My boyfriend and I are both pretty adventurous people which means we have the shared desire to travel! I am a California girl, but my boyfriend was born and raised in Texas. He has been in Cali for a little while now, but hasn't seen some of the best places in our amazing state, so we figured our traveling should start right here in California.
Now, I have only been to San Francisco once. It was last summer with my parents and I only got one day to explore because we just passed through on our way up to Oregon. This time, it is just my boyfriend and I, and the two of us are balling on a budget! So here is how we managed to plan this super fun, three day trip, without spending all of our savings!
1. The Hotel
Groupon is quickly becoming one of my best friends when it comes to planning just about anything! The deals are constantly changing, so the one we used is already gone, but new ones are always available! We used a Groupon to get a hotel right in Union Square at a discounted rate. Once we split it between the two of us, it was even more affordable.
2. How to Get There
So this expense is pretty unavoidable, the two of us agreed it would be better if we flew there. It would take us over five hours to drive each way and we wanted as much time there as possible. My advice is to plan your trip far enough in advance to where you can save a certain amount of money each week, for a few weeks, and use that money to purchase your airfare! However, if you do not have limited time for your trip, or you live close enough, take the drive! You will have to spend money on gas, but it could end up being cheeper than the flight!
3. Transportation Around the City
This was one of the things I was slightly stressed about when originally planning the trip. At first, I was thinking that we could walk everywhere, but then I mapped out the places we wanted to go, walking was definitely a no-go. Then I thought about Uber, but if you have ever taken an Uber, you know it isn't particularly cheap. Convenient? Yes. Although it does add up quickly. In San Francisco though, there are a few public transportation options you can resort to that are much cheaper. We bought Muni passes! Muni is a public transportation system in San Fran that was able to take us to all of our destinations (except the hotel, we had to take a van!). We purchased three day passes for $33! You can buy these online or on your smartphone with the "MuniMobile" App. I was able to access all of the routes through the Maps app on my iPhone, but you can also download another app called "MuniWatch" to look for routes as well.
This is another unavoidable expense. If you are driving to San Francisco, you can pack some food and switch off between eating the food you brought and going out to eat (because let's face it, San Fran has some yummy foods!). If you're like us though and you are flying, you might have to save up for this part! One idea would be to look at the places that are near the hotel you're staying at and randomly buy gift cards to those places in the time leading up to your stay. You're still spending the money, but at least it's a little more spread out. Also, plan when your expensive/fancy meals are going to be! Not all of your meals have to be expensive, designate one or two that are and then eat cheap for the rest! Also, see if your hotel has a breakfast deal (some of them do!).
So this is kind of just a bonus one! Ebates is this awesome website I use to earn cash back! Whenever I want to buy something online, I always check Ebates first! You basically create an account, and go to websites through Ebates to purchase whatever you want. Then Ebates will give you a percentage back of what you spent. It adds up and every few months they send you a check. It's super simple and it doesn't cost you anything extra! They usually have a good cash back percentage rate with Groupon which is super awesome if you are getting your hotel through their. The money you get back could be used as your spending money for the trip!
I am no traveling expert, but I managed to plan this trip and hope my tips can help someone else who is also a struggling student or just ballin' on a budget!