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Going Our Way: Using your noodle in San Diego

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By Carol Sottili
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, February 28, 2010

Who: Jill Ward, 29, of Germantown and Bill McCarthy, 28, of Atlantic Highlands, N.J.

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Where: San Diego

Why: A reward for Ward's just-earned MBA and her new job

When: Three nights/four days in late March/early April

Budget: $1,000

"I would like the trip to be a blend of lazy beach days, exploring the local scene (food, day trips, music, etc.) and one nice evening out! $1,000 is the goal, understanding that a bit more might be necessary: I'm a savvy traveler, and I like the challenge. Also, I will be a recent MBA graduate with a small budget but a major need for a getaway."

San Diego offers a nice combination of natural beauty and urban vibrancy. Throw in Southern California's extensive menu of outdoor activities, and it's the perfect spot for the kind of rejuvenating getaway Jill Ward is looking for now that she has earned her MBA and landed a new job.

America's Finest City (San Diego's moniker) is not around the corner: A connecting flight will take at least seven hours. But with a vibe that's really different from anything in Florida or other warmer climes, it's worth the trip.

Success at hitting the $1,000 mark that Ward has budgeted for is contingent on airfare. Snag a $220 sale fare, and it will be doable, although very tight. Some strategies for nailing the cheap fare:

-- Stay as far away from Easter (April 4) as possible. Many K-12 schools are out the week before Easter, so planes are fuller, and flights are more expensive.

-- Take a connecting flight. A nonstop fare to San Diego will cost at least $100 more.

-- Don't fly on a Friday or a Sunday, when fares are typically more expensive.

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