How to Plan a Vacay to LA Without Spending Literally All Your Money

This article has been syndicated from Bel Around The World, an InfluenceHer Collective Member. Read the full post here.

Are you one of those who thinks that a glitzy getaway to Los Angeles requires a hefty price tag that only celebrities can afford? TBH, that's how it feels sometimes. From finding a cute place to stay to budgeting out your transportation, all your vacay expenses can add up and add up quickly

But no worries — a budget-friendly trip to the City of Angels is totally possible. What's the secret? Proper planning. With careful preparation and research, you can make it out to LA without completely breaking the bank. 

Know the efficient way to get around

You can skip the expensive car rental fee and taxi fare by taking advantage of public transit. I highly recommend using the LA Metro Rail – it is the most economical to get around with service to a lot of hot spots like Universal Studios Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier and downtown LA. The fares are a whole lot cheaper compared to other major American transportation agencies.

For tourists, you must get a TAP card for $1 from vending machines and then pick which pass would suit you best: single ride, day pass, etc. But take note that public transit will not always be the most efficient way to get around; it can often add to your travel time.

Know where to stay

Hotels can be pricey, so I recommend an affordable hostel. The Banana Bungalow Hollywood Hostel, for example, is one of the reasons why I saved a lot on my recent trip. It is located in a pretty good location on Hollywood Boulevard, which is a pretty short walk from all the touristy goodness of Hollywood. Plus, you don’t have to walk far for the subway station and bus stops.

One way to save on lodging is to avoid visiting during the summer. Prices for hotel rooms are much higher during this particular season because that’s when the most tourist come. You can plan your trip during winter, spring or fall. Make sure there will be no big events, such as the Oscars, happening during your dates.

Know where to eat

The food in Los Angeles is significantly more expensive compared to the national average, so you really have to spend time reading those menu prices. What’s great is that this place has an abundance of the budget culinary scene that is just as flavorful as the restaurants marked with four-dollar signs on Yelp.

You'll find food trucks almost anywhere, which can be a delicious and affordable option — I purchased a burrito from a Taco truck worth $6 and it served as both my lunch and dinner. If you're in the mood for fast food, you can check out the area’s fast-food icons like In-N-Out Burger and Tito’s Tacos; I’m sure you will get obsessed with them as I did.

Purchase a Go Los Angeles Card

If you are planning to do a lot of plenty of sightseeing and activities you would like to check off your LA bucket list, then you should consider purchasing a Go Los Angeles Card. This will give you discounts to 40 top attractions, tours, and museums. It has been priced to save you money compared to purchasing individual tickets. You can choose from one to seven-day cards that will only be activated on your first use.

Make sure to see the free sights

You will be surprised to know that the best and most memorable attractions in LA are for free. This includes the Griffith Observatory when you can get amazing views of the city, including the celebrated Hollywood sign. You can also check out Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Get your adrenaline pumping to by hiking the Runyon Canyon. This popular hiking spot is conveniently located in the heart of the city and offers priceless city views on a clear day. You can choose from easy to challenging trails and it is totally free. If you have some extra budget, you might want to pick one activity that is not for free like a studio tour or a beach activity like parasailing; whatever you think that will let you get most out of your trip.

Los Angeles is definitely not the cheapest place for a vacation. However, you can make a dreamy vacay to LA happen. As long you know where to look, you can absolutely have a great time without emptying your wallet. 

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