Trek America – Extending Your Trip

As you probably know by now, the trek I decided to book was the Southern Sun – starting in Newark, finishing in Los Angeles. Because of the early morning start on the first day (about 7am), you don’t get to see much of New York unless you decide to do it on your own. Both my travel buddy – Rachel and I wanted to spend more time in ‘the city of dreams’, San Fransisco was also very high on our bucket list and it seemed silly to be so close and not pay it a visit..

So we extended out trip.

Turns out, many people do the same – by the time you leave for trek you will be most likely be chatting to your (future) trek buddies and possibly arrange a meet up so you can adventure together.

Today’s Trek Tuesday is all about:

Trek America – Extending Your Trip

I will tell you what hotels I have stayed in, prices and my views on each one of them.

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Before Trek:

gemhotelThe GEM Hotel. Credit:

1 Night in Manhattan

In my opinion it would be a huge shame to not add an extra night (at least) before trek to explore Manhattan. The hotel/hostel doesn’t necessarily need to be in the centre, however it does help as it saves a lot of your precious time. It’s worth to have a look around as sometimes you can find a really good deal!

Hotel: The GEM Hotel – Midtown West

Price: About £140 for two people per night (depending on time of travelling)

Review: We wanted something on the cheaper side but still nice and most importantly in a good location. Hotels in Manhattan can be ridiculously expensive and we have searched for quite some time. This hotel was exactly what we wanted and we managed to find a discounted price. It was within walking distance to the main areas – 10/15 mins walk to Times Square and Penne Station (which s perfect to get to from the airport).

The hotel wasn’t anything exceptional, the rooms were quite small but we were only going to sleep there so that didn’t bother us. The facilities were good and the place looked quite modern.

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CrownePlazaCrowne Plaza Newark. Credit:

1 Night in Newark

The main purpose (for most trekkers) of staying in Newark is to be at the place of treks departure, travelling from Manhattan is a little bit of a mission and not the cheapest one either. If however you are staying in the centre the night before, try to find your other trekkers and get the taxi together into Newark as it works out a lot cheaper.

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Newark – Treks Getaway hotel, now changed to Hilton Newark

Price: We were lucky to get 1 night for free as part of the treks promotion at the time of booking.
Prices for the Hilton Newark when booking through trek are: £71 pp per night in a twin share or £123pp per night for the whole room.

Review (of the Crowne Plaza): Close to Newark airport, nice rooms and an indoor swimming pool – what more could you want.

Thinking we will probably have a quiet night in, we couldn’t be more wrong! We met up with most of our group/s (there were two) and next thing we knew we were in our bikinis running to the swimming pool – what a way to meet your new group. After that, we sorted ourselves out and went to the bar for food and drinks. The hotel was absolutely fine and I have nothing bad to say about it.

(I will talk more about our first night in the upcoming Trek Tuesdays! 🙂 )

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Los Angeles

kawadaThe Kawada Hotel. Credit:

1 Night in Getaway Hotel

On the Southern Sun – this is where the trek finishes (or at least our one did), it can be a nice extra night to say final goodbyes to your new friends and let the reality kick in (super sad times). Staying at the airport hotel is good when you are flying back home the next day or don’t want to worry about making your way to another hotel as LA is massive.

Hotel: The Kawada Hotel – Treks Getaway hotel, now changed to Custom Hotel

Price: We also got 1 night for free at this hotel as part of the treks promotion at the time of booking.
Prices for the Custom Hotel when booking through trek are: £74 pp per night in a twin share or £129pp per night for the whole room.

Review of the Kawada Hotel: I must say that I am glad this hotel has been replaced as the experience wasn’t the best. The staff wasn’t very nice and the location wasn’t our favourite either – except the fact that the metro was within a walking distance.


customCustom Hotel. Credit:

Review of the Custom Hotel: Strangely enough, both Rachel and I had the chance to stay at this hotel before we even decided to book trek america. We were visiting Los Angeles and didn’t want to spend all of our spending money on the hotel so we decided to stay in the lax area.

We really enjoyed Custom hotel – very modern, clean, nice staff, great rooms, supermarket next door and an amazing swimming pool. When booking, we didn’t realise how much of a mission it would be to get to Hollywood, or anywhere really other than the airport. It took us nearly two hours to get to Hollywood Boulevard – taking a shuttle bus, a coach/bus and metro. You can of course get a taxi depending on your budget but they do cost around $40 one way. If you want to do sightseeing in LA, I would recommend looking for something more central however as a getaway hotel I think it’s great.

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rooseveltThe Hollywood Roosevelt. Credit:

1 Night on Hollywood Boulevard

As you will ready next, we were lucky to be able to stay so central and if you get a chance to do the same – do it 🙂 Saying that, as everything in LA is so far apart – you will still have to get public transport (which is not the best) or a taxi if you want to go anywhere further out.

Hotel: The Hollywood Roosevelt

Price: Free. The prices start at about £200 per night per room (depending on time of travelling)

 Review: After Rachel won a trip to Hollywood two years before trek – this was the hotel we got to stay at and it was incredible. We promised ourselves we will try to stay there again even if it’s just for one night, and so we did. Rachel managed to convince her dad to change his clubcard points.. and that’s how we got one more night at the Roosevelt. For free.

If luxury and the stereotypical Hollywood lifestyle is what you are looking for – this place will be perfect.
I loved it the first time, however during our second stay – after spending nearly a month with our trek group sleeping in tents, partying around the campfire and singing our hearts out to cheesy songs – I realised that other than how beautiful this place is, personally it just wasn’t my kind of fun as much as it was the first time round.

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San Fransisco


2 Nights as Locals

Hotel: Casa Loma Hotel

Price: Starting at around £85 per night per room (depending on time of travelling)

Review: I loved this place. I felt that to experience San Fransisco properly we should stay out of the city centre / Union Square where many hotels are based. I wanted to stay in a more residential area where you can walk to places such as Haight-Ashbury or the Pink Ladies, then I found this little gem for a great price ($145 for two nights per room at the time!) and we booked it straight away.

The hotel is very simple but cosy, the rooms were reasonable size, you get free wi-fi and free hot drinks from the amazing coffee machine in the reception area. The bathrooms are shared in most of the rooms but they are very clean and we never had to wait for one. The location is great, not scary and buses are really close when you do want to get to the centre, saying that you can walk to many places including Haight-Ashbury as mentioned before. I would recommend this place to everyone who wants to experience San Fransisco from more of the locals view.

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Unless you guys have any other specific questions, from next week I will start writing about each place that we have visited during our Trek America trip! I have so many stories, pictures, recommendations and more to share with you guys!

Click below for:

Trek America – What, How & Why

Trek America – Questions & Checklist

Trek America – Full Packing List 

Trek America – The Ultimate American Road Trip Playlist

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[…] to our hotel which was a walking distance from the Penn Station, as you might have read in my previous post – we stayed at The GEM Hotel – Midtown West due to it’s location and price. Perfect […]