Monday, June 22, 2015

Planning our Epic W E S T C O A S T Road Trip

Friends are always asking how we go on so many trips, to be honest, it's a lot of work, and I do it all myself.  It's not just about saving money every month for our travel fund {we save for trips like most people save for cable, groceries and rent, we budget}.  It's also about picking the best places for a family and coordinating travel time and events to keep the kids {and adults} happy.

When choosing where to go, we rotate, every other year is an international and the other is domestic.   This helps break up the cost of plane tickets.  International travel is expensive so when we fly over seas I like to make sure we can stay there for at least a few weeks.  {I actually have a mathematical equation for flight time and cost to actual on the ground time for anywhere we go, find it here}.  This year our big trip is domestic, and we want to see the Western Coast of the United States.  So, I started with a map and timeline.  What were the major cities we wanted to go to and what forests did we want to camp in?  We had a trip to San Diego in the works with my mom already so I penciled in that, and a wedding in San Francisco the weekend after so I included that too, but everything else was up to us.

I booked a combination of hotel rooms on expedia and a house on airbnb for different cities.  We also plan on staying with friends and family for parts of the trip, which helped with costs.  For camping, I purchased this Annual Pass for camping at any National Park in the United States.  The full list of parks can be found here.  Make sure to order it a month in advance as it can take 7-21 days to arrive and although I ordered on the 1st of the month, it didn't ship until the 4th, but it did arrive by the 10th.

Once I knew where we were staying, I started planning activities and spreadsheets to estimate costs and food for each day.

For San Diego, Husband and I planned a staycation within a vacation since it's our anniversary and my parents and siblings were there to watch our kids.  We booked a room at a bed and breakfast.

I compiled a list of activities of things to do in each place, using pinterest, suggestions from friends and google.  Find the complete list of things to do on a West Coast Road Trip here.

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