I mentioned in this post, that we were going on a
road trip for our summer vacation
this year. We've been back from our trip for a couple weeks now,
and we had a blast! I didn’t take any
time to blog while we were on our trip, but I will how fill you in on all of our
fun as I take the next several days to share with you the details of our
travels. Today, I will share with you
the planning process of the trip. I
spent hours planning for this trip (I’m talkin’ 50+ hours total) researching,
mapping, and reviewing all sorts of stuff just to make sure that this trip was
one of our best! Without further ado, this series
of blog posts about our California road trip shall begin…… California
PREPARING FOR OUR TRIP
Step 1: The first thing we had to figure out was when we wanted to go on vacation. Due to cooler temps in
, we figured the best time to take
our road trip was going to be in the summer.
We decided to schedule our vacation around the 4th of July,
lengthening our trip by adding one paid holiday to five vacation days. California
Step 2: Once we had the time of our vacation figured out, we needed to make sure we could get the necessary days off of work before any further preparation could continue.
Step 3: Arranging a house and pet sitter was a must for us! We ussually pay a friend or relative to stay at our house why we are gone, because putting our pets in the kennel can be really expensive and traumatic for our pets. We had to make sure that we had someone committed to watching our house and pets before we officially booked any part of our trip.
Step 4. Purchasing our airfare took much thought. Naturally, I compared prices at all of the major travel websites, but there was more for me to think about than just prices. I knew that we were going to fly into
and fly out of San Diego , and the timing of those flights
was very important to me. To be most
efficient with my time, I needed an early flight into San Francisco in order to take advantage of the
three hour time difference. This would
allow us to arrive in San Diego between 9 and 10 in the morning
(CA time), giving us a full day of sightseeing.
I also knew that I didn’t want to fly out of San Diego too late in the day, because we
were losing three hours on the way back.
I had to keep in mind that a friend was picking us up at the Indy
airport, and I needed to be somewhat courteous of that fact. In the end, we booked with Expedia. San Francisco
Step 5: Although booking our flight came before booking our rental car, researching rental cars actually came before we booked our flight. Before purchasing airfare, I needed an idea of how much this was going to cost and if it was even possible to pick a car up in one city and drop a car off in another city. In the end, there was only one car rental company that met all of our needs. Dollar Rent-A-Car was by far the cheapest company I found. Unlike other companies, they allowed pick up and drop off of rental cars in different cities. Even better, the company had locations at both the
and San Diego airports, and they offered
shuttle service to and from the airport. San Francisco
Step 6: Where to go on our trip and what to do while we were there needed to be figured out before we booked hotels. I had to come up with a basic itinerary, so I knew where we were going each day and what we were going to do throughout the day in order to know where to book hotels and where to search for the best restraunts.To do this, I compiled a list of things I knew we wanted to do, and then I worked around that.
Step 7: Experiencing
Step 8: Choosing the hotels. Priceline Negotiator has always come in handy for our travels. There were a few nights we used that particular website for our trip, but it was not the most efficient choice every night. When I write a blog post for each day, I’ll further explain why we chose the sleeping arrangements that did.
Step 9: Organization is key when planning a trip like this. Once everything important was booked and a basic itinerary was put together, I bought a large folder with several pockets. Each day of our trip had its own pocket, and in each pocket I had the following: an itenerary for each day, printed version of any reservations (flights, cars, hotels, restaurants, etc.), Mapquest directions for each day (in case our phones failed us) and menus and basic info from the websites of the restaurants and places we were going on our trip.
Step 10: Packing….ok, I know you’re thinking I’m crazy, but Matt and I both pre-packed for this trip a few weeks in advance. One reason we did this was so we would know the weight of our luggage. We wanted to avoid paying any extra baggage fees. It’s a good thing we did that too, because my suitcase was borderline the weight limit. Another reason for pre-packing was so we would know what else we needed to buy for our trip, We knew the weather would be cooler in CA, and we wanted to make sure we had plenty of layers for each day. Pre-packing gave us plenty of time to buy those extra things without the stress of too many last minute errands the day before our trip.
And that’s pretty much it. That’s how I planned and prepared for this road trip:) Tomorrow the fun begins, as I share with you stories and photos from each day of our journey:)