Planning your next get-away should be exciting, rather than stressful. But it’s easy to get caught up in the details when organizing a trip and become overwhelmed, especially if most of the planning falls on one person in the group.
Our advice? Keep it simple. Our vacation rental homes come fully equipped with amenities you need for the comfort of having a home away from home. So, don’t stress too much about what to bring or what you forgot. And with homes in convenient neighborhood locations across Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria, you’ll be spoiled for choices when it comes to restaurants, entertainment, beaches and sightseeing.
So, sit back and enjoy the journey to Santa Barbara with our tips to help you enjoy your trip to the destination with less stress and more inspiration on the road.
1. Choose an alternate route getting to Santa Barbara County
Find inspiration in the roads less traveled. If your family is visiting the same place they look forward to each year, you might want to take a new route to get there if you’re driving. Yes, it could take a bit longer, as you won’t be choosing the fastest route from point A to point B, but you might find some amazing new sight, pit stop or a cute lunch spot.
The coastal roads leading to Santa Barbara County offer a brilliant scenic ride and the California Central Coast is dotted with lovely little towns leading up to here. Do an online search for alternative routes and tell your family about some of the fun, interesting or quaint spots you locate – away from the interstate – that might make the journey almost as fun as the destination.
2. Document your journey to Santa Barbara
If your partner or kids are always on their phone, and it drives you nuts, here’s one way to turn your pet-peeve into a family activity that’s inclusive for all: Invite everyone to participate in recording your journey to Santa Barbara using a journal, photos or video. Share them on a family website or social media; or send them to a family relative to give them a smile.
3. Pack wisely
Always be ready for the unexpected, but that doesn’t mean you have to stress out before an emergency actually happens. Pack a well-stocked first aid kit, extra batteries and chargers, plenty of bottled water and non-perishable snacks. Pack lots of sunscreen, bug spray, extra towels and clothes for any type of weather you may encounter.
You’ve got a first-aid kit in the car, but keep a smaller one in your suitcase. Keep medications packed in an easy-to-access spot where you won’t lose them and where you won’t forget where you packed them. You don’t want to stress because you can’t remember where you packed something important.
4. Vehicle prep means less stress
There’s nothing that can be more stressful than car troubles when heading out of town. Do you best to prep so you don’t stress. Before leaving, make sure the brakes are in great shape, fluids are full and you’re up-to-date on routine maintenance. Especially if you plan to go off the beaten path and explore unpaved gravel or dirt roads, you need the right tires for the job. If you don’t have all-terrain tires, invest in tires that can handle everything from normal highway driving to rugged off-road conditions. If you’re traveling by Jeep, SUV or pick-up truck, Yokohoma’s new Geolandar X-AT is an extreme all-terrain tire that can tackle serious off-road terrain while providing on-road comfort and protection against impacts and punctures. Because choosing new routes can mean going off the highway, you’ll want your vehicle to be able to handle it, no matter what kinds of roads you travel.
You’ll also want to check your spare tire’s condition and air pressure, assemble a road safety kit with a jack, triangle reflectors, flares, flashlights, extra motor oil, jumper cables and a tool kit. Bring paper road maps in case you have no digital connection while traveling. Sign up for a roadside assistance service if you don’t already have one.
5. Choose a new adventure once you arrive
If you’re returning to a favorite vacation spot you’ve been to before – like Santa Barbara – you might be used to doing the usual activities and visiting your favorite restaurants again. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But why not take a bit of time to explore and stumble upon a new adventure? With the Santa Ynez Mountains behind us, there are plenty of vista points to drive up to and see the city from a new perspective. You might pack a light lunch and discover a hiking trail you’ve never explored before.
Check out the local newspaper, like the Santa Barbara Independent, for ideas on unfamiliar locations. Or ask friends and family for travel ideas before you go, letting them know you’re looking for something different from the ordinary on this trip.
Finally, remember, it’s not a solo journey. Take some of the pressure off yourself when planning the route or choosing activities. Get the kids’ input on some of your off-the-beaten-path routes and venues, both before and during the trip. Be spontaneous and stay open to exploring all kinds of new places and activities that may not have shown up on the websites or guidebooks you searched. Your kids or spouse might have come across an idea, destination, new restaurant or activity on social media that might surprise you. This trip could be an amazing opportunity to bond with the family, as well as expand everyone’s horizons.
Source, photos (BPT).