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California Road Trip Lodging

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Mar 25th, 2013, 02:09 PM
  #1
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California Road Trip Lodging

I am doing a roadtrip up and down the coast (LA to Seattle and back) for 2 months this summer with some friends and am wondering what the lodging is like. We plan on going slow and taking our time, spending multiple nights in a row at places. We also plan on having most nights outside of major cities, exploring small towns and things.
What do you think would be a good way to organize the lodging? Just doing it on the fly, or because we will there at some places for a few nights book most in advance , or what?
We are considering everything from normal hotels to Airbnb to home rentals like VRBO and Zaranga.
Prices aren't a big deal, we are more looking for the best experience to have as much fun as possible.
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Mar 25th, 2013, 02:33 PM
  #2
 
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I think most of the replies, including mine, will recommend making advance reservations. Lots of travelers going up and down the coast in the summer.
dbdurand is online now  
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Mar 25th, 2013, 03:37 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Agreed. Many places on the coast are quite popular in the summer. Certainly areas like Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Cambria, Big Sur, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, Half Moon Bay, Stinson Beach, Mendocino, most of the Oregon Coast, etc. will be pretty booked up. There are a lot of great places to stay, and you run the risk of getting stuck in the lousy motel right next to the truck stop that no one else wants.

I'd probably book most places in advance, and do multiple nights in some locations. That of course limits your flexibility, which is a bummer. Many places will let you depart a day or two early without charge. With multiple nights in key locations though, you'll have flexibility in how you spend those days in that area.
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Mar 25th, 2013, 03:55 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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If you don't mind dorm type lodging (with a kitchen) try one of the lighthouse HI hostels south of San Francisco. http://www.norcalhostels.org/
I've stayed at Pigeon Point twice. In Sacramento, my favorite place is the HI Hostel at 10th & H across the street from City Hall. It is a Victorian mansion with a lot of history.
With 2 months you could cover a lot more than the west coast.
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Mar 25th, 2013, 09:51 PM
  #5
 
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It all really depends on what you want to do in the small towns or out of the way places. Hiking? Winetasting? Visiting Missions? Drinking/tasting local beers? Museums? Beach?

If money is no issue, is your group looking to stay in $300/night places? Or do you have a more practical budget? Would your group mind staying in hostels? How many of you are there?

We need to have a few more details in order to give you better information instead of shooting in the dark and telling you what our likes are. This trip is about YOU and not about our likes, so the more information you can provide the better we can answer your questions.

Thanks for any help you can give us.
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Mar 26th, 2013, 01:46 PM
  #6
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Thanks for the good advice kbob88.
And @easytraveler, we are going to try and do as much as we can including everything you've mentioned and more. We want to do everything we can to experience the areas from the museums and wine to hiking and outdoorsy things. Going to do the best to make sure we do as much as possible.
There will be a full car with 5 of us total (around age 24), and money isn't the biggest issue. We plan on mixing it up, some nights camping in tents and others in nice vacation rental homes on the ocean, and things in between.
I was more looking to know what people's opinions were in general about how much to book in advance vs do on the fly.
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Mar 26th, 2013, 02:14 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Remember that even in the summer, you'll really need your advance reservations on the weekends. During the week, you might be able to get away with setting something up a day or two in advance (or even day-of), depending on the location. But I'd try to lock down Friday - Sunday nights in advance.
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Mar 26th, 2013, 02:17 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Also, I don't think you need to worry too much about advance reservations from Fort Bragg to Crescent City inclusive, unless you're planning on staying at a really nice place, or a particular small B&B. We've gotten decent places to stay on that stretch in the summer a day in advance without too much trouble.

By the way, are you prepared for fog?
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Mar 26th, 2013, 04:57 PM
  #9
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Sounds good! Thanks
And yes, will be ready for everything, hopefully
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Mar 30th, 2013, 02:57 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Hotel tonight.com has last minute hotels available. We have used them in San Francisco, hotel was nice.
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