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Is California overrated as a vacation destination?

Is California overrated as a vacation destination?

Old Jun 28, 19, 1:36 am
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Is California overrated as a vacation destination?

I understand that the subject might look a little bit inflammatory but bear with me.

I am former California resident, I spent more than 14 years living in Bay Area and up to very recently considered it my home and mentally/culturally still identify myself as Californian. I left California more than seven years ago and have been living in South East Asia since that.

After moving to SEA I, my wife and our family friend just returned from my first California vacation, spending about eight days there - Tahoe, Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon NPs. Then, coast - Cambria/Big Sur/Monterey/Half Moon Bay and arrival to Bay Area before flying out.

If I look at expenses, it came out as $500 per day spent which included just rental car/gas, lodging and food while travelling (airline tickets were bought using miles). Note - it did not include lodging in Bay Area, we stayed with friends. And these expenses were on low side - I used discount codes for car rental, we stayed outside of national parks at motels and 1-2* properties and instead of dining at restaurants, we grabbed food at supermarket deli sections or made sandwiches on our own.

So for three people, it was $3000 for 6 days. And this was my second most expensive vacation (per day expenses) after New Zealand. For $3000 you can have 3br villa with pool in Bali for two weeks, breakfast and lunch included and money will be left for activities - you can rent a car with driver for 10h for $30, and food cost fractions of the US prices. The same applies to pretty much anywhere in SEA region.

Or take South Africa for example - 3br home on AirBnB next to entrance of Kruger NP or Cape Town suburbs costs like $90/day, compare it to one room at $250/night at Motel 8 next to SFO or $500 per room at a lodge inside Yosemite or Sequoia. Car rental costs 1/3 of US prices without outrageous one way rental fees. As for food - the best steak I had in my life was at outskirts of town Hazyview next to Kruger.

Now, I get it - you don't have Yosemite, General Sherman Tree anywhere in the world and if you have not seen them, you have to go to California to see/experience them. But the question for me to ask myself after this trip was - does California worth the hassle and money?

Answer to me is - no. There are plenty of places in this world where I have not been and where I can get much better performance/price ratio for my money compared to California.

So my question to the audience is: if you travelled to California for vacation and - this is important - it was not your first time, did you have a feeling that the travel did not generate the return you've expected?

Last edited by invisible; Jun 28, 19 at 4:08 am
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Old Jun 28, 19, 12:47 pm
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Yah. California is too expensive. There's not much to see here, too many other tourists and it costs too much. Stay away.

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Old Jun 28, 19, 1:06 pm
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Beat me to it.

It is too crowded and expensive. Go someplace else.
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Old Jun 28, 19, 1:53 pm
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There's a thread somewhere for overrated, underwhelming tourist destinations. It's pretty darned subjective.

That said, California is geographically more diverse, geographically larger, and population-wise larger than most countries on earth. It's sort of difficult to dismiss it so simply as "overrated."
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Old Jun 28, 19, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
There's a thread somewhere for overrated, underwhelming tourist destinations. It's pretty darned subjective.

That said, California is geographically more diverse, geographically larger, and population-wise larger than most countries on earth. It's sort of difficult to dismiss it so simply as "overrated."
Add to that, the fact that if you stay away from the "must see" California places, you've got hundreds of arguably better places to see, that are typically much less crowded, less expensive, and often far more enjoyable. While there may only be one Yosemite Valley, and everyone should see it, there are many many many big trees in many places, and going on a Saturday afternoon to Muir Woods isn't perhaps the best idea if you want to see a big tree. Going to Napa Valley on a weekend (or ever) isn't perhaps the best idea if you want a relaxing wine day that doesn't break your bank.

I've lived my entire life within 20 miles or less of the California coastline. I've witnessed people who visit and see the Pacific Ocean for the first time. It is the first ocean they've ever seen. Priceless.
I've witnessed people who have never been here previously, having spent an entire lifetime in mountainous regions such as Florida, gazing at our coastal hills, calling them mountains. Priceless.
These aren't people who are going to South Africa, or Bali, to save money on their ground experience.

You want overrated? The hick desert town in the far southern part of the state just east of here.
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Old Jun 28, 19, 3:43 pm
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If you have kids, and live near CA, I think itís harder to skip. $500 without lodging isnít cheap. We normally spend $200-400 a day, including lodging. Using hotel points sometimes helps economize a bit. Of course if you do a lot of amusement park stuff, that can blow your budget out of the water.

Iíd much rather spend the same money in Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia or Thailand. Iím doing Bali next month, and expect to spend $100-150 per day for hotel, food and local transportation. Most shopping is cheap, and lots of things to do. Plus thereís the local volcano that might be active. Woooo!
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Old Jun 28, 19, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
... The hick desert town in the far southern part of the state just east of here.
New FT contest. Where is Eastbay1K talking about?

At first I thought it was my town but we are in no way "the far southern pat of the state."

First prize will be - well, nothing. Bragging rights, maybe.
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Old Jun 28, 19, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
New FT contest. Where is Eastbay1K talking about?

At first I thought it was my town but we are in no way "the far southern pat of the state."

First prize will be - well, nothing. Bragging rights, maybe.
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/las-vegas-463/
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Old Jun 28, 19, 4:06 pm
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Palm Springs? Brawley? El Centro?
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Old Jun 29, 19, 8:40 am
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
You want overrated? The hick desert town in the far southern part of the state just east of here.
Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
New FT contest. Where is Eastbay1K talking about?

At first I thought it was my town but we are in no way "the far southern pat of the state."

First prize will be - well, nothing. Bragging rights, maybe.
There is some ambiguity in parsing Eastbay1K’s statement. It could mean the far southern part of the (same) state (in which the poster is domiciled but) just east of (the poster’s location) OR it could mean the far southern part of an adjacent (to the east, so not Oregon) state.

If the former, then...

Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post
Palm Springs? Brawley? El Centro?
Only two states qualify under the latter description: Nevada and Arizona.

Hick desert towns in far southern Nevada would be Laughlin and Searchlight. Maybe Boulder City. I don’t think CalNevAri qualifies even as a ‘hick’ town.

Far southern Arizona has plenty to choose from. My guesses are Yuma and Tombstone.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by kale73 View Post




There is some ambiguity in parsing Eastbay1Kís statement. It could mean the far southern part of the (same) state (in which the poster is domiciled but) just east of (the posterís location) OR it could mean the far southern part of an adjacent (to the east, so not Oregon) state.

If the former, then...



Only two states qualify under the latter description: Nevada and Arizona.

Hick desert towns in far southern Nevada would be Laughlin and Searchlight. Maybe Boulder City. I donít think CalNevAri qualifies even as a Ďhickí town.

Far southern Arizona has plenty to choose from. My guesses are Yuma and Tombstone.
Most of the spekyoulashen towns y'all mention aren't even rated, let alone overrated.

It is Las Vegas. I see the ambiguity, and I don't think I could have punctuated my way out of it. Now back to your regularly-scheduled "Is California overrated? [as a vacation destination] topic.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 9:12 am
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
It is Las Vegas.
Town? With a metro population > 2,000,000, objectively not a “town”.
”Hick” is, I suppose, subjective. But not an adjective many convention organizers would associate with today’s Las Vegas.
Desert? Check.
Overrated? Definitely. (But what happens there stays there. )

All I’m going to say about CA is that Needles needs another ‘s’.
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Old Jun 29, 19, 6:26 pm
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Vacationing anywhere in the US is going to be more expensive that a lot of other countries around the world and California is right near the top for most expensive. Of course, California is a very large and very diverse state so some areas may be overrated and others underrated and everything in between. Still, there's nothing quite like standing in awe of the granite cliffs of Yosemite Valley or straining your neck starring up at a redwood.
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Old Jun 30, 19, 8:53 am
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As someone who lives in and has traveled within California, $500/day seems pretty high given what you've mentioned already. However, that's assuming you only booked one room per night and drove a regular sedan; it might be more reasonable if you're getting multiple rooms (e.g. one for the family friend) and/or drove a higher class of rental car.

Anyway, if California was overrated (as a tourist destination or otherwise), I imagine there'd be a lot fewer people living here at the very least.
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Old Jul 2, 19, 3:59 pm
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Not at all if you get out of the concrete jungle and explore the natural opportunities in CA.
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