If you’ve look through the USA category in this blog you’ll know I’m a big fan of San Francisco and California. Before I went over last year I spent months and months going through every tourist attraction/deal and route I could find to try and plan our holiday so not a minute was wasted. The result was a carefully tailored fortnight that had us seeing a huge portion of what North California has to offer.
I felt that my research/tips/thing I would change were worth sharing with you should you find yourself going on your holidays to America and in particular, California.
1) Book ahead but don’t book too much.
Before I went I booked up all our accommodation so we knew exactly where we would be each day and for how long. I was concerned about finding accommodation on the day as it can be a bit hit and miss in the UK. Next time I’ll probably book the start and the end and that’s about it. We found there were motels all over and not only were they all looking clean they were all pretty cheap as well. There were a few I would have liked the chance to stay in because of their views but I couldn’t because I’d already pre-booked. Take the chance and see what takes your fancy when you’re over there.
2) Pay a little more for Yosemite
If your budget allows then take it from me…there is nothing that can compare to waking up in Yosemite and eating your breakfast looking up at the sheer size of the rock face in front of you. It was amazing and yes, we could have saved a fair wad of cash by not being in Yosemite Valley or Wawoma but this was potentially the only time I would be there so splashing out was worth it.
3) Don’t be afraid to act the tourist
Like anything in the world there can be a huge amount of snobbery attached to travelling. From those who wouldn’t stay anywhere other than a 5 star hotel to the inverted-snob who wouldn’t dream of doing anything that a ‘tourist’ would do. Well why the Hell not I say!? One of my greatest memories of San Francisco was breakfast in a 50’s style restaurant (Lori’s Diner I believe). Yes, it was FULL to the brim with tourists but so what, all that mattered to me was that I get the best pancakes I’d ever tasted (sorry Mum!) It would have been easy to walk past as it was packed out with fat, bum-bag wearing tourists but I’m glad my stomach took control and insisted I go in and besides, when I was sitting at my table across from the Fiance I didn’t take much notice of the fat bum-bags…bleugh – I made myself ill being so nice about him there.
4) Check your driving distances
Two for one in this tip. Firstly, make sure you check and check your distances. Driving speeds are slower than the UK so it takes a little longer to drive the same distance plus all the stops you’re likely to do along the way. We learnt this the long way in Canada where we drove literally an inch on the map in one day and arrived at our destination 10 hours later – that was one long day. In California we stuck to a max of 250 miles a day to give us time to relax and enjoy the trip.
4) Check your road conditions
Secondly, check road conditions if you’re in any doubt. You can go from blazing sunshine to snow topped mountains in a matter of a few hours in California so if you know you’re going to an extreme then check. Likewise, if you’re travelling into Yosemite then check the conditions – we didn’t and ended up doing a 5 hour detour so we could avoid a mile of road in the centre of Yosemite to avoid a fire. You can check conditions for Yosemite at http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
Ihearttravel began as a travel blog for the Fiance and I but over the years circumstances have changed and it's now the travel/holiday version of www.and1makes4.co.uk for all our family activities and places we love to visit. Less of the exciting trips to California an the likes and more of the UK :-)