Monday, March 28, 2011

Napa/San Francisco Trip 2011

I love to travel!  It lets you see how other people live in other areas, try new and unique foods that you normally wouldn't get to try, and see amazing sights that you wouldn't see by just sitting at home.  Traveling is a big part of my life.  Jeremy and I take a week long vacation and then a couple small trips every year.  This year we're going to Napa and San Francisco in late May!   

How I start planning:
Planning the trip to Napa/San Francisco has been significantly easier than most of the trips I plan, because I have already been once before, back in college.  Jeremy has never been, so we decided that this was one more city that he needed to add to his list of visited ones and I loved it so much that I don't care about going back again.

I always start looking at hotel and airfare options at least 6 months before the date of the trip.  I think for this trip, I actually booked the Napa B&B and the hotel in SF about 7 months in advance because we had already decided where we wanted to go and I got a good deal at the B&B for a promotion they were doing.  

I always make sure to check out and read reviews on the hotels we find that we like.  It's such a helpful website, because travelers, like myself, rate their experiences and write reviews in the forums for each city.  

It's very rare that we don't fly Southwest Airlines, if we're traveling to a city that they travel to.  I've found that, on most flights, I can usually get a better deal through Southwest and I love their rewards program.  Everyone always asks me how I can take so many vacations every year.  It's easy, when I use Southwest and can earn enough points to earn free flights.

Napa/San Francisco 2011:
When planning this trip, I had to decide how to split up our time between Napa and San Francisco.  Jeremy has never been to either place, so I want to make sure that he gets to see the best things both areas have to offer.  We tend to go through museums and sight-seeing activities pretty quickly, so we always have a little extra time throughout each day to just hang out, or just in case something unexpected happens where we are running a little late to a different activity.  

I ultimately decided that we would schedule our trip this way:

Saturday- Fly into San Francisco and rent a car. Drive up through Sonoma County and stay there overnight.

Sunday-Wednesday- Drive to Napa, visit wineries, stay at a bed and breakfast, eat some amazing food, and leave Napa Wednesday morning to drive back to the city.

Wednesday- Saturday- Drive back to San Francisco, stay in a hotel in Union Square, do some sightseeing and leave to come home late Saturday morning.

Now, it doesn't always work out this way, but for this trip we were able to leave on a Saturday and come home on a Saturday, so we will have an extra day off of work when we get back to relax before having to start work again on Monday morning.

I'm still working on exact plans for the trip, like making restaurant reservations (where needed) and getting tickets to events and shows that we will be seeing.  Watch for more posts on interesting things I've found to do and an actual trip report when we get back, with photos!  


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