The Virgin Traveller

Discussion in 'Trip Reports and Trip Photos' started by blackcat20, Apr 21, 2014.

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  1. blackcat20

    blackcat20 Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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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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    • Like Like x 7

  2. BAM1748

    BAM1748 Senior Member

    Jul 22, 2008
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    First O/S trip straight to the Big Apple, good one. :D

    Matt
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. TomVexille

    TomVexille Enthusiast

    Nov 12, 2013
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    And you're going to ORD without me...
     
  4. blackcat20

    blackcat20 Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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    And for her birthday too :D
     
  5. blackcat20

    blackcat20 Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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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
     
  6. Denali

    Denali Established Member

    Sep 17, 2012
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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
     
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  7. ABC1

    ABC1 Member

    Apr 2, 2013
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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
     
  8. PLANT

    PLANT Established Member

    Jan 23, 2005
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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.
     
  9. blackcat20

    blackcat20 Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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    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.
     
  10. PLANT

    PLANT Established Member

    Jan 23, 2005
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    332
    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!)
     
  11. Denali

    Denali Established Member

    Sep 17, 2012
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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.
     
  12. blackcat20

    blackcat20 Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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    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.
     
  13. mrs.dr.ron

    mrs.dr.ron Established Member

    Jun 17, 2010
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    • Like Like x 1
  14. blackcat20

    blackcat20 Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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  15. mrs.dr.ron

    mrs.dr.ron Established Member

    Jun 17, 2010
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    So you know about the Macys 10% discount card ?
     
  16. blackcat20

    blackcat20 Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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    Certainly do :D
     
  17. get me outta here

    get me outta here Senior Member

    Nov 18, 2011
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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?
     
  18. blackcat20

    blackcat20 Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2011
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    From their website:
     
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  19. mrs.dr.ron

    mrs.dr.ron Established Member

    Jun 17, 2010
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    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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  20. TraceyK90

    TraceyK90 Member

    Jan 5, 2012
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    Enjoy the trip Blackcat, look forward to hearing about it
     
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