Last weekend I wrote about my bike ride to Santa Barbara. Almost as memorable was the weekend away in Santa Barbara. When planning a trip, we often choose somewhere exotic or far away, buy plane tickets and take time off. I tend to forget that there are amazing vacation spots just 2 hours away (not by bike of course ;)). I have lived in Los Angeles for almost 4 years and had only driven through Santa Barbara. I heard over and over what an amazing city it is and finally got to visit. It was even more beautiful than I could imagine! I started thinking about how many places there are right around Los Angeles that I need to visit!
5 Things to Consider When Planning Your Getaway:
1. Choose The Right Place: If you want an easy, cost effective trip. Choose somewhere 4 hours away or less. Try traveling by train if it’s available. That way no one has to drive and you get more quality time with the people you choose to travel with. If the city you are going to is walkable, it’s best that you don’t have a car anyway! Choose somewhere that has a lot to offer. Santa Barbara was perfect with the beautiful beaches, vineyards and rich history.
2. Choose Somewhere Authentic to Stay: When planning a weekend trip a lot of the time we just look for a hotel that is decently nice and cheap. We end up staying in chains which are usually pretty boring and similar in every city. I had never used Air B & B before this trip. We had a great experience with an adorable Spanish style house in Santa Barbara. It was much more authentic to the city than most hotels and you really get a feel for the place by staying in a house. It was also way more cost effective. If you don’t want to try this, try a bed and breakfast or historical hotel!
3. Dont be JUST a Tourist: It’s fun being a tourist for part of the trip. If you only go to the popular tourist locations you will miss a lot of the heart of the place you are visiting. Ask locals about their favorite coffee shops and restaurants and try the places that the locals frequent. they definitely know where to get the best food and drinks! Two of our favorite spots were The Boathouse for brunch and Handlebar Cafe for coffee!
4. Find Balance: Definitely indulge. Eat and drink to your heart’s desire. Find some active things you can do to balance out everything you are going to consume. Try a local yoga class, go for a hike or rent bikes on the beach!
5. Let Go of the Plan: You are going to plan activities you want to do and restaurants you want to eat at. Don’t be afraid to wing it. If you are feeling like something else, or you just want to spend more time somewhere, scratch your plan and follow your heart! I have trouble being spontaneous sometimes, but I always have the best time when I let myself relax and go with the flow. Talk to strangers and explore new places!