Budget Travel Ideas in California

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California Budget Travel

Although California has a reputation for being expensive and, in some ways, luxurious, visiting the state needn't be expensive. It's possible to enjoy the very best of what the Golden State has to offer on just a shoestring budget - providing you follow a few hints and tips.

Cheaper Travel Options

The first suggestion is that you use local public buses in the major cities and Greyhound buses inter-city, rather than expensive taxis or airplanes. But perhaps the best value mode of transport is private car. Indeed, some would say there's no better way to see California or the rest of the U.S. than by a road trip, as you get to take in all the sights at your own leisure, paying not a lot of money for gasoline and staying at inexpensive motels.

Yosemite - Fun and Mostly Free

The most famous national park in the U.S. is Yosemite and you don't need to stay in fancy 5-star hotels to admire its amazing views, especially the sunset from the vantage point of Tunnel View. You can stay in the cheaper rooms at Tuolumne Meadows, also a great place to hang out to avoid the summer rush. Alternatively, to make even more savings, you can even camp in some areas of the park.

The City of Angels on a Shoestring

LA is full of inexpensive hostels in top areas such as Melrose Place. Hotels intended for business people such as El Segundo (near LAX) will make good deals with you to fill their rooms. The sheer range of restaurants in the city, from 5-star bistros to fast food joints, will mean that every budget can be 'catered' to. City travel in LA can also be good value with the MTA buses and trains costing a basic $3 for a day pass, although watch out for crossing between zones that might make your journey more expensive. There are lots of great free things to do in LA too, such as Venice Beach (immortalized in countless songs and movies), the Getty Museum and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. These attractions are actually more impressive than many equivalents that you would have to pay a lot of money for.

Are You Going to San Francisco?

San Francisco also has a lot of free things to do for the discerning traveler. Take a fascinating walk around Chinatown and soak up the atmosphere that inspired writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. You can take some great photos of and walk across the fabulous Golden Gate Bridge. The cheapest accommodation is in hostels in places like Haight Street where you'll be staying with a host of interesting types of travelers and where the sense of community is really strong. As for food, a recent survey found that there were almost 300 restaurants in the Bay Area offering good meals for less than $10, so you shouldn't go hungry because of the size of your budget.

So, all in all, successful budget travel is about doing your research and keeping your eyes and ears open for the very best deals and bargains.

Contributors
January 19, 2010 change by sequoia maner

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