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  1. #1

    Default first time california trip

    Hey, ive been checking these forums due to my upcoming trip in california with 3 other friends aged 23 to 25. This will be my first time in america and the first time on the west coast for the rest of my friends.
    First off i know the route im planning is by no means original and may becovered by other posts, but id like to get some opinion on my day to day plan to see if people think its gonna work. Also if anyone can give me any advice on a good way to rent a car cheaply with one driver 25 the rest over 21.And on top of that any advice on cheap places to stay.
    Heres my itinery any comment would be welcome.

    Day 1: Los Angeles-arrive midday 4th stay til morning of the 6th.
    Day 3: drive to santa barbara stay the night of the 6th
    Day 4: head up through big sur staying in motel
    somewhere round there night of the 7th
    Day 5: drive to santa cruz stay on the night of the 8th
    Day 6: spend most of the day in santa cruz
    drive to San francisco stay on night of the 9th and 9th
    Day 8: Drive to yosemite stay night of the 11th and 12th
    Day 10: Drive to Las Vegas through death valley stay night of 13th and 14th
    Day 12: Drive to grand canyon via hoover dam. Stay on night of 15th
    Day 13: walk round grand canyon then drive halfway to LA stay the night
    some motel on night of 16th
    Day 14: 18th leaving 2 days to see more of LA and the beach, probably go
    to newport and laguna beach anything weve missed out
    Day 16: two of us leave back to scotland. The other two stay on for 5 more days

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Good plan

    Welcome to the RTA forum!

    I think you've got the basics for a pretty good trip. I think things are well spaced out, and you'll have time to enjoy your journey.

    The cheapest way to rent a car in your situation would be to have only the 25 year old drive. You would avoid any extra-driver/underage fees. The key however, is that no one else can drive the car (anyone else driving the car will likely void your contract and your insurance). Otherwise, you'll just have to shop around and find out who has the lowest surcharge for underage drivers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Good plan

    I agree with Michael, you've done a reasonable, practical, enjoyable itinerary. Are any of your group members of AAA, or know someone who is? Their free tourbooks do a good job of listing inexpensive accomodations as well as some of the less well known things to see. You can find cheaper places than they list, but with the recommendations of any of the reputable guidebooks you'll be less likely to worry about insects crawling across your chest in the middle of the night. When we visited the UK we picked up two very different guide books from publishers we trusted (Rick Steves and DK) and went by their recommendations worries.

    A few favorites along the way up the coast:

    The mission in Santa Barbara is beautiful.

    The mission east of Lompoc (Mission La Purissima) is a more authentic restoration of what a late 18th-early 19th century mission might have looked like. (Virtually all of the original Spanish missions were allowed to deteriorate for decades before being stabilized and restored.)

    Carmel is a charming, tourist town with very good art galleries, shops, restaurants and such.

    The boardwalk in Santa Cruz has a delightful old-fashioned amusement park right on the beach.

    Pigeon Point lighthouse south of Half Moon Bay is a fun stop if they are having tours.

    The San Gregorio General Store (about the only building in San Gregorio) is a classic old-time store with anything and everything. A fun place to have lunch, poke around; and on weekends they have live music.

    The town of Half Moon Bay (downtown is a few blocks east of highway 1) is quaint and picturesque.

    All along this route you'll probably see artichokes and brussels sprouts growing - something that may be new for you.

    There is much more info on this area in other threads, but these are some things I haven't seen mentioned much before.


  4. #4


    thanks for the advice guys. Ill have a look at those places mentioned see if we can squeeze them in.
    There was something i was wondering about that you may be able to help me with. As our budget is kind of tight accomodation is going to comprise of hostels and motels. I did want to know how easy it is to cram 4 people into a motel room, ie is it easy enough to get away with or is that pretty frowned upon and will end up getting us kicked out. this is not for every night, but there are the few occasions id like to save money and we dont mind taking in turns to sleep on the floor a few times. If you have any tips regarding motels and such id love to hear them
    thanks again

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default 4 is fine

    the majority of motel rooms feature 2 double beds and are really designed to sleep 4. If there is an extra charge for 4 people, it usually is only $5-10 at most, so its not usually worth trying to sneak in extra people, which could potentially cause you some problems.

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