Chaos of Planning a Trip

There is something so exhilarating about travelling.  Packing, making reservations, planning an itinerary, all of it is exciting but can also be overwhelming.  It is important for me to make the most out of my vacations.  I am not a sit on the beach and relax kinda gal. To give you an example, this is the itinerary that I created for my recent trip to San Diego:

2/11/2016 2/12/2016 2/13/2016 2/14/2016
ARRIVE BRUNCH: Snooze ranked #5 (open at 6:30am get there early no reservations) BRUNCH: Kono’s (ranked #9) BRUNCH: Carnitas Snack Shack in North Park (ranked #29)
hike Torrey Pines and paragliding 858-452-9858 if you pay in cash you get $10 off SUP around the bay kayak La Jolla (caves with seals) (858) 454-6195 Everyday California 9am check in at 8:30am spoke to Harry PAID $50
Action Sports: 858-539-8696 $25 for 2 hours spoke with Lenny drive to La Jolla Cove-walk along path by water then up the hill to the town
walk around North Park San Diego Zoo AAA Discount 10%
Windansea Sunset Balboa Park LUNCH: Oscar’s-tacos (ranked #26)
Sunset Cliffs is on Ocean Beach/Point Loma DINNER: Mister A (ranked #61) at 7:30pm (619) 239-1377 walk boardwalk from Pacific Beach to Mission Beach (see Belmont park)
DINNER: Oceana Coastal Kitchen (ranked #2) at 7pm (858) 488-1081 Windansea Sunset
Gaslamp District
DINNER: Parma Cucina (ranked #6) at 7pm (619) 543-0049
GROUPON OFFER: Surfari Surf School $22 for $24 hours 858-337-3287 Little Italy

There is a lot of thought and planning that goes into booking a trip.  It is important to know what to pack based upon the weather, the type of activities you will be doing, and places you are dining.  Outside of asking my friends and family for recommendations, I like to use TripAdvisor to read up ratings and reviews of hotels, top rated activities, and restaurants.

Sunset view from our balcony

Traveling across country to warm weather from sub zero temperatures I knew I wanted to stay on the beach with an ocean view.  I wanted some place with amazing views, good customer service, and a comfortable bed.  That is why I chose Tower23 which was ranked number 7 out of 279 hotels in San Diego.  They offer free rental bikes, and the reviews raved about the customer service and jaw dropping ocean views.  If you stay here I definitely recommend paying the extra money for the oceanview, it will be well worth the extra money spent!

Lounge Area inside Tower23

Based upon your interests, I like to browse the top rated activities on TripAdvisor.  While I do like to have a planned out itinerary to make the most of my vacation, I also like to give myself time to explore, relax, and experience things that are not on my list.  It is also important to be flexible.  I unfortunately did not make it to Balboa Park which was rated number three of things to do in San Diego because it was chilly in the morning so I decided to head to the San Diego Zoo before stand up paddle board (SUP) on the bay.  We ended up spending five and a half hours at the zoo so because of a time limitations I had to choose which was more important, visiting Balboa Park or SUP.  The adrenaline, beach junky in me chose to SUP.

Chilling with some giraffes at the San Diego Zoo

When looking at restaurants I look at the ratings and reviews on TripAdvisor.  I often find tips of things to order and places to request to sit at each restaurant.  I like to pick an eclectic array of restaurants with various cuisines.  I knew Collin, my boyfriend, would want Italian at least one night and I heard that you have not been to San Diego until you have experienced their seafood, specifically their fish tacos. I chose an upscale, seafood, and Italian restaurant.  Upon making my reservations via OpenTable, I requested all outside, oceanview seatings.  I mentioned that it was our first time in San Diego and that we were visiting from New Jersey.  Upon making the reservations I also paid careful attention to the dress codes for each restaurant so I knew what to pack.  Remember it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed!

Here are two of our picturesque views from dinner.



For brunch recommendations I asked my local friends and TripAdvisor backed up their suggestions with ranking them five, nine, and 29 of the top restaurants in San Diego.  Kono’s was a dive that was next door to our hotel and made the best coffee, but Snooze was our favorite.  It was very hipster and offered a pancake flight, where you choose any three pancakes, and Benny’s duo, where you select two of your favorite benedicts, so you could experience more items off the menu without having to pull out those Joey Tribbiani Thanksgiving pants!


Collin’s first time on a SUP, he did amazing!

Being active and loving adventure I added SUP, kayaking, and paragliding to the itinerary.   I found a Groupon for SUP for $22 for 24 hours, but with this company you have to lug your SUP to the water. I found Action Sports which is right on the bay, and part of Catamaran Resorts.  Trying to be thrifty I called Action Sports and spoke with Lenny who just so happened to also be from New Jersey, and explained to him that I had found a Groupon for $22 for 24 hours, while they charge $35 for 2 hours.  I asked if he would honor the $22 for 2 hours, knowing that was all the time that I would have to SUP before needing to head to the zoo.  He agreed!  I strongly encourage you to keep track of the names of the people you speak with when you call, just in case there is any confusion or they question the offer you were promised.  This is where doing your research, looking for discounts, and comparing prices will really help!

If you have any memberships such as AAA, check with them as well.  I received 10 percent off my San Diego Zoo admission by showing my membership card.  Also something to add to your packing list!

Their famous sticky cookies exceeded my expectations!

Now that I had my hotel, activities, and restaurants, it was time to put together my itinerary!  Time to break out the map to determine where everything is and what to do on each day to minimize my travel time and maximize the time spent exploring, relaxing, and playing! Since I had already made reservation for kayaking and that was in La Jolla, I knew I would spend the rest of the day exploring La Jolla.  I wanted to see La Jolla Cove, eat a famous sticky cookie from La Jolla Cheese Shop, and munch on some fish tacos. I find that it easiest if I pick one activity or restaurant that I have already had a reservation for, and plan my day around it based on timing and location.  This is also where I determined that we needed to rent a car based upon the distance of our hotel, restaurant, and activities.

Once your itinerary and reservations are made, the last thing to do is create a packing list. Find out the dress code of your restaurants, call the vendors of your activities and/or visit their websites of the activities you plan to do to find out what is needed, and research the weather.

Now you are all set to sit back and relax, and enjoy your trip knowing you are well prepared!

Sunset at Windansea





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