Hey everyone! For those of you who are new to my blog.. Welcome! If you’re visiting again, Welcome back! If you didn’t see on my social media, I just got back from a beautiful experience in San Diego. Not just any new experience though, a completely rare and foreign experience. It was my first solo trip ever. It was… incredible!
I spent less than $200 on this entire vacation which was probably my cheapest one yet. I made a challenge out of budgeting as hard as I could, and it brought me to spending less than half of an average minimum paycheck.
It was such an impulsive trip, but I needed a break. I was feeling burnt out. I was grouchy at work. I was not fun to be around. The bad attitudes we have towards life is sort of expected sometimes when we don’t really give ourselves time to breathe. I needed a drastic breather. I needed change.
The main reason I decided to take this trip was the flight ticket. I saw an incredible deal on Frontier’s flights. The cheap flights from Las Vegas to San Diego averaged out to be around $50 to $70, but I played around with the dates a little bit and somehow wound up with a $30 dollar flight in my pocket (read about that here). I’m honestly still pretty amazed.
I began overthinking and doubting this trip after about two days. Was it too impulsive? This mini Vacay was going to be next month. Less than thirty days! On top of that, I have a London trip after this one! I made myself a little promise that I was only going to spend what I absolutely needed. In all honesty, this ended up to be one of the best vacations of my life. Here’s how I did it!
budget travel rules
I have listed a few rules below that I made before and during my vacation that you can also apply to yourself if you’re going to be traveling on a budget.
1) check flight costs frequently
On Frontier, I had subscribed via email on when flights would drop down in prices. When I had seen an opportunity for a $28 Round Trip, I knew that I had to take it. I wouldn’t have seen that deal if I didn’t constantly check up on the plane ticket!
Opt In to receive emails from the airline regarding when the prices will drop for the destination.
2) only spend what you need
While I was in SD, I ordered about five meals in total. It’s actually crazy looking back and knowing I didn’t spend an insane amount of money on food, because that’s one of my favorite part of traveling! If you are on a vacation and you’re trying to budget while there, don’t go all out on food. I remember going to my hostel one night and thinking “I need to go out and get another meal”, but then I held that thought remembering that I still had something left over from the previous day. It wasn’t the best experience to eat a left over meal on a vacation, but it wasn’t necessary to buy something new! Plus, it saved me money towards treating myself to sushi next to the beach the day after.
If you’re traveling to experience various foods and want to try new things, you can order small portions of everything you want to try. This will save room in your stomach for different things, while also saving money. For example, for the sushi I had, I tried several small rolls rather than one big roll. This helped me to finish my food easier and save a lot of money on my bill.
3) make sacrifices if possible.
I felt uncomfortable with the idea of staying at the hostel. One bathroom, sleeping around strangers, socializing, etc.. (it turned out to be fine!) I was definitely uncomfortable with the thought of the accommodation and walking as transportation, but even more uncomfortable to think about going to Europe with nothing at all. Suck it up! The first place added up to be $80 for a two night accommodation at Ocean Beach Hostel and the second one was a one night accommodation at ITH Adventure for $30. In total for three nights in San Diego, $110.
That adds up to be less than the price I would have paid for a one night stay in an average hotel.
Side note: if you don’t feel comfortable or safe in certain areas do NOT ignore your intuition because of cost. Your safety matters the most. I never really felt threatened by walking, but I always had my Lyft app on hand if a place looked too sketchy or unsafe.
4) pack less
I didn’t buy Checked baggage. Not even Carry on. Hey! I didn’t pack less because I wanted to wear bikinis the whole time! Well.. maybe that is why.. But I also packed less because carry on was an extra $40, and checked baggage was the same. Together, that’s the price of two extra nights at a hostel!
If you can, pack less. I know it’s hard. I’m still learning that I don’t need every pair of heels or three huge “just in case” jackets. If it came down to it, I’m sure you could buy whatever you thought you needed at your destination for even cheaper than you would have spent on the luggage.
I’m sure there are more steps you can take for a thrifty vacation, but these four techniques listed did the job for me. This whole trip was a success and very much needed. I got the experience while spending as little as possible and I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything.
Enjoy a few pictures that were taken on the trip! (You can also follow me on Instagram to see more)