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Useful Sounds No. 045: Travelling advice needed

Today's podcast is part of a little present for myself - several podcast next week so I will have No. 50 on my birthday. The content? I would like some travelling advice from you!

16 min, 15 MB (right-click and say 'save link as')

So my travel plans are: going from Europe to San Francisco (SFO) to Palo Alto, from San Jose (SJC) to San Diego (SAN), from SAN to Los Angeles Airport (LAX). Most of the web pages do not allow this kind of multicity booking. :(

In addition to what I tell you about in the podcast, let me break it down to the parts of what I already know
SF / Palo Alto
  • I am arriving at San Francisco International Airport

  • conference is held at the Sheraton (625 El Camino Real), it is supposed to be a block away from "Cal Train Station"

  • should I take a kind of stop-over hotel or try to get directly to Palo Alto and do travelling / touristing from there?

  • already suggested: the Cardinal Hotel in Palo Alto

  • I know about a free shuttle service to Millbrae (?) station for Caltrain, and about Shuttleservice.com

San Diego
  • I am going from San Jose (seems to be easier than from SFO) to San Diego on March 3rd

  • Etech Conference (March 6-9) is at Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, 1 Market Place, San Diego, CA 92101 USA

  • already suggested: Hotel Strip, which is roughly a 10 minute drive from downtown.

Los Angeles

  • I need to get out of San Diego to San Diego Airport, and travel to LAX OR travel by train to Los Angeles - which should I prefer? Destination is Los Angeles Airport.

  • need a hotel near the airport because I will go from there the next day

Any hints for hotels / transportation / websites for me? :o)

Parts from the song Hiding as usual by the band !

comments (5):

  1. Have you thought about dropping Scott Sigler a line? He lives in the San Fran area.
    Tee Morris 10 01 06 - 20:34

  2. I have not made plans who to meet yet, because I first need all of my bookings and stuff :)
    Nicole 10 01 06 - 20:44

  3. Hi, Nicole!

    I'm quite familiar with the SFO->Palo Alto leg of your trip. I live between SFO and Palo Alto, and commute to work on Caltrain -- and Socialtext is located between the Sheraton and the Cardinal hotels! :-)

    You can either take a short shuttle bus from SFO to the Millbrae station, or BART, the rapid transit train. The bus is free, I think, while BART would cost a few dollars (but I think it's more fun). You can check http://www.511.org/ for any transit advice in the Bay Area.

    Caltrain is the commuter train. It's a reasonable way to get around, almost always runs on time, and never gets so full that it would be a problem to get aboard, even with a suitcase. Make sure to buy a ticket before boarding. You have to be a little careful to watch the schedule; some trains are express and won't stop at Palo Alto, and the only way to differentiate them is to see when they arrive, or ask one of the conductors who'll step off onto the platform as people board. It's not a big thing, if you get on the wrong train you can always get off on an intermediate stop and catch a subsequent train. Caltrain schedules and such are at http://www.caltrain.com/

    Palo Alto near Caltrain would make a fine base for travel/touristing -- I wouldn't recommend a stay-over hotel somewhere else (except San Francisco, but that would be inconvenient for getting to the Sheraton).

    The Sheraton is a block away from Caltrain. The Cardinal is a few blocks on the other side of the train tracks, on the downtown side, and would be a good place to stay -- out-of-town Socialtext folks commonly choose to stay there. You'd have a 10-minute or so walk to get to the Sheraton, but on the other hand, all the restaurants and shops are around the Cardinal.

    I hope I get to see you at some point! The Socialtext office is informal, and you're always welcome there, even if you just need a place to sit in a bean bag chair and use wifi, although I'm not always in the office unless we make sure to arrange it.

    And maybe we'll get to chat about good tourist destinations around the Bay Area before you come.

    See you soon!
    Peter Kaminski 26 01 06 - 18:36

  4. Hi Nicole. the free shuttle bus from SFO to Millbrae is no more. I suggest you take the short 5 minute train trip on BART. The hotel probably has a shuttle too and that's probably free.

    Caltrain is the way to go to get to Palo Alto.

    You can also take caltrain to the san jose airport (santa clara station) and take the free #10 shuttle.

    For the San Diego->LAX portion of your trip, there's an express bus that runs every 10 minutes from downtown to san diego airport (~$3). or you can take a cab (probably $10). However there aren't many flights from San Diego to LAX.

    I'd take a train. You can take Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner (i think departures every 1-2 hours) from downtown San Diego to LA Union station and then transfer to metro subway/light rail (red->blue->green lines) and then take the free shuttle. It's a really long ride though.

    You might want to consider getting off in Anaheim or Fullerton and then booking a shuttle van. There's lot of airport service from Anaheim to LAX (Disneyland is in Anaheim :)

    Here's a brochure with connecting info
    LA rail:

    Best of luck to you!
    John Tseng 28 01 06 - 22:47

  5. Hi Nicole, I have added this podcast to a new project that I have started: English by German Speakers on Gigadial.

    As an English teacher, I thought it would be cool to start to collect different flavours of English to give learners of English who need to do business or who are thinking of travelling to a particular country and speak English the opportunity to listen to people from that country speaking English.

    I'm hoping to encourage others to add to the station, and/or set up similar Gigadial stations for other nationalities. I've started this project by adding this episode of Useful Sounds. Can you suggest any more German speakers podcasting in English?

    And, what do you think of the project itself?
    Graham Stanley 02 02 06 - 10:14

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