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Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:46 pm
by dwade1109
My fiancé and I have one glorious week off at the same time (9 days is the most we can squeeze at this point y with our jobs and long distance). We will be flying from the west coast and can use sapphire points for the flight.

Early November would you go to:

Auckland, New Zealand
Sydney Australia

Or somewhere else from LAX? We are trying to maximize time and reduce chance of delay by only going somewhere we can fly non stop. Syndney is about 300 dollars/points equivalent cheaper per person but that won’t be the deciding factor necessarily.

We like outdoor activities and good food. Day hiking, snorkel, scuba, cycling, horseback riding all good.

Appreciate thoughts!

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:56 pm
by Colorado13
I've been to Wellington NZ (not Auckland) and Sydney and thought both were incredibly beautiful. We did some hiking, much sight seeing, and spent time on the beach. I honestly don't remember much about the food so hopefully others can chime in about that. You probably can't go wrong with either location.

Google suggests the flight from LAX to Sydney is 19 hours, so a large portion of your 9 days will be spent in flight. If you are interested in a shorter flight/more time to play, I would recommend Hawaii.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:59 pm
by dwade1109
Thanks!

The flight to Sydney is 15 hours and the flight to Auckland is 13 hours. They are both red eyes and in the past we have taken advantage of our relative youth to caffeinated and sightsee the first day off the red eye (in Europe for example).

Hawaii is a great option that we both loved when we went last year but ambitiously we thought we could go fateher and use points to feel good about ourselves :D

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:02 pm
by jebmke
Assuming you are departing from the US I would not choose either of these. You will chew up a significant amount of time flying and (likely) recovering from jet lag. When I was working, except in special circumstances I never flew out to Asia for less than 2-3 weeks - it just wasn't worth the wear and tear on the body for one week.

Peru or Ecuador should be easier to get to and less time zone change (it makes a difference).

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:26 pm
by decapod10
I took a tour of Australia and NZ when I was in high school, I much preferred New Zealand personally. It was in June (so their winter) so different scenario, but it was so beautiful there. I just remember how green it was.

Australia was nice too, but it felt like visiting another part of the US, like I was in Boston or something. If I fly 16 hours, I personally would prefer to experience something more different, like Asia. I've wanted to go to Peru (considered Peru + Galapagos Islands at one point pre-kiddos) as previously mentioned but I've never been so I can't make a recommendation there.

I think it's fine to make a 9 day trip at that distance. We made a 8 day trip to Bali, which took 18+ hours, but I thought it was fine, and that was with a 3 and 5 year old in tow.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:28 pm
by Bfwolf
For me, those destinations are pretty far and a lot of jet lag for 8 days, but not impossible. I've been to Sydney, not to NZ. Sydney is a lovely city but I'd agree with the poster who says it doesn't seem very "foreign."

Have you considered Belize? 8 days is the perfect length of time to do a trip split between the beach (scuba/relaxation) and the jungle (waterfall cave exploring, hiking, Mayan ruins, etc). I would highly recommend Ian Anderson Cave Branch for your lodging for the jungle portion. It's an adventure lodge with awesome activities, great food, and a beautiful setting in middle of the jungle. Belize used to be a British colony so English is widely spoken.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:31 pm
by bernoulli
I echo the sentiment that a week might be a bit rushed for New Zealand ("NZ"). We went to NZ last year in November based on Lonely Planet's recommendation that the fall is a good time to visit. We spent two weeks there and it still felt rushed. I think a lot of it is because the beauty of NZ is in its natural scenery, so we went from the North Island to the South Island hiking glaciers and visiting national parks.

Auckland itself is not that unique - in my opinion. It is a nice international city but it looks and feels like any major city. Wellington feels more "European" than Auckland, but the cities in NZ are not the highlights - in my opinion. The highlights for me were the mountains, Milford Sound, and the wildlife. We have not been to Sydney.

NZ food is like English food. I like their savory pies which we don't get here. Otherwise, it is your normal grilled chicken and fries.

When we looked for places to visit for the fall trip this year, some of the recommended places are Portugal and Brazil. I think both have enough culture and sights to fill a week. If you are not set on visiting an international destination, we enjoyed our road trip to see the foliage along the east coast from Virginia to Maine, it was fabulous. If we had more time, I would have liked to drive all the way into Canada.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:37 pm
by Starfish
I would not go on a less then 10 days trip on such a long flight. I would be ok with a flight under 8 hours.
Easily accessible from CAlifornia you have:
1. Cabos, Cancun, Playa and other places in Mexico
2. Hawaii
3. Panama

4. Costa Rica, Columbia, Belize etc.


I like all these options, in different ways. 1-3 are 6-7 hours or under. Panama is great place to visit and in one week + weekends at the end you can actually see many things (I would add couple of days though).

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:37 pm
by Grasshopper
I can only assume that you have been to Costa Rica or Panama both would suit your adventure some spirit.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:57 pm
by phxjcc
AirNZ used to allow layovers in Fiji or Hawaii of (IIRC) 48 hours. Call and ask.

I preferred NZ, less crowded and frenzied than AUS, but I also lived in NZ for a year so maybe I was biased.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:34 pm
by otinkyad
I spent an 8-day semi-holiday in Sydney. The red eye worked well for me; flying West is generally easier. My flight arrived just after 6am, and at 8am I was having breakfast at a sidewalk cafe on Bondi Beach. I spent a few days in the Blue Mountains, and stayed in Manly the rest of the time, riding the ferry to work and sightseeing in the evenings. I even squeezed in a concert at the Opera House.

I don’t have an opinion on where you go, all the options seem nice. I wouldn’t avoid a long distance, short duration trip, but I would recommend planning all the details. It doesn’t have to be rigid or rushed, I was entirely at my leisure. I had a menu of things to choose from, so I could and did adjust to rain, getting lost, finding things closed, and work meetings running over, without floundering or missing out on too many things that I wanted to do.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:49 pm
by Caduceus
If your only choices are between the two, I would go the New Zealand, especially if hiking is what you want to do. So pristine and beautiful everywhere - it is one of my favorite places to go on earth.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:01 pm
by Trader Joe
dwade1109 wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:46 pm
My fiancé and I have one glorious week off at the same time (9 days is the most we can squeeze at this point y with our jobs and long distance). We will be flying from the west coast and can use sapphire points for the flight.

Early November would you go to:

Auckland, New Zealand
Sydney Australia

Or somewhere else from LAX? We are trying to maximize time and reduce chance of delay by only going somewhere we can fly non stop. Syndney is about 300 dollars/points equivalent cheaper per person but that won’t be the deciding factor necessarily.

We like outdoor activities and good food. Day hiking, snorkel, scuba, cycling, horseback riding all good.

Appreciate thoughts!
Hawaii. Great destination.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:59 pm
by HawkeyePierce
I love New Zealand (living there currently) but you’ll lose so much time in transit that I wouldn’t bother.

I would look into Tokyo. Flight times aren’t bad from LAX and there are lots of good options on points and several daily nonstop flights.

You lose a day going over but it’s easy to beat the jet lag. Don’t sleep on the flight, you’ll land late afternoon in Japan and by the time you reach your hotel you just need to stay up for dinner and then can sleep at a reasonable time.

Coming back you leave late afternoon and arrive morning same day.

I’d spend four or so days in Tokyo and then maybe head up to Nikko for two nights. The fall colors up there are spectacular with lots of great hiking and hot springs.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:05 pm
by dwade1109
Thanks everyone for the advice!

We are hoping to go somewhere we have not been efore if possible; we have been extremely fortunate to have traveled quite a bit so we have been to hawaii, Peru, and Belize. Panama is a possibility. It seems people are split on whether the flight duration is worth it; my only fear is with the type of jobs we have it’s difficult to get more than 9-10 days off at a time. So the thought was carpet diem and seize the day by going somewhere more ‘exotic’ from a distance perspective now.

We were thinking Bali but oddly there are no directs to Indonesia or Thailand from LA so we thought that was a step too far in terms of ‘trip efficiency’. Maybe that thinking was incorrect as we would be excited to do Southeast Asia as well.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:13 pm
by fortfun
This should do the trick.
https://www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au/

DW and I spent 5 weeks in AU and NZ about 20 years ago. Amazing place. We stayed on Brampton Is. and Hamilton Islands (links above) for about a week.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:16 pm
by decapod10
dwade1109 wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:05 pm
Thanks everyone for the advice!

We are hoping to go somewhere we have not been efore if possible; we have been extremely fortunate to have traveled quite a bit so we have been to hawaii, Peru, and Belize. Panama is a possibility. It seems people are split on whether the flight duration is worth it; my only fear is with the type of jobs we have it’s difficult to get more than 9-10 days off at a time. So the thought was carpet diem and seize the day by going somewhere more ‘exotic’ from a distance perspective now.

We were thinking Bali but oddly there are no directs to Indonesia or Thailand from LA so we thought that was a step too far in terms of ‘trip efficiency’. Maybe that thinking was incorrect as we would be excited to do Southeast Asia as well.
Yeah, we're in NorCal, so we flew from SFO had to connect through Taipei to get to Bali. 12 hours or so to Taipei, then about 5 hours to Bali, plus connection time.

A brief perusal of Google Flights shows nonstop LAX to Manila (14 hours) or Singapore (17 hours), not sure if either of those interest you.

Otherwise, Maybe Japan or Taiwan? Or China? I actually enjoyed China a lot, but it's so big I think you would need more time. Or stick with NZ.

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:05 pm
by Sandi_k
Isla Mujeres. Get a golf cart. Bring your own mask and snorkel, rent fins from a dive shop. ;)

Re: Where should we go for a week in November?

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:51 pm
by Watty
I went to Australia a few months ago and had a great time, but I went for five weeks and nine days is just too short. Not only will you have very limited time but if you have a flight delay or three days of bad weather that will cause a big impact.

The jet lag from the flight there was not to bad but when we returned I got hit hard by the jet lag and it took a long time to get over it. If you are thinking you can catch a flight that returns on Sunday and then be at work at 8:00 AM Monday morning and be halfway functional you will be in for a rude awakening. If you need to be back at work Monday morning you really need to return by Saturday and even then you will likely still not be anywhere near 100% on Monday.

One thing to check is to see is if the week you can go is a school holiday week there. If so then that is not ideal since the tourist activities and hotel will be very busy with Australians who are taking a vacation that week. That probably is not a show stopper but it would take more planning and things will be more expensive.

I also went to New Zealand a few years ago and I think that it would be a lot better choice for you since it is so much smaller but the jet lag will still be a problem. With nine days you could only do one island well but you should be able to see a reasonable mixture of things.

With the jet lag it is highly recommended that you not get a rental car on the day that you arrive. Driving on the left is challenging enough(but not all that bad) but you really need to be alert when you are doing it.

With either Australia or New Zealand any of the large cities are pretty much like any large US city so I would plan on spending most of your time outside the big cities once you have seen some the "must see" attractions.

There have been threads on both Australia and New Zealand that you can look up.

For just nine days I would really look at someplace closer.
dwade1109 wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:05 pm
So the thought was carpet diem and seize the day by going somewhere more ‘exotic’ from a distance perspective now.
With the shared heritage as English colonies I did not really find either Australia or New Zealand very "exotic" feeling for the most part.