If you’ve been following my Instagram (and if you don’t, you should!) then you know that I was in Los Angeles for a mini vacation! It was my birthday and so my mom and I took a trip to Universal Studios. Now, I’ve lived in California for about six years and I have never been to LA. I figured since we were already going a few days for Universal that we might as well do some sight seeing too!
We spent a total of six days in Los Angeles and, yes, it was a little expensive. So how did I do it? How did I manage to take care of bills, have fun, and not stress about money? Read on to find out!
Before I begin, I must add that I did not pay for this trip entirely by myself. As I was going with my mom, she helped pay for things too. It was also my birthday trip so I deserved to get spoiled a little!
Airbnb. I’ve been using Airbnb for almost 2 years now and I absolutely love using it for trips! You’ll find it is much cheaper than staying at a hotel and the hosts are so sweet and some will even give great tips and recommendations! The one I booked was only 2 miles from Universal and it was around ~$850 for two people the entire stay. Before you let your jaw drop, understand that this was an amazing price! I did compare to other hotels and found that if we were to stay at one, the cost would be well over $1,100. The other great thing is that I was able to split this up into two payments – one half when I booked and the other half about a week or two before our actual stay. This was perfect because I wasn’t out $850 in one pay period and I was able to save up and be mindful for the next few months before the other half of the payment.
Plane Tickets. For the plane tickets, we used Southwest, my favorite airline. We get alerts emailed to us and they were having a sale going on with cheap ticket pricing. Also you don’t have to pay for checked bags if they’re under 50 pounds – you can’t pass that up!
The last thing we had to do was book a rental car. This was all on my mom as I am not 25 years old and cannot do so.
Lyft. This is a shout out to our awesome Airbnb host! She lives about 2 miles away from Universal. When we checked in with her, she asked if we were planning on going to Universal and if so, if we were planning on driving and parking there. We told her yes and she advised us that we take Lyft instead. From her place, it was $7 or less one way to go to Universal. Parking your own car was upwards of $35/daily. In the end, we totaled out that we used exactly $35 on Lyft to get us to and from Universal (and one night for City Walk). That saved us a whole day of parking and took out any stress of it as well!
I never like to check a bag unless I absolutely have to. I’m also the kind of person to over pack. I’ll bring multiple pairs of everything so that I have it just in case. I’ll pack the fancy outfit…just in case. I get crazy with it. This time, I packed extremely light and only had my carry on. I packed for my trip a shirt for each day, a sweater, two pairs of shorts, one pair of jeans, and three different pairs of shoes. It made packing so much easier and less stressful to do!
But Kait…that doesn’t have anything to do with saving money? Wrong! If you were packing this in a carry on and flying with an airline that doesn’t charge for a bag over a certain weight limit, you just saved yourself some money. You also saved space for yourself if you buy things while on your trip. Imagine if you bought too many things and didn’t have enough space for it all? You’d end up having to buy another bag or small suitcase to make everything fit.
The other thing I did to help save money was to buy empty travel size containers. If you’re like me and use a special shampoo and conditioner, you wanna stick with that and keep it with you on the trip. Most of the time, though, these shampoos and conditioners don’t come in travel sizes. Sure you could buy some other kind but you’re most likely not going to use the whole thing, it then never gets used again, and it goes in the trash. So I buy empty travel size containers and put my shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer into those bottles. Whatever I don’t use on the trip just goes right back into the original bottle and voilà! Money saved.
It doesn’t seem like much but doing all of these things helped take so much stress out of my vacation and allow me to have a fun time doing all the things I wanted while I was in Los Angeles!
What are your tips and tricks for when you travel? Comment below!