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We just finished planning and booking our Spring Break vacation. We are going to be visiting some of our favorite places in California. We love California, but we have not been for 18 months and I am realizing there are some things that are different about visiting California that others may not know about. I am going to share with you 5 things you might want to know for your California Vacation so you won’t be thrown for a loop.
5 Things To Know for Your California Vacation
You have booked your California Vacation, and are ready to get out of town. Maybe you are heading to Disneyland, or maybe you are going to the Redwoods. No matter where in California you are heading there are probably some things you need to know before you go.
- No free shopping bags. California passed a law that now makes it so if you want to use plastic bags at the grocery store you will pay 10 cents per bag or more. Proposition 67 is aimed to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. So if you can take some on your trip in your suitcase or in your car to use it will save you some good money. The rates for plastic bags varies depending on stores. Prop. 67 requires stores to charge at least .10 for recycled paper bags and plastic bags. Here’s what consumers are paying for bags:• .10 at Stater Bros.
• .10 at Target
• .15 at Vons
• .15 at Albertsons
• .10 at Trader Joe’s
• .10 at Wal-Mart
(You will want to look up other stores if you plan on shopping and purchasing bags from them, these rates are not guaranteed.)
Our family actually uses reusable shopping bags to put all our snacks in for the road, so thankfully we will be able to use them in the stores and it won’t change how we pack very much. We may just have to bring a couple extra if we will do a lot of grocery shopping.
- Rear facing car seats. As of January 1, 2017 California became one of the states to require children under age 2 to be in a rear facing car seat. I won’t get on my soap box about car seat safety here, but let’s just say I love this. There are a few exceptions- Children who are at least one year old AND either weigh over 40 lbs or are over 40 inches tall may be forward facing, but not many kids fall in that range. Even if you are from a state that does not have a law to keep children rear facing until age 2, it is important to know this. Also, children under the age of 8 are expected to be in a car seat or booster seat. When you are in a state, you are expected to follow their laws. For more information you can check out the CHP website HERE.
- Agriculture Check Points. If you are driving into California you will most likely have to go through an Agriculture check point. The check points are to help keep invasive species from getting into the state. You may or may not have to stop at one of the 16 check points. We have often been waved straight through, even with our Idaho plates. Other times we have had to stop and talk to an inspector, letting them know if we had any produce or plants in our vehicle. On the rare occasion we did have produce (usually something we brought for breakfast and forgot to eat) we have had to tell them what we have, and once had to have to show them the produce. We have never had to trash anything, but you never know. In general, we now try not to travel with produce when driving to California. Also be prepared for traffic to be pretty backed up near the check points. You can find out more on the CDHA website HERE.
- Highway 101 and Scenic Highway 1 are different. I have traveled to California a lot and have always known this one, so it shocked me that I have talked to about 5 people in the last month who did not realize that 101 and 1 were not the same exact highway. While both travel up the coast line, Highway 101 goes farther inland, while 1 stays basically right on the coast line. The 1 is one of the most scenic drives you can take, but you have to be careful as there is often areas that are in disrepair.
- Anaheim starting January 2018. Starting in January 2018, Anaheim will no longer allow vacation rental homes within the city limits. If you are a family who likes to utilize the vacation rentals, you will now have to choose to stay a little further away from Disneyland park, or opt for a hotel. Some great hotel options for those who enjoy a more homey feel are Embassy Suites or Residence Inn. You can book these and other hotels in a vacation package through Get Away Today for only $175 down by CLICKING HERE.
Did you know all of these? Knowing these five things will save you a bit of surprise if you are coming from another state. Is there anything you would add to the list? Leave a comment letting me know below.
photo credit: PeterThoeny Hitting the highway along the California coast via photopin (license)
Another helpful hint: If driving, do not attempt to travel North from O.C. towards Vegas on a Friday after 10 am or South from Vegas towards O.C. after 10 am on a Sunday. If you do, that typical 3.5 hour trip will take 8 hours plus.
haha- yes! So True! We had friends drive down from Vegas to Anaheim on a Sunday and they kept texting me asking why traffic was so bad. I explained it was all the SoCal residents going home from their weekends in Vegas!
Excellent tips! There is pending litigation trying to work around that vacation rental ban, but as of now all legit rentals are only able to make reservations up to that date. If they allow them past that date they are telling guests that their reservation can be cancelled at any moment. Anther good thing to know is Orange County does have toll roads. These are not stop and pay type of things, you’ll be expected to know when and where you entered and left to pay online. Be aware of your GPS steering you toward one, typically for commuters so there are other options but I got one unknowingly because I was the only adult in the car and just listening to my GPS.
YES! They are often the far left lane on the freeways and highways. (Th Carpool lanes, or where one would be when there isn’t a Car Pool Lane)