|San Fransisco is foggier than St. John's! |
It's ok I am use to it, bring it on!
How were we going to pull that off without spending a small fortune?
Challenge accepted. We spent 7 days in California for about $225 a day. including accommodations and food. Here are my tips to do this yourself.
1. Travel points are not stamps, stop collecting them! If you have them spend them! Hubby was bad for hoarding his aeroplane points, he could nearly get the other side of the world. (Not kidding) With my flight being covered by work to get to the conference I was not spending $800 for him to join me. After using a fraction of his point balance hubby was sitting right next to me for a total of $126. Saving points is good if you have a goal, you need 45,000 for Hawaii? Good aim for that but saving hundreds of thousands? Go on vacation will you!
2. Search for the best hotel price. I had a bed in a shared room during the days of the conference. I am sure my rookie didn't want to hear Hubby snore in his under ware, so we needed a room for all 7 days were were there. Research travel websites that often have rooms at better prices. Or have added bonuses. I like www.bookit.com. We got rooms for an average of $120 a night. Some came with vouchers for coupon books down on Fisherman's Wharf. They came in handy for little things like free magnets or buy one get one free ice creams and coffee. We also looked for a hotel that had free breakfast. I don't mean cold muffins and coffee on a table in the hall. I mean fresh waffles, eggs, oatmeal. Things that would fill you until lunch because eating out 3 times a day for 7 days will eat your budget.
3. Speaking of eating I discovered this other website because of www.bookit.com, my room came with a $50 voucher for www.restaurant.com. You can use a map locator to find restaurants near you and buy a discounted gift card. You can then use your app to redeem it. The great thing is if you get in front of the restaurant and they don't quite look like you thought they would (never had the problem by the way, they were all great) you can just simply log in a swap from another place. My gift cards were all spend and get- meaning i bought a $25 certificate and got $25 free, so basically I got my meal and drink and Hubby's was free. It cut our bill in half. As far as I can see this is only in the US right now but it is great thing to keep in mind for Canadians who plan and a visit across the border.
4. Check to see if there is a bundle card available for attractions. San Francisco has two options, the Go Card available here http://www.smartdestinations.com and the City Pass available at www.citypass.ca. We bought 5 day Go cards that allowed us to do our choice of 31 attractions. There is one catch, you can only do then until 5:30 each day. From tours of Alcatraz and boat tours to bus tours we used this card to see pretty much every thing we wanted to see. They were $150 each and I calculated we did about $450 in sightseeing so we saved $150. If I wasn't hindered by work :) I am sure we would have added another $200 to that at least as we would have squeezed in the bus tour to Napa at $85 each and a few other items.
5. Now calm down I didn't go to San Fransisco and not go to Napa, the bus tour just didn't work with my work schedule, I mean that is what I was truly there for remember? We decided to rent a car and make the most of the last two days we had there as the conference was over by then. We got our rental car for $20 a day. Don't just call a rental place and ask for a rate, as you did with the hotels, check online. I used www.priceline.com and I did the name your own price. If they don't like the price you named they will just come back with their lowest anyways. We got a small economical car and drove to Napa one day and all the way back to Santa Cruz the next, it cost us $35 in gas.
So there, those are my suggestions, never take a listed price at face value. I am always determined that there is a cheaper option out there somewhere and I just gave you a few good sites to find them. The tourist industry is a multi billion dollar industry for a reason, just aim to give them a little less of your hard earned money without sacrificing the trip of a lifetime you have planned. It can be done with a little advance planning.
So where are you headed next?