A few of us headed down to California earlier to explore beyond Berkeley before the start of classes. California is so big that you will never run out of places to visit, so do plan to come earlier if you’d like. We decided to head up north of California, to Point Reyes, Fort Bragg and Mendocino.
We first rented our car from Turo, a carsharing app where car owners rent out their own cars, rather than through a rental company! However, after a few road trips here and there, we recommend using Zipcar. Though you have to pay a small subscription fee for the discounted student rates, it is still overall cheaper compared to other rental companies, especially since Zipcar provides free gas. Collecting and renting the car is rather convenient as well since there are many Zipcars located around the Berkeley campus.
Here are some pictures of the drive and destinations!
Some tips for road trips:
- Plan ahead, but keep your plans fluid! Traffic can get bad sometimes, or you spend way longer than expected at certain destinations, which might cause you to visit less than expected. Driving on the road trips is also dependent on any weather conditions or road closures, which could set you off on detours!
- Download offline maps on Google Maps as service tends not to work well. Some rental cars may not have a map feature that can be displayed on the screen and you would have to rely on your phone!
- For this road trip, we stayed at a motel with free breakfast, rather than an Airbnb! Do explore your options to find accommodation with the most value.
- Driving in a new environment can be scary, but read the Californian traffic rules and stay alert and you will do just fine! For certain roads, slower cars are expected to turn out and let the traffic behind past if you see many cars tailing you.
- Food places tend to close early, other than fast food joints! So don’t get too caught up with the views and remember to plan for food! One idea is to order more for lunch, and ask for box takeaway, so that you can reheat it for dinner.
This road trip was a perfect start before classes at Berkeley started. Even if you do not wish to come earlier, you can always make use of the weekends or any long holidays (4th of July weekend) to plan for these road or day trips!
Other places that we visited for road or day trips include: Lake Tahoe, Monterey, Carmel, Stanford, Sausalito, Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon.
We hope that you will enjoy California as much as we did!