From Auckland, New Zealand to San Francisco, US: A Travel Guide
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Planning a trip to the U.S. from Auckland? Wondering about the best airlines to take & activities to do whilst there? We have you covered. Over 100,000 New Zealanders visit the U.S. every year and for good reason. The United States has a lot to offer, in particular, California. San Francisco has some of the state’s most well-kept natural beauty, from national parks to stunning well–kept beaches, and, not to mention the wine.
Before packing your bags for the sunny state, keep reading to ensure you are well-prepared for your travels.
1. Travel in Peak Weather Conditions
Figuring out when to travel to California is one of the most important parts of travelling. The peak tourist season for the state is in June – August as this is when it’s summer break for families all over the United States. These months are also when you will experience some of the hottest weather conditions, with temperatures around 70 – 80 F (21-30 C), and even warmer at times. While the weather during June – August is most favorable for travellers, it is also when you will experience the highest flight prices and most crowds.
If you would rather opt for lower temperatures, travelling to California in March-May will bring you temperatures around the upper 40’s F (8-9 C) to the low 60’s (16-17 C). You will experience fewer crowds around this time as summer break hasn’t started yet. Travelling during this season means you will still be able to do all of the outdoor activities that come with travelling to San Francisco in the summer, there just won’t be as many festivities, like the musical festivals and parades that are common in the summer months.
You could also travel to the region in the Fall from September – November and expect sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s during the day and chillier, low-cast evenings. Choosing when to travel to California depends entirely on your preferences, however, to compare flight costs for some of the best months to travel to the state, keep reading!
2. Book your Flights from Auckland Airport at least 3 Months in Advance
Travelling from Auckland to San Francisco is no short flight. The travel time will take you approximately 13 hours and 55 minutes depending on which airline you book with and what their route looks like. The total distance you can plan to travel is approximately 10,487 kilometers or 6,516 miles. So how do you get the best flight rates? Booking online with budget-conscious airlines, of course! Below are approximate costs of what you can expect to spend when travelling during the Spring (March-May). Unfortunately, at present, flight prices for the summer months of June – August 2024 are not yet available, but you can find them in the coming months.
Flight costs from Auckland Airport → San Francisco International Airport
Air New Zealand
Auckland Airport Parking
When arranging your flight plans to San Francisco from Auckland International airport, it’s worth mentioning that soon after comparing flight costs and booking your flight, you should look into arrangingparking at Auckland Airportif you plan on leaving your car at the airport whilst away. Booking your flights and airport parking in advance not only saves you money but also gives you the luxury of choosing the car park that suits your needs best, without the worry of wondering if there will be vacant parking spaces at the airport car parks upon arrival. If you want to spend more on your vacation than the journey to get there, look into booking your airport parking on Flyparks, a budget-conscious and reputable booking platform for airport car parks all across Australia and New Zealand.
3. Prepare Your ESTA
Due to the current arrangements between New Zealand and the United States, the Visa Waiver Program is in place. As a New Zealand citizen, you may travel to the US for business or leisure purposes without obtaining a visa. In place of a visa, though, you must apply for an ESTA (otherwise known as an Electronic System for Travel Authorization), before embarking on your trip. To do so, simply apply for your ESTA Visa72 hours before your departure – the process takes under 15 minutes!
It is worth noting that to acquire your ESTA, you must fill out the application and pay a mandatory US$21.00. Additionally, you may only stay in the U.S. for 90 days from your stated entry date. The good news is, on approval of your ESTA, it will be valid for up to 2 years from the date of issue, or until your passport expires, so you can enter/exit the U.S. with ease.
Now, on to some of the most highly-rated accommodations in San Francisco.
4. Choose Your San Francisco Accommodation(s)
Depending on your preferred style of accommodation and budget, you will likely be deciding between an AirBnB, Hostel, or Hotel during your stay in San Francisco. We have narrowed down the choices below to include reasonable, highly-rated accommodation options for a party of 2. All prices detailed below are based on the AUD dollar.
Hotels in San Francisco:
❖ 1906 Mission: $204,42, 4.⅘
❖ San Remo Hotel: $156,99, 4.⅘
❖ Nob Hill Hotel: $137,37, 3.5/5
❖ Warfield Hotel: $99,76, 2.9/5
❖ Calista Organic Hotel: $174,98, 4.5/5
Air B n B’s in San Fransico:
❖ Stay with Collin – Room in San Fran: $232.22, 4.96/5
❖ Stay with Judy – Room in San Fran:: $258.38, 4.98/5
❖ Stay with Koncha – Room in San Fran: $281.28, 4.97/5
❖ Stay with Joey – Room in San Fran: $240.39, 4.91/5
❖ Stay with Mei Rong – Room in San Fran: $191.33, 4.79/5
Hostels in San Francisco:
❖ HI SF Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel: $106.30, 4.⅘
❖ HI San Fransico Downtown Hostel: $140,64, 4.⅘
❖ European Hostel: $81.77, 2.⅘
❖ Grand Tortoise Hostel San Fransisco: $181,52, 4.6/5
❖ Amsterdam Hostel San Francisco: $114,47, 3.⅘
5. Plan Your San Francisco Activities
There are a ton of unique activities to do in San Francisco and it can be difficult to narrow down what to do, especially if you are only in the city and its surrounding area for a week or two. The great thing is, no matter what you do here, whether you are alone or with a friend, you are bound to have a great time as the city offers experiences great for every age, and every type of traveller.
➔ Food Tour in China Town: If you are a foodie, especially of Asian cuisine, this is a must-do. As the oldest Chinatown in North America, you can indulge in a variety of culinary delights whilst learning about the culture and history of the neighborhood.
➔ Kayak in the Bay: Love the outdoors? Consider booking a kayak (or two, depending on how many people you are with) during your stay and take in views of the city from the
water. Kayaking under the historic Golden Gate Bridge while getting up close views of Alcatraz Island? Yes, please!
➔ Create a Bonfire at Ocean Beach: Want to see the sunset whilst enjoying a BBQ or roasting smores on the beach? You can do so at Ocean Beach and join alongside locals and other travellers (and have the time of your life whilst doing it).
➔ Sutro Baths: Once the largest bath complex in the world, the Sutro Baths are now retired, but the views and remnants in which it was established, remain. Take some time out of the day to explore them! This is an activity especially great for those who love architecture and history.
➔ Visit the Musee Mecanique: Into arcades and vintage? Look no further as The Musee Mecanique offers a glimpse into both as it is a retro arcade museum meant for game lovers who want to take a step back in time.
➔ Golden Gate Park: With over 1,017 acres of public grounds, you can spend the whole day in Golden Gate Park exploring the Japanese Tea Gardens, and the California Academy of Sciences, all whilst standing on grounds that were home to some historic events like the Summer of Love movement, the International Exposition of 1894, and more.
Now you have just about everything you need to be well-prepared for your trip to San Francisco. Always remember to make a copy of your passport & ESTA approval form to bring along in the unfortunate event that something happens to yours.
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