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Travel expenses to the US for 4 weeks

  • 16-01-2016 10:58pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 343 ✭✭ RB100


    Hi,

    My girlfriend and I are thinking of going to the US for a a few weeks over the summer. We are thinking of going California. I would like to know what is our best options in getting over there like should we get a travel visa? a rough estimate of the money we woud need? best option for accomodation?

    if anyone has any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,691 ✭✭✭✭ Dial Hard


    RB100 wrote:
    I would like to know what is our best options in getting over there like should we get a travel visa?

    Are you both Irish citizens? If so, you don't need a visa, you can travel there for up to three months without one.

    You will need to get ESTA pre-approval to travel but that's very straightforward and can be done online. Beware scam sites that charge you for it.

    In terms of money, it's really a case of how long is a piece of string. Do you plan to stay in hotels? Motels? Eat out every day or go self-catering?


  • Registered Users Posts: 343 ✭✭ RB100


    We are both Irish yes. We would be staying in hotels for a few nights but I would say motels for the most part because of cost. Would not be eating out everynight if possibe. Realistically are budget would be 3000-4000 euro each. Is this wishful thinking to last with this?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,420 ✭✭✭✭ athtrasna


    When drawing up a budget please remember to factor in tips. Tips are a significant expense in the US.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,623 ✭✭✭ Ruu


    Pay a bit extra for a room with a fridge and/or microwave, some even have some area for cooking. Make your own lunch or dinner, saves you from eating out all the time.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,698 iusedtoknow


    Why motels when you can use AirBnB with full kitchens. We've used airbnb in 6 cities around the world and never had any issues.

    You can really cut down on expenses, stay in neighborhoods (instead of hotel/tourist areas) and cook when you want.

    FYI...food in CA costs a fair bit. In our nearest market, organic steak costs $24 for 2 of us, Salmon steaks $15 for two of us. Often it is cheaper to eat out at taqueria instead of getting supplies in.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 318 ✭✭ val_jester


    RB100 wrote: »
    We are both Irish yes. We would be staying in hotels for a few nights but I would say motels for the most part because of cost. Would not be eating out everynight if possibe. Realistically are budget would be 3000-4000 euro each. Is this wishful thinking to last with this?

    Depending on where exactly in California you are looking to visit you should really look at staying at hostels to cut down on costs. They're much cheaper than hotels, usually cheaper than motels and the quality is really high in California, most places also have private rooms available. I stayed at them all along the west coast with my girlfriend last year and thought they were really helpful, staff are great and most hostels offer activities like city tours or meals depending on what day you arrive.

    We travelled for two and a half weeks and spent about $4500 altogether. I think fuel prices have dropped even further recently so you mightn't have to spend as much on that. Enterprise was really great for a cheap car rental, and there are lots of ways you can keep expenses down if you plan well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 343 ✭✭ RB100


    Why motels when you can use AirBnB with full kitchens. We've used airbnb in 6 cities around the world and never had any issues.

    You can really cut down on expenses, stay in neighborhoods (instead of hotel/tourist areas) and cook when you want.

    FYI...food in CA costs a fair bit. In our nearest market, organic steak costs $24 for 2 of us, Salmon steaks $15 for two of us. Often it is cheaper to eat out at taqueria instead of getting supplies in.

    I checked some airbnb's out online il keep them in mind. Thats crazy prices but thats in the market, im sure there will be supermarkets around that would be cheaper?


  • Registered Users Posts: 343 ✭✭ RB100


    val_jester wrote: »
    Depending on where exactly in California you are looking to visit you should really look at staying at hostels to cut down on costs. They're much cheaper than hotels, usually cheaper than motels and the quality is really high in California, most places also have private rooms available. I stayed at them all along the west coast with my girlfriend last year and thought they were really helpful, staff are great and most hostels offer activities like city tours or meals depending on what day you arrive.

    We travelled for two and a half weeks and spent about $4500 altogether. I think fuel prices have dropped even further recently so you mightn't have to spend as much on that. Enterprise was really great for a cheap car rental, and there are lots of ways you can keep expenses down if you plan well.

    I've never stayed in a hostel, when I hear about them I think of crowded rooms but sounds good ill look into them do a bit of research on them. Is there any other things needed to rent a car other than a full license?

    Also what are you're recommondations for any good hostels/accomodation and what are places that are worth visiting?( I know theres loads but any that stand out. We are more intersested in interesting places/scenery more so than bustling cities but all recomondations are helpful. Thanks


  • Registered Users Posts: 318 ✭✭ val_jester


    RB100 wrote: »
    I've never stayed in a hostel, when I hear about them I think of crowded rooms but sounds good ill look into them do a bit of research on them. Is there any other things needed to rent a car other than a full license?

    Also what are you're recommondations for any good hostels/accomodation and what are places that are worth visiting?( I know theres loads but any that stand out. We are more intersested in interesting places/scenery more so than bustling cities but all recomondations are helpful. Thanks

    Yes, I get that perception for hostel, but the ones I stayed at where lovely. We mainly stayed in private rooms but even when we had to stay in dorms they were normally 4 person or 6 person rooms. For renting a car you need a credit card or to leave a cash deposit. I used enterprise because they were really cheap, but you want to return the car to the same place or else there is a pricey fee for dropping it elsewhere.

    In terms of what to do, I really loved central California and northern california a lot, in fact so much that I moved to San Francisco recently. Big sur is amazing and there are lots of national parks all along the 101 between LA and SF. I didn't really like LA but its definitely worth staying there for a couple of days if you have 4 weeks. Maybe start there, or San Diego, take your time up the 101, stopping in big sur, santa cruz, going into Saratoga for a few days hiking in the smaller redwoods. You could go back out to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse hostel. Its one of my favourite places becauses its right on the coast, at an old lighthouse as the name suggests, and it has a really beautiful hot tub on the cliff edge which is great to watch the sunset at and hear seals barking. It's also a couple of hours drive from there to SF where I'd recommend staying for a while. The city is beautiful and you can really explore it. The HI hostels do some really good walking tours but most of the ones I've stayed at in the city are good, except for the international hostel (which can be confused with the HI hostel) and the orange village ones which have really bad reps. From SF you can do day trips up to wine country and muir woods which are great.

    I would suggest driving from SF to Lake Tahoe, if you go to the south of the lake towards Reno the views are stunning. If at all possible you should spend some time in Yosemite National park, a few days if you can get the permits. You can go from there to Vegas if you want to fit some time there in, or/and visit the Grand Canyon before going back towards LA/San Diego via Death Valley. There are some really beautiful motels in really deserted desert along the way back and Death Valley is amazing to see. If you get near vegas I'd also recommend a trip to the Hoover Dam. I found it spectacular but I realise its not for everyone.


  • Registered Users Posts: 343 ✭✭ RB100


    val_jester wrote: »
    Yes, I get that perception for hostel, but the ones I stayed at where lovely. We mainly stayed in private rooms but even when we had to stay in dorms they were normally 4 person or 6 person rooms. For renting a car you need a credit card or to leave a cash deposit. I used enterprise because they were really cheap, but you want to return the car to the same place or else there is a pricey fee for dropping it elsewhere.

    In terms of what to do, I really loved central California and northern california a lot, in fact so much that I moved to San Francisco recently. Big sur is amazing and there are lots of national parks all along the 101 between LA and SF. I didn't really like LA but its definitely worth staying there for a couple of days if you have 4 weeks. Maybe start there, or San Diego, take your time up the 101, stopping in big sur, santa cruz, going into Saratoga for a few days hiking in the smaller redwoods. You could go back out to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse hostel. Its one of my favourite places becauses its right on the coast, at an old lighthouse as the name suggests, and it has a really beautiful hot tub on the cliff edge which is great to watch the sunset at and hear seals barking. It's also a couple of hours drive from there to SF where I'd recommend staying for a while. The city is beautiful and you can really explore it. The HI hostels do some really good walking tours but most of the ones I've stayed at in the city are good, except for the international hostel (which can be confused with the HI hostel) and the orange village ones which have really bad reps. From SF you can do day trips up to wine country and muir woods which are great.

    I would suggest driving from SF to Lake Tahoe, if you go to the south of the lake towards Reno the views are stunning. If at all possible you should spend some time in Yosemite National park, a few days if you can get the permits. You can go from there to Vegas if you want to fit some time there in, or/and visit the Grand Canyon before going back towards LA/San Diego via Death Valley. There are some really beautiful motels in really deserted desert along the way back and Death Valley is amazing to see. If you get near vegas I'd also recommend a trip to the Hoover Dam. I found it spectacular but I realise its not for everyone.

    Thanks a lot for the detailed reply it very helpful. We got return flights for really good value so we just booked them. Now we have to get planing the trip! We are flying into LAX so we will spend a few days there to start. Found a cheap but fun looking hotel in Vegas called the Circus Circus so we will prob stay there and visit the Grand Canyon and might visit the dam while we are on that side. From reading your post it seems best to visit that last before heading back to LA. I found that private room hostels are just as expensive as hotel rooms, well in LA at least. Accomodation will be the most expensive part of the trip id say.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 171 ✭✭ gmurphy70


    RB100 wrote: »
    Thanks a lot for the detailed reply it very helpful. We got return flights for really good value so we just booked them. Now we have to get planing the trip! We are flying into LAX so we will spend a few days there to start. Found a cheap but fun looking hotel in Vegas called the Circus Circus so we will prob stay there and visit the Grand Canyon and might visit the dam while we are on that side. From reading your post it seems best to visit that last before heading back to LA. I found that private room hostels are just as expensive as hotel rooms, well in LA at least. Accomodation will be the most expensive part of the trip id say.
    RB100 wrote: »
    Thanks a lot for the detailed reply it very helpful. We got return flights for really good value so we just booked them. Now we have to get planing the trip! We are flying into LAX so we will spend a few days there to start. Found a cheap but fun looking hotel in Vegas called the Circus Circus so we will prob stay there and visit the Grand Canyon and might visit the dam while we are on that side. From reading your post it seems best to visit that last before heading back to LA. I found that private room hostels are just as expensive as hotel rooms, well in LA at least. Accomodation will be the most expensive part of the trip id say.

    Definitely your accommodation will be the most expensive item on your travels to California. California is more expensive than any other of the states I visited. My girlfriend and I visited 2 years ago and we were lucky enough to do a house exchange which brought down our costs hugely. San Fran was very expensive for accommodation, we only spent 2 nights there and then started on our trip down the Pacific highway. We settled in San Diego , beautiful city and coastline. We took a road trip to Palm Springs which was the highlight of the trip,such a beautiful spot. We stayed in our exchange house for 10 days in San Diego, where we shopped and done most of our eating there. Definitely somewhere with a kitchen will save you loads. Used Airbnb for 1 nite stays in Palm Springs/Santa Barbara and Monterey. About $120 a day on average per day covers food/petrol/activities. It's a great trip though,you will have a ball!


  • Registered Users Posts: 350 ✭✭ Palmy


    gmurphy70 wrote: »
    Definitely your accommodation will be the most expensive item on your travels to California. California is more expensive than any other of the states I visited. My girlfriend and I visited 2 years ago and we were lucky enough to do a house exchange which brought down our costs hugely. San Fran was very expensive for accommodation, we only spent 2 nights there and then started on our trip down the Pacific highway. We settled in San Diego , beautiful city and coastline. We took a road trip to Palm Springs which was the highlight of the trip,such a beautiful spot. We stayed in our exchange house for 10 days in San Diego, where we shopped and done most of our eating there. Definitely somewhere with a kitchen will save you loads. Used Airbnb for 1 nite stays in Palm Springs/Santa Barbara and Monterey. About $120 a day on average per day covers food/petrol/activities. It's a great trip though,you will have a ball!

    Just a thought have you ever thought about hiring an RV? Accommodation and travel all in one. Not sure if it would work out in Cali but where I live in Florida it would work out cheaper to rent a RV.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,511 dave2pvd




  • Registered Users Posts: 1,511 dave2pvd


    Look into https://www.jucyrvrentals.com/

    usa-campervan-hire-hp.jpg

    I've seen quite a few of these; always wanted to try it out.

    Last year, I did the RV holiday with family. Used CruiseAmerica. It was fantastic, but a lot more expensive than motels. And highly incompatible with cities.


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