Hi loves! I am back after the best trip of our lives! Man, I wish I could already go back. Maybe you want to discover the Westcoast too, after seeing all that beauty? Do it! No doubt! But to help you out, I’ll give you some tips which are super useful before heading of to the amazing America.
- Take your time! It all comes down to this tip. Take your time when travelling the West coast, there is so much to see, so much to do and so little time. The driving distances are also much bigger than here, so do not take 2 weeks and try to see 8 places, because you will return exhausted and will not have the time to enjoy anything. Three weeks to three and a half are perfect.
- Try to go before the vacation rush. Everybody wants to discover the West coast of USA, so it can become quite packed. In May it was perfect, good weather but not with humps of tourists. Try to avoid the summer months, because it will be way too busy! If you can’t avoid it, make sure you take more time – because you will loose time with waiting in line and traffic jams!
- Plan upfront. Make sure you already have a high-level plan of which places you want to visit before leaving. Everybody will give you different opinions about what you should really see, how long you have to stay and what you should avoid. Ofcourse these tips are useful but they also depent a lot on you as a person. Maybe you love cities and want to spend more time there? Try to plan how much time you will spend at a place more or less.
- Book upfront if you like structure. This was one of the most difficult things for us to decide, should we book our hotels up front (and that way make our planning not that flexible), or should we see where the trip takes us and sleep wherever we find comfortable? I think this is a thing that is based on your personality – if you are more an adventerous type and are not that keen on hygiene, you can go for the YOLO option. Glenn & I however like some structure, so we decided to book our hotels upfront – however we did always take free cancellation in case something would go completely wrong. ! If you travel during the high season, not booking upfront can turn out in a night in the car, since all motels could be full. 😉 For us, the planning was perfect and we didn’t have the feeling we leaved too soon or stayed too long somewhere.
- Take a decent car. Sure, you can take a Mini and save money by taking the smallest car available – but just know that you’ll be spending a lot of time in the car! And you want to be able to bring your xxl suitcase, right? That won’t fit in that Mini – trust me. You don’t have to go for a full option, all windows open car – we had a Ford Focus, but some space can be nice!
- Oranize your suitcase. This is one of the best tips I can give you. You live out of your suitcase (or giant backpack) for a couple of weeks, and believe me – it will become a mess, especially if you’re a girl like me ;-). So buy some suitcase organizers upfront (these ones from Kipling are the best, big packing space and a good quality) to keep it all in order during your trip.
- Try something else than a motel. Sometimes the prices for a hotel can go really high close to Grand Canyon and other national parks, even for something basic. You can look on air bnb then for an alternative way of sleeping, we camped out a couple of times and loved it! It gives you some front seat views of the beauty around you.
- Skip your lunch. This might be the best tip to save you money, just skip your lunch! The portions in America are huge and often also unhealthy, so if you eat a good breakfast in the morning, and go out for dinner in the evening, you’ll get by with a small snack in between. Good for your wallet and your weight! And no worries, you won’t be hungry ;-).
- Take a drinking bottle (or two) with you. This is also super useful and a good budget tip! When you go hiking you need lots and lots of water – we just took two bottles of 75cl from home and always filled these with water, better for nature and for your wallet :-).
- Save up your money. Yes, this is an expensive trip. Yes, it will cost a lot. Yes, you need to save up. But it is all so worth it! So while you are there, make the best of it and do not go living of a limited budget – ofcourse you can be a bit thoughtful with your money but if you want that dessert – just go for it, you’re only there once (or if you are a lucky bastard, maybe you’ll come back :-))
Got any other questions about your upcoming trip? Just let me know!