Countdown to Cali
I am writing this post with great excitement! We are soon off on our California Road Trip!
We started planning this trip around 2 years ago, as we were originally going last year. But we had to move our wedding back by a year - to last year, more on this another time! So here we are with 20 days to go and the excitement is very high in this house! We are all in holiday mode already.
Our Itinerary is:
Fly to LAX then spend time in
Los Angeles, Malibu, Santa Monica, Laguna and Newport, Anaheim (Disney), on to Las Vegas, back to Cali to San Diego and fly home from LAX.
Its going to be a packed holiday that's for sure. We have pre-booked http://www.ultimatehollywoodtours.com in LA for a bus tour , www.oue-skyspace.com in LA which is a rooftop observation deck with slide option which we have gone for of course! , www.disneyland.disney.go.com Anaheim and www.newportcoastaladventure.com for whale watching trip which was my brilliant birthday present and I cannot wait for this! Hopefully I will have a "whale watching success" blog on my return!
We got an amazing price for our flights, well I thought so anyway, with www.norwegian.com Flying from Gatwick Airport with great flight times, we paid £1358 return for three of us. My eldest daughter is not coming as she has College induction and starts her first year while we are away. I also paid £15 (£5 pp) each way for priority boarding. The Norwegian website is really easy to use and when you log in to your booking it will remind you that you need to get ESTA's for each passenger. There is a button on the page which takes you through to the website where you can apply for these. You can't travel to America without one!
We have decided to stay in a hotel near Gatwick the night before we fly so that we can have a lay in and relax the morning we leave. This also gives us plenty of time to check and re-check our cases before we leave for the hotel. We booked a 1 night stay in a family room with 16 days parking at the Holiday Inn Gatwick Worth. Which is approx. 10-15 mins from the airport by taxi. We got a great deal as we have stayed there before and are on the mailing list, so we took advantage of a discount code they had sent through. We like the park and stay here as you park the car yourself in a secure car park and take the keys on holiday with you, so there is the peace of mind that the car will not be moved to a country lane somewhere!
One thing we have to do the day before we fly is take our beautiful Rocco to kennels. When we did this last year I was so upset to leave him and he was not impressed with us when we picked him up. He wouldn't let me cuddle or even stroke him for almost a week! We are all dreading leaving him again, and it hurts my heart every time I think of it, I will need to have the tissues at the ready that day! We know he will be well cared for because we take him back to the rescue center that we got him from - Dikkie Doo Littles Animal Rescue in Amersham www.dikkiedoolittles.org.uk
For our holiday insurance I went with Barclays as we bank with them and it is £15.50 per month for a minimum of 6 months for the Travel Plus pack which includes RAC cover and lounge entry (T&C's apply).
We have had a bit of a nightmare with the hire car, far too long winded and boring for this blog, but we have rented a Ford Edge (or similar) via www.Rentalcars.com and we managed to book at a time where there was an offer of free GPS with the rental. Which is good because it seemed quite expensive as an add-on. We also opted for the additional insurance as I am a worrier and like to be prepared for most things! So the rental for 16 days including additional insurance is £478.24, this is through Rental Cars but the rental company is Alamo.
All we have left to do now is get out International Driving Permits, these are not a requirement but are recommended. I found the info at www.rac.co.uk/drive/travel/driving-abroad/international-driving-permit/
Holiday shopping. I have done lots of this! Gracie (my 10 y.o) needed pretty much a new wardrobe this summer as she has had a it of a growth spurt since last year. I have bought lots of new things, clothes, shoes, a new hat, bags, accessories and most importantly bikinis! I already have so many but every time I go on holiday I like to buy new ones.
I am planning a holiday outfit blog so look out for that!
Holiday essentials. I have recently done a huge www.amazon.co.uk order for holiday essentials. I also got a few bits from trusty www.ebay.co.uk
There was way too much to include in this post so I will be putting up a dedicated Essentials post!
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