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San Francisco Useful Facts
Flights and Transfers
Direct flights from Heathrow and Gatwick to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) take around 11hrs, and onward flights are possible from this airport. Direct and indirect flights and available, as well as regional departures.
The airport is situated around 13 miles south of Downtown San Francisco. If you have pre-booked transfer arrangements or tours with us, you will be met on arrival by our Tropical Sky representative who will guide you to your transfer vehicle. If you have pre-booked car hire, follow the instructions given on your booking itinerary. Shuttle buses take you from the airport to the various car hire depots – it takes around 30 minutes from the airport to a city hotel. If you’re travelling independently, try the shared van services which leave from the airport for about $15 per person and will take you directly to your hotel or any residence. The airport vans are grouped on the airport's second level, one floor above the baggage claim at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Add a $15 tip.
Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from your return date to the UK and you’ll need to check the full entry requirements prior to travelling – you can do this by visiting the FCO website or by contacting the relevant embassy. UK passengers can travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Scheme – you need to complete the I-94W form online using the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) system. For more details, look at the US Embassy site.
The primary language spoken here is English.
On foot: San Francisco is an easy and contained city to get around, and the streets are designed for walking as many of the attractions are close to one another. You may want to watch out for the hills – be sure to get used to them before walking up and down the city on a hit afternoon.
Buses: The bus and cable car services are east to use and are good value. If you’re in the city for more than a few days, you may want to consider buying a citypass which will save you money.
Taxi: Taxis are readily available and most hotels have a taxi stand – just be sure to avoid rush hour in the financial district as it can get very busy.
Bike: If you’re a confident cyclist and are used to travelling in amongst the traffic, hire a bike and journey around the city this way. It’s a great way to acclimatise yourself with the streets and attractions, and make the most of mild weather.
Car: Unless you’re hiring a car to get out of the city, it’s not advisable. The roads around the Bay area are difficult to negotiate, with a lot of hills and one-way systems, and parking is notoriously difficult. The public transport here is a much easier option.
The local currency is the US Dollar – credit cards are widely accepted, except in some of the smaller shops
120V/60Hz – all plugs are a flat blade two pin
Vaccinations and Health
As health requirements change please consult with your GP or specialist travel clinic well in advance of your holiday for specific information related to your travel and medical history. Additional information can be found by visiting NaTHNaC or MASTA Travel health.