12 days budget California trip. Help :)
Replies: 29 - Last Post: Oct 12, 2012 9:48 AM Last Post By: marlajfish
Oct 8, 2012 6:50 AM
12 days budget California trip. Help :)A friend and I are going to California for 12 days on January (I know, not the best month but is what suits us). We already bought the plane tickets (in and out SFO). We don't want to spend a lot of money, though we do have aditional savings that we could eventually use, but my idea is to keep myself limited to a budget.
1. Itineraries. We like cities. Our main interest is San Francisco and the Bay Area. As for individual interests (that we have to juggle those, to know which ones are possible to do); my friend really wants to go to Disneyland, and I would love to visit some redwood park (Muir Woods is ok). Both of us would like to meet some other parts of SoCal too, maybe San Diego or Santa Barbara. As I say, the trip is for 12 days, and we arrive and leave from SFO (we have to be in San Fran the day before we leave since the plane leaves in the morning).
1.1. Weather. Considering we go in the middle of winter, is there any sights of activities we won't be able to do, considering the interests I mentioned before? And is there some special wintery things/activities that we shouldn't miss?
2. Transportation. I'm 24 and my friend 23. Is car rental totally out of the question, considering our budget and our ages? Is it possible to make a good itinerary relying only on buses and Amtrak?
3. Budget. Is it possible to make a good trip on a budget of 1000 dollars? (about 500.000 chilean pesos). We're both pretty cheap. I wouldn't care to eat in supermarkets or eat street food everyday, and we only want to sleep in hostels, hopefully with free breakfast. And as I say, we're looking for the cheapest (but safe) means of transportation, in cities (we're good walkers!) and to get around the region.
Thanks a lot :)
Oct 8, 2012 7:07 AM
Oct 8, 2012 7:09 AM
Oct 8, 2012 7:11 AM
Oct 8, 2012 7:34 AM
4It's still too low for a hotel and meals in San Francisco. You need to research SF hostels.
Oct 8, 2012 7:34 AM
5A dorm bed in a hostel will run $25-35 per day per person, plus tax. Here are two examples:
The Green Tortoise hostel in SF has free breakfast daily and free dinner three days a week. A dorm bed in January is $30 per night, plus 14% tax. There is a refundable $20 key deposit.
The HI hostel in Santa Monica (popular with LA visitors) is $34.20 for the cheapest dorm bed. That includes tax. Free breakfast.
So each of you will have about $50 per day for everything else. Deduct the price of a plane, train, or bus ticket between SF & LA and you have even less.
A one-day ticket to Disneyland is $87 per person. That's a whole day's budget for you right there.
There are some car rental places in the LA area that will rent a car to people under 25 without a surcharge. Right now, Hertz is waiving the $25 underage surcharge if you rent a car before January 31.
Oct 8, 2012 7:44 AM
6$1,000 per person is still only $83 per person, per day. Even if you stayed at a hostel, in a dorm room with a shared bathroom, you are looking at at least $30 per night. You could probably get by for about $20-25 per day for food if you are just eating grocery store and fast food. So that leaves you about $30 a day to do anything else -- one visit to somewhere like Alcatraz, or maybe a night out at a budget-level pub, will eat that up in a hurry. I'm not sure how you would fit transportation into that budget, and certainly not a car rental.
It's something like 7 hours from San Fran to Los Angeles, so that's going to burn a good chunk of your vacation time to get down to Disneyworld and San Diego.
Oct 8, 2012 7:45 AM
Oct 8, 2012 7:51 AM
8Kahua - as I said, I'm not interested in hotels, only hostels. Hotels are way out of budget for us.
nutraxfornerves - Thanks! Yeah, Disneyland is expensive...I'm not interested in it at all (I have been in Disney World and in Disneyland Paris, that's all the Disney I need in my life!), but my friend is so eager about going that is inevitable. So I guess I should add to my budget about 100 dollars only because of it.
Is 50 dollars a day for eating, etc, ok? In Santiago (which is one of the most expensive cities in Latinamerica, and I know that food prices are about the same in here that in the US) it would be pretty ok if you're cheap about food.
Maybe I should calculate a 1200 dollars budget? That would leave 100 dollars a day...
About car rental, I only asked about it if you guys think it is completely essential...we're ok with getting around on buses, trains or short plane trips; our budget would raise a lot only because of it. But if there is stuff that we could just couldn't do by public transport we could consider it.
Oct 8, 2012 7:56 AM
9I don't think we can change the plane tickets at this point...LAN has a strict politics about changing economic-class tickets :/
Ok, 1000 dollars is not possible then. What would you recommend?
As I said, we're not too restricted about our money; I have a good amounts of savings that I could spend in this trip...but I wouldn't like to spend ALL of it, in no way.
Oct 8, 2012 10:27 AM
10California native. Born south of LA, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and have lived for the past 20 years in the Land of La, a.k.a Los Angeles. Big state but with a lot of planning you can get where you want. Personally would suggest using Southwest Airlines to get from North to South and vice versa. If you book at a minimum of three weeks prior you'll get a good discount on the "wanna get away "fares. Right now for Jan dates anywhere from $53 to $92 each way. Non stop, hour flights, SFO to LAX. Please note public transport in Los Angeles is a joke. Seriously because of the hugeness of the megalopolis cars are the best mode of transport. However, with some patience you can get around. PLEASE tell your friend that Disneyland is 40 miles south of LA in Anaheim. Long bus ride. If he/she MUST visit an amusement park try Universal Studios. You can actually take the Metro Subway to there. If you land at LAX use the Union Station Fly Away Busses. About every 30 minutes and a 45 minute ride to Union Station. At the lovely Union Station hop on the Red Line train to Hollywood.
Exit at the Hollywood and Vine station, then a short walk West on Hollywood Blvd to Cosmo, turn left and http://thepodshare.com. Stellar farmer's market early sunday morning on Selma. Nearly out the front door. Good bars and clubs. If you wanted to visit San Diego from LA I'd again get tickets on SW from Burbank to San Diego. Can take a bus from Hollywood and Vine or try this option: http://www.metro.net/riding/maps/go-metro-bob-hope-airport/ Unfortunately can't fly direct from Burbank to San Francisco BUT can fly Burbank to Oakland, then hop on a BART bus. $3. Then BART under the Bay to San Francisco. BART: http://www.bart.gov Food trucks are very popular in LA but not always nearby. However, tech savy travelers can follow them on twitter. For example one of the most popular food trucks is Kogi BBQ. https://twitter.com/kogibbq
Oct 8, 2012 11:56 AM
11If you are just visiting cities, you could rely on buses. If you wanted to visit national parks and rural/remote areas, a car will be essential. But you might not need the car for the entire 12 days. For example, you may be able to rent a car for a day to visit, say, Muir Woods park, and maybe head up to Sonoma/Napa for the day.
Oct 8, 2012 12:14 PM
12I would avoid renting a car. Yes, it allows you to get around faster but after the rental charges and surcharges, the insurance, paying for gas and parking, you still have to drive around a city that you don't know well and possibly in horrible weather.
There are several companies which offer day trips to Disneyland from Santa Monica/Hollywood. It's not cheap but Disneyland is already not cheap and you friend wants to go, so bite the bullet and go.
Come up with an itinerary, book your hostels (and Disneyland) and then see how much money you have left for sightseeing and day trips. LA and SF have plenty of cheap food options. Figure that what you're spending on the hostel is what you'll spend on food (beer and such on top of that). San Diego is also a good option but assume you will visit the SD Zoo or Sea World, so budget for that.
Oct 8, 2012 1:12 PM
13There is no reason to have a car in SF and you can do a hiking trip via the Sierra Club plus Berkeley has lots of hills to climb. And the weather may be too horrible for hiking (rain plus wet trails).
Most tourists to LA see Santa Monica/Venice/Hollywood/Beverly Hills. I think downtown LA has some interesting stuff. With two days, you won't see much. Hard to give specific suggestions when I don't know what caught your eye when you read the guidebooks.
Oct 8, 2012 1:45 PM
14I'm not that into LA. I do have LP's California guide but nothing I've read of the city of LA has win my attention. I guess it would be funny to go to the Hollywood walk of fame though.
As for beach towns near LA, I do like the idea; I love beaches/the sea in general, but since we're going in winter I don't know if a good time for visit them!
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