General advices

1. The single most important advise is that less is more, i.e. don´t spend your well deserved vacation on the freeways
desperate to se all attractions over the huge state. I´ve been a victim of that behaviour myself, and it took several
journeys to learn. Focus instead of parts of the state, unless you have like a months vacation. As a consequence, you
have more time for experience things like hiking, shopping, taking pictures at sunrise/sunsets or whatever your
preferences might be.

2. Use freeways when it´s necessary but not not a mile more. Freeways are great: You often save plenty of time using
them. But you almost never see anything of interest driving them. So an advise is to only use them around larger cities,
where you save most time compared with the alternatives (and in some areas in Los Angeles for example it is flat out
dangerous to use other roads/streets). But if you are driving outside the cities there are really no reason to use
the freeways unless you have a deadline to reach. Using smaller roads might slow the speed 10 miles/hour or so but
you´ll se and experience a lot more. Drive the smaller roads in the rural areas and you´ll be both surprised and
delighted of the unexpected attractions that you´ll see - attractions that are not included in any travel guide.
California is, like the rest of the US, full of vibrant communities ready to discover. An example is from the
picture above in Jamestown (just west of Yosemite National Park), where I was fortunate to experience when a few
friends staged a cowboy-show for a man whom just had had an accident but were in debt since he lacked a health

3. If you rent a car (which I suppose every visitor does except for some hardcore backpackers), you usually get a better
deal (at least if you´re not American) if you buy an all included package with both car rental and the mandatory
insurance from companies such as Holidayautos, Auto Europe or similar companies. You can certainly get at better deal at
the car rental if you rent a car directly through Alamo, Hertz, Budget etc., but that saving will almost always be eaten
up by more expensive insurance due to the weak bargain power as an individual comsumer. But it´s worth checking the
terms of your credit card as many provides the otherwise expensive CDW-insuranse (Collision Waiver Damage). And some
credit cards include a discount (often 10%) when buying all included rentals from specific car rental companies. And
many companies does also have a discount when booking one or two months ahead. Another thing that might be worth
considering is that there is likely to be less hazzle if you are unfortunate to have an accident if you rent an all
included package (at least there is only one company to argue with).

4. When flying into California, it´s usually best to avoid a connecting flight before you arrive at you final destination.
You´ll save yourself from domestic delays whether it´s because of poor traffic control, customs or the immigration control.
Most land in either Los Angeles or San Francisco. The latter is somewhat more convenient due to the smaller size, and the
fact that you can take a swift unmanned train directly to the car rental (only the largets companies though). However,
landing in Los Angeles in the evening or night is itself an awesome experience when the huge city is lit up by all the
lights. Hence, pick a window seat if you land in Los Angeles at night.

5. More and more aviation companies offer the possibility of checking in through the web 24 hours before the flight. If
you´re flying directly from Asia or Europe that means a non stop flight of 10-11 hours. Unless you can afford first class
tickets you can make those 10-11 hours more comfortable by checking in at home through the web right after the 24 hour
boundary, and pick the best avaliable seats by using Seatguru - a free site where you can se where the best and worst
seats are in all the major aeroplanes. A nice and free method to arrive in California in best possible condition!

6. Try to plan you visit according to the seasons when you get there (unless you´re spending all the time in the cities,
where it´s less important). I you arrive in June and plan to stay until July, go to the desert first when the heat is
manageble. And if you want to coastal California when it´ most beautiful, go there in spring and drive to the mountains
in Sierra Nevada in before you go home in early summer and so on. You can always improve your vacation by a
conscious disposition of the journey, i.e. when to see what.

7. Finally; plan to see a lot of things, but don´t expect see everything, and don´t be disappointed for what you miss.
Appreciate the things that you do see instead! You might very well be unable to get a clear view of Golden Gate Bridge
due to the notorious mist. Don´t desperately stay in San Francisco for a week just to see it. Instead, go with the
flow and continue on your journey and you´ll see lots of other things that no travel guide can predict. And follow
your instinct: Leave a place when you feel that you´ve "done it" and stay if otherwise.


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