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San Diego Family Vacation

We recently spent 5 days in San Diego, I was worried that it wouldn't be enough time for our family to relax, hang out, have fun seeing the sights and go to the ocean.  It seemed like such a short time.  I had found a family friendly bungalow through AirBnB that looked like it would cater to our needs as a family of mixed ages; Clayton and myself, David and his girlfriend Savannah, and the two littles.  This was our first family vacation where we flew somewhere all together.  I was excited because David and Savannah live nearly 5 hours from us so we don't get to see them as often as we would like to.  

We arrived in San Diego at 5:30pm and had to take a shuttle bus to get our rental car, San Diego has a separate building near the airport where all the rental car companies are.  We had gotten our reservation through priceline(dot)com at Fox Rent a Car and were quoted under $400 for a full sized SUV.  That wasn't the case when we arrived, because I had chosen a specific time to pick up the rental and that time had passed more than 3 hours before, they release our chosen rental car.  Well that's unfortunate I thought, they offered us a minivan instead.  Alright, that's fine I thought.  She asked if our flight was delayed and I said, no I just didn't know you needed a specific time for picking up a rental.  I mean if it's reserved for a day, shouldn't it be there for the day?  Anyway, it doesn't matter.  But what did matter is that they proceeded to tell me it was an extra $30 a day for the "upgrade".  Umm... I am sorry but how does a minivan from a full size SUV constitute an upgrade?  Again... ok, whatever, we just want to get out of here and to our accommodations.  I had forgotten a booster seat so that was another $10 a day and then she convinced me that my visa does not have enough insurance coverage for the rental and I needed to buy their extra insurance.  I was beyond annoyed but again, just wanted to get my family to rest and relaxation.  She gave me the total: $980 USD.  Dudes, that is more than I paid for our flights to get to San Diego.  It was hard to be nice at this point, so I just took the keys and left.  This my friends, was the only downside of our family trip, we will never use priceline or fox rent a car again.  Lesson learned.

Now that that is out of the way, let's move on to our AirBnB... 

We arrived in Spring Valley, California and were promptly greeted by our host Randy.  He showed us to our bungalow in the backyard of a massive million dollar home.  It was cute with two bedrooms, one on each end and a large room in the middle that contained the kitchen, living space and a pool table.  Outside the bungalow was a salt water pool (pictured above) with a jacuzzi and a slide.  There was a large patio area with many places to eat, a BBQ area, a ping pong table and it even had a fire pit area!  Down behind the bungalow there was a play area for kids complete with a jungle gym and trampoline.  It couldn't have been a more perfect fit for our family.  We enjoyed EVERY minute of our vacation, being able to relax around the pool, have a BBQ, roast marshmallows, or play pool when we weren't out and about being tourists was THE BEST.  You can't get these kind of amenities for this price at a hotel.  We had a really great time there.  The hosts even let us have company, my brother, his wife and their little boy came to visit one night.  It was great.

Our tourist destinations we went to were the USS Midway on the waterfront in downtown San Diego which was super cool for the whole family not just Clayton and I who are both Canadian Rangers and got in for free! The kids all had a great time too.  We had dinner a bit further down the waterfront and hit up the sunset at a beach close to the Mexican border before heading back to our bungalow. 

The next day we went to Legoland and I was worried it wouldn't be enough for us but it really was.  We are low key, low crowd kind of people so the thought of Disneyland on Spring Break was not something we wanted to do and choosing Legoland for our lego lover kids was an excellent choice.  My brother and fam joined us again, we all had a great time checking out all the little lego displays and rides.  Our favorite was probably the underwater treasure hunt.  We went to Carlsbad beach for the sunset before hitting up In-N-Out Burger for dinner, delicious burgers for an excellent price.

On our last full day, we just chilled at the house and went down to a tattoo shop near our place for some tattoos of course!  I always try to get a new tattoo when I go somewhere new.  David, Savannah and I all got some fresh ink by Jonny Blaze at La Mancha Tattooz.  Go check him out if you are ever in San Diego.

The day we were catching our flight, we had some time to kill so we went to the Balboa park This place is amazing, it has a TON of museums and sights to see.  We only had time (and money) for one so we chose the Fleet Science Centre with an IMAX movie about the Great Barrier Reef which was cool but the centre itself was rather lacklustre.  You can get a discover pass for the park and see several of the museums over time if you have time, I would definitely recommend this!

Then we dropped our rental car off which was super convenient and easy to do at the Rental Car Centre, just got the receipt and caught the shuttle bus back to the airport.  We had a wonderful 5 days in San Diego and if we ever go again, we will stay at the same airbnb ( and definitely check out more of the sunsets, balboa park and the waterfront.  This trip was a 9/10 for us just because of the rental car fiasco but that won't happen the next time now that I am smarter haha!

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