How to Travel Cheaper!

The top two tips alone save us $1000 a trip. Insane savings!

Tip 1 – Ditch The Hotels

Did you know that the average price per night for a 3 star hotel in major cities such as San Francisco, New York, and Boston are usually around $190 a night? So for a week trip, you’d be spending around $1300 after taxes just for your hotel room. And that’s not including your $500 round trip airplane ticket I’m sure you just booked as well.

For us, we’d like a week trip to cost no more than $3K after all expenses. That’s how we travel so often. Budgets. But for two of us, being left with a grand after hotel and airline fees isn’t enough money for food, souveniors, museum fees, and cruise tours. So, we started to switch to hostels instead of hotels. The average hostel is half the price of a 3 star hotel. So now, we are paying $620 after taxes for that week stay. That saved us $680!

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Our intimate hostel room in Boston

Tip 2 – Look for Niche Airlines

With the travel industry booming, more niche airlines are opening up. Niche airlines fly to specific destinations on specific dates which allows them to lower their prices since they are doing less air time on their part. Even though that means you’d have to plan your trip around when these airlines are flying, you’d be surprised with just how much money you will be saving.

We’re going to Oklahoma City to see Zach’s family during summer 2017 and were amazed by the price differences:

Regular Airline – American Airlines: $1,180

Niche Airline – Allegiant Airlines: $420

That saved us $760!

Some niche airlines include: Alaska Air GroupHawaiian Airlines, Spirit AirlinesLatam Airlines, and Allegiant Airlines.

Tip 3 – Stay Loyal to Companies

I naturally began using Booking.com for our trips because I felt like they made it simple to sift through all the options and find exactly what I need & their prices are usually lower than competitor sites. Since I use them so much, they actually made a special link for me. Now, if anyone books their accommodations through this link  not only do I earn $20 in travel money, but the person who used my link does as well!

On top of that, Booking.com has reward programs too. If I book 5 trips within a year with them, my fifth trip I can get a stay for free. I got all of this, just because I didn’t feel like googling different hotel names!

I hope you look into these options! Sometimes those top two tips alone save us around $1000 a trip. Don’t spend money that you don’t need to!

-Sam

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First Trip to SF…. What To See!

We’ve been to SF multiple times & continue to check out more areas of the city every time we drive in. So, for those who are overwhelmed and can’t decide just where to spend their limited amount of time, we got your back! These are the areas that we visit EVERYTIME we come back to this beautiful city!

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*Pier 39

Pier 39 is a must see for all tourists. It’s right against the bay and is a perfect hang out spot for families. There are sea lions that freely choose to call this place their home, which is an awesome chance to see these beautiful creatures up close!

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There is also a large collection of shops that have great food options and a ton of SF souvenirs. For parking, we recommend parking at Pier 39 Parking since you can stay there until the shops close which is at 9pm. If that lot is full, we also parked at Hotel Zephyr. Their prices are cheaper for those who are only staying at Pier 39 for a couple of hours.

IMG_7165As for eating, we definitely recommend Bistro Boudin

Estimated Time to Enjoy: 3 hours

Ghirardelli Square

Filled with local shops, two Ghirardelli’s, and an outdoor hangout area for adults packed with a ping pong table, and bean bag toss corn hole game! It’s an iconic stop for tourists to come and relax for an afternoon.

DSC02884Outside of Ghirardelli!
Estimated Time to Enjoy: 2 hour

*Alcatraz

Alcatraz is an amazing tour that everyone should check out! Remember that it does get booked quickly so ensure you reserve your date prior to your trip. Hopefully, a month before your trip to ensure you can get the date and time that you desire.

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We chose the night time tour since they said it’ll add an extra eerie feeling to the island, as well as being able to look back at the SF skyline during sunset. This tour comes with an audio tour that tells unimaginable stories that took place there when the prison was open.

DSC_0323.JPGEstimated Time to Enjoy: 2 – 3 Hours

*Sausalito

So when we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time, we didn’t really know where that road was going to take us, so we started to just turn down random side streets and ended up finding this beautiful getaway from the city. It’s a small boardwalk of souvenior shops, coffee shops, local food restaurants, and local clothing stores. There’s also a grassy area to sit & look out into the bay for some relaxation!

DSC02864Backdrop outside of the local shops
Estimated Time to Enjoy: An Afternoon

*Discovery Museum

Now we don’t recommend actually going to this museum. However, if you follow the directions to this museum, you’ll actually find our second hidden treasure. To the left of the parking lot, you’ll see bunkers that were built during the Civil War era that you can walk through. Our first time visiting SF we were overwhelmed with how expensive the hotel rooms were, so we ended up sleeping in our car near this museum because we just loved the background! Greatest view at the greatest price for lodging!

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Estimated Time to Enjoy: 1 hour

Muir Beach

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On the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge is Muir Beach. This beach is usually deserted when we come. It’s also a lot foggier than the other side of the bridge. But it’s a cool little hide out spot to relax and feel the breeze from the bay.

DSC03385.JPGEstimated Time to Enjoy: 2 hour

Coit Tower

The Coit Tower has a very tiny parking lot so we do recommend walking to it! With that being said, it is all up hill! It was a sweaty, rewarding walk. To actually go up the Coit Tower there is a fee per person, so we just stood on top of the high sidewalks in front of the Coit Tower to take in the amazing views of the city.

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When you’re leaving by foot, if you walk towards the southeast corner of the roundabout (near Christopher Columbus Statue) you’ll see this tiny trail that seems to go through people’s backyard. Take it! It’s a very cool, non invasive walk that leads you down near Pier 19.

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Estimated Time to Enjoy: 40 minutes

SF Cable Cars

If you want to see more of the city but don’t really want to keep driving around in circles, the Cable Cars are a great idea. You can get off and on when you please.

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Santa Cruz

For those who take trips without an itinerary and are up for an adventure, we went down to Santa Cruz one day when we wanted a break from the city. It’s a two hour drive from the Golden Gate Bridge. But is great for a little fun adventure!

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It’s an amusement park filled with roller coasters, arcade games, great carnival food, a pier that has some sea lions napping on a boat dock, and a beach! All in one place! Santa Cruz was one of the top highlights from our first SF trip!

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DSC03222Estimated Time to Enjoy: 5 – 6 hours

Now if all of these are even too much to schedule into your visit, the ones with the asterisk are our top, top choices that we think you should check out!

Enjoy SF!

-Sam