Expedia Road Trip: Touring California with Travel Blogger Spencer Spellman

Expedia Road Trip:  Touring California with Travel Blogger Spencer Spellman

 

Being a Beach Bum in Santa Barbara

April 16, 2012 5:00 pm PST

California often brings to mind images of relaxing warm afternoons walking the boardwalk in a swimsuit, eating ice cream, and watching surfers while lying on the beach. However, these images often come to mind of Southern California. There's much more to California's coastline than just San Diego, Laguna Beach, and Malibu. As Bob and Jadeof Vagabond3show you below, you can be just as much a beach bum in Santa Barbara as you can in some of the more well known beaches of Southern California.

 

 

 

Located just a couple hours north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara sits on the part of the California coastline that is considered the Central Coast. The county makes up a rugged coastline that offers beautiful views looking out across the Pacific Ocean. The beaches of Santa Barbara are considered some of the best along the Central Coast, especially since the climate is cooler the further north you go from Santa Barbara.

 

Whether an avid surfer or not, you may have heard of Rincon Point, which is just a short drive down the coast from Santa Barbara and is known worldwide for its surfing. On the weekday afternoon we stopped, there were tons of surfers catching waves. While Rincon is primarily known for its surfing, head further north toward Santa Barbara to find more of the staple California beaches where you can really be a beach bum.

 

Follow along with Spencer's tour of California on Twitter using #CaliExpedia and on his blog, The Traveling Philosopher. He's joined by Jade and Bobby of Vagabond3 as he tours as well. Want to travel to California yourself? Get your own great deals on California travel as part of our California Spring Sale here.

 

Being Glam in Palm Springs

April 3, 2012, 4:00 PM

 

 

 

I recently shared about how Los Angeles brings to mind thoughts of all things glamourous. Ritzy homes, the red carpet, sequins, sports cars, and many more things give L.A. this sense of glamour. You won't find this just driving through Los Angeles on the highway, but spend a few hours in Beverly Hills, and you'll find it. However, I recently discovered that Los Angeles isn't the only city in California that's glamourous. You'll also find this in Palm Springs.

 

As Bob and Jade of Vagabond3 show you, Palm Springs is more than just deserts and palm trees. There's also snow – no seriously, there really is. While tourists were lounging below in their bikinis and flip flops by the pool at the bottom of Palm Springs, Bob and Jade were shivering at the top of San Jacinto Peak as snow was falling. However, San Jacinto is more than just a summit, but a destination in which visitors could spend an entire day or weekend.

 

However, what really surprised me were the hotels. I had pretty low expectations, but was nothing short of floored by many of the hotels we visited, which were attractions in and of themselves. Some of the hotels were themed, such as the Saguaro, while others, like the Parker, were nothing short of plush. Evidently we were a day late arriving to a wedding at the Parker that Jessica Simpson had attended. In many ways, Palm Springs is a mini version of Los Angeles.

 

Follow along with Spencer's tour of California on Twitter using #CaliExpedia and on his blog, The Traveling Philosopher. He's joined by Jade and Bobby of Vagabond3 as he tours as well. Want to travel to California yourself? Get your own great deals on California travel as part of our California Spring Sale here.

 

What to Do in Palm Springs

April 3, 2012, 4:00 PM 

 

How do I put Palm Springs into words? I honestly had low expectations of Palm Springs and the surrounding area. When I think of California, I think beaches, wine country, and iconic landmarks like the Hollywood sign and the Golden Gate Bridge. In Palm Springs, there are no beaches, vineyards, or iconic landmarks, unless you consider the desert a landmark.

 

 

 

However, as Bob and Jadeof Vagabond3 show you below, Palm Springs is full of surprises. Palm Springs and the surrounding area more than exceeded my expectations. I can now see why so many well-known figures, such as Elvis Presley, loved it there. Elvis and his wife Priscilla often retreated to Palm Springs and  even owned a home just off of downtown.

 

While many people go to Palm Springs to just do nothing and lounge around the pool, make sure to get out beyond the city limits that offer so much. There's nearby Joshua Tree National Park, which is worth a day trip alone. Other unique attractions nearby include the aerial tramway, which rises thousands of feet into the air to the top of San Jacinto Peak. However, pack appropriately, because while you may be wearing shorts down at the bottom in Palm Springs, you may need a parka at the top of San Jacinto Peak, where on the right day, you can even go snow sledding.

 

Follow along with Spencer's tour of California on Twitter using #CaliExpedia and on his blog, The Traveling Philosopher. He's joined by Jade and Bobby of Vagabond3 as he tours as well. Want to travel to California yourself? Get your own great deals on California travel as part of our California Spring Sale here.

 

How to Be Glamourous in Los Angeles 

March 30, 2012 1:00 PM PST 

Quick, what's the first word that comes to mind when you think of Los Angeles? Modest? Simple? Maybe even frugal? No, not even close. Just like you aren't likely to hear people describe traffic and parking in L.A. as untroublesome, you aren't going to hear people describe the character of the city as modest. L.A. has long had a glitz and glamour to it thanks to the entertainment industry. The six-inch heels, fancy homes and cars, and red carpet gives L.A. this sense of glamour.

 

 

 

But who says that glamour has to be so fancy? Sure, no one is going to turn down five-star treatment, but what's glamour for one person will be different for the next. There are tons of ways to be glamour in L.A. and not all of them involve six-inch heels. This week in we hit the streets to show you all the different ways to be glamourous in L.A.

Follow along with Spencer's tour of California on Twitter using #CaliExpedia and on his blog, The Traveling Philosopher. He's joined by Jade and Bobby of Vagabond3 as he tours as well. Want to travel to California yourself? Get your own great deals on California travel as part of our California Spring Sale here.

 

Catalina Island

March 26, 2012 9:00 AM

An island vacation? In California? Yes, it is possible. When you think of California you likely think of rugged cliffs hugging the coastline and sunny beaches, but you probably don't consider islands like you think of with the Caribbean or the South Pacific. However, just off the coast of Los Angeles, an island vacation awaits travelers on Catalina Island.

 

 

 

A hop, skip, and ferry ride from Los Angeles is Catalina Island. The ferry ride is just over 20 miles from Long Beach and takes about the same amount of time as you're likely to spend in the car on an afternoon getting across L.A. You'll find many of the same activities on Catalina Island that you would typically expect from a tropical island, yet right in California's backyard. Some of these activities include kayaking, ziplining, snorkeling, and hiking.

 

Follow along with Spencer's tour of California on Twitter using #CaliExpedia and on his blog, The Traveling Philosopher.  He's joined by Jade and Bobby of Vagabond3 as he tours as well.  Want to travel to California yourself? Get your own great deals on California travel as part of our California Spring Sale here.

 

Exploring the Street Food Scene of San Francisco

March 21, 2012 9:30 AM PST 

 

 

 

When you hear the term “street food”, what do you think of? Meat on a stick? Or maybe a corn dog? However, there's so much more to the term street food in the U.S. A movement of gourmet food trucks and pushcarts is growing in cities across America, including San Francisco.

Expedia Road Trip:  San Francisco Food Truck Scene  

Expedia Road Trip:  Touring California with Travel Blogger Spencer Spellman

Itching for a dish of pad thai? Or banh mi? Maybe you just have an urge for a red velvet cupcake? Whatever you're in the mood for, you're likely to find it from a gourmet food truck or pushcart in San Francisco. The San Francisco Bay Area has well over 100 street food vendors serving up many of your favorite food items. It puts a new twist on your favorite food experiences, while making it convenient for the traveler who is on the go.

Expedia Road Trip:  San Francisco Food Truck Scene  

The term you should familiarize yourself with in San Francisco is “Off the Grid”. Off the Grid takes place in different spots around the Bay Area for lunch and dinner every day, such as UN Plaza, Civic Center, St. Mary's Square, and the Upper Haight. There are typically anywhere from 5-15 food trucks and carts at these daily events. However, the main event kicks off annually at the beginning of spring at Fort Mason. Every Friday evening, over 30 vendors come together for several hours of food and live music. This year is even bringing a beer garden.

Expedia Road Trip:  Touring California with Travel Blogger Spencer Spellman

Follow along with Spencer's tour of California on Twitter using #CaliExpedia and on his blog, The Traveling Philosopher. Want to travel to California yourself? Get your own great deals on California travel as part of our California Spring Sale here.

 

California Wine Country Tour

March 16, 2012, 10:30 AM PST

When I set out a week ago today for Northern California wine country, I wasn't sure what I would find. While I had spent limited time in Napa and Sonoma County, this was the first concentrated time I had spent in Northern California wine country. And what is it that I discovered? That there is a LOT still to discover.

 

 

 

There are hundreds upon hundreds of wineries and vineyards spread throughout Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino County. Napa alone has several hundred vineyards. However, despite the staggering number of vineyards, there's such diversity from vineyard to vineyard and region to region. I found out that because of the changing elevations and proximity to the coastline, temperatures can vary as much as 30 degrees within a short distance in Mendocino County.

 

But it's the wineries themselves that have so much character. When you walk into the tasting room at Cliff Lede Vineyards in Napa Valley, you're bound to be taken aback as you hear rock music playing throughout the room. Rock and roll rings throughout the winery and vineyards, as even the vineyards' wine blocks are named after classic rock songs like Hotel California. Things get even more interesting a couple counties over in Mendocino County at Cliff Lede's Breggo Cellars. Did you know that the name “breggo” means sheep in the Boontling language? Boontling being a folk language of Boonville California and an officially recognized dialect.

 

Follow along with Spencer's tour of California on Twitter using #CaliExpedia and on his blog, The Traveling Philosopher.  Want to travel to California yourself?  Get your own great deals on California travel as part of our California Spring Sale here.

 

Welcome to CaliExpedia, the California Travel Tour

March 8, 2012, 12:00 PM PST

Expedia Road Trip:  Touring California with Travel Blogger Spencer Spellman

California – The Golden State. The state that is so vast and diverse, California has all appearances of being its own country. There's even a certain romanticism to it – both from that of locals and travelers to California. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “The attraction and superiority of California are in its days. It has better days and more of them, than any other country.” With such changing landscapes and a wide variety of different cultures represented, California in that way, is like a country.

 

With a task of exploring the “The Golden State” to its fullest, Expedia is setting out today on a multi-week journey to discover California. While the trip will take us to the steep hills of San Francisco and streets of L.A., what we'll really be out to uncover are those locales outside of the large California metros. Stops along the way will include Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Palm Springs, Catalina Island, Santa Barbara, and everywhere in between. Won't you join us? Follow Spencer Spellman, a.k.a. The Traveling Philosopher, as he starts in Northern California, in Mendocino, and makes his way down. Follow along on Twitter using the #CaliExpedia hashtag and send him your recommendations.

 

Get your own great deals on California travel as part of our California Spring Sale here.