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  Reply # 2039403 18-Jun-2018 09:05
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Rental car insurance is a scam everywhere but perhaps worst in the States. The last thing you want to do is to buy insurance at the time of pick-up. Some hire car companies offer insurance packages at time of booking (which is better), but I've found it easiest to go through a broker such as https://www.discountusacarrental.com/. Alternatively arrange your own insurance independently in advance; eg www.insuremyrentalcar.com. (I've used other ones in Europe eg https://www.worldwideinsure.com/car-hire-insurance.htm and I think most of them will offer cover anywhere...)


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  Reply # 2039405 18-Jun-2018 09:07
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One of the things I do every time I visit SF is to walk along the Embarcadero on a nice day.

 

I tend to alternate between walking from AT&T Park to Fishermans Wharf and then a cable car back to the city, or if I'm keen on a really long walk I'll walk a loop from the city to Fishermans Wharf and then around to the Ferry Building and then back into the city. 


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  Reply # 2039421 18-Jun-2018 09:23
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sbiddle:

doctormaxim: Oh and for rental cars, I’ve found booking something average (aka cheap) and asking for an upgrade at the counter has worked REALLY well. I’ve got a Mustang (originally booked a Chev Malibu) for the Pacific Coast Highway, and a Challenger (originally booked a Hyundai Elantra) from Vegas to Long Beach much cheaper by being polite and asking at the counter.


In certain places tipping staff is a great way to get upgrades - the same applies with hotels in Vegas.


The catch with cars is ensuring your have appropriate vehicle insurance and liability insurance cover. This can easily triple the cost of a rental car.


 



In both of my cases, full $0 excess were included with my cars - maybe because I wasn’t a resident?
Funilly enough, our travel insurance covered rental car excess only if we took comprehensive insurance offered by the agency. Really not sure what the point of travel insurance is in this case...

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  Reply # 2039423 18-Jun-2018 09:29
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NorthernZone:

 

Rental car insurance is a scam everywhere but perhaps worst in the States. The last thing you want to do is to buy insurance at the time of pick-up. Some hire car companies offer insurance packages at time of booking (which is better), but I've found it easiest to go through a broker such as https://www.discountusacarrental.com/. Alternatively arrange your own insurance independently in advance; eg www.insuremyrentalcar.com. (I've used other ones in Europe eg https://www.worldwideinsure.com/car-hire-insurance.htm and I think most of them will offer cover anywhere...)

 

 

The last thing I'd ever do is have insurance by a 3rd party and car from a rental company without fully understand every aspect of their T&C . In almost all cases you'll be left as the filling in the sandwich should an issue occur. You'll potentially be directly liable for the losses, and then have to recover these from the company.

 

Hiring vehicles directly is often more cost effective, and as an example you can hire vehicles from the Avis NZ site for a lot less than the US Avis site including full CDW and more importantly liability insurance. A lot of people forget about liability insurance when hiring a vehicle over there.

 

 


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  Reply # 2039425 18-Jun-2018 09:30
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doctormaxim:
sbiddle:

 

doctormaxim: Oh and for rental cars, I’ve found booking something average (aka cheap) and asking for an upgrade at the counter has worked REALLY well. I’ve got a Mustang (originally booked a Chev Malibu) for the Pacific Coast Highway, and a Challenger (originally booked a Hyundai Elantra) from Vegas to Long Beach much cheaper by being polite and asking at the counter.

 

 

 

In certain places tipping staff is a great way to get upgrades - the same applies with hotels in Vegas.

 

 

 

The catch with cars is ensuring your have appropriate vehicle insurance and liability insurance cover. This can easily triple the cost of a rental car.

 

 

 

 

 



In both of my cases, full $0 excess were included with my cars - maybe because I wasn’t a resident?
Funilly enough, our travel insurance covered rental car excess only if we took comprehensive insurance offered by the agency. Really not sure what the point of travel insurance is in this case...

 

What about liability cover? Travel insurance doesn't cover this, and that normally costs more than the vehicle insurance.

 

 


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  Reply # 2039489 18-Jun-2018 10:35
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networkn: Tipping is part of the US Culture, don't resent it, embrace it otherwise you will end up ruining any restaurant experiences you have.


Out of interest, is it normally expected to tip the drivers of long-distance tour buses? When I went to Yosemite I didn’t think to tip the driver and I felt bad about it afterwards.

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  Reply # 2039505 18-Jun-2018 10:50
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I've hired 3 cars for my upcoming trip to Hawaii - one each through Hertz and Alamo directly, and a third with Europcar through Carflexi.com. I like to mix it up tongue-out

 

In all cases full CDW and liability insurance was included in the quotes as well as wheels, glass & underside cover which I believe is sometimes excluded from the standard CDW.

 

When I went to LA last year, I considered going the cheap way with a rental car, and getting third party insurance. I am glad I ended up getting an all inclusive car + insurance deal from Sixt.com, as my virtually brand new Mustang was hit from behind on the very first day (and the other driver promptly bolted). It was more cosmetic than anything (but still expensive looking) so we just continued our journey and I filed a Police report later that day. When I returned the car they weren't even interested in the Police report - I just handed the keys back and they wished me a safe onward journey. I can only imagine the nightmare that would have ensued if I had needed to pay for the damage then seek reimbursement from a 3rd party...




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  Reply # 2039579 18-Jun-2018 12:18
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Thanks again everyone. On the topic of cars, apart from obviously driving on the other side of the road, any interesting road rules to be aware of, apply over there vs here?




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  Reply # 2039581 18-Jun-2018 12:22
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I really enjoyed the Buena Vista Cafe on the corner of Hyde St and Beach St (fantastic Irish Coffees).

 

Also really enjoyed the suburb of North beach, great Italian and the only place in San Fran I found a decent coffee.





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  Reply # 2039585 18-Jun-2018 12:27
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We found a food truck gathering about 50 different stalls and beers near the fort its on every friday night

 

Walked the bridge and carried onto salsalito

 

great no name bar and interesting small burger place just before it

 

Enjoy only just back was great

 

sorry you cant get to Alcatraz

 

 


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  Reply # 2039587 18-Jun-2018 12:29
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sleepy:

 

We found a food truck gathering about 50 different stalls and beers near the fort its on every friday night

 

 

That sounds awesome. 

 

 

 

The best hotdog I've ever had was on a corner of a SF street. 


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  Reply # 2039602 18-Jun-2018 12:43
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sonyxperiageek: Thanks again everyone. On the topic of cars, apart from obviously driving on the other side of the road, any interesting road rules to be aware of, apply over there vs here?

 

Driving on the other side of the road is easy. Things get tricky at intersections, especially wide roads with medians. Also you need to LOOK IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION at intersections. In NZ, typically you look right, and if nothing's coming, get moving. When turning, think little turn (left in NZ, right in US) or big turn (right in NZ, left in US). Don't make rushed/snap decisions while driving; you'll almost certainly revert to NZ experience, and do the wrong thing.

 

Interesting road rules in the US:

 

1. Stop at a red light, then turn right if the way is clear.

 

2. 4-way stop... stop at the intersection, then await your turn to go.

 

3. 70mph speed limit on freeways; traffic seems to go about 75-80.

 

[Edit]

 

4. It's illegal to have an open beer can (or other alcohol) in a car, maybe even an open box of beer?

 

 


CJC

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  Reply # 2039611 18-Jun-2018 12:47
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sonyxperiageek: Thanks again everyone. On the topic of cars, apart from obviously driving on the other side of the road, any interesting road rules to be aware of, apply over there vs here?

 

I didn't drive in San Fran, but did in other parts of North America.  You can make a right turn on a red light most of the time, if you've stopped first and the way is clear obviously.  Some intersections may have a sign saying you can't though, so look out for that.

 

Four way intersections with stop signs can be interesting.  Pretty basic, you just go in the order you arrived.

 

I found the hardest part of being on the other side of the road was turning through intersections and making sure you ended up in the correct lane.  It was fine if I was following someone, or there were plenty of other cars around.


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  Reply # 2039612 18-Jun-2018 12:52
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frankv:

 

sonyxperiageek: Thanks again everyone. On the topic of cars, apart from obviously driving on the other side of the road, any interesting road rules to be aware of, apply over there vs here?

 

Driving on the other side of the road is easy. Things get tricky at intersections, especially wide roads with medians. Also you need to LOOK IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION at intersections. In NZ, typically you look right, and if nothing's coming, get moving. When turning, think little turn (left in NZ, right in US) or big turn (right in NZ, left in US). Don't make rushed/snap decisions while driving; you'll almost certainly revert to NZ experience, and do the wrong thing.

 

Interesting road rules in the US:

 

1. Stop at a red light, then turn right if the way is clear.

 

2. 4-way stop... stop at the intersection, then await your turn to go.

 

3. 70mph speed limit on freeways; traffic seems to go about 75-80.

 

[Edit]

 

4. It's illegal to have an open beer can (or other alcohol) in a car, maybe even an open box of beer?

 

 

 

 

In Hawaii where I have done the most US Driving, was the first time I'd come to a 4 way stop sign. Rules are, first to arrive, first to go through. Must stop completely. 

 

In Hawaii, they can spot a tourist a mile off, everyone waits for the tourist to go first (really laid back). 

 

The nice thing in my experience of driving in Hawaii, esp the islands, no-one is really in that much of a rush, so you have some time. 


CJC

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  Reply # 2039650 18-Jun-2018 13:00
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It's a pity you can't get out to Alcatraz, did the Night Tour there around 8 years ago and definitely rate it.  At the time there were some tourist ferries that did a cruise around the island I think, so you can get an idea of the place.

 

California Academy of Sciences was worth a visit if you get over to Golden Gate Park.


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