How To Plan That Dream Road Trip To California

Iconic sunshine, sandy beaches, and beautiful water – all the things that the state of California is known for. Fondly referred to as ‘The Golden State’, California sees 42 million visitors each year, all in search of fun, adventure and relaxation. It is also one of the top-rated road trip destinations.

With 2021 being dubbed the year of the road trip, many Americans are planning to take their vacations on the road. In fact, the hashtag #Roadtrip comes up 37 million times. Whether you need a break from life or you’re itching to realize your road trip dreams in sunny California, it is time to get planning and packing.

Pick The Right Vehicle For Your Plans And Your Route

The vehicle you choose for your road trip is one of the most important decisions you will make. It can determine how well or badly your road trip to California goes. When choosing a car, you should already have an idea of the route you plan to take.

If you want to go off the beaten path in California to visit places like Yosemite or Channel Islands National Park, you will need a vehicle that can handle off-road and rough terrains. However, if you’re planning to follow Highway 1 from San Francisco to San Diego, you may be able to get away with a small car or SUV.

Take a look at the vehicle’s fuel economy and additional features. You don’t want to hit the road and find out that most of your road trip budget is being guzzled up by fuel costs. The size of your vehicle plays a role too.

Ideally, you want to choose a vehicle that comfortably fits you, any travel companions, and your luggage for the entire trip. Checking out past user reviews of sedans and hatchbacks can help you find the car with the features you want, such as fuel economy, driving range, and speed of charging.

Plan Your Route In Advance To Time It Right

There is so much to see and so much ground to cover in California. If not planned ahead, exploring California by road could easily take you a few weeks. Before finalizing your road trip, think of places in California you want to see, and how much time you want to spend on the road. The stretch from San Francisco to San Diego through Highway 1 takes around five days.

However, if you want to explore California at a slower pace, you could plan a two-week road trip around California, visiting hotspots like Santa Monica and the Pacific Coast Highway. To help you plan your route, utilize tools like Roadtripper, GasBuddy, and Roadside America. These nifty road trip apps and tools help you plan the most efficient route, find amenities like gas or hotels, and find unique stops along your route for a truly unforgettable road trip experience.

Let Your Budget Influence Your Extras

If you’re on a budget, a road trip can be a great but frugal way to enjoy your dream vacation. Past travelers to California recommend budgeting $85 to $135 per person per day, but it depends on how you allocate your spending. For instance, you may want to splurge on a few stopover accommodations during your road trip. If you’re a foodie, California is known for several 5-star restaurants.

Before planning your dream road trip, decide on how much you can afford to spend on a road trip. It will dictate the activities you can afford, the hotel stopovers you make, and even how long you spend on the road. If you’re looking for ways to keep costs down on your road trip, consider stopping off at one of the free campsites in California or renting a campervan instead.

Finally, remember to include a miscellaneous category in your budget, and prepare your vehicle for your road trip. Unexpected costs are bound to pop up during your trip, and it’s better to be prepared. Do this, and you can finally set off on the adventure of a lifetime – fulfilling that road trip dream to sunny California.

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