California Trip Planning Made Easy

California's wonderful weather and gorgeous scenery make it a natural vacation spot for visitors from all over the world. The list of things to see and do is seemingly endless; from warm, sunny beaches to brisk rocky mountain ranges, there is something for every taste and budget to enjoy. Because of the enormous array of activities available, it would be impractical to provide a 'one-size-fits-all'  travel guide. However, we do have a few things to keep in mind which will make planning your California trip much easier.

The Three "T's" of California

California is a Big State-The Golden State is third largest state by area, stretching almost 800 miles from north to south. Before visiting, make sure to familiarize yourself with the three 'T's' of the area(s) you plan to visit: temperature, terrain, and travel time.  Temperature and terrain will vary widely depending on which part of the state you will be visiting. Not all of California is the beach; the landscape is vast and varied. We also mention travel time because people tend to underestimate how large the state is. Make sure to you allow enough time between destinations. You'll want to visit every stop on your itinerary!

How Will You Get Around?- If you choose to travel by car, California has one of the most expansive highway systems in the U.S. This is the most popular way to get around in the state.

Another option is air travel. If you plan to visit several areas/cities spread out over many miles and have a limited amount of time, this may be your best option. Depending on which route you take, travelling from the far northern part of the state to the southernmost area would take 13-17 hours of non-stop driving.  In this case, flying would allow you more time to enjoy your destinations.

Depending on your budget and time allowances, the interstate bus system and train are also options you may want to consider.

Public transportation is not a good option unless you are travelling within certain major metropolitan areas, as the state as a whole does not have a system that would make this method of travel practical.

Trip Planning

When is the Best Time to Visit your Destination?- Do a little research as to when the 'high' and 'low' seasons are for your destination(s). For example, planning to visit Disneyland over a major holiday will likely mean big crowds. If you wouldn't mind this, that's ok; but just be aware of what to expect. Similarly, visiting a ski town in the summer will mean reduced lodging expenses. Which brings us to...

Know your Budget- Are you a budget backpacker looking to camp and stay in hostels as much as possible? Perhaps you're planning to go all out on lodging, dining, and shopping. Or, maybe you want to save on dining and lodging spend more on experiences.  No matter your budget, make sure you do your homework and have a spending plan so you can do all of the things you'd like to.

Mind your Money- Using common sense handling your money applies at all times, of course, but you certainly don't want to ruin your trip with financial woes. Remember to carry some emergency cash hidden somewhere discreet in case your wallet and debit/credit cards are lost or stolen. If this does happen, make sure you contact the issuer as soon as possible. You also do not want to carry large amounts of cash; if lost you have no recourse.

We hope these suggestions for planning your California trip help make your visit go more smoothly. With so many spectacular sights and fun for the whole family, California awaits you! 

Edited/Contributed by: Riley Branham
Published/Updated on: 09-12-2016

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