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How To Have The Perfect California Road Trip

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How To Have The Perfect California Road Trip

The California road trip. Every year, millions of tourists and native Californians pack up their bags, get in their cars, and head to the Pacific Coast Highway to see some of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Now, no one can see all there is to see in California in just a week or two. In fact, it may be best to stick to just one region of California. You can go to northern California with its wineries, nature, and San Francisco, or head to southern California with its beaches and Los Angeles.

However, if you are feeling ambitious and want to see as much of the state as you can, here are some tips for how to prepare and some critical spots where you must go to for the perfect road trip.

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What to do before you go: Get your car checked

It does not matter where you plan to go on your road trip — if your car is not ready for it, it is going to be a very short and unpleasant vacation. Consumer Reports has a valuable checklist of things you should inspect your car for before setting out, but always be vigilant. Even a small problem like misplaced alignment can become huge after several hours on the road.

Also, learn how to actually change a spare tire by yourself, because there are far too many people without this skill.

Where to start: San Diego

One important thing to decide for your California road trip is which roads you intend to use. If you want to see all of California quickly, then Interstate 5 would probably be your best bet. If you are interested in a more scenic route, then take the Pacific Coast Highway.

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While San Diego is not on the Pacific Coast Highway, it is still a good place to start and see California’s history before heading up one of the most beautiful roads in the world.

San Diego above all is known for its beaches, but if you want to take some time to visit the interior, then there is the Old Town, where you can spend a few hours learning about the early history of California.

What to do along the way: Stop

If you’re driving from one end of California to the other, you may be tempted to have a massive stretch where you just keep driving on and on until you just can’t go anymore. But health experts recommend that you should stop every 20 to 30 minutes. Sitting for too long can dull your senses, and in the worst case, can form blood clots in your legs.

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While you may not actually be able to stop this regularly on some stretches of your road trip, do at least try to stop every 2 hours and take a break. And any road trip will become easier if you can switch drivers.

Where to go: San Jose

Everyone wants to go to San Francisco, and it is a beautiful city. But it is an incredibly expensive city, and you may leave it looking at your empty wallet and wondering if it was really worth it.

If you really want to go to San Francisco, it may be better to stop by San Jose and then take a short jaunt to San Francisco from there. San Jose is the home of personal finance and banking in California, but it is also an interesting spot in its own right. If you’re interested in learning about its technology, then you can stop by the Tech Museum of Innovation. San Jose is also known for having some excellent food and shopping along Santana Row.

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Where to go to really see California: National Parks

No matter where you are in California, there is almost always some national park which can show off what a beautiful state this is. If you are in the southeast, there is the Mojave National Preserve and Death Valley National Park. A bit north from there is the famous Yosemite. And if you head all the way up north, Redwood National Park is near the Oregon border.

Whether you want to see redwood trees, desert, beaches, or rivers is up to you, and you can certainly go to more than one place. If you have a California road trip where you just stick to the cities and never really walk amongst nature, you won’t have much of a road trip.

These are but a few of the many attractions you can experience on your California road trip. You may also want to check out Los Angeles itself, the Napa wine county, and the famous beaches. But no matter where you choose to go, California is a state which offers something for everyone. And while you will almost certainly miss something on your first California road trip, that is all the more reason to have another one in the future.

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Featured photo credit: Rian Castillo via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2021

The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

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The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

Camping can be hard work, but it’s the preparation that’s even harder. There are usually a lot of things to do in order to make sure that you and your family or friends have the perfect camping experience. But sometimes you might get to your destination and discover that you have left out one or more crucial things.

There is no dispute that preparation and organization for a camping trip can be quite overwhelming, but if it is done right, you would see at the end of the day, that it was worth the stress. This is why it is important to ensure optimum planning and execution. For this to be possible, it is advised that in addition to a to-do-list, you should have a camping checklist to remind you of every important detail.

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Why You Should Have a Camping Checklist

Creating a camping checklist makes for a happy and always ready camper. It also prevents mishaps.  A proper camping checklist should include every essential thing you would need for your camping activities, organized into various categories such as shelter, clothing, kitchen, food, personal items, first aid kit, informational items, etc. These categories should be organized by importance. However, it is important that you should not list more than you can handle or more than is necessary for your outdoor adventure.

Camping checklists vary depending on the kind of camping and outdoor activities involved. You should not go on the internet and compile a list of just any camping checklist. Of course, you can research camping checklists, but you have to put into consideration the kind of camping you are doing. It could be backpacking, camping with kids, canoe camping, social camping, etc. You have to be specific and take note of those things that are specifically important to your trip, and those things which are generally needed in all camping trips no matter the kind of camping being embarked on.

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Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next camping trip.

  1. First off, you must have found the perfect campground that best suits your outdoor adventure. If you haven’t, then you should. Sites like Reserve America can help you find and reserve a campsite.
  2. Find or create a good camping checklist that would best suit your kind of camping adventure.
  3. Make sure the whole family is involved in making out the camping check list or downloading a proper checklist that reflects the families need and ticking off the boxes of already accomplished tasks.
  4. You should make out or download a proper checklist months ahead of your trip to make room for adjustments and to avoid too much excitement and the addition of unnecessary things.
  5. Checkout Camping Hacks that would make for a more fun camping experience and prepare you for different situations.

Now on to the checklist!

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Here is how your checklist should look

1. CAMPSITE GEAR

  • Tent, poles, stakes
  • Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
  • Extra tarp or canopy
  • Sleeping bag for each camper
  • Sleeping pad for each camper
  • Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
  • Pillows
  • Extra blankets
  • Chairs
  • Headlamps or flashlights ( with extra batteries)
  • Lantern
  • Lantern fuel or batteries

2.  KITCHEN

  • Stove
  • Fuel for stove
  • Matches or lighter
  • Pot
  • French press or portable coffee maker
  • Corkscrew
  • Roasting sticks for marshmallows, hot dogs
  • Food-storage containers
  • Trash bags
  • Cooler
  • Ice
  • Water bottles
  • Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives
  • Cups, mugs
  • Paring knife, spatula, cooking spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Foil
  • soap
  • Sponge, dishcloth, dishtowel
  • Paper towels
  • Extra bin for washing dishes

3. CLOTHES

  • Clothes for daytime
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuits
  • Rainwear
  • Shoes: hiking/walking shoes, easy-on shoes, water shoes
  • Extra layers for warmth
  • Gloves
  • Hats

4. PERSONAL ITEMS

  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Toothbrush, toiletries
  • Soap

5. OTHER ITEMS

  • Camera
  • Campsite reservation confirmation, phone number
  • Maps, area information

This list is not completely exhaustive. To make things easier, you can check specialized camping sites like RealSimpleRainyAdventures, and LoveTheOutdoors that have downloadable camping checklists that you can download on your phone or gadget and check as you go.

Featured photo credit: Scott Goodwill via unsplash.com

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