Our trip to San Diego was a great trip. Not only did we have lots of fun together, but it was very much a learning experience for Ryan and I. This was the first 'real' vacation we've ever been on as a family. We take trips to the cabin all the time, and Ryan and I have gone places together, but this was the first time we loaded up the Tahoe and took the kids somewhere. Here's a few things I learned. 1. Never book a hotel through Hotels.com , what a nightmare. When I booked us a hotel way back in April, I called hotels.com to see if I could get a better rate over the phone than online. I had picked out the 'Days' hotel in hotel circle (right in the middle of San Diego) and when I called, I got a pretty smokin deal- $70 a night. It's not the greatest hotel, but it looked nice online, and we've stayed in economy hotels before and it was fine. Well come to find out after I had payed the money in advance, that they actually booked me in the 'Days Inn' hotel in south San Diego. At the time I was pissed, but on the map it didn't look too far away, and I thought it couldn't be that big of a difference.
When we got to San Diego last Wednesday I was appalled at this hotel. Not only was it in the 'hood' of south San Diego, but it was right off the freeway and it was disgusting. The walls and the roof had water stains, the tile in bathroom had separated from the walls and it was just dirty. I apologized profusely to Ryan for booking us in such a dump. We just did not feel safe there and wanted out. So we hooked Ryan's laptop up to the Wi-Fi and started looking for other hotels. It just happened to be this HUGE comic convention in San Diego that weekend, so all the Embassy Suites and such were sold out. We got on priceline.com and decided to try their "name your price" deal. We asked for a 4 star hotel, and picked a few areas of town we were more comfortable with and gave them an offer of $175 a night. You might think that's expensive, but for San Diego, the economy hotels go for more than that a night. Anyways, much to our surprise, they accepted our offer and we ended up staying at the Paradise Point Golf Resort on Mission Bay. What a difference. It was a really nice resort, and it was right across the street from Sea World! So lesson learned, use priceline.com, not hotels.com.
Lesson 2. While the resort was an awesome place to stay, there was no continental breakfast. For just Ryan and I, it would've been fine, but when you have hungry mouths at 7am, the last thing you want to do is drive around to find somewhere to eat besides McDonald's. So next time, we will be staying somewhere that serves breakfast for free. Paying $30 for breakfast everyday adds up fast.
Lesson 3. You always spend more than you think you will. Since we had to add on breakfast everyday, plus a $25 parking fee every night, the bill added up much faster than we anticipated. (Not to mention having to pay for a crappy hotel and then a nice one too) Then just little things here and there, food at Sea World, one night Ryan and I ordered a movie to our room ($15) and of course the souvenirs at Sea World.
Lesson 4. You should 'google' places to eat, near your hotel, before you leave. We wasted a lot of time trying to find restaurants and such. I'd also look up where the closest Wal-Mart and Target are, just in case you forget something.
So lessons learned. I'll just have to remember all these things when we go on vacation again, which Ryan informed me won't be for at least 5 more years! We actually did have a great time. Ryan was against the whole thing from the beginning, saying we don't need to take 3 yr olds on vacation. I grew up in a family where we did some kind of family vacation every year and I loved it. Some of my favorite memories are from our family vacations, so I have a different perspective than he does. He went on one family vacation as a teenager and that's it. So we are learning to compromise. Ryan did admit that it was better than he thought it'd be and the kids weren't as bad as he thought. The only hard thing for him was at night. We had to come home and put the kids to bed, pretend we were asleep for 15 minutes, just so we could turn the TV back on! It is definitely not a vacation for the parents!
Anyways- here's some pictures from our trip!
Yes, we paid the $6 a person to feed the dolphins at Sea World. And yes, it was worth every penny. I think Ryan and I loved it just as much if not more than the kids.
Here's just one picture I took from the many shows we went to. I don't know what it is about seeing dolphins and whales jump out of the water that just makes me happy. If I were an animal, it would definitely be a dolphin.
Here's Kate and Clark with their 3D glasses for the Elmo 3D movie. It was really cute to see them reach their hands out in the movie to try to touch stuff!
I have such well trained kids- this was a photo -op place where they had Sea World photographers taking pictures of the kids with Elmo and Grover, and my kids looked at me for the picture and not the photographer!
Friday we spent the day at Ocean Beach. It was not the best beach day for me, but Ryan loved it. It was cloudy and cold the whole day. We got to the beach about 10am and stayed until almost 4. I was hoping the sun would break through the clouds by about 1pm, but nope- it was 5pm before you could see the sun. So much for getting a nice tan on the beach. I had my hoodie on all day. It was probably better that Ryan had a good day at the beach- maybe he'll be more likely to go back!
Even though the it was about 65 degrees outside and the water was about 61 degrees, the kids still got in and played. They didn't like the taste of the water so much, but stayed in the water for about 15 minutes at a time. Ryan was the good parent who got in the water with them- I just stood knee deep and took pictures!