Holiday in America advice

Discussion in 'Travelling & Holidays' started by Marwhite, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Marwhite

    Marwhite
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    37
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +34
    Hiya!

    I'm thinking of planning a holiday in the States either next year, or year after for me and my partner and our 15 and 11yr old sons. Current option includes weekend in New York, few weeks in Florida or few weeks in California. I've never been to New York and not sure if it's a family holiday kind of thing but have been to both Florida and California with friends in my youth, and enjoyed both due the various things to do. I guess my mind is made either one of these two but unsure which would be best as family holiday. FWIW the missus hates theme parks lol!
     
  2. DPinBucks

    DPinBucks
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    6,451
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Burnham, Bucks
    Ratings:
    +2,015
    I'm not sure if you mean New York as an alternative to Florida or California; or as well as. NY is great for a short family holiday but I would say not more than 3-4 days or so. There is enough to keep the kids happy over that period.

    I'm not familiar with Florida, but California would be great. What kind of holiday: beach or touring, or a bit of both? Assume you would have a car.

    I and my kids absolutely love theme parks; my wife not so much (certainly not our favourite fast rides). We got round this in San Francisco by leaving her to tour the city by bus & cable car whist we went off to Great America. It worked great!
     
  3. BT Bob

    BT Bob
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    2,443
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Ratings:
    +1,211
    There's a ton of stuff to do in Florida that's not theme-park related. Although, you could throw a cheeky visit to Seaworld in, which isn't a theme park in the way the Disney ones are, for example.
    Other things you can do around the Orlando area are Stand-up paddle-boarding (Home Page), Tree-hoppers (like a Go-Ape kind of thing) (TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park), airboat ride (Florida Airboat Tours, Swamp Tours near Orlando and Tampa in Central Florida)

    There's loads things like these runs by different companies. I've done each of the above and weld recommend them. They're all family-run businesses that go out of their way to make you feel welcome, in my experience, and you'll get a warm fuzzy feeling that, for once, your not pumping your hard-earned cash into a multi-billion $$ company..

    There's a load of shopping in large discount malls around the Orlando area too.

    You could also venture further west and south - over to the Gulf coast. St. Petersburg, Clearwater, etc, or south to Naples, Marco Island. If you have time and don't mind the drive, why not go all the way south to Key West - it's a really fun place, with loads of things to do. It's a full-day's drive from Orlando - stop for lunch around Miami or a bit further south in Key Largo.
     
  4. hyperfish

    hyperfish
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    10,373
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +10,478
    We toured CA/NV and have been to NY a couple of times and I agree with FL for the family. We are fans of touring and that does not suit everyone, but there are beautiful places and beaches all the way around. We have done this circuit more times than I can remember and would happily do it again. Been to the Keys twice on a bike but TBH it's a long drive to Key West with not a lot in between, so I would give that a miss personally.

    Screenshot_20180722-160058_Maps.jpg
     
  5. davidjohnson

    davidjohnson
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,724
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,562
    Do you mean a weekend in New York and a few weeks in Fl/Ca?
     
  6. Marwhite

    Marwhite
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    37
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +34
    Sorry. Yeah, I meant one of the three. Would love California as there's so many places I'd like to revisit, but obviously this involves a lot of driving with no base hotel, if that makes sense. I'm thinking with Florida we could maybe hire a holiday home with pool etc and from what I can remember there's a lot on your doorstep so to speak. California would mean San Fran, Yosamite, L.A, Death Valley etc and not sure how that would work with a family as it would mean a lot of different hotels and hassle - although that is the preferred option. Never been New York so have no idea if that would be better/easier.
     
  7. AMc

    AMc
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Messages:
    7,618
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Near Norwich
    Ratings:
    +4,363
    Depends a bit on your budget, time available and the temperament of your kids.

    We did California a few years back with our 10yr old - flew into LA took the Coast Starlight sleeper to Seattle - stayed a few days with friends then drove back to LA through Portland, Crater Lake, SF, Yosemite, Monterey and then LA for a week with an overnight to San Diego. Covered about 3K miles in just under 4 weeks.
    Most of the accommodation we took pot luck on motels and hotels or prebooked a couple of days ahead when we knew when we'd arrived. We booked ahead for SF - very expensive city. In LA we used AirBnB and rented a cottage in Santa Monica.
    If you have less time then San Francisco to LA is a lot more sensible but you'll still be piling on the miles.
    You could always rent a motorhome ;)

    A couple of years back we did just over 1 week in New York and 1 in Washington DC. Hotel in NYC and Air BnB in Washington. There is a lot to do and see in both places in terms of galleries, museums etc. We loved both but both were pricey :)

    We used Citypass.com for both the LA theme parks and for the NYC attractions. They give you discounts and queue jumping in some places. Certainly saved us money on the LA theme parks. Might give you an idea of what is available in both places.

    Only been to Florida once for a company conference - really not my thing at all.

    Watch out for any of these places in summer as the heat can be very oppressive.

    If you can arrange your trips to be the later end of August/September then most of the American schools will have finished their 3 month summer holiday. That means cheaper deals and in our case much shorted queues at Disney :)
     
  8. davidjohnson

    davidjohnson
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,724
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,562
    It is always a problem balancing everyone's preferences with holidays. We love road trips, but also like to have a few days in one location at either end of the driving.
    At 11, my daughter would have hated being stuck in a car and regularly changing hotels, at 15 she would have quite enjoyed it.
    The best trip we ever had was California/Nevada/Utah/Arizona/New Mexico/Colorado and I can't wait to go back there, but given your family dynamic, I think Florida would be the best choice. Villas with pools are plentiful and excellent value in and around Orlando, which is a good base for going to beaches etc. If you don't mind long drives, you can maybe have a couple of overnight stays maybe the Everglades/Keys or up to Savannah and Charleston.
     
  9. Timmy C

    Timmy C
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,655
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +575
    I would say despite the fact your missus hates theme parks, go to Florida and give the kids an amazing holiday that they will no doubt love. It won't be long until they don't want to go on holiday with you at all and then you can do all the touring and other stuff kids may not like without them.
     
  10. davidjohnson

    davidjohnson
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2005
    Messages:
    3,724
    Products Owned:
    2
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +2,562
    Our daughter is 23 and still wants to come away with us! :eek:
     
  11. Ono

    Ono
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2000
    Messages:
    1,657
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +261
    Small thread hijack:

    I read that UK citizens will still need to apply for ESTA to enter the USA. A small fee is involved.

    Can someone who has been through it or travlled recently to the States confirm?
     
  12. LV426

    LV426
    Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2000
    Messages:
    13,803
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Somewhere in South Yorkshire
    Ratings:
    +6,412
    Travelled in May - ESTA needed.

    But to be pedantic - it's not an ENTRY permit; it's a travel authorisation, which means it is a permit to board a flight (etc) bound for the USA; that is all. Entry is still determined when you clear US immigration (usually, on arrival at the first USA airport; however, on flights from Dublin this occurs in Dublin before departure).

    Still? I'm not sure where that word came from; I have seen nothing to suggest that this requirement, which has been in place for a good few years, may cease.
    The fee is currently unchanged at USD14 per person on the official site
    Home | Official ESTA Application Website, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
    There are many lookalike sites found by eg google, that levy additional "service charges" for doing absolutely nothing of benefit to you or anyone else except themselves.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  13. Timmy C

    Timmy C
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2003
    Messages:
    5,655
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +575
    Also travelled in May to US and visit every year. Can also confirm ESTA is needed but it is valid for 2 years (I think) and you can use it for as many trips as you like until expired. Be sure to follow link above as I've also seen multiple sites adding extra charges for no reason at all!

    They used to give approval immediately but after I applied for my last one it said I needed to wait 72 hours for approval. I thought this was unusual and checked with the friends I was travelling with and the same had happened to all of them. As it turns out the approval email came through much quicker than suggested but best not leave it until the last minute just in case!
     
  14. Ono

    Ono
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2000
    Messages:
    1,657
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +261
    Thanks. I wanted to surprise my Missus about the trip to NYC in September. Think the ruse is kept as no need for her to sign anything. :)
     
  15. MarkyPancake

    MarkyPancake
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    17,708
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +3,835
    Just to add to this, when I searched Google for 'ESTA' recently, the official site was the fifth result. Don't get suckered into any unofficial, catch-you-out sites with their inflated costs.
     
  16. Andy58

    Andy58
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,661
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Camping on Bungie.net
    Ratings:
    +522
    Yes, you can apply on her behalf at the same time as you apply for your own. You'll just need her passport for the number, issue date, expiration date etc. Its also handy to know the address for where you'll spend your first night in the USA - if its a hotel its easy, if its a rental villa it can be more difficult as these sometimes aren't assigned until you arrive.
    The ESTA's seem to get more complicated every time. I applied for my family back in June and this time it asks for social media info, although its optional.
    Ours were approved really quickly and I just took a screen grab image with all the reference numbers just in case its ever challenged when you arrive at USA Border.
    Good luck
     
  17. Deleted member 275754

    Deleted member 275754
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Nice time to go there, imo.

    IF you have substantial enough time, New York can also offer the possibility of excursions outside the city.

    Three I'd suggest are -

    - Philidelphia.

    Good for at least a full day. Very easy to do, on the Amtrak from Penn Station in midtown and takes only 1 1/4 hours on the Acela trains. The reason is basically to do with early founding history, e.g. the original Congress, the Liberty Bell, interesting museums to founding fathers. But other things too, e.g. historic ships to visit on the Delaware river, an amazing masonic hall/'castle' ( tour ).

    - Six Flags Great Adventure at Trenton, New Jersey.

    This is the north-east's best, most hard core rollercoaster park. You access it by a bus that goes right to the park ( about an hour and a half, afaik ) from the Metropoitan Bus Terminal in Manhattan. Pay for a fast pass, which though expensive will I think give you better value for your limited opportunity there as a visitor.

    - Tour themed on The Sopranos. Cross the Hudson into New Jersey and take a guided tour based on the iconic show. Not sure if they are still done but should be easy to locate if they are.


    Of course each of these three depend on interest in the first place and enough time to do it.

    It may not be right for you if this is just a short break but I hope my suggestions are remembered by all readers for any substantial trip to Manhattan.
     
  18. Marwhite

    Marwhite
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    37
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +34
    Thanks guys! Some really good advice there and it consolidates my thoughts that Florida may be the easiest. Sorry for not responding earlier but been away at center parcs which has put me off going away with the kids for life lol!
     
  19. Deleted member 275754

    Deleted member 275754
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    If limited in dates because of school holidays and you are considering Florida, you are far better off going in the October holidays than in the horrid summer. That is, if schools still have a two week break in October, not one. Nicer weather, bluer skies, lower crowds - but still stick to weekdays for parks and alternate to other activities during the busiest days. This also brings a better balance to the holiday and of course what you don't have time for you can always look forward to on a future trip.

    A useful tool for attendance planning is www.isitpacked.com

    They have crowd calendars for particular parks. Careful to be looking at Florida locations and not mix up with California.

    October for school kids is the smart Florida choice.

    This leaves the long summer break for a mixture of short trips in the UK ( when we actually get nice weather ), family days out, hanging with pals doing what kids do in the summer. Or extra maths.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2018

Share This Page

Loading...