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blackcat20

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My mother has managed to make it to 60 without ever going overseas (Kangaroo Island doesn't count), so when I stumbled on some great VA J fares mid last year, the decision was easy. I booked, then rang her at work to let her know we were off to the US in May. What followed was a series on excited emails as she discovered we would get flat beds, champagne and a huge luggage allowance. Her boss has never let her take more than a week off at a time, but I wasn't taking no for an answer.

With a couple of US trips under my belt, I plotted out our trip then sought her approval. A couple of my favourite cities, and a few new ones that I've always wanted to visit. The drive down the coast from San Fran to LA has been on my wish list for years.

The plan:
Day 1: MEL-LAX in VA J, then on to EWR on VX.
Days 2-5: New York City
Day 6: drive from NYC to Boston
Days 7-9: Boston
Day 10: fly AA BOS-ORD
Days 11-13: Chicago
Day 14: fly AA ORD-SFO
Days 15-17: San Francisco
Day 18: drive SFO to Monterey
Day 19: drive Monterey to Santa Barbara
Day 20: drive Santa Barbara to Los Angeles
Day 21: LA
Day 22: fly VA J LAX-MEL
 

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blackcat20

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Hotels
New York City: Row NYC (previously The Milford). Right behind Times Square, not too expensive for the location and perfectly suitable for somewhere to sleep and shower. Also recently renovated.


Boston: Revere Hotel Boston Common. Hotels in BOS are expensive! Newish hotel in a reasonably central location.


Chicago: Crowne Plaza Magnificent Mile


San Francisco: Hilton Union Square. Stumbled on a great price, $660 for four nights, now bookable for over $11000.


Monterey: Best Western Plus Victoria Inn


Santa Barbara: Avania Inn


Los Angeles: Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach
 

Denali

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My hint for NY is the Top of the Rock instead of empire state building so mum can see the ESB and central park. If you do ESB, buy the VIP tickets. Enjoy
 

ABC1

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Looks like a great holiday... the aquarium at Monterey is well worth a visit.. If you like golf you can do the Pebble Beach drive for about $17. Carmel is a nice town just south. Clint Eastwood use to be the mayor, and of course Hearst Castle. Crowne Plaza at Redondo is a nice hotel. Right next to a big power station but don't let that put you off.. QF crew stayed there for a long time.. There is a diner across the road called Ruby's. Good food.. Paisanos Pizza at Hermosa, the next beach up towards LAX is great value and the best NYC style pizza you get west of the Mississippi. And at the next beach up at Manhattan, the Lemonade store also has good food.. A visit to Grove/Farmers market is good as is the Getty.. Santa Monica has good shopping.. A few K's inland from Redondo is Del Amo.. a massive shopping mall... I could name plenty more, but enjoy
 

PLANT

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Did you get a window seat on VA?
Have you done VA J before...ask for Pj's early and I'm sure she will be told right front toilet females only(mirror toilet) get the Pj's on early too!Remind her to take everything offered and don't hold back asking for anything wanted....Crew do disappear when the lights are out I've found and they have run out off food and extra snacks on me before!
The VX flight in baggage class will be a real reality check....get noise cancel earphones for your mum(Bose i20's) and load up a movie or series to watch on tablet...its 5hrs! Oh and hope your mum loves dogs cause they have this bloody pets on planes(comfort pets) could be next to you.....I could not believe it when after I spoke to the Captain he said yep done thing and then I get the seat next to the bloody thing!
Seriously the now 2yr old Hostel(own room) on the main drag could be cheaper and better located than the $300 a night hotel 2 blocks up! I stayed 2 months after it opened and was $50 a night for brand new location location!
Chicago say hi to the BEAN for me.
 

blackcat20

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Did you get a window seat on VA?
Have you done VA J before...ask for Pj's early and I'm sure she will be told right front toilet females only(mirror toilet) get the Pj's on early too!Remind her to take everything offered and don't hold back asking for anything wanted....Crew do disappear when the lights are out I've found and they have run out off food and extra snacks on me before!
The VX flight in baggage class will be a real reality check....get noise cancel earphones for your mum(Bose i20's) and load up a movie or series to watch on tablet...its 5hrs! Oh and hope your mum loves dogs cause they have this bloody pets on planes(comfort pets) could be next to you.....I could not believe it when after I spoke to the Captain he said yep done thing and then I get the seat next to the bloody thing!
Seriously the now 2yr old Hostel(own room) on the main drag could be cheaper and better located than the $300 a night hotel 2 blocks up! I stayed 2 months after it opened and was $50 a night for brand new location location!
Chicago say hi to the BEAN for me.
I have the window seat; it's wasted on someone who closes her eyes on take-off and landing. Headphones are already sorted, and she is refusing to deal with IFE; apparently her book and ipod will be sufficient for 20 hours of flying time :shock: I've done the flight several times and can entertain myself with no dramas. I'm also happy to spend the money on the hotel. I don't do hostels, and I don't think my mum would appreciate that for her birthday.
 

PLANT

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What is your seat number and how do you find window seats...I've been on the right side twice 4K was loud I thought?

At least go for a walk in the Hostel by yourself for future reference...maybe while mum's napping?
https://www.hihostels.com/hostels/hi-boston?gclid=CM-995PK-r0CFUp8vQodL0cApQ
They have Private rooms with Ensuite!
Hopefully they have fixed the WIFI issue(could not believe with MIT up the road it was not working properly...sure ironed out the kinks now!)
 

Denali

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Also, if you are going to the world trade towers, book your tickets and depending on the time booked (change of taxi shift) you'll either have to book a car service or subway.
 

blackcat20

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My hint for NY is the Top of the Rock instead of empire state building so mum can see the ESB and central park. If you do ESB, buy the VIP tickets. Enjoy
Yep, I've done both before, each had their own advantage. But I love being up Top of the Rock and watching all the lights come on as the sun goes down.
 

get me outta here

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mrs.dr.ron, is that the Macy's card you get in the shop? Is it just for full price items, or for a certain amount needed to spend before the 10% kicks in?
 

blackcat20

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mrs.dr.ron, is that the Macy's card you get in the shop? Is it just for full price items, or for a certain amount needed to spend before the 10% kicks in?
From their website:
International visitors can receive the Welcome International Savings Card, which is available in 10 languages and offers 10% savings in all Macy's stores for 30 days after validation.
 

mrs.dr.ron

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mrs.dr.ron, is that the Macy's card you get in the shop? Is it just for full price items, or for a certain amount needed to spend before the 10% kicks in?
Yes, you pick the card up in store at the Visitors Centre in NYC ( it used to be on the Mezzanine level- but with the major refurb the store just had I don't know where it is now) or any Macys store customer service dept. It supposedly only applies to full price goods but I have had it work on sale items as well. It doesn't apply to a list of things including cosmetics, perfume, jewelry. Basically it means you don't have to pay the tax. Bloomingdales also have a similar card. Lord and Taylor ( my favourite store !!) also have something like that - except now just ask at the time you pay for a visitor discount and they give you what ever the latest sale discount is. Sometimes they want proof you are a visitor so have a photocopy of your passport with you. But usually just opening your mouth is enough proof :D

The outlet malls all have a discount book at the office. And seeing you mother is 60 she could get the seniors discount on Tuesdays at certain outlet malls !! Proof of age needed ! Go with an empty case - we always do :shock:
 
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