Travel: California Roadtrip 2017 Itinerary

Ah, travel! Growing up, we never had any money to travel anywhere, and that situation continued until a few years ago when I finally felt comfortable enough with my savings and income that I could justify spending money on discovering the world. And thanks to my PhD, I was able to dive in deep straight away: Puerto Rico, Japan, and now California. Yes, you've read that right, I'll be flying to California in about two months! 

Like the two years before, my boyfriend will be coming along and he suggested that we should rent a car and turn our visit to San Diego (where I will be presenting my research at a conference) into a mini roadtrip through southern California. I basically jumped for joy when he said he was into it, and I've been having fun planning our trip ever since! As it stands now, this is our itinerary. If you have any tips, recommendations or feedback, please do share. I prefer being super prepared when travelling, so the more info, the merrier ;-)


First, we will be spending about 5 days in San Diego, near the Gaslamp quarter. San Diego is a very popular city among tourists so I'm sure there will be plenty to love. I have my eye on Balboa Park, but I also really want to try some amazing tacos. San Diego is just a stone's throw away from Mexico, and I want a taste of that authentic Mexican cuisine!


After the conference is over, we will pick up our rental car and head up north for a couple of miles to our Airbnb at Carlsbad! This relaxed beachtown was recommended to me by my bestie, and I think it will be the perfect base for some cartrips through So-Cal. Oh, and our Airbnb comes with bikes - yessss. We will be staying here for another 4 or-so days.

Obviously, we'll have to take advantage of California's amazing parks - we'll probably be visiting either Anza Borrego or Joshua Tree park while we're staying in Carlsbad. I'd love to watch a sunset there and see the stars line the sky, since the desert is has very little light pollution the skies should be breathtaking.

Another day trip I'm dedicated to make is Los Angeles. I always hear very mixed reviews of this city, it seems to be the love it or hate it type of experience. But I feel like my expectations are fairly realistic, and I will enjoy the visit as long as we make sure to circumvent the worst hours of traffic. I want to visit Griffith Observatory around sunset, but I'd also like to walk the Santa Monica pier and Venice Beach boardwalk.

3. ROAD TRIP from Carlsbad to Santa Maria

After enjoying some downtime in Carlsbad and surroundings, we're driving further up north to take in the scenic coastal route, making a one night stop in Santa Maria before driving on to San Francisco. Breaking up the trip in two days allows for a more relaxed ride, and some breathing space if we want to stop and explore or take in those stunning Big Sur views. I think I'd like to make a stop in Carmel-by-the-sea


Finally, we will spend three nights and two days in San Fran before flying home again! I've asked around a bit and considering our travel priorities, I felt like two days would probably be enough here. We'll be dropping off our car at the airport before making our way into the city, and during our stay we will be using public transportation and Uber to get around. Things I want to see: San Francisco's Chinatown (must eat all the food), Haight-Ashbury and the Golden Gate Bridge. For the most part we will just be exploring the town a bit instead of doing "touristy" stuff, so tips on places to visit are much appreciated!

I've linked to the sources of these shots beneath each picture, but hopefully I will be able to share my own photography of this trip soon. Please do share any recommendations you might have!! Especially food relates ones ;-) Or practical tips are always good too! I love travelling as efficiently as possible, so tips on what/how to pack, what you always bring on the plane, your favourite travel snacks etc: very welcome.

Have you got any travel plans for 2017?

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