Tag Archive for San Francisco

Vacation in Northern California on a budget (part 3)

In my previous blog I discussed a few ways I was able to keep the transportation costs down on my trip to Northern California. In this post I am going to discuss specifically how we were able to affordably dine out and site see while vacationing in Northern California.   Prior to the trip I was watching 20/20 and they did a story about traveling on the cheap and it just so happened they were in San Francisco.  One of the tips they offered was to always go a street over from where the tourists were to find the deals.  That is probably best advice I could have received when it came to dining out and sightseeing.

My mom and I were able to enjoy the foodie scene of San Francisco and Northern California all while spending on average than on less than $50 a day during our vacation. We usually only ate one large meal and then were able to snack or eat smaller meals.  One night we even ate leftovers from the previous nights dinner, which we only paid $25. Of course, we were only able to do this because we had a fridge in our room and there was a microwave available to reheat the food.  We were in San Francisco on a Saturday and were able to grab a fresh homemade breakfast from the Farmers Market on the Pier, which is very similar to Portland’s Saturday Market.  The Farmer’s market was also a great place for browsing the local arts scene.  The vendors offered many free samples of locally grown produce, desserts, wine and much more.

Another great way we saved money was by purchasing bottles of water from local corner market stores and not the tourist areas.  In these areas you would pay almost $3 for a bottle of water, but walking a block or two over you could find a large bottle for around a dollar. Souvenirs were the most affordable in Chinatown and the shops outside the main tourist areas.  As far as sightseeing there were plenty of things to do and see for free.  The only two attractions that we spent money on were the Conservatory of Flowers museum ($7) and then wine tasting/tour of Castillo de Amorosa in Napa Valley ($34).  Overall, my mom and I had a great time on our trip and it was a bonus to save some money and stick to a budget at the same time.

Vacation in Northern California on a budget (part 2)

In my previous blog I discussed a few ways that I was able to get a good deal on airfare and hotel rates on my trip to Northern California. In this post I am going to discuss specifically how I was able to keep the transportation costs down.   Once off the plane, with minor confusion in finding my mom’s gate, we connected, and were on our way to downtown San Francisco via the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train.  The cost of a one way trip via the BART to downtown was $8.50, much cheaper than a taking a cab, which would have cost us around $50.  The quick half hour BART trip dropped us off only a few blocks from our hotel, although that did include a steep uphill climb with our luggage.  When we got off the BART we where right near the welcome center and that is where we bought our MUNI passes.  The MUNI pass covers all public transportation, which includes bus, streetcar and the ever-popular cable car.  We purchased the three-day Muni pass and it cost $22.  I added up the amount we would have paid if we purchased single tickets and in the first day alone we would have surpassed $22.  We did also rent a car to go to Napa valley, but I was still able to find a good deal via my AAA membership.  For a two-day rental including gas and additional fees, and insurance it was still under $200. 

Stay posted for my final blog about my trip in which I will discuss how we were able to affordably dine out and site see while vacationing in Northern California.

Vacation in Northern California on a budget (part 1)

I recently took a trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley.  It was a mother daughter vacation as I flew my mom in from Wisconsin to join me for the trip.  My flight only ended up costing me $50 because I had some money left over on a flight voucher (see my blog Delayed flight could lead to a perk for your pocket book).  That allowed me the opportunity to pay for most of my mom’s flight as a birthday, Christmas, mother’s day present for her for the next year…or two.  I will admit I really didn’t do much research on the cost of taking a trip to San Francisco until after the flight was booked.  When I started looking into booking a hotel room I began to realize how expensive it was going to be to stay in downtown San Francisco.  After lots of research and reading many reviews on Tripadvisor, I was able to find a good rate on a great little boutique hotel in downtown San Francisco.  This great deal did come with a bit of a catch, I had to pre-pay to get the rate and it was non-refundable.   If you are willing to take a risk when you travel, you could end up saving a few hundred dollars by prepaying for your hotel room. 

Stay posted for my next blog where I will share other ways I was able to stick to a budget and save money while vacationing in Northern California.