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  1. Default Summer road trip from Seattle to San Diego

    Hi, 3 friends and I are planning to drive from Seattle to San Diego in the summer.We are from Mexico City and are 22 years old, we have 10 days more or less to do it. We would like to know if it is posible to make the trip in that time (taking into account that we would like to spend a day or two in the biggest cities on our way). We plan on flying from Mexico to Seattle, drive to San Diego and go back to Mexico from there. We were planning on renting a car, but if there are other suggestions let us know. We would also like to know about cheap places to stay for the night along the way. We want people to recommend us places to visit, restaurants, bars, concerts, and other events that you know of. Any other thing you could think of would help a lot. Thank you very much...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    13,064

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You're going to have to decide if this is a trip where all you want to see is cities or if you want to follow the scenic pacific coast highway. With 10 days, you can certainly make the trip, but if you want to spend a couple of days in each of the major cities, then that pretty much means you'd have to stick to I-5 and drive from city to city.

    Renting a car will really be the only realistic option, however, because of your ages and because this will be a one way trip, it will be expensive. The underage and one way drop fees will likely add several hundred dollars to your rental costs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

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    Renting a car will certain be very expensive. Unless you can use a consolidator that can lower/drop some of those fees, you will end up paying $25/day for underage fee PER DRIVER, often $10/day extra PER DRIVER above the one main driver (so that would be $30/day) and then between $250 and $500 one-way drop off. This is all on top of the main per day or week rental fee.

    My husband and I recently rented a car from Enterprise at the St Louis Airport facility. He and I were both considered acceptable drivers under their normal plan, being above 25 (!) and married to each other. But our daughter and her husband would have each cost us $10/day for the extra driver fee, and the daughter would have cost another $25/day for the first 6 days (she turned 25 on the 7th day). Needless to say, our daughter and her husband declined being drivers on the vehicle.

    Donna

  4. Default

    Thank you for your response. We are planning on taking the I-5 for most of the trip (we want to drive on the 101 to see a bit of the landscape between Portland and San Francisco), and we definitely want to stay one or two days in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, L.A. and San Diego. I checked on google maps (I don't know how accurate it is) but it said it would take 1 day and 5 hours to drive to San Diego following the route I depicted. I have checked for car rentals and it is indeed going to be expensive because of our ages, but I think there isn't a cheaper option. If you think of anything else you want to help us with it would be appreciated.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

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    1 day 5 hours is a completely meaningless figure. It assumes that you can drive non-stop without ever needing to stop for gas or food, never see traffic or even a red light, and of course don't need to sleep.

    Portland to SF via US-101 alone is about a 4 day drive - plan on the coast highway taking about twice as long as the freeway. When you throw in the rest of the things you want to do and then try to stay in cities for 1 or 2 days on top of that, your time is going to quickly run out.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

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    Seattle to San Diego is a three-day drive if on a "speed run" (no sightseeing stops) on I-5. The last time we did this, we stopped first in Concord, CA (to see family), then Medford OR, followed by Olympia, WA (though we could have easily gone to Seattle).

    Another time, we went up US 101. However, our purpose of the trip was not to make Seattle at all. But it is definitely slower going than I-5.



    Donna

  7. Default

    Hi, thank you for your response, it was very helpful. Me and my friends have discussed somethings about our road trip and we decided to make it shorter. It will be a trip from june 13 to june 20. We plan on arriving to San Francisco june 13 at noon, stay in a hostel near Union Square for two nights. On june 15 in the morning we will rent the car, drive to Santa Bárbara using the US 101. We maybe want to make a quick stop in San José and arrive to Santa Bárbara that night, stay in a hostel there one night and next day june 16 again in the morning drive to L.A., stay there two more nights, and on june 18 drive to San Diego, stay there two more nights and on june 20 go back to México. Does this seems more doable? Thank you for your help...

  8. Default

    Yes, this is more doable than your first plan. Driving times will probably be longer than you expect due to traffic.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    From San Francisco to Santa Barbara I'd highly suggest you take CA-1, which is the Pacific Coast Highway and is considered one of the most scenic sections of coastal highways in the world. US-101 here is largely an inland freeway.

    I'd also see if you can find a place to stay a little farther north than Santa Barbara. It would be a very long day on the road to get their if you follow the coast, and at that point, you'd practically be in the LA area anyway. See if you can find something around Cambria, Morro Bay, or San Luis Obispo.

    A note about hostels, with 4 people they aren't always a very cost effective option. Since you are paying per person, it could end up being cheaper just to split the cost of a budget motel room. On the flip side, Hostels can give you a better location for your money - as in the case of Union Square. I can also tell you that I have stayed at the Hostel in San Diego right off the Gaslamp District and found it to be a very nice place.

  10. Default

    Thank you for your advice.
    Yes I ment CA-1 not US-101. And I have checked hostels and found some in San luis Obispo, I think it's a great option, right between SF an LA.
    We are choosing between two hostel in San Diego, one is in the middle of Gaslamp District and the other one is a beach front hostel, north of downtown. I think we're going with the first one because they claim to have free parking.
    If you have points of interest or any other activities you want to sugest it would help us a lot.
    So far we plan on checking out Pier 39, Alcatraz and an interesting bar we found about named Bourbon and Branch(prohibition theme) on SF, maybe the flea market and Santana Row in San José and we still haven't discussed what we are doing in L.A. and San Diego.

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