Our January and February 2015

We started the year in our home country Finland. Friends, family, and weird weather changing from artic freeze to rain in a day. From Finland we flew to San Francisco and road tripped down the beautiful coast, all the way to San Diego. From there we continued inland to marvel on two very different kinds of sights: Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. Our February ended in the chilled beach town Sayulita, a surfer heaven on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

If you’re not into stats, just skip to the end of the post where you’ll find the pics. So many of them this time, and some of them are really good even in my own opinion!

Statistics

Countries visited: 3 (total 29 countries*)
Finland, USA (California, Arizona, Nevada) and Mexico

Cities/towns visited: 18 (total 117 cities/towns)
Hämeenlinna, Kokemäki, Turku and Helsinki in Finland. San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Seaside (Monterey), San Simeon, Morro Bay, Solvang, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Clemente and La Quinta in California, Williams and Kingman in Arizona, and Las Vegas in Nevada. And finally, Sayulita in Mexico!

Beds slept in: 19 (total 135 beds)

Back in Finland we stayed with family and friends. For a blogging trip, I was organised a complementary night at the Park Hotel in Turku. What a charming place! Definitely not ultra-modern or simplistic, but rather like staying with a (bit upper-class) grandma. (check it at Booking.com)

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On our US road trip we stayed in three Airbnb rooms.  The one in San Diego was probably the best we’ve ever had. Unfortunately, it was only available for a short while when one of the flatmates was out of town. We were the first guests, and I’m so happy we took the chance and booked it!

The second room was in the surfer town of San Clementine. Friendly and relaxed owners, walking distance to beach, felt right at home the moment we arrived. Recommended!

Our third Airbnb room was in La Quinta, and while the place itself was very nice, we had to listen to the owner couple fighting on our last night. Hence I’m not promoting the place.

We still do love Airbnb, and if you want to try it too, you’ll get 22€ bonus by signing-up with our Airbnb-link. (And we’ll get 22€ also, isn’t that a good deal?!)

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For the rest of our US roadtrip, we stayed in reasonably cheap motels or hotels. We wanted something with good enough reviews (7+/10), with the lowest price possible. These are the ones we really liked:

San Remo Hotel in San Francisco - Excellent location at North Beach, affordable, basic but had amenities like coffee & tea. (check it at Booking.com)

Sea Breeze Inn in San Simeon - Beautiful location next to the shore! Big rooms, weak wifi. (check it at Booking.com)

Hamlet Inn in Solvang - Free bikes and 2-1 wine tasting passes, need I say more? (check it at Booking.com)

All of the other ones were also good choices, but there was nothing special in them: the Islander Inn in Santa CruzSand Castle Inn in Seaside (near Monterey), the Sandpiper Inn in Morro Bay,  Lynwood Century Freeway Travelodge in Lynwood (Los Angeles) - bit restless area, the Highlander Motel in Williams, the Quality Inn in Kingman, and the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas.

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In Sayulita we stayed at a dorm at the Lush Hostel while looking for a rental apartment. Good facilities, loud parties. Good for couple of nights and for meeting people. Rest of February we’ve stayed in a 2-bedroom rental we found by asking around. 

(For the hotels we recommend, I added an affiliate link to Booking.com. If you book through it, we’ll get a small reward - it doesn’t affect the price you pay).

Average daily spend on accommodation: Finland 0€, USA 52€, Mexico 16€ (22€**)
The cheapest place we stayed in US was an Airbnb-room for 33€ and the most expensive the Hamlet Inn (94€). Usually we paid 50-55€ for a night.  In Mexico we paid 30€/night for the few hostel nights and our rental apartment turned out around 13€ per night.

Average daily spend on food: Finland 32€, USA 43€, Mexico 23.5€ (32€)
In Finland we stayed in Helsinki and went out with friends a few times. With Finnish prices it adds up, even if we mostly cooked at home. In USA our spending was more than we hoped, and even with this money we mainly ate fast food or at cheap restaurants. In Mexico the food was very much affordable and there are so many restaurants to try in Sayulita that we ate out basically all the time.

* All totals Anno Digital Nomad (ADN) = after January 4th, 2013.
** Average spent ADN, for two people

In the blog

Week 1: Helsinki: We’re still enjoying the darkest time of the year in Finland, catching up with people, taking it relatively easy.

Weeks 2-3 2015: Finland and California: From the peaceful countryside of Kokemäki to the old city of Turku, and from the hectic Matka Travel Fair to the welcoming city of San Francisco. California roadtrip time! That’s our last two weeks in a nutshell, more below.

Week 4: California road trip: California roadtrip week! From the surfer heaven Santa Cruz to Monterey sea life, through the wilderness of Big Sur to San Simeon and the lavish Hearst castle, down to Morro Bay.

Week 5: California road trip: California road trip continues! From the sceneries of the Sideways movie to the busy Los Angeles and then all the way down to the sunny San Diego.

Week 6: West USA road trip: And our West USA road trip continues! From the lovable San Diego to the surf town of San Clemente, through the hills and mountains to the desert oasis town of La Quinta and the mesmerizing Joshua Tree National Park, and a long drive through varying landscapes to Williams, Arizona.

Week 7: Arizona, Las Vegas and Sayulita: Last days of our US road trip, visiting the incredible Grand Canyon, the impressive Hoover Dam and the bling-bling of Las Vegas. Finishing the week at the small beach town of Sayulita in Mexico, enjoying the sun and the food.

Week 8: Sayulita: How nice it is to stay put in one place! And it doesn’t harm that the place is the charming beach town of Sayulita, Mexico. The sun shines, food is great, margaritas cheap and the surf good (I’ve been told). Nights are noisy and there’s been a firework show or few, but I’m getting to used to it.

California road trip in Instagram: Time for another Instagram Travel Thursday! This time I want to take you with us down the California Coast, all the way from the foggy San Francisco to the sunny San Diego near the Mexican border. Welcome to the ride!

Our November and December 2014: We spent most of our November-December at the same place, the Coworking Camp in Turkey, so here’s a combined recap for the months. We also had a few days in Athens, travelled to Kas and Istanbul, stopped at Prague and headed home to Finland for Christmas.

In pictures

Helsinki, Finland

Cathedral, Helsinki, Finland

Center, Helsinki, Finland

Music Center, Helsinki, Finland


Kokemäki - Turku trip, Finland

suspension bridge, Kokemäki, Finland

Park Hotel, Turku, Finland

Turku, Finland


San Francisco, California, USA

misty San Francisco, California, USA

view over San Francisco, California

pier, San Francisco, California, USA

Golden Gate, San Francisco, California, USA

tram, San Francisco, California


California road trip: San Francisco to Monterey

sea, California coast

Sant Cruz beach, California

Santa Cruz cliffs, California

sunset in Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz beach, California

Monterey Bay Aquarium, California


California road trip: Monterey to San Simeon

Point Lobos State Reserve, California

bridge, Big Sur, California

Andrew Molera State Park, California

car, Pacific Coast Highway, California

sun setting, San Simeon, California

sunset, San Simeon, California


California road trip: San Simeon to Los Angeles

Hearst Castle, California

elephant seals, San Simeon, California


Los Angeles, California, USA

Santa Monica pier, LA, USA

beach, Santa Monica, LA, USA

LA, California, USA

Griffith Observatory, LA, USA


California road trip: Los Angeles to San Diego

Balboa park, San Diego, USA

family, San Diego, USA

palm trees, San Diego, USA

zoo, San Diego, California

San Clemente beach, California, USA

San Clemente, California, USA

Mission San Juan Capistrano, California, USA


Joshua Tree NP, California, USA

walk, Joshua Tree NP, California, USA

tree, Joshua Tree NP, California, USA

cacti, Joshua Tree NP, California, USA

Joshua tree, Joshua Tree NP, California, USA


Grand Canyon & around, Arizona, USA

plants, Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

people, Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

Mirje, Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

sunset, Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

Kingman, Arizona, USA


Las Vegas & around, Nevada, USA

Hoover Dam, Arizona/Nevada, USA

New York, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA


Sayulita, Mexico

surfers, Sayulita, Mexico

Choco Banana, Sayulita, Mexico

sunrise, Sayulita, Mexico

sunny beach, Sayulita, Mexico

And… that’s how we spent the first two months of 2015. Not bad.

Antti and Mirje

We are Mirje and Antti, a 30+ digital nomad couple, entrepreneurs with restless feet and passion for experiencing the world. more »