Friday, February 19, 2010

Frugal Fridays: Budget Travel, Part 1

Just 2 weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to join my husband on one of his business trips. He regularly travels to California, and I got to join him last fall in L.A.

This time we went to San Francisco! I've always wanted to go there - to see the Golden Gate Bridge, tour Alcatraz, sample Ghirardhelli chocolate in its hometown, maybe even ride a cable car!

But how does one complete budget travel in a place like San Francisco? I'll share a few tips that worked for us.

Budget Travel: Part 1

  • Join your spouse on an already scheduled business trip. Buying one air ticket is much cheaper than two, and we were even able to utilize my husband's already booked rental car. We paid for 2 days on the rental car over our long weekend. We paid one baggage fee of $20 on my way out because I traveled separately. My husband has earned premier status with United, so he doesn't pay any baggage fees.

  • Visit friends! Travel is always a good excuse to see people you miss, and we have wonderful friends spread out across the country. We were blessed to be able to stay with friends while there, even getting to play with their kids and experience worship at their church. Another friend even traveled across town to visit us. Staying with our friends meant that we were 1 hour outside the city, so we planned accordingly and played in San Fran all day upon my arrival. On day 2 we drove 1.5 hours to see some redwoods at Muir Woods.

  • Be willing to eat fast food or takeout while on travel. I tend to be the picky one in our family, preferring fresh produce and food variety all the time. This point is really one for me! I've learned to bring Chick-fil-a coupons when I travel and seek out those restaurants if possible. We saved $6 on a Chick-fil-a meal because of the coupons I brought along. I also researched restaurants and printable coupons before leaving home and printed some Chevy's coupons. We ordered Chevy's takeout one night and picked up Baja Fresh another night. And when in California, one has to eat at In-N-Out, right? We did that one day for lunch, as well.

  • Be content with low-cost or free activities. For us on this particular trip, this meant being content with not paying ticket prices. We wanted to do an Alcatraz tour, but we weren't able to get tickets at a time that worked for us. I really enjoyed the view we got from walking out on the Golden Gate Bridge, then zooming in with my husband's camera. I have been fascinated with bridges ever since I read David McCullough's The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge. So seeing and walking the Golden Gate was a big moment for me. Another highlight was driving Lombard Street, San Fran's "crookedest street."

Stay tuned for more budget travel ideas!
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Anonymous said...

Good travel tips for those of us on a budget! Sounds like you had a great time!

UnfinishedMom said...

Great tips. You should link this up to LifeAsMom's Frugal Friday carnival.

Nicole said...

we're doing the same thing this summer - going w/ my husband on his business trip to Orlando. His job will pay for $109/nt towards hotel, we have to pay the difference. Found a resort hotel that has a special going on - 3 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, jacuzzi, 2 pools, etc for $159/nt and amazing reviews on tripadvisor.

Mary Ann said...

These are some great tips. Food is always a big expense for us; we love to eat good food! But on our last several trips, we've eaten more fast food (dollar menus) or shared meals at a regular restaurant. We usually travel by car so I'll also pack a few snacks, breakfast-type items(in case the motel breakfast isn't great!) and lunch for the first day. Every little bit helps!

Nicole said...

Another good idea is to get a used crockpot (so if it breaks, it's not your main one) and throw your dinner in that each day so you come back to a hot meal when you're tired at the end of the day.