I bought my ticket to go to California on Friday. Through a proper travel agent this time, as most web sites just aren't up to the job of providing you facilities to search for non-trivial flights (I am flying Frankfurt → San Diego, San Francisco → Frankfurt) across a non-trivial set of options (departing from Hannover or Oakland, say), times airlines and special offer while preserving your sanity.
After the travel agent worked her black magic on the computer – gee what they do on their screens does look a bit scary, I got a rather good fare that even includes the railway journey to and from the airport.
Please feel free to leave good advice which things I should see and do. I'll have about a week of free time before the workshop I am attending starts and we are going to do little trip driving around.