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Old 10-06-2019, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Lexington, KY
9 posts, read 6,454 times
Reputation: 15

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Hey everyone,


I'm currently planning a vacation for sometime between January and early March. I'm looking at taking an Amtrak (with roomette) from Chicago to San Francisco, spending three nights there, and then flying back home. I've take a couple of train rides with sleeper cars before and I enjoyed the experience but I've always wanted to try the California Zephyr.

In looking for affordable hotels in San Francisco (lol), I came across The Grant Plaza which seems to have reasonable rates. I don't need anything fancy, just safe and close to public transportation. The reviews seem okay but I was wondering if any of you had any experience with that hotel. Also wondering if my budget seems reasonable.

Also, I'm wondering if you have any other ideas of destinations I might want to go to instead. I'm having a hard time deciding. I'm not much of a beach person (I considered a cruise, but all the cruises within that budget were for the Bahamas and Caribbean, though I would love to try a transatlantic cruise someday).

Appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 10-06-2019, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,839 posts, read 865,067 times
Reputation: 1881
So, what kind of destination/activities are you looking for?
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:14 PM
Status: "Still Blessed, and Thankful for it." (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: Spurs country. "Go, Spurs, Go!"
3,543 posts, read 4,099,538 times
Reputation: 9299
I have always wanted to see Hearst Castle, but not sure where it is in relation to San Fran. The book about his mistress was a great read.
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Lexington, KY
9 posts, read 6,454 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
So, what kind of destination/activities are you looking for?
I'm one of those who tends to prefer the journey more than the destination. I've done multiple cross-country road trips and I loved those.

I've always been interested in San Francisco, but I've only been there once and it was just for a few hours, so I didn't get to really experience it.

I prefer more urban settings where I can people-watch. I haven't traveled overseas yet and I don't think that's within my budget but, staying continental, I would like to go to Vancouver, BC sometime.
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Old 10-07-2019, 05:37 AM
 
Location: In the land beyond Ohare!
1,029 posts, read 571,164 times
Reputation: 2323
Go over to Expedia, TripAdvisor or similar for inspiration, reviews and in depth details for various locations.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:26 AM
 
32,689 posts, read 33,608,147 times
Reputation: 15245
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar 77 View Post
I have always wanted to see Hearst Castle, but not sure where it is in relation to San Fran. The book about his mistress was a great read.
Hearst Castle is approx. a 4 and half hour (about 240 mile) car ride south of San Franscisco.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,483 posts, read 7,178,833 times
Reputation: 3604
I would make a few free <24 hr stops on that route from Chi-SF just to take in a few spots that I might never otherwise visit. Take a look at the route and see what options there are (would have to be somewhere that Amtrak runs multiple trains daily)

SF is definitely a city worth visiting for a few days. I don't know that hotel in particular but yeah it's not an easy city to find nice affordable accommodations. You might check out airbnb as well, or if you aren't so particular then Priceline's express deals or Hotwire's hot rate will give you something decent.

I wouldn't want to visit Vancouver in the middle of winter, but you could definitely be on the lookout for one-way cruises along the Pac coast. There's usually one-nighters between Vancouver and Seattle or a bit longer to get down to LA/SD. I'm somewhat like you in that I enjoy the journey as well, so I've always wanted to take that option sometime when I need to get from point a to point b on the west coast.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:32 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
23,252 posts, read 40,848,916 times
Reputation: 24752
I prefer FT Mason hostel in SF, very interesting travelers and tough to beat excellent location. Take a bunch of free public library sponsored tours (available daily) . SF is quite compact and ez to see in 2 days.

Consider renting a car for 24 hrs before your departure (San Jose is often preferred for rental car and departure airport, depends on Carrier, but SWA likely has direct flights to MDW.)

With a car, you could do the following 24 hr loops.
  • Santa Cruz, Monterey, Hearst Castle
  • Napa valley and some of northern CA coast
  • Lake Tahoe / Reno (snow)
  • Yosemite / Sequoia NP
  • Sacramento / gold Rush trail,
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:09 PM
 
Location: equator
4,047 posts, read 1,760,861 times
Reputation: 10058
Quote:
Originally Posted by tustultuses View Post
I'm one of those who tends to prefer the journey more than the destination. I've done multiple cross-country road trips and I loved those.

.
Then you'd like the repositioning trans-Atlantic crossing. 14 days inside cabin was $850 (double occupancy). Oh I just realized you're single. Maybe you can get a buddy to go with. We LOVED it. All those days at sea to people-watch and wave-watch and shows every night. All you can eat. 5 or 6 ports of call...Celebrity Cruises.

Of course, then you do have to get back...

We loved our road trips too---even slept in our SUV in the back country a few times. So much to see in the remoter areas of the of the U.S. Like I-70 through Utah: "No gas for 110 miles" LOL.
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Old 10-07-2019, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Upland, CA
3,733 posts, read 6,587,378 times
Reputation: 4268
Flights to Europe are insanely cheap right now. What about a quick trip to Spain?
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