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1. The Best of California for the Frugal Traveler (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole, Stephanie Avnet Yates).
2. Planning an Affordable Trip to California (Stephanie Avnet Yates).
3. For Foreign Visitors (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
4. San Francisco (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
5. Side Trips from San Francisco (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
6. The Wine Country (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
7. The Northern Coast (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
8. The Far North: Lake Tahoe, the Shasta Cascades & Lassen Volcanic National Park (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
9. The High Sierra: Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes & Sequoia/Kings Canyon (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
10. Sacramento, the Gold Country & the Central Valley (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
11. The Monterey Peninsula & the Big Sur Coast (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
12. The Central Coast (Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole).
13. Los Angeles (Stephanie Avnet Yates).
14. Side Trips from Los Angeles (Stephanie Avnet Yates).
15. The Southern California Desert (Stephanie Avnet Yates).
16. San Diego & Environs (Stephanie Avnet Yates).
Appendix: Useful Toll-Free Numbers & Web Sites.
[Maps are not included in this sample chapter]
by Erika Lenkert, Matthew R. Poole, and Stephanie Avnet Yates
We know what you're thinking: How could anyone possibly enjoy a vacation in Californiafor as little as $60 a day? After all, the average room rate alone is $123 a night--notincluding taxes, tipping, and taxi fare.
But if there's one thing we underpaid travel writers know better than anyone,it's how to live large and spend little. So we've pooled our collective wisdom intowhat we firmly believe is the best budget guide to California. We live here, we knowthis state, and we know how to have a lot of fun without spending mounds ofcash--in fact, we do it every day. Some of our advice is obvious skip the Ritz,even more comes from experience go for the bargain fixed-priced menus at the hotrestaurants--and all of it is geared to making sure that you will have a fantasticCalifornia dreamin' vacation regardless of your tax bracket.
Yes, California has plenty of options for the traveler who wants to stay at ultra-luxurious$300-per-night hotel rooms and dine at blow-your-bank-accou nt restaurants, but that'snot how the majority of locals including us experience the state--the big cities,the small towns, the natural wonders, and the spaces in between. Traveling on a budgetin California means doing what most of its denizens do every day: eating at someof the many affordable restaurants, exploring funky neighborhoods or off-the-beaten-tracktowns, and taking advantage of the wide variety of free or inexpensive attractions,from spectacular national and state parks to the miles and miles of fabulous coastline.Granted, you won't be sleeping on satin sheets or dining on caviar, but you're definitelymore likely to experience the real California than those taking limos from theirpenthouse suite to five-star restaurants and back.
But the best advice we can give you about California is to just go. Enjoythe cool blast of salt air as you stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge. Experiencethe grandeur of Yosemite National Park. Check out the kaleidoscope of humanity atVenice Beach. Hit the slopes, pierce your nose, see a play, spot a celebrity--thelist is endless and always affordable. It's all happening in California, and everyone,whether rich or in the red, is invited. All you have to do is arrive with an openmind and a sense of adventure--the rest is waiting for you.