California is a vast state and it’s all but impossible to see the whole thing in one go, because there’s so much to see and do, with so many different cultures and surroundings. Check out these travel tips for traveling in California, and some advice to keep in mind on your visit.

Aerial walkway in Downtown Long Beach

Downtown Long Beach

You’ll have connectivity everywhere

Where to find internet connectivity is almost always something to know before you go, and should be included on many lists of travel tips, but in California, it’s not a problem at all. Almost everywhere in the state offers free WiFi, so whether you’re going to an upscale restaurant, dining at a café, or anywhere else, you can anticipate being able to get connected. Keeping in touch with your friends and family, or knowing what’s going on through social media isn’t an issue in California.

You’ll pay for shopping bags

If you have to stop at the store in California, it’s best to bring your own reusable bags. California has passed Prop 67 which eliminated free shopping bags in grocery stores. That means if you stop any store for a few items on your trip, anticipate paying at least 10 cents per bag, or more. If you’re not prepared for this in advance, it will certainly be something you wish you knew before you took your trip.

Beat your credit card fees

One very unique service that’s definitely on your list of what to know before you go is that you can do a fee-free cash advance on credit cards at many places. They do this by ringing up a purchase at more than it actually costs, and paying you the difference in cash. That makes it super easy to have that extra lifeline when you need it, without having to pay the high fees usually associated with cash withdrawals on your card.

Plan for day trips

Unless you’re visiting somewhere like Los Angeles or San Francisco and specifically plan to spend your whole trip there, what to know before you go is that you should plan for day trips. Anticipate spending several hours getting to your destination, whether it’s for a guided tour of the stars’ homes or you’re going to see the redwoods up north. It takes a long time to get anywhere in California because the whole state is a sprawl that stretches nearly 800 miles from south to north.

Building and streets in Downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles

You’ll want a car

Again, unless you plan to stay in one city for your entire trip (and even then, in some cases), you’ll want to have a car to get from point A to point B and beyond. Since California is so large, a car allows you to get where you need to go in relative freedom, and you’ll want one that’s reliable for long drives. The state is also home of some of the most scenic drives in the world, so don’t bypass the opportunity to take a long drive along a coastal highway.

Check the weather

Because California is such a huge state, the climates change drastically from one place to another. The majority of the state has a Mediterranean climate that stays warm and somewhat moist all year round, but in the extreme south, you can experience subtropical climates that are even hotter, and in the far north and at the highest mountain peaks you’ll even find alpine and polar climates, while Death Valley is the hottest location in the world. Know before you go what climate you’re going to experience so you know in advance what kinds of clothes to pack.

There are special-needs-friendly attractions

If you have someone in your group who has special needs whether it might be sound sensitivity or issues around crowds, there are tons of family-friendly attractions that are sensitive to these needs. From theme parks like Sea World or Legoland, Disneyland to Universal Studios to Six Flags or Knott’s Berry Farms, tons of places are on offer to tour and provide things to do which will entertain you and all of your beloved family members who may have special needs to be addressed.

Stop and enjoy the wine

California is famed worldwide for its wine country. If you’re traveling through the countryside, you absolutely must make time to visit one of the hundreds of vineyards and wineries spread across the state. Many of these facilities include upscale dining establishments and gift shops as well as tasting rooms. You can even take a tour of a winery so you can learn about the process and history of making wine in California. Whether you’re going to Napa, Sonoma, or any of the other wine country regions, it’s an unforgettable trip in the making.

People walking in Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park

Time your visit

One of the most important travel tips to know before you go is when to travel. The vast majority of people head for California during the summer, which is the peak travel time. That means you need to anticipate massive crowds and the most popular attractions, with commensurate wait times everywhere from amusement park lines to restaurants. For some things like heading for the high country, a summer trip may be a necessity, but for others, if you can grab a spring or autumn trip, you’ll still get solid beach weather and far fewer crowds.

Catch a music festival

California is a musical state, no doubt about it. After all, Los Angeles is the record company capital of the world. If you’d like to experience new music, get lost in a community of fellow fans, meet new friends, or just see a whole selection of amazing international acts play, there are music festivals galore in California. You can check out any number such as Coachella, Stagecoach, BottleRock, or even smaller concerts and festivals held on beaches and in city squares throughout the state.

Get ready for a California vacation adventure

Now that you’ve got your list of essential information to keep in mind before visiting California, you’re ready to head off to an unforgettable adventure along the coast. Check out the wealth of great travel deals for flights, hotels, and vacation packages you’ll find on Expedia and book your California holiday today!