Monday, April 7, 2014

Saving Money on our California Trip

Mr. G and I try to plan our one big vacation each year for June because the weather is (usually) mild and we can double-dip and celebrate our anniversary too. This year we're heading to sunny California for a little over a week. We're so excited! 

We're flying in to San Diego, making our way up the coast, and flying home from San Francisco the following week. Everything is booked (we slowly made reservations over the past few months to spread out the cost) so the only thing left is making a playlist and lots of anticipation. :)
This had the potential to be a super expensive trip since there are plenty of cities in California renown for their high cost of living (San Francisco is #2 in the whole country!). So here are a few things we've done to lower the cost . .

We used a Southwest credit card to earn free flights. Southwest Airlines offers a credit card that allows you to earn points for every dollar you spend. Plus, if you spent more than $3000 in the first three months, you got a bonus 50,000 points. Those bonus points plus normal spending for a few additional months were enough to get us free flights to and from California. Score! (Side note - we pay our credit card off in full each month, so this was worth it because we had no interest charges.)

We booked at Hilton for 2 nights to score free Lego Land tickets. Mr. G is pumped about this. Lego Land tickets are normally $75 a person for adults, so while the Hilton's rates are about $20 higher than other hotels in the area, we're still coming out ahead. I see a lot of photo shoots with Lego statues in my future!

We're staying in some small towns. Hotels in big cities are more expensive, so we have a few stops along the way in tiny towns with much more reasonable rates. This way we still get a taste of LA and San Fran, but without spending a mortgage payment on accommodations. 

How do you save money on vacation? Do you have any trips coming up?

12 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great trip! I would love to see a Lego Land.

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    1. Me too! I've heard a lot of good things about Lego Land :)

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  2. Such a beautiful photo I am dying to see San Fran, so I look forward to how your trip goes. I like the sound of two nights in the Hilton!

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    1. I can't wait! :) Hopefully the Hilton's as nice in person as it looks on the website!

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  3. I'm so excited for your trip, and like Sarah I look forward to hearing all about it.
    We just booked 9 nights in NY for £186 - the cost of topping up our IHG points to cover the whole cost. Very happy!

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    1. I'm sure I'll write a few posts about it when we return :)

      £186 is fantastic! I've probably spent about 9 days in NYC if I combined all my trips there and I've still never spent the night!

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  4. That's fantastic that you could get the flights on points! Will be an amazing trip - can't wait to hear about it.

    PS. Please post lots of Lego pics!

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    1. Definitely! :) I'll share lots of Lego photos!

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  5. Great way to earn flight points! Well done. And an extra round of applause for paying off the credit card each month!!

    I often stay with in places that have a kitchenette so I can eat breakfast in the unit, prepare lunch and sometimes have a dinner. In New Zealand one place had a BBQ with a basket of implements to BBQ your meat. We then ate by the lake behind the unit. Much better food and cheaper than a restaurant.

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    1. Thank you! The kitchenette is a great idea! Definitely something to look for the next time we book a trip.

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  6. We try to get accommodations with kitchens from Home Away or Vacation Rentals by Owner. We'll also shop for groceries and usually plan to eat one meal out and have the other 2 as picnics or eat in. You could always just pick up some drinks and snacks. That will even save you a lot of money. Looking for free attractions always helps too! I'm jealous! You should have a great time :)

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    1. Thank you! I hope it's as wonderful as I imagine it! :) We will definitely be buying some snacks because I need something to munch on immediately after waking up while my husband prefers to take his time in the morning. So we can sometimes get away with a smaller breakfast as a result :) I'll have to google free attractions and see what I can find.

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