Travel is a luxury and we all need a little down time. Californians have the distinct advantage of living in a state where there are national parks, sophisticated cities, deserts, Disneyland, and everything in between. For flying Southwest Airlines is my favorite, great fares, egalitarian seating, and for most fares you can make changes without a penalty.
They have several destinations in Southern and Northern California and a stop in Reno for the Lake Tahoe area. Lake Tahoe is a bargain during the spring and summers when non skiers can enjoy the beautiful lake, bike and hike the mountains. Take the North Lake Express into town or if you wish rent a car (try fatwallet.com for good rates).
Now for the trains. Amtrak has great routes and prices throughout the state. They have all kinds of specials so look for deals on their site. And remember, you can board a train with your shampoo and not have to go through security. Sit back, enjoy the scenery, pack a lunch, and arrive refreshed. There are bus connections from most stations. While train travel does take longer, remember at the airport you have to arrive 2 hours early, wait in line, and sit on the tarmac while your plane waits for clearance. Train travel takes the same amount of time and you can relax the whole way.
Now as a Los Angelena, it is hard to separate me from my car. And what could be better then knowing you can leave anytime, stop anywhere, and come home anytime. With music or a book on CD (get them from your library), even four hour stretches on the freeway become pleasurable. This is the type of vacation where you can follow your whims, make reservations from the road, and check out yard sales, festivals, and diners. Find the lowest gas prices with GasBuddy.com, pack snacks and water, make sure your phone is charged, and your car is ready for the road.
Travel divas, let me know your favorite California destinations, deals on hotels, spas, and attractions.