Hi loves! I have been SO excited to write about my recent road trip through California over the holidays! My hubby and I had the time of our lives exploring our beautiful state. I would highly recommend a road trip to anyone who lives in California or is thinking about coming for a vacation. There was so much to see along the way it almost felt like 10 days on the road wasn’t long enough….although by the end we were seriously exhausted. Being in the car and being able to stop whenever and wherever you want meant everything! Typically on our vacations we fly and we are always on a time schedule not to mention restricted on what we can pack and take with us. This is the first trip in a long time that we could take whatever we want and be on our own schedule.
We decided to leave for our road trip on Christmas Day as we do not have any family living in California. We live in Northern San Diego so we planned our first stop to be in Santa Barbara. I wore comfy ripped denim and flats and paired them with a big cozy blanket scarf. Making our way up the coast about 3 hours north we passed through beautiful Malibu. Malibu is just past Los Angeles and includes 27 miles of gorgeous coastlines. It’s no wonder so many celebrities live here! As we were here on Christmas Day most places were closed so we enjoyed stopping at the pier and stretching our legs and taking some pics. The pier included several little restaurants and the most beautiful views.
From here we continued on another hour or so to our first stop in Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara was a quiet and relaxing place to stop for the day. I think part of that was due to the fact that we were there on Christmas Day but most of the restaurants and shops were closed. We enjoyed time walking around State Street and downtown, also the marina and the pier. Everything was so picture-esque with very Mediterranean style architecture and mountainous views everywhere you look. We enjoyed having some down time strolling around the city. Our hotel was actually outside of Santa Barbara in Goleta. My hubby and I are platinum members with Marriott so we try to stay with this chain wherever we travel in the world. More about this below.
ROAD TRIP TIPS:
** Bring plenty of water! We brought a big pack of bottled water with us in the trunk and took a bottle or two into each hotel that we stayed at. This helped save money buying drinks on our trip and also helped us to stay hydrated. It’s amazing how you forget to drink water when you’re on the go all day.
** Pack a snack bag for the car! We packed a bag with some apples and bananas, nuts, rice cakes, protein bars, napkins and plenty of wine for evenings at the hotels! We try not to ever eat fast food so having a snack bag handy when you get hungry on the road was a life savor. Plus several days we were on the road there was no where to really stop for lunch. Always better to be safe than sorry.
** Always have a phone charger handy! If you’re like me you are on your phone constantly in the car. I was taking pictures, mapping directions, checking Instagram, and when you’re in more remote areas your battery gets drained so much faster. I bought a portable phone charger from Amazon for less than $15 and it’s a life savor on vacation.
** Plan ahead! Make sure you have a game plan of what you want to see and do on your trip as you plan so you make time for everything. We actually had to add another day into our trip to make sure we had plenty of time do do everything on our list. Remember, you don’t want to rush on a road trip, getting there is half the fun!
** Buy tickets in advance! I can’t stress this one enough. When you plan out everything you want to do on your trip, if anywhere requires tickets, buy them as early in advance as you can as they usually are sold out at the door. We did this for both the Hearst Castle and Alcatraz. Thank goodness we did too as they were both sold out when we got to our locations.
** Sign up for hotel rewards programs whenever you can! We are platinum members with Marriott (http://www.marriott.com/rewards/rewards-program.mi) and they really take care of us when we travel and stay at their hotels. They are all over the world so we never have a problem finding a hotel anywhere we go. I know other hotel chains also have reward programs too so if you decide to stay anywhere else make sure you take advantage of these programs, they are amazing!
** Give yourself plenty of time! This is probably the most important tip I could ever give. Never rush on a road trip. There is so much to see and do along the way the last thing you ever want is to feel rushed. My favorite part of our vacation was just being together in the car and all the little stops here and there we did to grab a quick pic.
Hopefully these tips can help you if you are considering a road trip through California! Trust me you won’t be sorry. I’ve travelled all over the world and this trip was one of my most favorite trips ever! I’m breaking down our trip into a post for each place we stopped since I have so much to share. If you have any questions or anything please feel free to leave me a comment. Thank you for reading!