In 2010 Matt and I went on our first ‘big’ holiday to America. We had both always dreamed of seeing the west coast and so when a rather tempting flight sale was publicised online we decided to jump at the chance. We spent three weeks exploring California – one alone in San Francisco and two travelling around with Matts brother and his partner. At the time my own brother was studying near New York and even flew out to meet us in Los Angeles for a few days. It was an incredible trip but I would definitely do some things differently if we were to go back.
Today I’ve partnered with TravelPlanners California to share some advice based on our experiences in the golden state. I’ve asked some friends who’ve never been to California what they’d like to know before booking a trip and tried to answer those questions. If there’s anything you’d like me to elaborate on or you have a totally different query do leave me a comment or get in touch on social media – I love to talk about holidays!!
Holidaying in California – Top Questions Answered
Do you need to do a long trip or can you see a lot in a shorter space of time?
As I said above we went to California for three weeks. This was mainly because we knew we wanted to see multiple cities and we were in our early 20s with very few responsibilities so could save up plenty of spending money. You could absolutely see some of the best of the golden state in a much shorter time. In fact,
if when we go back I would be happier with 10-14 days.
What parts of your trip last time would you repeat if you went back?
Definitely San Francisco – it’s incredible! I loved whole vibe of the city from the street art to the food scene. There’s a lot to do including some fantastic museums and opportunities to get outdoors exploring the Golden Gate Park and Alcatraz. I’d reccomend the city to anyone. If you’re planning to go during the summer months be aware that tours of Alcatraz can book up weeks in advance.
In LA we went to a Dodgers game that was a really cool experience – even if you’re not a sports fan check out StubHub before you go and try to book to attend something. It’s totally different than anything i’ve experienced in the UK.
Is San Francisco safe?
I felt safe the majority of the time. There were one or two instances in the city, after dinner where we came across a lot of homeless people who were a bit intimidating but we never had any issues.
Do you think California is a family friendly destination?
I think anywhere can be – depending on how you plan it. When travelling long haul with children you need to factor in their need for rest and downtime. Jet-lag can be really intense and long days exploring are very tiring. As much as I’d like to go back without Luisa I really do think she’d love California and so we would go as a family and just adjust our pace.
Is there anywhere you wouldn’t revisit?
Personally I don’t think I would go back to LA, or at least I’d only go for a couple of days. We made the mistake of underestimating the size of the city and the traffic so we spent over an hour each day travelling from our villa to the main tourist areas. This really took the shine off it, traffic combined with the grime of much of LA means I would do things differently should we go back. If you’re planning to visit be very careful when booking to make sure that the places you want to visit are easily accessible.
All things considered I would encourage anyone thinking about visiting the west coast to go for it. Next time I’ll plan for a shorter trip with less time spent in LA and hopefully some time further north at Lake Tahoe. If you’ve any other questions at all please do let me know!