Manchester to North America

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Haydn1971

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Hi, fancied doing something different this Autumn, thinking of a short break in North America somewhere - we live in Sheffield so are within a 90 minute drive of Manchester, any forum members have any top tips for value flights that don't involve long interchanges - we are quite open to various ideas, happy with cities, fly drive, small places, desert, snow whatever - just fancied something different for a similar cost to what we pay usually - typically £3k including flights, hire car, accommodation and eating out - looking at a week only, so west coast might be a stretch for time difference / jet lag etc...
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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Depends a bit on your dates, but if you like the great outdoors I can recommend fly-driving around southern Colorado or southern Utah.
Durango and Chama have operational bits of the Denver & Rio Grande railway (double headed narrow gauge steam!).
The heritage lines are Durango & Silverton and Cumbres & Toltec, both using D&RG vintage stock.
Late September/early October is the best time for aspen colour, but it might be heat wave one day and snow the next.
Wonderful country in the San Juans.
Denver is the nearest airport.

In Utah (via Salt Lake City), the southern national parks (Bryce Canyon and Zion) are wonderful. Dramatic redrock country all around.
We did a week at the end of October once, cloudless for a week, great fall colours and hiking, 100-mile vistas.
Also accessible via Las Vegas.

You can reach Denver/SLC on any of the big 3 US airlines from Manchester (via their US hubs), and KLM and Air France fly direct from AMS/CDG to Salt Lake City.
A week is too short, of course, but just enough to get the flavour (and go back for more!).
 

aformeruser

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Air Transat offer reasonably cheap fares between Manchester and Toronto. If you do that you can visit the largest city in Canada, as well as the Niagara Falls and have the option of visiting one or more national parks.
 

kevin5025

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:lol:Sounds like fun! I would recommend British Airways, I have found them the best for transatlantic, and you can go from Manchester, changing in London (really easy and short connections). The fares are good value too, plus they look after you if anything goes wrong. I have a couple of ideas. You could do a multi trip booking. Fly to New York and then take the 'Mapel Leaf' train up to Toronto (fly back from there). It is a day - long journey, but you could break your journey in a couple of places. First somewhere on the Hudson river valley, it is one of the most scenic train rides in North America. There are lots of nice small towns on that route. Then, of course, stop at Niagra for the falls, and then finish in Tornoto. That journey is really scenic in the autumn.
The north east of Canada is also really nice. I would say take a trip on 'The Canadian', but that needs much more than a week. But, there are great places to visit in Ontario and fit in a visit to Ottawa on VIA Rail.
But, I live in the north of Scotland, its freezing, and I think if I were heading that far it would be a trip to a carribean island for some warmth ! :):lol:
 

Techniquest

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Maybe look into Icelandair for flights from Manchester? Could be a big cost saving versus the big airlines. Also look into going via Dublin with Aer Lingus, an option I'm going to try next time.

I don't know what to suggest for you to do in the USA as I have no idea what you like, but feel free to have a read of my trip report in that sector of the forum, and see what I got up to in New York. I loved the city, but now I want to see the rest of the USA by rail!

We did find it took two proper days to get over the jetlag on the outward part, but this we also attributed to being up at 0600, departing Gatwick at 1707 and not getting to base camp until something like 0215 local time! If it's your first time going, you will probably find jet lag won't stop you being excited and getting up early to get going, that happened to us. Proper sleep at night didn't happen for two days.

I also recommend shopping around a lot. Manchester is convenient, but then Birmingham isn't that much further away realistically, the cost difference could be well worth the extra drive. Also I recommend against 'red-eye' flights, you might save on accommodation etc, but if you haven't got good seats you will suffer.

Skyscanner will be incredibly useful to you. TravelRepublic is also worth a look for flights and hotels packages, I used it when I did Stockholm and it was all brilliant. The usual other places like Booking.com, Hotels.com and Trivago.co.uk for hotels will also be good friends to you. I'd suggest Expedia but their website kept crashing on me last time I used it, so I don't bother with them!
 

Techniquest

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I would take my own food anyway, meals on-board are not brilliant anyway. Quite, Norwegian are taking their time getting back to me on my 3 page complaint about their overall service...
 

miami

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Looks like Iceland Air are offering returns from Manchester via Iceland from £306 to Montreal with a day in Iceland as well (depart Sun Oct 16th return Mon Oct 24th), or come back from New York for something like £330)

Condor/Thomas Cook offer direct flights to JFK for £455 return.

For west coast, Air Transat look like they're offering £389 returns to Vancouver. Depart Manchester direct on October 10th, return from Vancouver via Calgary and Toronto on October 17th.

Wife and I went to Seatle for the weekend for my 33rd birthday, 2 nights in a hotel in Seatle, one on the plane on the way back. Thanks to the time difference Flight times aren't that much longer on the way out - you lose maybe half a day on the way back (leave about 3PM rather than 7PM from the east coast)

(A colleague of mine went to New Zealand for 36 hours on the ground once for work, so anything's possible)
 
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theironroad

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United airlines fly from Manchester to newark,NJ, one of their main hubs so can access vast areas of us easily.
 

miami

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United airlines fly from Manchester to newark,NJ, one of their main hubs so can access vast areas of us easily.

Direct flights to the US from Manchester include

* American to JFK and Chicago
* American (ex-US Airways) to Philidelphia
* Delta to JFK
* Virgin to Atlanta and Las Vegas
* Untited to Newark and Washington Dulles
* Thomas Cook to Orlando
* Air Transat Toronto and Vancouver
* Pakistan Airways to JFK. I wouldn't recommend this one

Most of those have codeshares that can be cheaper (I flew with US after they were bought by American on an Iberian codeshare on a BA ticket to LA out via Philidelphia back on BA via London last year. Saved about £2k and got a peek at the liberty bell)
 

atillathehunn

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The key to remember is that all airlines will offer pretty much the same product in Y.
It will be fairly uncomfortable, the food will be non-lethal, and the service ambivalent. Don't pay more to go on a particular airline, unless you are tied into a corporate booking program or locked into a frequent flier program. Choose your airline on the basis of best connection, time and price. The advantage of Iceland Air is the stop over in Iceland, from where you can see quite a number of interesting sites only a short drive away.

Also remember to check from European airports, including Dublin, as they often offer better prices for tax reasons.
 

ac6000cw

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I'd second Icelandair as being OK - I flew with them to Washington DC about 18 months ago.

If you fancy a city then DC is definitely worth a visit - you could easily spend a week just visiting museums, galleries and public buildings there. Nice countryside is not far away - complete with 'fall colours' if you go at the right time (and big, noisy, freight trains ;) plus heritage/tourist railroads).
 
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Flying Snail

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Maybe look into Icelandair for flights from Manchester? Could be a big cost saving versus the big airlines. Also look into going via Dublin with Aer Lingus, an option I'm going to try next time.

I would take my own food anyway, meals on-board are not brilliant anyway. Quite, Norwegian are taking their time getting back to me on my 3 page complaint about their overall service...

If you transfer in Dublin bear in mind that US pre-clearance is in operation for most flights, AFAIK Ethipoian Airlines to LAX (which can be very cheap, return DUB-LAX for about €400) is the only flight that currently does not clear before departure.

The good is that on arrival the flights are treated as domestic in most places so no delay in getting out of the airport, the bad is that you need to leave more time before the flight for the immigration+customs checks. Also you are restricted in what foods you can bring onboard as anything not allowed into US is controlled before boarding the flight.
 

jamesontheroad

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However you go, check Kayak and Skyscanner, and be flexible around your dates.

I travelled LHR-LAX-LHR back in February for £365 direct on British Airways. This was about £100 cheaper than BA's own fares, because a bit of research through these flight scrapers found a travel agent selling Ibera-ticketed codeshare on BA's own flights. Especially during the shoulder seasons, airline codeshares can produce dramatic savings.
 

DaiGog

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I would also vouch for Icelandair, having use then twice to/from Reykjavik (the latest being only yesterday!)

They offer a free stopover service in Iceland (included in the price) when travelling to/from the USA, of up to 7 days. So if you're inclined to spend a day or three in Iceland - and I would heartily recommend it as one for anyone's bucket list - then this could be a good option.
 
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Haydn1971

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Thanks for the input folks... The stop over sounds a good way of sampling two places in the short period
 

NY Yankee

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Hi, fancied doing something different this Autumn, thinking of a short break in North America somewhere - we live in Sheffield so are within a 90 minute drive of Manchester, any forum members have any top tips for value flights that don't involve long interchanges - we are quite open to various ideas, happy with cities, fly drive, small places, desert, snow whatever - just fancied something different for a similar cost to what we pay usually - typically £3k including flights, hire car, accommodation and eating out - looking at a week only, so west coast might be a stretch for time difference / jet lag etc...

I can't imagine why a person from the UK would want to visit America.

Anyway, there's a "high speed" train that runs from Boston to DC via New York called Acela. Boston is a relatively small city. Unless you're into baseball, there's not much to do there. And I doubt that someone from the UK would want to see monuments dedicated to the American Revolution.

Obviously, NYC is a major city. There are many picturesque subway lines and commuter rail systems. It is cheaper to use those lines then to spend money on Amtrak. The Hudson Valley, Jersey Shore, and Long Island are all beautiful. Scenic subway lines include the B,F,J,M,Q,5,6, and 7. Of course, there are some areas of the city that you should avoid.

Washington DC is a nice walking city. There are a plethora of free Smithsonian Museums, as well as paddle boats and shopping centres. However, the DC Metro is unreliable.

Besides the Northeast, the rail lines in America are mediocre. San Francisco has the BART system and it's a fairly interesting city. The Los Angeles Metro is a joke. Chicago is a major rail hub and it's full of exciting attractions, but it is a dangerous city (particularly the south side).

Instead of visiting America, visit the other Western European countries, Japan, Hong Kong, or Seoul.
 

Techniquest

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I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to New York, I don't understand why you wouldn't want us Brits to visit the USA!
 

me123

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I can't imagine why a person from the UK would want to visit America.

....

And I doubt that someone from the UK would want to see monuments dedicated to the American Revolution.

...

Instead of visiting America, visit the other Western European countries, Japan, Hong Kong, or Seoul.

I can think of many, many reasons why someone from the UK would want to visit the USA. I've enjoyed multiple trips myself, and I look forward to returning in the future. The American Revolution is one of many very interesting aspects of American history, and I expect that history buffs would be very keen to visit Boston for this very reason. Indeed, the American Revolution is an element of British history as well!

By your logic, no foreign tourists would want to see Edinburgh Castle, which is after all a museum dedicated to Scottish (largely military) history.

For Haydn, I'd recommend using Aer Lingus to travel to the US. Pre-Clearance is brilliant, and after arriving you can be on your way to the hotel in minutes - this is definitely preferable to standing for hours in an immigration hall! The transit in Dublin is easy, and Aer Lingus are a good airline to fly with - I was as comfortable as could be expected in economy. But shop around.

I'd recommend New York (you will not run out of things to do, and I guarantee that you'll find something to love about the city) and DC (lots of free museums, lots of monuments, and as you walk through the city, you can feel the power that emanates from it).
 

ac6000cw

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I can't imagine why a person from the UK would want to visit America.

......

Instead of visiting America, visit the other Western European countries, Japan, Hong Kong, or Seoul.

We visit it because it's interesting and different (the usual reasons for foreign travel, as far as I'm concerned).

I've had a camera stolen (by force in the street) in Havana, been very nearly pick-pocketed in Lisbon and got caught up in a police 'sting' operation against street robbers in Rome, but I'd happily go back to any of those places because they are interesting and culturally different.

How many European cities have you visited ?
 
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NY Yankee

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I apologise for going off-topic (I don't want to be accused of posting gibberish), but the quality of life in Western Europe is A LOT better than that of the US.

In America, blacks are treated like second class citizens. Due to systematic racism, they live in the worst areas and attend the worst schools. A disproportionate amount of blacks are incarcerated (and America has the highest amount of prisoners in the world, larger than Saudi Arabia, China, and North Korea). In the UK, blacks and whites are equal. Half of the blacks in the UK from the West Indies are married to whites. Blacks and whites have roughly the same level of education and make the same amount of money.

In most American cities, people get shot at, stabbed, murdered, rape, etc. Yesterday, a guy riding the 2 train in the Bronx was slashed in the face. That would never happen in a Western European city.

In America, many people are homeless. In the UK and other Western European countries, there's a social safety net. Even people in poverty can afford housing and food

The healthcare system in Western Europe is better. There's free healthcare and they don't charge a ridiculous price for medicine.

Women in Western European countries are more attractive and less shallow than women in America.

America started the crisis in Iraq

Yes, there are interesting cities in America (NY, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, San Francisco). There are also other attractions like the Kennedy Space Center, Hollywood, and Universal Studios. Nevertheless, I don't understand why a person from the greatest country in the world would want to visit an inferior country. There are so many beautiful cities in the world (Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver). I would visit those cities in lieu of any city in America.
 
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Techniquest

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You forgot that we do the sensible thing and include sales tax in the price shown on the shelves, unlike the USA. We also have a National Minimum Wage and tips are not mandatory in any part of the UK.

Your comment is certainly very subjective mind.

Fair comment on the NHS. It's not perfect, but we would be stuck without it and I'll never understand why the USA doesn't want it.

However, I fear we're going ridiculously far off-topic here so I'm bowing out now!
 

miami

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I can't imagine why a person from the UK would want to visit America.

Anyway, there's a "high speed" train that runs from Boston to DC via New York called Acela. Boston is a relatively small city. Unless you're into baseball, there's not much to do there. And I doubt that someone from the UK would want to see monuments dedicated to the American Revolution.

I found it fascinating - a tour of the Constitution, wandered around Harvard, had a night in Concord.

Great trolleyride around the town too with an engaging driver/commentator (compare to the usual rubbish of the pre-recorded multi-language advertising on "big red bus" companies). Certainly 3 or 4 days worth of stuff to do in the city and vicinity.

Scenic subway lines

*eyebrow raise*

Washington DC is a nice walking city. There are a plethora of free Smithsonian Museums, as well as paddle boats and shopping centres. However, the DC Metro is unreliable.

DC is great, and if you have even a mediocre level of fitness and stay somewhere near the Mall there's no real need to get the metro. I've been there about 20 times, staying somewhere near Georgetown, and often wander down to the white house and lincoln memorial, and a few trips up the mall to the Air and Space.

Taxis in the US are dirt cheap too.

The Los Angeles Metro is a joke

It gets you from downtown to Hollywood. I wouldn't recommend going to Long Beach though (I did). To do LA properly you hire a car - preferably a corvette convertable - and valet park everywhere. The two places I really liked with LA were Holywood and Santa Monica, but it was glorious weather, leaving behind January cold and drizzle for 7 days in LA.

Instead of visiting America, visit the other Western European countries, Japan, Hong Kong, or Seoul.

I'd recommend all of those. However getting to the far east is far more expensive and far longer than going to the US.

I've only spent 2 days in Tokyo and 1 day in Seoul, been to Hong Kong a couple of times, and all left me wanting more (especially a DMZ tour in Seoul). Personally with babies/toddlers not really a family holiday destination yet -- hopefully next year we can get away to Japan for our anniversery.

When the kids are about 7 we may be going to the west coast and hire a camper van, visit LA. SF, Grand Canyon and Vegas. Or we may do Australia again.
 

duncanp

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Chicago is probably a good place to fly into, as it is one of the hubs in the North American rail network, with lines radiating out in all directions.

One line of interest may be the South Shore Line (http://www.nictd.com/) which runs to Northern Indiana and in places has a full sized train running down the middle of the street.

I would then recommend taking one of the long distance trains out of Chicago. I took the Texas Eagle last year as far as Dallas, with a three day stopover in St Louis.

Amtrak trains are not noted for their punctuality, as freight trains often have priority, but I found the service, particularly food and drink, way above what you might get on a UK train.

As for the comments about why would anyone visit North America, in particular post no 24, crime and homelessness happens everywhere in the world.

I spent three days in St Louis last year, a city which I have see at no. 5 on the list of most dangerous cities in the world. However at no time did I feel unsafe, including walking back from a bar to my hotel late at night, or travelling on the light rail system (Metrolink).

There is often a disconnect between whether people feel safe and whether they are safe.

Do your research, but don't let the negative comments put you off from going to the US, as thousands of tourists do each year without incident.
 

ivanhoe

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I would also add that Chicago is a fine City. I was there 18 months ago for a week. Thoroughly enjoyed myself. It's all about what floats your boat and there is plenty of information on what to do etc on the web. As regards to safety, I've seen areas in Rome, Paris, Barcelona etc where I would not stay in. Same the world over.
 

jamesontheroad

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For Haydn, I'd recommend using Aer Lingus to travel to the US. Pre-Clearance is brilliant, and after arriving you can be on your way to the hotel in minutes - this is definitely preferable to standing for hours in an immigration hall! The transit in Dublin is easy, and Aer Lingus are a good airline to fly with - I was as comfortable as could be expected in economy. But shop around.

Which reminds me - Air Canada is also worth checking. There is US pre-clearance at most Canadian airports, so you will arrive in the US as a domestic passenger.

Although AC can be expensive UK > Canada compared to other Canadian airlines, such as WestJet and Air Transat, they are often cheaper on the very same flights if you continue on to US destinations (where there is more competition).
 

aformeruser

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I would also vouch for Icelandair, having use then twice to/from Reykjavik (the latest being only yesterday!)

They offer a free stopover service in Iceland (included in the price) when travelling to/from the USA, of up to 7 days. So if you're inclined to spend a day or three in Iceland - and I would heartily recommend it as one for anyone's bucket list - then this could be a good option.

I suppose the one downside of that is the climate is quite different between Iceland and the USA so you'll need to take a greater variety of clothing with you.
 
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