With the winter soon over (isn’t that nice?), we’ve decided to schedule a spring vacation. We enjoy Southern California, have been there many times, and have decided to go again.
There’s a lot to be said about California. The weather that time of year is dependable. We have friends and relatives there. There’s lots to do. As long as the ground doesn’t shake too much, we’ll be happy.
Planning a vacation is different now than it once was. There are so many ways to make reservations and plans. We wanted to get the best and pay the least. That makes sense.
But how do you know? You don’t, is the simple answer! In fact, in many ways the best deals are structured in such a way as you know nothing – or close to nothing. You are buying blind.
Our plane reservations were a breeze. Southwest Airlines is very different from the other carriers as far as using free tickets is concerned. I can’t imagine being able to get three tickets ‘only’ six weeks before a flight on USAir or United or Delta.
We’re flying to Burbank¹ instead of LAX. Burbank should make for an easier arrival and departure. LAX can be totally crazy and I’d like to avoid that.
Hotel reservations were another story.
Helaine had perused hotwire.com and found pretty good prices in the area we wanted to stay. Of course they don’t tell you what hotel it is they’re advertising, so there has to be a great deal of trust in deciding if your idea of a 4.5 star hotel is the same as theirs.
After looking and searching and looking again, we decided on a hotel we thought was either the Century Plaza or Park Hyatt in Century City. Good guess. It was the Century Plaza. Even if you’ve never been to L.A., you’ve seen this hotel on TV. It has a very distinctive sweeping look.
We got it for half the price the hotel advertises – though a friend immediately told me he could have gotten it for less. Nothing is simple. Nothing is foolproof.
Next step is to start lining up the places we’ll visit. That’s where my friends come in. This is their department in their city. Last time in, my friend Paul got Steffie into the first row on American Idol. They are not without influence.
¹ – Burbank Airport was the actual location for the final scene of the movie Casablanca. Pretty much everywhere you drive in Southern California, you’re going to come across something you recognize from the movies or TV.