As you begin planning your next vacation, these frugal travel tips for your next California vacation should be top on your list. California offers so many things for the entire family. From Southern California sun and sand to the coast and bay of the Silicon Valley and San Francisco, there is so much to take in and enjoy. California travel is often thought to be expensive, but reality is you can easily afford to spend a fun filled week at one of many destinations in this gorgeous state.
Frugal travel tips for your next California vacation
Shop around to determine if flying or driving is best
Flying to California can get costly for a family of four. Take the time to really look into how you can make the drive a better financial decision for your family. If you are a days drive away, this is an easy decision. If you are several states away, it is much more difficult to make this cost effective, but it isn’t impossible. Look at options or lower end motels along the way so you can afford a nicer suite or resort at your destination. Pack your own food so fast food along the way is minimal, and make sure to give your car a good tune up. All of these things can make it much more frugal to drive to your California vacation instead of fly.
Book a resort or condo instead of hotel
For many people coming to California includes a lot of time on the beach. An inclusive resort, or simply a rental property condo is a great choice for a family. Not only are the rates lower than booking 1-2 hotel rooms each night, you’ll have more privacy and the ability to cook some meals on your own. Eating out is one of the most expensive things during vacations, so these frugal travel tips will help no matter what state you are visiting.
Stay outside the major cities during your California vacation
Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and everywhere in between will be surrounded by smaller cities with nice lodging options at half the price. While you may have to drive 30-45 minutes to an entertainment destination, it is well worth your time to save significant amounts of money on lodging.
Near San Diego: El Cajon, El Centro, Lakeside, Le Mesa, Santee
Near San Francisco: San Jose, Alameda, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Santa Rosa
Near Los Angeles: Fullerton, Brea, Anaheim, Pomona, Pasadena, Long Beach
Be sure to check out trip advisor to see what is in the area you choose so you can make the best choice for your family.
Invest in the Citypass
If you plan to go to many Southern California attractions, look into purchasing a CityPass for your family members. This gives you one rate for multiple venues. San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, Disneyland and more are all included in this pass at a reasonable rate that saves you from 25%-50% off full admission prices. So this frugal travel tips will save you tons!
Take advantage of museums, galleries and parks
Nearly every city you visit in California will have a few great free places to visit that everyone will love. San Diego has the amazing Balboa Park with multiple museums on site that are completely free. San Francisco has tons of heritage and free attractions throughout the city. Los Angeles has countless galleries, museums and of course you can grab a map and drive around looking at the stars homes.
Ask the locals
When you reach your destination, nothing will be better frugal travel tips for your California vacation than to ask the locals. Ask for food recommendations, the best clean and safe parks for kids to play, local free hot spots and more. Things like local Swap Meets, Classic Car Shows, museums, parks, galleries and street theater productions can all be a great way to spend time at no cost to you.
These frugal travel tips for your next California vacation will help stretch your budget without leaving you feeling like you haven’t been able to do what you wanted to do.