7 things you should consider before visiting California
1. California Traffic
|Traffic in California. Photo: Los Angeles Times|
Traffic in California is legendary! If your California vacation has you visiting any major cities, like Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco, expect to spend some time sitting in traffic. The best thing you can do is to avoid driving during rush hour in California. You can save a couple of hours per day by avoiding rush hour, leaving you with more time to explore the best places in California. California drivers are also something to look out for. You have a range of drivers from crazy speeders to super slow grannies, so just be prepared to have some patience and extra time while driving, according to Wolters World.
2. Lack of Public Transportation
You may think you can avoid traffic by taking public transportation, but it’s not that great in California. The reason traffic is so bad in California is partly due to the car culture where everyone likes to have their own car. San Francisco has BART, which is probably the best public transportation in California. Every other city, though, does not have a convenient transit system for tourists.
Despite the city’s vast size, its public transportation system is pretty lacking. Unlike some other major U.S. cities, it’s nearly impossible to get around LA without a car. Of course, you can hail an Uber or Lyft from anywhere, but I’d recommend renting a car. That way, you have the freedom to jump between neighborhoods as you wish, and you won’t be subjected to those surge fees during peak hours! Plus, if you’re planning to take any day trips or want to spend a few hours hiking some of the area’s beautiful trails, having a car gives you the freedom to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, The Bear and The Blonde said.
3. Size of California
|How big California is. Photo: Selfstorage|
Foreign visitors to the US may not realize just how big California is. You might think you can cover the entire state in a weeks’ vacation like you can with other states, but there are just too many places to go in California. It’s probably not possible to see the beaches of Orange County and the Redwood forests plus Yosemite all in the same trip. Unless you have more than two weeks, your California vacation should focus on one region of California: Southern, Central or Northern. If you were to take I-5 all the way through California, it’s 800 miles or 12 hours. That’s not accounting for traffic or stops at the many California attractions along the way.
4. Prices in California
California’s sky-high gas prices. Photo: San Francisco Chronicle
California is a pretty expensive destination compared to other states. It’s not outrageously expensive unless you want to buy a house, but it’s definitely not a cheap destination. As of 2019, the state sales tax in California is 7.25%, with many cities adding on a local tax that totals up to 10.25%. This, of course, affects everything from gas to groceries and entertainment options.
5. Safety Issues in California
Statistically, safety issues are pretty rare, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. If your vacation includes California beaches, make sure you are aware of what the flags mean. Some of the ocean rip currents can be deadly, so if the flags are up, check-in with the lifeguards. Additionally, the cost of living in California has created a serious homeless problem, so you will see a lot of homeless people living on the streets in California. If you are visiting some of the bigger California cities, ask your hotel if there are areas that you should avoid during your visit. Lastly, be aware of the wildlifes in California. Whether it’s the seals and sea lions on the beach, or deer and mountain lions in the woods, don’t approach any wild animals that you might encounter during your California trip.
6. Watching Where You Park
Parking in California is plentiful, but be careful—the city is notorious for its complicated parking rules! Be sure to check the street signs when you park. You definitely don’t want to add a parking ticket, or worse yet, a towing charge, to your vacation expenses! Paid parking lots are plentiful, though, and they can definitely be worth the money for their convenient locations and the peace of mind they give, knowing your car will still be there when you come back! Include some room in your budget for parking charges, or be extra careful when parking street-side.
7. Using Sunscreen
|Lathering on the sunscreen. Photo: CNN|
The weather is one thing to love about California, but what’ll really get you here is the wide range in temperature, especially in Northern California and the Bay Area. Ever been someplace where you could get up and have a snowball fight in the morning and make it to the beach by mid-afternoon to work on your tan? That’s California for you. In some areas, you might need to travel by car, but it’s still pretty impressive, as citied by The Culture Trip.
Of course, what would California be without its infamous weather? In most parts of California, it’s possible to wear shorts all year long. Very recently, California just officially ended a major drought. The weather is still great, but now the scenery and weather is just fabulous. Lather on the sunscreen and be prepared to enjoy temperatures of around 70℉ wherever you’re going.
Made an official state in North America in 1848, California has acquired a rich story to tell over the last couple of centuries. The Gold Rush brought thousands of settlers to the state in search of wealth; Hollywood became the filmmaking capital when producers and actors realized Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patents Company’s strict rules and regulations didn’t apply there or in any part of California; in 1945, the United Nations signing took place in San Francisco, which was perhaps the largest international gathering ever to take place. To get to the point, curious minds will never get bored learning about California, according to The Culture Trip.
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