When a vacation isn’t that great…

I live in the SF Bay Area, and while there are tons of great things about our city, one thing I could live without is the FOG. (No offense, @KarlTheFog, I know how much you love BBQ’s and sunsets, but really, enough is enough.)

Last July, I decided that I just couldn’t take another year of not being able to see the fireworks and freezing as I tried, so I planned a quick family trip down to San Diego for 4th of July weekend to see their fireworks. We stayed at the San Diego Manchester Grand Hyatt in a room facing the bay, where we were positioned to be able to see not one but three fireworks displays. We felt very smug as we checked in. (Ha! Take that, Karl!)

We had planned to connect with some good friends of ours who live in San Diego. They were going to stay at the same hotel, which was awesome because they’ve got kids the same age and we like them a lot.

Our spirits were high as our flight landed, but from there on out, things kind of went sideways. Honestly, I think we’re getting a little too overconfident about traveling, because we made all kinds of mistakes, big and small. Some highlights:

1. We rented a car when we didn’t need to.

While we got a great deal by using the VroomVroomVroom/Autoslash trick, it turns out that our hotel was really close to the airport (which we knew), and we didn’t drive anywhere over the weekend (which we couldn’t have predicted). So we ended up tossing money out the window – both for the rental and for parking.

2. We didn’t plan for anything but sunshine and blue skies…literally and figuratively.

The weather wasn’t fabulous. It was okay, but just cool enough to make swimming at the pool or in the ocean a little chilly. Since all the kids had been looking forward to being in the water, this was kind of a bummer.

Speaking of bummers, the pool at the hotel was REALLY crowded and also kind of small.

Also, since the kids hadn’t seen each other in two years, they needed some time to get back into the groove of hanging out, so there were a few bumps in the road.

3. We should have ventured out more.

I don’t really know why we didn’t just head out into the wilds of San Diego. We walked around the Gaslamp Quarter for awhile and had lunch at Neighborhood (delicious and perfect), and we walked along the water, but then we somehow ended up back at the hotel. Why? Why? No idea.

All in all, the trip was kind of meh. Could have been a lot better, could have been a lot worse.

The best thing about it was that it was a reminder than a little advance planning can go a long way.

Have you been on any not-so-great vacations lately? What would you do differently next time?


  1. I went on one in my twenties to London/Paris – literally NOTHING went right (including a terrible bout of food poisoning). In the end, my friend and I threw some change in the Seine, said a prayer to the travel gods and went to Amsterdam. I think I learned a lot about the fine art of planning and also how to try and not put too much expectation on any one trip.

    Glass half full? Bad travel experiences make the next ones look so much better. 🙂

    • Points Pixie says

      Ann Benjamin – YES! So true! And I love thinking about you and your friend tossing change in the Seine and yelling at the sky (at least, that’s what it looks like in my mind). 😉

  2. pinkisnice says

    But did you see the fireworks?! (I’ve been on planes diverted from SD because of fog more than once.)

  3. Just makes me chuckle because both times I’ve visited SD it’s been cold. They had to get the standalone heaters out at the Hotel Del for the wedding reception, and the San Diego Crew Classic was fah-reez-ing. Glad to know it wasn’t just my bad luck, SD is not LA.

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