How To Visit San Diego On A Budget
Every few months or so the wanderlust bug bites me...hard. It's almost impossible for me to shake the fear of missing out. I mean, who doesn't want to go on vacation every once in awhile?! Luckily for me, the frustration subsides the second I purchase those plane tickets. I'm immediately flooded with relief and excitement. I'm not entirely sure whether I make up this Need-To-Travel-Now feeling to talk my boyfriend into going on a trip or if it is an actual phenomenon. Nevertheless, I usually get what I'm longing for.
I have traveled quite a bit in my life to wonderful places but one of my most favorite vacation spots is San Diego, California. This is for many reasons: 1. The beach of course! And all of the beach activities that come along with it (kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, swimming, tanning, etc.); 2. The food! (need I even mention the Donut Bar, the Baked Bear, Great Maple, Cucina Urbana, I could go on forever!) ; 3. The nightlife at Gaslamp and Hillcrest (great place to visit even during the day); 4. The beauty (San Diego is breathtaking!); and last but not least, 5. The ability to visit on a budget.
San Diego is a place we love to visit once a year so we can relax and recharge. We don't want to have to stress about money while we're trying to enjoy ourselves. There are a few things we do to save cash.
Airbnb is amazing! Airbnb features every type of stay imaginable and it's all at your fingertips. You can rent entire homes for under $100 a night, a room in someone's home for even less, and a mansion for $1,000 a night if you would like. There is an option for everyone in any type of financial situation. Truthfully, I have not used any other service since trying Airbnb years ago!
2. Utilize Your Fridge!
Most airbnb's are going to have at least a small fridge for your use. If you rent a home you'll have a whole kitchen at your disposal. Utilize it!
My boyfriend and I are such foodies; we love to try new restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries. We also love to buy snacks we can keep at our airbnb for those late night cravings or breakfasts. You can purchase things for cereal, sandwiches, anything you can think of. Don't forget water! Water can get expensive at times. This simple tip will save you more money than you anticipate.
3. Do Free or Cheap Things
San Diego is full of natural beauty! There are miles and miles of beautiful beaches to explore for free or for a small parking fee. La Jolla and Mission Beach are two of my personal favorites. There are cheap outdoor activities such as paddle boarding, bike riding, hiking. The first thing I did on my last trip to San Diego was go on a short hike at beautiful Sunset Cliffs (see picture below). You can't beat these views. I would also add the Suspension Bridge near Spruce Avenue and First Street and Balboa Park to your site seeing list. I know I am excited to visit Balboa Park in a few weeks!
There are plenty of amazing blogs out there with tons of free and cheap activities and adventures to check out on Pinterest. A Spectacled Owl's blog "Free Things to do in San Diego" is a great place to start.
4. Cheap Flights
If you happen to be flying to San Diego I have a few unspoken rules I usually follow to find cheap flights. First, flights are usually cheaper on Tuesdays! Why this is the case I have no idea. Second, there is usually a sweet spot prior to the vacation date when you should purchase your flights. In my experience this is usually 2-3 months prior to your vacation date. I always fly Southwest so I can only speak from my experience with them. Additionally, if you are able to get a Chase Southwest Rewards credit card, I would definitely do so! I just purchased flights for my boyfriend and I to San Diego for FREE. I only had to pay the tax for each flight, a total of $22.40 for a total of 4 flights. That's not bad at all.
I promise you you do not have to go in debt in order to earn points. Use your card for every day purchases you'd usually use your debit card for and pay it off at the end of the month. Just be careful to track every purchase. I promise this is not an ad; I always try to get my friends to sign up for one of these because I love it so much!
However, If you'd rather not fly Southwest, I have also heard amazing things about Allegiant Air. Check them out and let me know what you think!
I hope I provided you all with some helpful tips! San Diego is too beautiful not to experience. I hope you enjoy your visit!