Introduction: Road trip hotels between San Diego and Washington DC

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01. Introduction: Road trip hotels between San Diego and Washington DC
02. Comfort Inn & Suites, Deming, NM
03. Holiday Inn Express, South Amarillo, TX
04. Holiday Inn Express, Maumelle, AR
05. Hilton Knoxville Airport, TN
06. Comfort Suites, Salem, VA
07. Marriott Hotel, Washington Dulles Airport
08. Quick summary: Washington DC to San Diego (via Boston) on jetBlue

Yeah, it’s been a while since my last trip. I’ve been pretty busy on the ground over the past few months spending lots of money on home renovations (and other necessary “real world” things), and there hasn’t been much cash or time left over to spend on travel. Sometimes I go through long periods of being grounded like that, and it’s good because it gives me the chance to recharge my batteries and appreciate traveling even more once I start again. And let me tell ya – I was really anxious to get going on this little adventure as soon as I booked the reservations in late March.

This trip report is going to be a little bit different

Normally my travels involve more time in the air vs. time on the ground, but this one is a bit different. It’s a classic all-American road trip that involves lots of driving, successive nights in cheap roadside hotels, with just a little bit of air travel sprinkled in. Yep – I rented a car here in San Diego and spent an entire week driving east with the goal of reaching Washington D.C. in six days. Why D.C.? No particular reason other than the fact that I have never been there before. I was actually planning on driving all the way up to Boston, but once I mapped out my itinerary I quickly came to realization that it was way too ambitious for only six short days of driving by myself. Washington D.C. seemed like a reasonable compromise for a coast-to-coast road trip where I could take my time and not feel rushed every day trying to put a lot of miles under my wheels.

I would like to point out that I’m not going to go into any details of the actual drive here, as I’m saving that portion for the automotive blog that I write. Normally I’d include it on SANspotter like I do for some of my other travel adventures, but since I already have a blog dedicated to car stuff I might as well keep things as organized as possible. If you want to read about my adventures from the road, you can start with this post.

I’m also only going to give a quick summary of the air travel portion this time, as opposed to doing a full review like I normally do. I had fully intended to document the flights with lots of pics and video, but I was both mentally and physically exhausted once I reached DC, and I didn’t have the energy (or desire) to document the experience of my journey back home to San Diego. No matter though – they were completely uneventful flights anyway. Sometimes it’s good to take a break, right?

Trying jetBlue for the first time

Being the airline nerd that I am, it was important for me to seek out fun and new ways of returning to San Diego once I arrived in D.C. I realize that “fun” and “new” are very subjective terms that vary from person to person, but I ended up with a jetBlue itinerary from IAD (with a connection in BOS) to get me home. This was considered fun and new to me because 1. I’ve never flown jetBlue before, and 2. I’ve never been on an Embraer 190, which is what was operating on the IAD to BOS segment.

Unfortunately, I paid dearly for this fun and new experience. Yes, I’m sure that I could have found cheaper ways of returning to San Diego (even cashing in some frequent flyer miles and flying for free), but I really wanted to add jetBlue to my logbook and $864.91 was the cheapest itinerary I could find. Sigh.

IAD to SAN jetBlue itinerary

Confirmation page showing my jetBlue itinerary from IAD to SAN via BOS

Yeah, that’s a ton of money for a one-way transcon flight and I’m ashamed for actually paying it. I even splurged for an Even More Space seat up front on the BOS-SAN segment mainly due to the fact that there were only middle seats left in the main cabin at the time I made my reservation.

In the end, here’s what the flight portion of the itinerary looked like:

4/17/15 B6 456 Washington DC (Dulles) to Boston – E190
4/17/15 B6 19 Boston to San Diego (Even More Space seat) – A320

A cross-country road trip like this is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I was very excited for the chance to cross it off my bucket list. I actually came very close to putting it off for yet another year and opting for an an extravagant first or business class international itinerary instead (paid for with frequent flyer points), but I’m glad I didn’t. There’s so much to see on the ground here at home, and it was really fun to see a large portion of it first hand!

Finally, I realize that this is probably going to be one of the most boring trip reports I’ve written to date, as I know very few people who actually enjoy reading about cheap roadside chain hotels here in the US. But my hope is that the information and pictures I post will be helpful to those who are planning their own cross-country road trip across the USA in the near future.