My Last Weekend Trip: $232.80 Spent in Los Angeles

Have a friend you keep meaning to visit but never get around to it? Well, I finally visited mine on a weekend trip from the Bay Area to L.A. Thirty-six hours doesn’t seem like a lot of time for a vacation, but it truly felt like one. Here’s the breakdown of how much that mini vacation cost me:

Round-trip plane ticket from SJC to LAX ($137.80), purchased about one month in advance. I used and Hipmunk to compare prices, then cross referenced the best ones I found with the airlines’ actual websites. Flying out early (7:30 a.m.) Saturday morning rather than Friday night got me a better deal. Also flying into a major airport shaved off a few hundred dollars. Luckily, my friend was willing to pick me up there.

From there, it was off to brunch ($7.50)! We also visited the wonderful Getty Museum, which has free entry but the parking costs $15. We spent about four hours wandering the various floors, exhibits, and gardens, so it was a good deal for the amount of time we got out of it.

The Central Garden at the Getty Center.

Because we’d eaten a late brunch and stayed at the Getty so long, we had a late lunch/early dinner. I paid for both of us ($35.25 with tip) as a way to thank my friend for hosting me. I also snagged a chocolate caramel candy bar ($2) for later. After recharging a bit, we hit the movies ($11) to see The Heat.

Sunday morning I watched my friend play tennis (free) while skirting the edge of the court to keep in the shade. Afterwards we chowed down on brunch ($7.50) to refuel.

Returning to the hopeful wagging tail of my friend’s dog, we took him for a walk to the beach. Then we drove to Venice for dinner ($13) and took in the entertaining sights of the strip (free). After some satisfying gelato ($3.75), it was back to LAX for the flight home!

In total this weekend trip cost $232.80. Lucky for me, I had a friend willing to host me (no hotel costs) and be my transportation. But of course, you can’t put a price on friendship.


Heather Yamada-Hosley shares her travel tips and adventures on her blog.


28 Comments / Post A Comment

snackcarts (#3,300)

Will this be a recurring series? I hope so, because it’s always interesting to see what normally (day-to-day) thrifty people do/spend while on vacation. For example: I keep a daily budget in a tiny notebook, but that flies out the window when I’m on vacation (especially out of the country, not just weekend trips) and the total spent becomes “miscellaneous” when compiling the end of year budget.

On that note, I’d be more than willing to keep a log of my trip to England and Scotland in August (for 11 days, bye savings!) to look back on and weep upon if it’s for the good of this site, hah.

HeatherYH (#4,342)

@snackcarts I’m willing to keep contributing the costs of my weekend (and other) trips. Traveling can be expensive, so I try to set an estimated budget beforehand for myself (in this case it was $300) and then see how close I can stick to it.

Have fun in the UK, sounds like lots of fun! :D

bgprincipessa (#699)

@snackcarts I am going to (Ire)land and Scotland in August too! About 7/8 days. Good-bye, hard-earned savings. (Worth it)

snackcarts (#3,300)

@bgprincipessa Yay! Are you going to do anything specific? The Scotland portion of my trip is for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival but then my friend and I are just putzing around the south of England for the rest of the time, hah.

@snackcarts My cousin went to the Fringe Festival last year, she said it was fantastic! Btw, if you’re into Sherlock, there’s actually a museum at 221B Baker St. in London.

joyballz (#2,000)

@snackcarts I have my recent NYC trip priced out already and would be willing to share, but it was definitely not thrifty (saved for though!).

bgprincipessa (#699)

@snackcarts so I had never heard of that, and when I google-d the first result was for one in Baltimore (which is where I live!). That looks awesome though. To be honest, I haven’t had much time to plan sooo. There might be some putzing on our end too. But it’s basically just a general tourist trip – see some castles, drink some beer, listen to some music.

@bgprincipessa Summer is festival season, so there could be some cool and local festivals going on! Castles will be so epic! Sounds like a fun trip. :)

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@bgprincipessa Go to Belfast!

loren smith (#2,300)

@snackcarts I like the idea of this as a reoccurring series! I’m heading to Mexico in October and would be happy to log that.

@loren smith Sounds like the perfect time to go there! Are you traveling from far away? (aka not the SouthWestern states/California)

pixiesuperhero (#3,951)

These meal prices make me laugh. Obviously there was not a single alcoholic beverage consumed, but even still, in a major metropolitan area… I’d be very interested to know where/what you ate.

bgprincipessa (#699)

@pixiesuperhero Yeah I had the same thought… seem very low. $35 for 2 people, with tip? That’s about $13ish for each person? Idk, just seems low. And $7.50 does not a brunch make.

@pixiesuperhero You’re right! My friend is allergic to alcohol so I didn’t drink with her (thought it might be rude). But from what I remember on the menus, tack on an extra $6-10 per drink and you’ll get an idea. On Saturday (brunch) I ate potatoes with soyrizo, mushrooms, and avacado with a coffee. Saturday (lunch/dinner) was at Loving Hut in Orange, and we ate: spring rolls, spicy cha cha salad, lasagna, and two thai iced teas (plus the $2 candy bar). On Sunday for brunch: pancakes with maple syrup. For Sunday dinner: a burger at Seed in Venice, followed by a small gelato at Bonaventura Gelato Lounge in Marina Del Rey.

Thanks for asking! :)

@bgprincipessa That particular place features vegan only food. Once you take out meat/diary, the cost of the food goes down a lot.

joyballz (#2,000)

@Heather Yamada-Hosley we have a loving hut in Chicago! I loved the food, but the service was a little preachy about the diet. I got annoyed bc I’m already a vegetarian and I’m already here to enjoy your food, so shhh. Hopefully your experience was better!

bgprincipessa (#699)

@Heather Yamada-Hosley Oh, thanks for writing in your menu! Love hearing about food, always. I see.. that definitely makes sense. Although sometimes vegan alternatives can be pricey as well.

@joyballz I’m sorry to hear you didn’t have a great experience! The one I went to in Orange had very friendly people who didn’t say one word about the diet. I hope the food was good at least!

@bgprincipessa You’re welcome! :) Yeah, sometimes vegan food can be pricey when eating out (see the $13 burger). But this particular chain seems to be on the cheaper side.

joyballz (#2,000)

@Heather Yamada-Hosley Definitely! When I lived nearby they had a mushroom slider special on one of the weekdays. So cheap, so delicious.

@joyballz Oh my gosh, that sounds amazing! Mushrooms…yum! I need to check out the one near me in the Bay Area. The Thai Iced Tea was great too since normal places don’t usually carry non-diary alternatives.

@bgprincipessa I can’t even get brunch at Dunkin’ Donuts for $7.50 in DC. Maybe I should become a vegan. A paleo vegan. I’ll eat fossilized grass clippings.

@stuffisthings It’ll be cheaper, but you’ll face a lot of limits on what you can eat on a normal menu…It’s all about opportunity cost. Personally I think it’s worth it, but it can be a personal preference thing. Besides, those grass clippings aren’t gunna eat themselves. lol

chic noir (#713)

@stuffisthings A paleo vegan. I’ll eat fossilized grass clippings

This made me night.

readyornot (#816)

I think the LA-SF switchup makes for a perfect weekend away: the flight’s just over an hour, there’s no time zone change, and there are plenty of things to do in both places. I’m going the opposite direction this weekend for the holiday. My expenses will be more, though, because 8 other friends plus 2 who live in the area will all be convening, and we rented a house. I kinda can’t wait and am getting absolutely nothing done for work in the meantime!

@readyornot Ooh, that sounds like it’ll be loads of fun! Renting a house is a smart idea, I really want to organize one (that’s the hard part, right?). I agree, the SF-LA trip is perfect for a short getaway. Hope the rest of the day goes by for you quickly so you can get to enjoying the holiday!

Fig. 1 (#632)

As a Canadian, American airfare prices always amaze me. For me to fly equivalent distance, between two cities, would be at least double that, even with a seat sale.

@Fig. 1 I think it has something to do with the frequency of this route. Amazingly, some people commute using the LAX-SFO/SJC flights. I didn’t get a seat sale price, just purchased during the 4-6 weeks before sweet spot. :)

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