I just finished my tour. It's a awesome experience, I wish the tour could last longer. I had so much fun, and both of my tour guides are great. They always made sure everyone is back on the bus and fully guided us. If anyone has any issue, they will always tried their best to help everyone out. The best part is their knowledge, I learned so much history in the last few days
As a solo traveler from Australia, I looked into this tour purely because I wanted to take the hassle out of traveling from city to city, organizing accommodation and activities because I only wanted to spend a little bit of time in Las Vegas and San Francisco. I'm 24, but I also didn't want to do something like a Tiki Tour because that's not really my scene.
Anyway, my ride at the airport was waiting when I arrived and took me to my hotel - the Quality Walnut Inn. The room was big and there was free breakfast, but the hotel itself wasn't amazing. The pillows were just cushions and the bed was uncomfortable. It wasn't in a great location to actually do anything so the days I was there I spent resting in the hotel room (so consider requesting the deluxe hotel if that doesn't interest you).
At 7:50AM the next day, the bus arrived to take us to Las Vegas. Johnson was our guide. Out of about 45 people, about 4 of us weren't Asian (another thing to keep in mind if you're interested in socializing, because not many people spoke English). Also note that the guides are also Asian and say everything in English and then in Chinese - they also have very strong Chinese accents, so if English isn't your first language you might have some communication issues. Two hours into the drive (and less than 24 hours in the country) we stopped at a rest-stop, where I got some money out to pay for the tour options and then had my wallet stolen. I started to panic and informed the guide and we went looking and eventually it turned up in the toilet with my card still in tact, but all my was cash stolen (some hundreds of dollars). Johnson told me not to worry about it and I could pay him in the morning. He gave me $20 to buy lunch with and told me not to worry. We arrived at the hotel Excalibur about 3/3:30PM (a very nice hotel). I opted to do the night tour and Jubilee - we visited The Venetian, Caesar's Palace and Fremont (for the light show) for about 10-15 minutes each, then we were dropped off for Jubilee (the rest were taken on a dinner break), and after Jubilee we were given a muffin for dinner and taken back to the hotel. I would recommend the tour if you just want to glimpse at a few of the sights, but if you really want to take it all in I suggest going solo.
We were up at 4:30AM or so the next day for the Grand Canyon. I opted for the West Rim tour as it was either 10 hours total driving and 40 minutes on the South Rim or 4 hours total driving and 4 hours on the West Rim. We got back early in the afternoon and it was 'free time' for the rest of the day.
We were up early the next morning to come back to Los Angeles. We stopped at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory, though it hadn't opened when we got there, so doing the tour we didn't actually get to see any chocolate being made. I also stumbled into a cactus in the garden and was pulling little spikes out of my elbow hours later.. I wasn't having much luck on the trip. We then stopped at the Tanger Outlets for 2 hours, which seemed to take ages because I dislike shopping and it seemed like too much time. And then we were dropped off back at our hotels.
7:00AM the next day, we were picked up for San Francisco. We stopped at a few sights around Monterey Bay and then stopped there for lunch, before heading to the hotel. What I didn't realize was that it was the Sheraton Pleasanton hotel - about a 45 minute BART ride away from San Francisco. So if you want to do your own activities in San Francisco, keep that in mind.
I bought a ticket for Alcatraz months prior, so I spent the day on my own. As it was a Sunday, the BART didn't start until 8:00AM, which was something I hadn't considered when purchasing my Alcatraz ticket and I had to catch the first train in and rush to get there (though I got there at 9:00AM for a 9:30AM departure).
A 5:30AM call the next morning and we stopped at two of the sights at Yosemite Park before driving back to LA. It was nice to drive through Yosemite, but it felt like a bit of a waste not being able to spend time enjoying it.
Overall, I got what I wanted out of the tour, which as I said was just to have travel and accommodation organized for me. If you want a more in-depth tour or something more social or more oriented for young adults, I suggest looking elsewhere but if you just want a quick stop in these cities to have a look at the main attractions then it's a good choice, especially for the price. Although Johnson was a bit difficult to understand at times, he was very friendly and enthusiastic and deserves props for handling the situation on the first day.
It was really an awesome trip. I took this trip with my wife and I am really sure I made the right choice. Covering so many destination by driving on my own would have tough and not so pleasurable. Guides Ming and Lynn's knowledge and behavior was excellent. I would definitely recommend this trip to others.