Wednesday, August 18, 2010

California Dreamin' – Planning Stage

The books are scattered in the living room. All the ones David and I have collected from library sales, used bookstores, or yard sales for 25 cents to a dollar. We hope they'll help us plan an itinerary that misses none of the beauty between San Francisco and San Diego. With luck, they'll even teach us a tightwad trick or two so the trip stays within our frugal budgetary guidelines. We've got a lot of homework to do.

I've said many times that we believe the best vacations are those that start with a few days or a week apartment rental, (Click here for that discussion.)  but with only one or two nights in each location, that approach isn't feasible this time. Still, we believe that by doing our homework, we can find reasonably priced hotels or B&B's or even someone's spare room (See Matt Gross's article in the NY Times about AirBnB, an organization that specializes in renting individuals' extra rooms or apartments.) which will suit our budget and our taste. They won't be the most luxurious or the most romantic places, perhaps, but they will be well under $100 a night and clean and comfortable. At least that's what we're aiming for.

During the preliminary planning, we realized that our most expensive lodging location is going to be San Francisco, so we're planning the ten-night trip so we're in the city at the least expensive time of the week—Monday through Thursday.

We've also realized, sadly, that there's no way we can stay in Big Sur. Rooms topping $600 are too steep for our budget; even $150 exceeds the amount we want to spend. So, our plan is to overnight some place relatively close and leisurely drive down that area of the coast, perhaps stopping for lunch in Big Sur instead of staying there.

So, right now, we've got the time frame we're dealing with, ten nights, and we know we'll be in San Francisco Monday through Thursday. The rest if up for grabs! Time to get busy.


  1. have you ever tried couch surfing? I hear it is becoming a really common way to travel for cheap, but I have not met anyone who has actually tried it. What are your views on it?

  2. Hi Eli,

    No, I've never couch-surfed, but, from what I understand, it's a great way to meet people and learn about their world. The emphasis in couch-surfing is on exchanging cultural information, not on finding a free place to sleep for the night. For this trip, I don't think the organization would be the right place for us to look, but if we're ever in Bhutan we might try it! See this site for more information: