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LA to the Bay April 18-28 2012?

5 Aug 2011 lou_85 asked


My friend and I are booking this trip and were wondering if anyone else has booked or is thinking of booking? I know it's a while away but I like to be prepared in advance!!

  • Read the responses 111 responses so far
  • 12 Jan 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,
    Hopefully there’s some sort of event like a movie premier or a taping of a TV show where you may be able to see a celebrity. The TV show taping tickets are generally issued for free. Is there anyone in particular you are looking out for while in LA?

    I remember being at a concert in Vienna on the last night of my European tour, in Schönbrunn Palace. I thought it was alright, it seemed more focused on the fact that it was being held at the Palace rather than the music itself. After the tour ended, I went to the Vienna Opera House to see Don Giovanni, which I thought, as performances go, was much better than the Schönbrunn concert.

    Two months makes it sound scarily close, though I managed to do a heap of planning and booking over the past couple of weeks so it doesn’t feel like it’s going to sneak up too quickly, but close enough that I’m getting excited about going :)

    Boston didn’t seem close enough to NY that a day trip would be possible. I’m having a full day in Boston itself, then a day in Plymouth & Cape Cod and half a day in Salem (and Gloucester time permitting), just before I head to LA for the tour.

    What are you looking forward to most while on the USA tour?

  • 15 Jan 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,

    I know – I’ve been looking up show tapings, I’d love to see the Ellen show and in regards to looking out for anyone in particular I’d love to see a Kardashian or anyone from any show I’ve ever seen to be honest! I don’t quite know what I’d do if I did see someone – I think I’d freak out and turn the other way or be totally over the top and jump and scream! ha ha!.

    It’ nearly 3 months to the start of our trip now… I keep looking at all of my travel docs, like my itinerary, it doesn’t feel real yet!. Have you booked all of your trip yourself or gone thru a travel agent?.

    Yeah, I know, I wish I had more time everywhere really! oh well, there’s plenty of time still to come back (I’m talking like I’ve already been!!).

    I really don’t know! I’m definitely looking forward to the hot air ballooning and I think the Grand Canyon will be brilliant!. How about yourself?

  • 22 Jan 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    I might end up bumping into something political around Washington but otherwise I’m not counting on seeing anyone famous. I’m hopeful of picking up tickets to see either the Daily Show or the Colbert Report while in New York, otherwise I could try waking up early and try to get in close at the Today Show window.

    I’ve done all of the East Coast accommodation and transport booking by myself, but I have a travel agent to help out with the tour and other bits and pieces. There’s still a couple of accommodation gaps to fill but otherwise it’s mostly done now. It’s starting to feel more real having now ticked off a few more bookings (including New York) this weekend. Just over two months to go now :)

    I would say that I was looking forward to the Grand Canyon too. It all seems pretty good though, though having said that I’m also looking forward to Las Vegas as well. I’ve been there before but was under 21 at the time. I had a quick look at the tours page and noticed that the tour is almost fully booked and the one beforehand is already full.

    Have you gone through an agent or have you done your bookings yourself? Which part of New York were you planning to stay in?

  • 23 Jan 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,
    I was in the Sunrise window once – ha ha, made everyone I knew watch it. Yeah, I thought about the daily show in NYC too but I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my time there.
    How exciting – it really feels real doesn’t it! Are you seeing any shows in NYC? Theatre shows I mean?.
    I know, I re read the optionals on the weekend – I want to do everything! well nearly anyways!. I noticed that with the one before ours too, I wonder where all the other people on our tour are?!. and speaking of Vegas I will definitely be doing the limo ride with champagne!!.
    I’ve done everything thru my travel agent – my rationale is if anything goes wrong I can blame her! and she knows everything about everything so that’s been so helpful, I would be a nervous wreck if I had to get everything down to a t on my own!.
    I’m staying at the Wolcott Hotel (west st and 4th ave or something I think) – it was the cheapest option that wasn’t in New Jersey or Harlem! It’s right near the empire state building, so if I get lost at least I can look for that as a landmark to make my way back to!.

  • 26 Jan 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    At the moment, I would probably be looking to see either Wicked or How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I’ll check them both out while I’m there though to see what the deal is. I’ve already seen Avenue Q and Phantom, but would recommend both. Were you planning to see a show while you were there? Are there any other must see/dos that you have in New York?

    I’m staying at the Jane in West Village, just across the water looking back towards New Jersey. I was looking at places that were in Manhattan, easy and safe enough to get back to at night and close to things to do.

    The limo ride on the tour looks pretty sweet; I’m pretty pleased with the list of optional extras on the tour, compared to the tour I took in Europe. I’m not sure where the others heading on the tour are; some will come out of the woodwork in the month or so beforehand.

    Most of the reading for planning the trip was done while catching the train to and from work, which has worked out quite well – so far so good (fingers crossed). There are things in future that I would book through a travel agent, such as the car. The road-trip needed a fair bit of realistic forethought, however the week in New York is pretty much free, but with a rough plan of things that I want to do while there.

    Just over two months to go :)

  • 26 Jan 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,
    I saw wicked in melb and loved it – i’m thinking i might go to a show but as a matinee, i don’t really want to be out by myself after dark!. I think that phantom was showing – i’ve had a look at some sites for the shows but i think i might wing it when i get there and see if i can just get a cheap ticket to something.
    I didn’t really look at many places to stay – i just went with the travel agents reccommendation, I’ll know on my own for next time.
    I know – it’s seems like there’s a lot extra to do which i just can’t wait for, i’m trying to decide now what optionals i want to do but it will prob be easier to decide when i’m there.
    I’ve spent all my weekends reading up etc – no trains for me where i am – there just seemed to be too many options out there!.
    82 days til the tour starts! (if i counted right) :)

  • 9 Feb 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    I’m a bit disappointed I missed Wicked when it was touring in Sydney a couple of years ago. It was playing at the same time as Avenue Q, which I went and saw instead with a friend of mine; however I don’t regret seeing Avenue Q, which was really funny. I went with a few friends to see Phantom while it was playing in Melbourne on its revival tour a few years ago.

    The bulk release tickets for the Colbert Report and Daily Show for the week I’m in NY come out some time late tomorrow night, I’m definitely staying up to try and apply for one :)

    I’ve had a few recent requests from my brothers for cheap stuff to buy while I’m in the USA, including a request for sunglasses, cufflinks and a couple of bottles of aftershave. Has anyone made any requests for you to buy cheap stuff over in America for them, or perhaps something you’re really interested in getting yourself?

    I spoke with my travel agent today who said that the tour is now completely full. I’m still wondering where the others going on the tour are – the forum for my last tour had at least 4-5 people on it about 1-2 months out from departure.

    7 weeks to go to Philadelphia, 9 to the start of the tour :).

  • 9 Feb 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,
    I"ve heard of Avenue Q, I think it was on while I was in Melbourne but I don’t think it’s really a show for me!. I’ll probably end up going to an off broadway show, something I’ve never heard of would be fun.
    I applied for a ticket to the Ellen show the other day! Still waiting with my fingers crossed to hear back. The daily show would be great, I haven’t seen the colbert report though (it’s probably on too late for me!).
    Ha ha, good on them!. No, no requests from anyone for me! I do have 2 friends who’ll be having babies later this year so I’ll be looking for some cute things for them, hopefully cheap! Everyone tells me it’s so cheap but I can’t understand if it’s so cheap over there why we don’t get it cheap either?!. And the Aus dollar is looking really good too, I hope it keeps going like it is!!. I haven’t really thought about anything for my self, I know I want an I Love NY t-shirt (complete tourist here!) and I’ll probably look for clothes and shoes, but I may have to send things home – I’m already going with a full bag (and I’ve had to leave heaps out!).
    I know – I’ve had a look at our tour page and I’ve also found a forum of the Wild Western starting the same day as ours, as far as I’m aware we tour together and ours stops in San Fran but they continue on back to LA, there’s only 2 other people on that one though. I would have thought people would be all over the forums, trying to find other people – I definitely feel better about travelling solo now!.
    So exciting!! 77 days until the tour! :)

  • 17 Feb 2012 lou_85 said


    2 months today! :)

  • 1 Mar 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    I managed to get the ticket to see the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which I checked on the internet after waking up a friend at 5am who was asleep upright on the couch, which luckily worked out being about 1pm local time. Did you hear back about getting a ticket for the Ellen DeGeneres show?

    I’m also sure that I will bring back an I <3 NY shirt, as well as a Yankees cap as well. I’m still hopeful to get to a Yankees game, though their first home game of the season is my last day in New York, which might make it difficult, but not impossible. Were you planning to go on any tours while in NY? The catalogue from the travel agent had a Gossip Girl and a Sex and the City tour; one of my colleagues currently in New York was going on the latter with her friends sometime this week.

    I’m glad there are other people known going on the Wild Western tour as well, seems like a good bunch so far.

    Less than four weeks before I head to the US and 7 to the tour – it feels like it’s been creeping up quickly. I hope the weather will be better than in Sydney at the moment; it doesn’t want to stop raining here :(

  • 4 Mar 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,
    That’s great! No I haven’t heard anything from The Ellen Show… I don’t think it’s going to happen :( oh well, more time for exploring!.
    I was thinking about a Gossip Girl tour but they only run on days when I’m not going to be in NY and I’m not really a huge fan of Sex and the City, I only watched a few episodes here and there. I’d thought about a shopping tour and a city hop on hop off type thing but I think I’ll just wing it.
    I know, I can’t wait for it to start already, it was 6 weeks yesterday until I leave. I know!, I’ve been hearing all about the weather on the news, it’s been raining here a bit but nothing like up there! I’ve been keeping a check on the weather in LA and it seems ok to me so far, sort of like the summer we get, well tassie, maybe not sydney!.
    DId you check out the videos on you tube from the link on the wild western forum? I found some others too and it all looks so good, can’t wait for the red rock jeep tour if it’s like the video he posted!

  • 12 Mar 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    I’ve looked at Brad’s videos – they were excellent. The videos would make for some pretty decent promotional material for Contiki.

    It was pretty good up in Sydney on the weekend, though it’s been rubbish the rest of the summer – one of my colleagues had her house flooded with rain last week :(. I would think we would be pretty unlucky if it rained in Las Vegas or Phoenix.

    I spoke with a colleague who went on the Sex and the City tour and reckoned it was overrated – most of the time was spent on the bus covering as many sites as possible (she also said the only guys on the tour were significant others trying to earn some serious brownie points). I’m trying to find a few “free” walking tours – there seem to be quite a few around Manhattan and the east coast. They tended to be pretty good in Europe, even whilst I was travelling on the European Contiki itself, and are good for solo travellers.

    37 days to the tour :)

  • 12 Mar 2012 lou_85 said


    I didn’t even think to look on you tube for videos, It’s something I’d never think to do anyways. I spoke to some friends over the weekend who’ve been on the trip and they were telling me all about it, they said they did the helicopter ride in the Grand Canyon but actually spent the day in the base – hiking and swimming etc. They said when they went (May/June 2008) it was really hot, hopefully it’s not too hot when we’re there.
    I don’t mind it being cold but I definitely don’t want rain! I suppose in Las Vegas we’ll mostly be inside casinos etc anyway, not sure about Phoenix, do we get the option to see a baseball game? I’m not sure if that was an extra or not.
    Yeah, If I come across a scene I recognise from the show then fair enough but if I don’t then I won’t mind. I’ve found a free walking tour of gossip girl locations, to do on our own, so I’m happy with that one!, I can go at my own pace and pick when I want to do it. I’m still debating on whether or not to get the New York Pass – I don’t know how many things I’ll want to se or have time to see…
    It’s getting here quickly now, tomorrow will be a month before I fly out… I still feel like I have so many things to do! :)

  • 17 Mar 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    I doubt it would rain for most of the tour, though it might get cold up in the mountains at Bass Lake. I’ve also spoken to someone in Washington and she said it was unusually warm on the east coast for this time of the year. San Diego and Las Vegas were both pretty mild when i was there during a December.

    I hadn’t heard of the New York Pass up until just then – it looks pretty useful, though heavily geared toward the museums and main attractions. Some of the fast passes might be handy.

    Not sure if the baseball game is an extra for our tour, it may depend on whether there will be a game and if we have the night free.

    There isn’t anything specific from any TV shows at the moment to see, though I getting excited by seeing stock footage of Washington DC while watching NCIS and Bones. I’ve recently seen Witness as a preview for the day trip to Amish country in Pennsylvania. Are there any places you’re planning to go based upon a movie you’ve seen or a book you’ve read?

    I have a growing list for stuff to buy while in the US from both of my brothers – though I’m not sure where the extra stuff will go in my luggage!

    One month to go before the tour :)

  • 18 Mar 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,
    Fingers crossed it’ll be ok – I’ve packed for warm and cold climates (ha ha – yes I’ve already packed – 3/4’s anyway).
    I’m not sure if it’ll be worth it or not – I don’t think I’ll be able to see everything that’s on it.
    No, there’s not really anywhere that I’m planning on going based on a movie or book – in England I’m going to the Jane Austen house, which I’m excited about, but not for the US.
    Ha ha – you should buy everything they want then post it home and make them pay for it on arrival! Or bring an extra suitcase/bag with you!
    I know, less than a month! You must leave really soon?! :)

  • 20 Mar 2012 Stuart_RG said


    Hi Lou,

    The plan will be to buy myself a decent suitcase while I’m there, as I don’t have one of my own – I’m borrowing for this trip. I’ll take one there and bring back two in all likelihood.

    I have read however that the Contiki baggage limit is one suitcase – I might wait until after the tour to buy all the extra stuff and save the hassle of carrying it everywhere.

    For some reason the current Qantas baggage limit for economy class to North America is two suitcases without additional cost, which came as quite a surprise. I’m wondering if its for all of the shopping being brought back to Australia :) Not sure about the other airlines but I imagine it would be similar, though the one bag limit to Europe still applies.

    I’ll start packing this Saturday and go shopping for anything else I need on Sunday.

    The flight is Thursday week, so I’m busy counting down the days (9 sleeps to go) :) If all goes to plan I’ll be in Philadelphia via LA and NYC by the end of the (very) long day. You got much longer to go?

  • 20 Mar 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Stuart,
    Ah ok – that would work for you to fit everything in. If you were going from LA back to LA I reckon the hotel would of held it for you but obviously that won’t work with finishing in San Francisco, I can’t remember if you said you have extra time there or not at the end?.
    You’re only starting to pack this weekend? I’ve been packing and unpacking for weeks!!! I like to be organised, and perhaps over prepared though…
    Wow – that’s so soon… I leave on the 14th so 23 sleeps (I think) – I’m trying not to think about it too much, I’m getting a bit nervous!!!

  • 23 Mar 2012 Mari_02 said


    Hi I booked for this tour too!!!
    This will be my second experience with contiki!!!
    When are you planning arrive in LA? Does anyone knows what time the tour starts?

  • 24 Mar 2012 lou_85 said


    Hi Mari! So glad there’s someone else out there, as you can see from this forum it’s just been me and Stuart for a while!.
    This will be my second Contiki too! I’ll be in LA from the 14th of April and I got my documents yesterday and it says 7-7.30am on the 18th.
    Will you be in LA early?

  • 24 Mar 2012 Mari_02 said


    Hi Lou, I´m so glad I found this forum!!!
    I will arrive in LA 17th of april in the morning.
    Are you going solo?Have you ever been in USA before?

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