By J. Michael Key
You’ve probably endured a vacation where your hotel stay was less than comfortable and the travel time to arrive at desirable destinations was less than ideal. Those vacations never feel much like vacation, which is why you need to select your next Southern California hotels with great care.
The right hotels will make you feel luxurious, pampered and special while the wrong hotels will take the rest and relaxation out of your vacation.
If you are operating on a tight budget, consider the many Southern California hotels located in lesser known regions. While there are benefits to staying in the biggest hotels in the heart of the most exciting cities, it isn’t always the best option if you are budget-conscious.
Look for cheaper yet still comfortable hotels in less-prime locations, cities that are within reasonable driving distance to the various destinations on your schedule. There are dozens of such towns, including:
* Santa Ana
You should also consider booking Southern California hotels away from the peak travel season. This will mean you have fewer tourists to fight with at main attractions, but you can also get some great prices. After Labor Day things quiet down considerably, until Memorial Day. Exceptions are the holidays and spring break. A shorter trip during the off season might be more satisfying than a longer period of time during the congestion of summer.
Give some consideration to the different free amenities being offered by select hotels when comparing prices. If you can get a free meal each day or shuttling to the beach and back you could have a more convenient trip that is more relaxing than stressing.
You will also have to determine whether you want to walk out your door and step right into the sand or if you prefer to be immersed in big city life. You can book hotels that are right on the beach or in bustling cities like Hollywood, Los Angeles, and San Diego. You will pay more to stay right on the beach and right in the big city than in remote locations, but the luxury provided may be worth the extra expense. Staying right on the beach offers its own luxuries, but some hotels will also offer entertainment and other features that pamper you to the max.
If you don’t mind a bit of travel before your feet hit the sand, stay a block or two away from the beach or just outside the big city to save expenses. Big city hotels often provide access to parking garages which will make it more convenient to get around the city as needed. The public transit systems in Southern California have improved greatly in recent years and it is possible to get around rather nicely without a car in many cases.
Planning to visit more than one area of California on an extended trip? You can save yourself time and cash by picking a hotel located between primary locations. If you want to visit Orange County but know San Diego will be a key destination as well, you could stay in any of the following central locations:
* San Clemente
Consider one quick final tip: Sea World and Magic Mountain are not just around the corner from one another! Things may look much closer on the map than they actually are from one another on actual ground. Do your research to find hotels in central locations if you want to visit main attractions that aren’t so close together.
Michael Key has written about a diverse range of topics for three decades, with a recent emphasis on travel issues. For more information on finding hotels in southern California visit the SoCal Vacation Guru at http://www.socal-vacation-guru.com.