started off with a sightseeing tour around the city. It was cold, but sunny and clear — perfect weather for sightseeing! We stopped by the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge and we walked across it; took about 45 minutes to cross the bridge, plenty of time for a few pauses for photos en-route. After a short break at the north end for more photos, we hopped back on the minibus for a tour through beautiful Saulsalito, before turning back and returning to the city. Our tour continued through Golden Gate Park, Haight and Ashbury, Alamo Square and Twin Peaks where we got a awesome, breathtaking panoramic view of the city! We finished up at North Beach where we stopped there for lunch at a nice Italian café. The rest of the afternoon was free; I revisited Alamo Square to get more pics of the famous ‘Painted Ladies’ before returning to my hotel to check in.

    Speaking of the hotel, we stayed at the Hotel Whitcomb. It was decent, room was nice… but as I commented above, beware of the stretch of Market Street between here and Union Square.

    Our dinner was at this place called The Sausage Factory, in the Castro district. We then hit up the bars afterwards; visited this Irish pub whose name I forget, then it was off to Vesuvio Café (actually a bar) in the North Beach district.

    The next day, the 31st of December, was a free day. We visited Alcatraz, that infamous former prison in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. After lunch, most of the group did the optional bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, while others went their separate ways to do their own sightseeing. That evening was the unforgettable New Year’s Eve dinner cruise in the bay; we boarded a paddle steamer where we were treated to a delicious buffet dinner and an open bar. Then danced the night away, went out to the deck to take photos, etc. until midnight when we were treated to the most amazing fireworks display in the bay. The rest of the night went by quickly, with most of us getting very drunk (a tour mate took it upon himself to deliver me an endless supply of alcohol) before returning to the hotel where our TM treated us to a room party at his room.

    The next day, the last full day of the tour, was another free day. We stopped by this nearby breakfast restaurant on Hayes Street called Stacks where we had pancakes, French toast, waffles, etc. for brunch. Since most of us was still hungover from the night before, we returned to our hotel to relax. I recovered enough later that day to do a little shopping in the Union Square district. That evening pretty much everyone did the optional Chinatown tour and dinner, since it was our last night together, then it was off to a bar to chill out and dance till late into the night!

    Monte, our TM, did a stellar job, considering that this was his first time doing the San Fran New Year’s tour. And it was absolutely AWESOME… great times with awesome tour mates!!

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