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  1. Default Austin to San Diego in December (economy trip)

    Needing to visit relatives(mom and sister) in San Diego in early December from near Austin, Texas. Trip will be about 14 days total. Unfortunately, they have no place for us to stay, so we are at the mercy of motels(?) and restaurants. For someone on SS, that is not something we are looking forward to, but my mom is 92 and I really need to visit. Wife has a brother that lives in Concord, Ca., so we were looking at maybe going up there for 3-4 days during that time. Anyone have experience recently in making any similar trip? We will be traveling in a 2006 Dodge Caravan, gets about 21 mpg. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Alternatives

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First, let's examine the problem with spending three or four days with your brother-in-law in Concord. That's a full day's drive from San Diego, especially considering that you'd have to traverse the Los Angeles metropolitan area there and back. While you might, at the outside, get four 'free' nights of lodging, that would only buy you two days with your family in Concord at the expense of two more full days n the road burning gas and accomplishing not much. I'm not one to advocate NOT seeing family given the chance, but spending so much time and gas to do so for the purpose of saving a bit of money seems counter-productive.

    There are ways to save money when you RoadTrip. My wife and I are also retired and one of the more amazing things that we've found that it is often cheaper to rent an entire house, apartment, or motel suite than just a room with little more than a bed and TV. That's because just renting a room means that you then have to pay for everything else - meals, entertainment, and even decent WiFi. Having a house or even a small suite with kitchen means that you can shop for food at a supermarket and prepare it yourselves rather than shell out $15-20 or more for a lunch or dinner out. WiFi is almost universally included in such rentals, and because they tend to be in neighborhoods rather than along highways you can usually walk to a local park or attraction rather than having to drive everywhere or go somewhere just to get out of your 'four walls'.

    Some sources you can check out for motel suites are Residence Inns, Extended Stay America, Homewood Suites, and others. And for house rentals try VRBO, HomeAway, RedWeek, and others. In both cases, the weekly rate will typically be less than the daily rate, again arguing for staying put in San Diego.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 11-22-2015 at 05:32 PM.

  3. Default

    Thanks for the reply ! Good information and will check into it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    AZBuck gave you some excellent advice. He's also correct -- Concord is up by the Bay Area, a good 500 mile drive from San Diego. Not exactly a place to stay overnight.

    I have no idea where in San Diego your mom lives, to recommend something that might be close and not too expensive, if you can't get a house or apt to rent. You may find less expensive motels in El Cajon (East County), Chula Vista (South County), Alpine (even further East County), Mira Mesa (inland North County). Many tourists find reasonable places in Mission Valley that won't break the bank and it's pretty central to most. You may also find some better rates by checking with or similar -- just check the ratings before you commit.

    As for food -- we have the usual fast food places. Most people want to find an In-and-Out at least once (the prices are right), as it's a chain that hasn't gone too far yet. We also have a lot of decent local places.

    Donna in San Diego County

  5. Default

    Hi Donna ! Thanks for the reply. My mom actually is in a home in Santee, CA. My sister now tells me the personnel there think she is too weak to venture out very much. I still need to see her, as I have always been her favorite, and talking on the phone just does not get me the hug I need. :)
    So, with Santee in mind, any thoughts? TIA

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Both ways.

    ... just does not get me the hug I need. :)
    Bet she is thinking the same.

    Have a great time with your mother.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The El Cajon motels are close to Santee and probably as cheap as anything anywhere in San Diego County. There is a Motel 6 and a Super 8, among others.

    Just take I-10 to I-8, the motels are all close to I-8 on your way in.

    It's 1300 miles from Austin to SD, if you have multiple drivers you may be able to do it in 2 days, the midway point would be around Las Cruces. Bear in mind that you will be on the road for 12+ hours both days, you may want to break it up a bit more with stops in El Paso and Yuma.

    Santee to Concord would be a full day each way, and you will have to either go through or around LA each way. You could go home from Concord, that would take you 3 full days with stops in Blythe and El Paso. You would still have to deal with LA.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Good, GLC told you exactly what I'd say. Santee is East County, and El Cajon is just south of it. The Super 8 and the Motel 6 are both in decent areas of El Cajon, as well. You'll probably take the 67 to up to Santee, then probably the Magnolia exit, depending on where she's located.


  9. Default

    Thanks, Lifey ! I can see and feel her smile now ! :)

  10. Default

    Thanks, glc. We have decided to take 3 days to not stress us out too much.

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