Planning an American Holiday (2)


Spontaneously buying a ticket to Coachella is one thing, but the next step was to finalise the plan and the finer details, of well, nearly everything! 

This actually turned out to be a longer post than I anticipated so I’ve broken it down into two. I suggest you go back and read part one if you haven’t already. This one covers the trip in America, the next will cover Mexico.

Packaged Up With a Bow

As we were on the other side of the world it seemed easier to book a package deal for Coachella than do it all separately. For approx. $1,500NZ we got tickets to Coachella, hotel for three nights plus transfers to and from the festival, so if you’re unsure how to book everything for Coachella then I highly recommend this option. We’re booked into the Agua Caliente Hotel from Friday afternoon to Monday morning, that covers the whole Coachella weekend plus we have the little luxuries of a proper bed and air conditioning.

Let’s Fly, Fly Away

I have a fierce loyalty to Air New Zealand, well, loyalty mixed with the fact that, thanks to my work,  I have a nice collection of Air Points building, meaning I am extremely close to a free upgrade. They aren’t the cheapest airline, and with new carriers entering the New Zealand market I definitely could have saved some cash here, but flying Air New Zealand is worth the extra money in my opinion.

Regardless of that, I still waited until they had a sale on and as luck would have it, I didn’t have to wait long. I booked my flights in October and even now in March they’re still having regular sales to America.

We’re booked to fly out out on the 10th April at 7:45pm which works fantasically as it’s a night flight, so we should (fingers crossed) not be too exhausted when we arrive in San Francisco at around 1pm the same day.

Home Away From Home

We had to book five hotels excluding our Coachella one, and while that sounds easy in theory it actually took us around 3-4 months to lock them all down. First up was San Francisco, finding a hotel here was actually harder than I expected. The main obstacle was that it’s actually a really expensive city to find accommodation in. Now, if I was backpacking then it would of been a lot easier, but finding a mid-range priced hotel in a decent location was actually a challenge.

In the end we booked the Grant Plaza Hotel, which is located close to all the top sites in San Francisco, including Chinatown and Union Square, plus it’s one block from the tram line. We get free wifi for our stay, which in this day and age is extremely important,the photos show a basic but comfortable hotel which is all we need for this stage of the trip.

Next up was the Vegas hotel, staying on the strip was a must for me, unfortunately my dream of staying at the Bellagio was to remain just a dream (for now!). I couldn’t really justify spending thousands of dollars on a three night stay. However we did secure the Tropicana, which boasts one of the best pool in Vegas. It’s not one of the major themed hotels in Vegas but it is in a good location and we got it at a great price, again with additional pluses like free internet and free breakfast.

We booked all our hotels through Expedia, personally I trust Expedia having used them a lot in the past, plus they have a new loyalty scheme although I am still trying to figure that out. In addition to this we discovered that after booking a flight through them we got up to 60% off our hotels, which we put to good use for Mexico.

The Less Fun Details

We’d booked the fun stuff, now we had to work out how exactly we were going to get from San Francisco, to Coachella and then to Las Vegas without breaking the bank. After researching all the options, buses, trains, flights etc the best option looked to be a flight to Los Angeles and then catching the official Coachella shuttle. Taking a bus or driving was going to take too long on our schedule, flying directly to Indio was extremely expensive so this was the best option for us.

We did however book a Greyhound for the trip from Coachella to Las Vegas, it only takes four hours and gives us a chance to sleep! It was really cheap too, only around $36US each and the buses have free wifi.

That’s the details for the first part of our trip, in the next blog post I’ll go through our Mexico hotel bookings and travel arrangements.






Posted in USA

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