Please help this Aussie Bee plan a trip to the US of A!

posted 2 years ago in Travel
Post # 2
5769 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

How long will your trip be? LA is almost 4000 miles from NYC and it’s about $600 in airfare between the two cities per person (and a 7-hour flight, landing not all that close to Manhattan). So you will need a lot of time to make it worth going from west coast to east coast.

as for weather this time of year, well, the USA is pretty huge. Currently there is 60 inches of snow in upstate New York, temperatures below -5*C in the northern midwest, and near 30*C or even higher in Florida, so if there’s a particular weather you prefer, you can probably find it.

i think spending some time with a map of the US and thinking about what you want to actually do (or not do) would be a great forst step in planning your trip.

as for domestic airlines, they are pretty much all the same. Jet Blue has nicer planes but goes to fewer cities, and Spirit is ultra low cost (you’ll pay to out a bag in the overhead bin) but the rest are pretty much cookie cutter (flying busses, all of them) so unless you’re flying paid first class where there’s an actual difference in quality or trying to collect airline miles, just buy whatever domestic flights are most convenient and best price.

Post # 3
906 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Southwest Airlines is the only airlines my FI and I will fly around America with (baggage costs are cheaper [free for first two!], tickets cheaper, but also more changeover flights).

Since I’m in the city a lot, I’ll focus my post on NYC – now, I’m a bit biased, but there’s really no place like NYC 😉

As far as your destinations… NYC this time of year can be anywhere from freezing (like it was this week, with temperatures barely in the 30’s [Farenheit]) to warmer temps like the 50’s and 60’s.  Average is usually comfortable – mid 50’s or so for highs, and lows in the lower 40’s.

NYC can be a pain to get to because it has some of the worst airports (tons of crosswinds) and it’s heavily traveled.  Newark Liberty (in Newark NJ) has a lot of delays, but i find it better to fly into than the other metro airports, and staying in NJ is easier (and cheaper), and still offers some quick train rides into the city, without worrying about quickly learning how to navigate (which can be so overwhelming for a tourist, especially your first time in NYC).

If you’re in NYC during this time you should definitely check out some Holiday stuff, like the Shoppes at Bryant Park (which has free ice skating!), Macy’s famous holiday windows, and some bus tours just focus on taking you around to see some lights.

There’s a museum for every….hobby and interest.  The museum of natural history, MoMA (museum of modern art), museum of the moving image, and the museum of sex (yes, sex, it’s my favorite museum in NYC) are awesome.

Tons of little shopes, like independent coffee houses and cheese/wine cafe’s are everywhere.  

Post # 4
1904 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015 - Ruby Princess

I remember your post about your dear Clyde! So sorry, again. 

Southern California is lovely this time of year. The weather is a mild 65-70 f and you can do anything here from the beach to disney to skiing at big bear. California would be great, as it is so big and there is so much amazing stuff to see and do. Yosemite national park is where I grew up. You can ice skate, ski, hike, sight see…  Then there’s lake tahoe, my favorite place in california.  San Francisco area is always worth experiencing, a little foggy and chilly this time of year (and most other times of year also). Santa Barbara, San Diego, Santa Cruz, etc etc…

Come visit California!

Post # 5
2106 posts
Buzzing bee


Definitely recommend Southwest Airlines for traveling in the states 😀 You should thinkg about checking out FL too if you have the time. Like another bee said NYC to Cali is quite the hike might be easier to pick East or West coast and stick to it. NYC to FL is not bad at all 😀 You could also visit DC the capitol on this side, lots of cool places to see.

Post # 8
1670 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

If you’ll be out west most of the time, check out the Grand Canyon for sure!

Post # 9
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Brickette:  September/October is much nicer weather in NYC than now. For many the weather in September here is ideal. October (early to mid October but not later in the month) is usually pretty temperate as well. If you fly to NY so that you can spend time in the city, rent a car and drive cross country, ending your trip in Cali (many rental car places allow you to return the car to a different state), then fly back home from there. 4 weeks is a nice amount of time.

Post # 10
1542 posts
Bumble bee

Wish I could help, but I’m not into the big cities! I’m American and have been to pretty much all of those places, but I much prefer places that aren’t so mainstream. The Maine coast is wonderful. I love Savannah, Georgia. The coasts of Oregon and Washington state are also beautiful. There’s just a lot more to the states that the major cities 🙂 And they’re so much more peaceful!

Post # 11
1588 posts
Bumble bee

Wine country isn’t far from San Francisco.  If you are in San Francisco, the Alcatrz (notorious now unused prison)tour is fun.   Vegas has lots of shows and, of course, gambling.  Hoover dam isn’t far, from Vegas nor is the Grand Canyon.  There are rafting trips down parts of the colorado river through the grand canyon.   Northern California has Redwood Forests if you’re interested in national parks etc. 

Post # 12
369 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I don’t have a ton of insight on the places you want to go, but I recommend using southwest for flights. Free checked bags! Plus I always find their air fare the cheapest. They only sell tickets 3 or 4 months ahead of time (I’d double check because I don’t remember) but I’d get them right when they go on sale! 


Oh and I’m not sure where in Australia you are from, bit I was in Sydney in July and everyone was saying how freezing it was. It was WARM compared to what NYC will be in November, so I’d bring clothes to bundle up!! September and October will be more like Sydney’s winters in NYC. You should be fine in the other places you want to go, but Las Vegas does get cold at night so be prepared for that!

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  FutureMrsGG. Reason: typos galore! on my cell, sorry!
Post # 13
9204 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2018

I agree with PPs, LA and NYC are very far away from each other (opposite Coasts and opposite ends of the country almost!) I am also Aussie, but have been to the US a few times. If you’re going to LA I highly recommend Disneyland and Universal. They are a must do if you like theme parks, particularly Disneyland! I haven’t been to Universal as I have preferred to spend the 3 days in Disneyland and I don’t like big rides, but it comes highly recommended from family and friends who have been there! Also at that time of year the crowds shouldn’t be too bad as that is when the school year starts. The weather at that time of year is mostly mild so you should have a great time! 🙂 

Post # 14
273 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2025

Brickette:  If you have 4 weeks, I think you can do all 4 cities. I think the weather will be best in September/early October.

Definitely check out NYC (it’s a 5 hour flight from SFO, plus another 3 hour time difference). I spent 4 days in NYC in mid-September and the weather was 75-80 degrees every day. I would avoid going there during the first week of Sept because it’s fashion week and airfare/lodging is expensive! It’s not too bad to get into Manhattan. I booked a car service that took us to our Manhattan hotel for $40 flat rate. 

I can go on and on about San Francisco. Been here 20+ years and I still haven’t seen everything! 

Post # 15
328 posts
Helper bee

With four weeks, it actually shouldn’t be too bad to hit up both coasts. Especially since most of what you want to see on the west coast is actually within driving distance of one another (thorugh driving LA to SF would be a bit rough but I’ve done it). NYC can get really cold around now, but LA can be really hot, Las Vegas is a desert so generally hotter in the day and a more dramatic shift to cold at night, and a famous saying goes something like “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”. I went to college in LA and there were days in November/December when the weather was 80/90+ degrees, other days 50.

In LA, I’d probably suggest going to see the Getty Museum, Venice Beach, maybe find your favorite celebrities’ stars, see a play, maybe even see a TV show you like being filmed (depending on which ones you like. I’ve sat in a few studio audiences in my college days – they offer free ones but they do often require you to wait in a long line and you may not get in depending on which show so plan accordingly if that’s something you’re interested in). Korea Town’s got some of the best bakeries in the city and is close to where a lot of the concert venues are if there’s a band/performer playing in LA when you come that you want to see. That’s another thing – Korean food in this city is without peer, but coming from SD where we’re so close to Mexico border wait times are included in every traffic report I gotta say LA’s Mexican food is generally subpar. Though relative to Australia’s versions, it might be excellent. 

I don’t really know if you’d be into this, either, but LA also has two basketball teams, a baseball team (you’d be a little too late for this if you came literally this time next year), and a hockey team that just won the Stanley Cup.

There’s tons of shopping in LA, if that’s something you’re interested in. Rodeo Drive is worth a peak just because of how outrageous and extravagent it is. I’ve never actually been, but I’d pass it on my bus route so I saw a lot of it and it’s amazing even from a distance.  Obviously, there’s also less expensive shopping options available in other parts of LA. Whenever Australian friends came to visit my family, they’d stock up on various things since apparently a lot of stuff is a TON cheaper here. This may not hold true in SF or NYC, though, as they are notoriously expensive cities. This may have also been in the days before airlines charrged for check luggage, though, so I don’t know if it still holds true.

Not technically in LA, but within ~an hour’s~ drive is Disneyland/California’s Adventure. Definitely recommend them, they’re decorated for Christmas this time of year and gorgeous! However, if you don’t have a sense of nostalgia/magic associated with Disney, it might not be worth it to you with the crowds and the expensiveness. I’ve had passes to the parks for years but I know you couldn’t pay my parents enough to deal with going now that their kids are grown. You could also hit up Universal Studios, the new Harry Potter land/WB tour might be open by the time you get here, things like that.

On the more logistical side of things, the water’s likely to be far too cold to go in the ocean without a wetsuit this time of year, so be prepared if that was something you really wanted to do. For LA, seriously consider renting a car. It’ll make your life so much easier. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to do cabs. I got around using exclusively public transport, but it’s not ideal and will likely require something like Google Maps on your phone. Though I should say LA public tansit system’s not nearly as bad as anyone will try to tell you. LA has a subway system and a fairly extensive bus system, but you’re already going to be spending a fair amount of time in traffic. You just probably don’t want to add to that the extra time suck that inevitably comes with any public transit system.

(Haha, this is way longer than I thought. Tons of people complain about how terrible LA is in San Diego where I live, so I never realize how much I miss until I get to talk about it like this)

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