Our California Road Trip check list

I blogged a little while ago about our 2015 travel wish list and we decided to move our main trip to California in a few weeks!


So we are going on a road trip from San Francisco! I’m so excited; there are nights I actually can’t sleep. I am planning the trip myself and hoping to make it a really fun trip, not just filled with the usual posing in front of things and all that. So, here are key things on how I am getting on.

Map of our trip 

We will spend a few days in San Francisco and then work our way to Los Angeles. The plan is to not spend more than three hours in the car between the stops we are making along the way. I don’t think Neo, or either of us for that matter, will enjoy spending that much time in the car!

Pacific Highway Road Trip Map

Road Trip Map

Getting there

We are flying into LAX and catching a one way flight to San Francisco. Flights to SFO were a bit more expensive and seeing as we were going to take a one way flight, it made more sense to choose the cheaper option and fly into LA.

Tip: Flights to the US are cheapest from January to March. Unless you buy on sale, the difference can be large.


Car hire

We are hiring a car from San Francisco to LA. If you are ever doing this yourself, it’s important to pick car hire companies that will not charge you extra for one way travel.

Tip: In California, there is no charge to add an additional driver when hiring a car; double check this when you are booking the car.


Car seat hire

I found the cost of this to be a bit ridiculous.  If you have pre-schooler children, maybe consider getting the BoostApak instead of hiring a car seat. It is a back pack that also doubles as a booster seat that will be perfect for Neo to use. I bought mine for £15 off ebay.


BoostApak - image from www.trunki,com

BoostApak – image from http://www.trunki,com


Charges for a GPS can be a bit high even thought there is a limit of about $65.  We have a Garmin navigator and I would rather load maps and take that with me. If you are on Three network, like me, you can use your mobile phone in the USA without being charged any roaming fees. That means we can use google maps and Waze to help us navigate our way without any additional charges.


Things to do and see

I  will share the highlights:

Alcatraz – better to book this well in advance

Golden Gate Bridge

Cable Cars

Disneyland Resort

Hollywood sign

Universal studios


I am trying to find a reasonable compromise between planning the itinerary and leaving enough blanks for some spontaneous activities.


Have you been? Any suggestions of what to do as a family with a three year old?

Thanks for stopping by!

Kgomotso xx


13 thoughts on “Our California Road Trip check list

  1. OMG this sounds so awesome!! I went to San Diego in, erm, 2008…I loved it and have always wanted to go back but head north to San Fran. Can’t wait to hear all about it and the booster seat is genius. You are going to have a blast, thanks so much for linking up to #TheList xxx

    • Thanks for the comment Hannah. I am very excited about this trip. We wanted to include San Diego too but we are not there for long enough and didn’t want to do a half-baked job of it. We are saving it for next time. I will be sure to post all about it when we come back!

  2. That sounds like a fab road trip – three hours sounds a good limit for driving with a little one – we did a similar road trip around France and our driving time between stops was the same which gave us time for breaks and to explore. The BoostApak sounds like a wonderful idea. Hope you have a wonderful time on your trip through California.

  3. Chinatown in SF is fantastic. It’s one of the biggest Chinatowns anywhere outside Asia (far bigger than London) and full of colours and sounds. On your trip down from SF to LA, Hearst Castle is a good stop but you’ll probably want to hop out in lots of places to admire the views and take photos as you scoot along Big Sur. Fisherman’s Wharf is a bit touristy but good to nose around for souvenirs when you’re out that way for Alcatraz. (Definitely book that well in advance – it gets very busy and I’d do it before you fly out to avoid disappointment.)

    I was underwhelmed by LA outside of the attractions you mentioned. Check out the Walk of Fame and Mann’s Chinese Theatre, but there’s precious little else and Hollywood’s actually quite a grubby area. Also don’t raise expectations too much about the Hollywood sign – you can’t actually get that close to it! Close enough to get a photo, but that’s about it.

    On your way in to LA, stop in Venice/Santa Monica for a morning/afternoon – stroll along the waterfront to the pier, gawp at Muscle Beach, check out the canals and generally have a wander.

    One final suggestion that’s a bit offbeat – look up the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. I’m not sure if you can look around without actually booking a room to stay, but every room is decorated differently according to specific themes.

  4. Oh wow! I went to San Francisco on Boxing Day 2005 and I loved it. I visited the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz so I will love reminiscing when I see your posts 🙂 Never been to LA and always wanted to go so I will be interested in those too. The BoostAPaks are brilliant things! Have a great time. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s