Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our Grand Californian Adventure: Spring Break 2014

For the boys' Spring Break this year, we decided to head west and visit family. We started things off with three days in the San Francisco area with my brother, then we took the train down to Santa Barbara for a night before heading to Orange County see Carl's grandfather, aunt, and other family members, as well as a certain famous Mouse. Finally, we spent our last day and night in San Diego, at Legoland and visiting my cousin. Whew!

I booked us an insanely early flight out to San Francisco on Friday morning. We had the boys miss school, because airfares went up by over $200 a ticket (x4 people = $800 savings) to wait until Friday afternoon, Saturday, or Sunday. So much for Ryan's perfect attendance award. The plus to our early flight is that, thanks to the time change, we arrived in California just after 8:00 a.m., so we had a full day of sight seeing ahead of us.

(The other perk to flights scheduled to depart at 6:30 a.m.?) THIS.

We ended up taking the train for the first time ever to circumvent the steep one-way car rental drop fees of $500 on top of the normal weekly car rental rates. Train tickets for all four of us only cost $152 to ride down to Santa Barbara.

Why Santa Barbara? Well, for one thing, the train arrived there at 6pm, and if we went all the way into Los Angeles, it arrived at 9:30 pm. I, for one, did not want to be in the middle of downtown Los Angeles with two young boys trying to find a car rental. Transferring and taking the train all the way to Laguna (where we would be staying with Carl's grandfather outside of LA) meant something like an 11pm arrival. And finally, I've never been to Santa Barbara and have always wanted to go (hello, bucket list item!).

We picked  up rental car #2 in Santa Barbara, and kept that with us until we dropped it off at the San Diego airport at the end of the trip. While in Southern California, we spent two days at Disneyland, one day at Legoland, and some time seeing some sights in Los Angleses, Santa Barbara, and at the beach.

It was a busy trip, but it was great seeing so many family members, and all in all, inexpensive, thanks to a lot of free lodging, and free air travel as a result of twelve hours spent last summer at the BWI airport at the mercy of Southwest Airlines.

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