Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Trip advice

  1. Dec 14, 2012 #1
    I've never traveled long distance by myself, so I need some advice. I was thinking of doing one of those package deals where I get a flight, hotel, and car rental all at once. Is that the cheapest way to do it? I'm in Florida and I'm going to San Diego for a few days and I want to spend as little as possible. I want to try to stay under 800$ but that's gonna be hard. Is there any advice someone could give me who has done this before and knows the best way to do it to get the best price? Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 14, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Do you NEED a rental vehicle? Cab rides, while not cheap, may be cheaper than renting a vehicle if you can get to your destination on foot from your hotel. Or if you only need to go somewhere a couple of times.
  4. Dec 14, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    One can stay pretty cheaply at Motel 6 or similar hotel. It usually costs me less than $300/wk in SD.

    A package deal for $800/wk including airfare is tricky, but one could check airlines and online travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity or Priceline (no endorsement expressed or implied).

    One could search for "vacation packages" or "travel deals".
  5. Dec 14, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Do some work and price it out. Sometimes packages are better, usually for inside-the-US trips they aren't, but its possible.

    Things to look at:

    For Flights, my favs are:

    For hotels check http://www.betterbidding.com/index.php?showforum=71&
    Better bidding is a forum where people post what deals they got on priceline and hotwire, thus giving you a great chance at a cheap rate for a specific star rating in a city.
    There are also tricks to priceline to figure out which hotels are what, and to get multiple bids in a single day. Betterbidding is GREAT.
    Looks like for janurary there are some 4 star hotels for $70-$100 a night.

    check cheapoair.com for car rentals too. San Diego looks cheap:
    economy size from $10/day + fees in mid-late jan. Very cheap.

    Give me your dates and departing airport and I'd be glad to help you do a quick search.
  6. Dec 14, 2012 #5
    I'm going to several different places, so I thought I'd probably need a vehicle. Never been to San Diego before, though. Maybe I could take a bus to different places?
    It's not for a week, only for 4 days and 3 nights. And I don't mind how cheap the hotel is. I only plan to sleep there.
    Great info, thanks.
    My departing airport is Jacksonville International Airport. And I'll be leaving January 4th, 2013 and I'll be returning January 7th, 2013.
    Thanks again.
  7. Dec 15, 2012 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I think because of how close that is to new years and how soon it is (LT 3 weeks) flight are going to be your biggest hurdle. Everything seems to be $600ish at the cheapest.

    Out of JAX flies JetBlue (looks expensive), AirTran/Southwest as well as the regular delta,united, USAir, etc. Check ALL of these, including times to find your best deal.

    Southwest has : $635.70

    Also check http://www.bing.com/travel

    One you have that its a matter of hotel. Peruse the betterbidding forum to see what people are getting in certain areas (not sure where youre staying)

    I've been to SD twice. For lodging: The mission beach area is nice, but sort of far from downtown and the parks. The Gaslamp district has a lot of shopping/retaurants and bars, easy public transport to the zoo/etc (could even walk it). La Jolla is really nice and you should get up there at least once to walk around (like 10 miles away from downtown).

    All depends on if you get a car. If you get a car, you'll be able to go to a lot of different places easily (la jolla, beaches, cliffs, downtown) but you'll be paying parking as well. So if you're staying downtown, probably don't get a car (I think parking was $20/day). Where as if you stay in mission beach or la jolla, get a car and drive everywhere.
  8. Dec 15, 2012 #7


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    San Diego has a pretty good public transit system. They have light rail (called the "trolley" although it's a modern system, not an old-timey one), buses, and a commuter-rail line up along the coast to Oceanside.

    http://www.sdmts.com/home1.asp (light rail and bus)

    http://www.gonctd.com/coaster (commuter rail)

    Download the maps and check out the locations you're likely to want to visit to see if you can get to them easily by public transit.
  9. Dec 16, 2012 #8
    Make it a walking trip.

  10. Dec 16, 2012 #9
    Thanks for the information guys, I'm going to need it.
    I'm also going to switch my vacation to the weekend before MLK day. I noticed that was quite a bit cheaper. I'll have that Monday off school, so it works out better. If I took the vacation at the beginning of January, I would have missed the first day of school. I'm going to make sure I can get that Saturday off work, and then I'll buy the ticket. It's best to buy as early as possible, right?
  11. Dec 19, 2012 #10
    To those of you who have been to San Diego, do you know what the weather is like in mid January? There are quite a few outdoor activities I want to do while I'm there, like going to the zoo, but if it's going to be cold, I don't know how fun that will be. Is the zoo even open when it's cold? Because you can't keep animals out in cold weather.
  12. Dec 19, 2012 #11
    Highs in the mid 60's to 70's. Lows at night in the high 40's low 50's. Sunny, mostly.
    Relative humidity is generally low, between 20-30%. Low enough that it's nice and comfortable, but enough of it that the heat doesn't wick away from your body as it does out in the desert.

    It's southern california...I think you'll enjoy it.
  13. Dec 19, 2012 #12

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor
    2017 Award

    Or at the very last minute. If the airline still has a bunch of empty seats, they can be had for very cheap. The risk is that if they don't, it can be very expensive.

    I have friends who decide the morning of their vacation where they are going, based on where the cheap airfares are. Makes for an adventure.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook