For me, the worst part of traveling is trying to figure out what to do, and second worst part is trying to figure out how to pay for it.  My planning woes were especially true when it came to organizing my 25th anniversary.

I always comb the Internet looking for the best places to see, the best places to dine, and the best places for adventure.  Then, I try to put that all into a financial perspective. Until recently, I would exhaust myself looking, and budgeting.

Then, my daughter, in all of her 21st-century thinking, put together a travel funding campaign so that all of my kids could contribute to an anniversary gift.  So, the budget pressure went away, but I still had no clue what I wanted to do.

Then, I came up with an idea, look to the sea, look to the land, then look to the sky.  So, that’s how I planned my most recent travel fund trip to San Diego. It was a great way to see San Diego from literally every angle.

See the Sea

Whales and sea life recognize that San Diego has America’s best weather.  In fact, the city’s seaside is a great place for whale watching because it’s possible to go all year long. You can charter a tour to see and enjoy nature at its finest: gray whales, blue whales, orcas, humpbacks, dolphins and a variety of marine life. Many companies make it more tempting by offering specials like Half-Price Tuesdays and Wacky Whale Wednesdays.

Whales are not the only sea creature you can visit when you look to San Diego’s Sea.  Shark dives are another popular San Diego Sea attraction.  The sharks common to the area are sleek, fast and beautiful.  The dive operators are professional, courteous and safe.  If there were ever a time to have something funded, this would be it. Bonus: No dive certification required.

Hit the Land

Torrey Pines Natural Reserve is a San Diego secret that many tourists overlook because it’s located on the city’s outskirts. Take in the sandstone cliffs, beaches, ocean, unique fauna, and then rejoin civilization in La Jolla. There are free guided walks on holidays and weekends and trails for every level of hiker.

I quickly learned that San Diego makes it simple for travelers who wish to see the local side of things.  Friendly trolley guides accompany the trolley, which stops at Gaslamp Quarter, The Old Town Market, Balboa Park and more.

As you traverse the sun-drenched streets, the guides provide anecdotes, history, and tips. You’ll be chauffeured, enlightened and enriched all at once; the best part, you’ll avoid costly parking and traffic.

Although Southern California doesn’t usually come to mind when one thinks of North American pedestrian-friendly cities, San Diego’s rich fabric of neighborhoods beg to be discovered by foot. In addition to famous La Jolla, Little Italy, La Mesa and Gaslamp Quarter – get to know Mission Hills’ sidewalk cafes, Allied Gardens’ breweries, Brid Rocks’ breathtaking overlooks, explore Bay Park’s main boulevard, the industrially sleek East Village, Encinitas’ art scene and the revitalized North Park.

Urban scavenger hunts are taking many cities by storm, and San Diego is a great city to explore by playing one of these cyber tourist games. Clues sent to your smartphone lead you on a fun, engaging tour of the city. Solve clues and challenges with your fellow travelers, while getting to know the city (and each other) in a one-of-a-kind experience.

Soar the Skies

Adventure companies are an excellent way to see any city from the skies.  Hot air balloon rides over San Diego from the above.  There’s nothing better than hanging out with your loved ones in a basket over a sea.  I thought that this might be scary, but if you’ve even been parasailing, it’s kind of like that.  It’s very calm and smooth, and the view is fantastic.  It reminded me of a ride in an open-air elevator.  

The hot air balloon was by far the best part of the trip.

Conclusion

Travel is easily one of the most exciting ways to celebrate a milestone, and with 21st-century technology, it makes it affordable.  People are always looking to give gifts for those big occasions.  My experience with a travel funding website made it straightforward and easy for everyone.  The best part, people felt it was easy to give us a gift, and it was something we will never forget—which is something a gift should truly be.

About the Author:

Kristin Kirk is a former high school math teacher and avid world traveler. After 5 years of living in Colombia, she now calls Boulder Colorado home. Together with her best friend, they started their blog Because I’m Write to follow a long time passion for writing.