Day 8: California Here We Come!
After checking out of the hotel, we stopped by an outlet mall to do a little shopping. We picked-up a few things, but with the dollar being so weak, there weren’t many deals good enough to make it worth shopping.
By early afternoon, we were on the road and headed for Vista, California. We rented a pool side guest house from a family through VRBO. The pictures on the website reflected a cute little pool house with all of the basic amenities. It’s always a little nerve racking when you rent through sites like VRBO or airbnb because there is always the fear that the pictures make it look way better than it is or that the property is located in the middle of a very bad area or worse yet, you are renting a place that doesn’t even exist! It “feels” a bit risky, but the pay off can be fabulous. It is suggested that you don’t pay with cash and that you speak directly to the owner, as a safe guard. Also, read the reviews…they speak volumes. (You usually have to pay up front and that can be scary. We paid with Visa as there is some insurance through our card.)
We were so excited when we arrived and found that the quaint little guest house was even better than the pictures revealed. The property is located at the top of a hill and we have great city views. We felt super safe and almost a bit “remote”. They have a gate yard and we were able to park on the property which was a huge bonus. It was very clean and the owners gave attention to even the smallest of details. It was extemely economical and offered great value. The decor was warm and cozy and beautifully decorated with a cottage feel. We loved not only the house, but the host family was very friendly and welcoming.
The guest house is small, but super quaint and perfect for crashing at the end of a busy day. In the listing it says it accomodates up to 3, but the family was fine with one of the kids sleeping on the floor. We had our camping gear with us, so it was nothing to set Shay up on the floor and he was really comfortable there. His entire set-up slid right under the bed, so we didn’t have to pack it up during the day. Eden slept on the couch. For us, the size was not an issue, but it would be perfect for a couple. We are totally self-contained with a full kitchen and access to the pool. We booked 6 nights here and are really enjoying having a “home base” for the week. Vista sits about 30 miles north of San Diego. It is located close to the coast and is a pretty central location for visiting San Diego and other attractions along the southern coast.
Vacation Planning Tip:
*Finding a place with a full kitchen is really important when you are trying to travel on a budget. For extended vacations it really makes sense. I can’t really say that we have eaten super healthy, as we do end up purchasing some convenience foods that we would not normally purchase at home. (Who wants to slave over a hot stove when they’re on vacation?) However, it allows us to stick to a pretty tight budget of $50 US dollars per day for food. That may not seem like much, but it is actually quite attainable. We brought some food along with us and purchase groceries every few days. Unlike home, you are not purchasing any extras, only what is needed for the next day or two. We always have breakfast at “home”, pack a lunch and then dinner really depends on what we’ve been doing and when we get home. Because it begins to cool off and get dark pretty early in Southern California, we’ve been home in time for dinner almost every night. We’ve really only gone out once so far on this trip and that was in Vegas for Tim’s birthday. Even with that splurge, we’re actually still about $75 under budget right now. This nice thing about being able to cook at “home” is that you have extra money in the budget for those nights you want to eat out. It all balances out in the end.