Going back to the question I get asked the most, how I can afford to travel… I’m going to reveal how I plan my trips. My trips aren’t typically anything fancy and luxury, but budget travel means more adventure which is what I’m looking for. You have to put yourself in unfamiliar situations in order to get to know yourself, to see how you can adapt. At the end, I always walk away proud of myself that I was able to make it happen. That I’m stronger than I thought.
The truth is, I don’t blow all my money traveling. I have goals that I’m saving up for as well. I actually save quite a bit in comparisons to others around me. I just choose to travel ‘smarter’ as I like to call it. See… for me, I rather take 10 budget trips a year rather than taking 2 luxury trip a year. I worked full time, Monday-Friday, and I still managed to take at least 10 trips a year. I would just extend every long weekend by a couple of days, or I would leave straight from work to go catch a flight, or I even walked in with my luggage to work once in the morning! A weekend warrior I like to call it.
I’m going to show you how you can take a weekend 4 nights/4days trip to Los Angeles from Toronto for only $650 CAD including all transportation and accommodation.
I can afford to travel because I made a budget of where my money is getting spent at and then I prioritized. I cut down on expenses like getting eyelash extensions done, or getting my nails done every couple of weeks, stopping at Starbucks at least once a day, or getting that hair blow out at the salon. Instead, I put that money into what really made me happy and made me tick. Sure, I treat myself every now and then, but I became more conscious of how I’m spending my money.
I decided to make it a challenge for myself to plan a trip to show you that traveling does not have to cost a lot.I’m going to plan this trip assuming there is 2 of you traveling.
The dates I planned for this trip are Friday February 10th- February 14th. Take your significant other, or if you’re single then treat yourself to a little vacation and get away for Valentine’s day.
Here is a breakdown of the total cost per person. Read more to see how I crunched those numbers.
Airport Parking $30
Car Rental $88.50
Airbnb in LA $129.50
Airbnb in SB $51
Camping Fee $16
See… just a flight to LA from Toronto is typically around $500. Thankfully, Jet Blue airline has direct flights from Buffalo, NY to Los Angeles. Buffalo’s airport is only 2 hours away from Toronto. If you book these flights a few weeks in advance, you can score a really good deal on them. Jet Blue provides really good value for money. Their economy seats have more leg space than other airlines and their customer service reps are courteous and professional. They also allow you to bring a carry-on bag and a personal bag on board.
I was able to find a roundtrip direct flight from Buffalo, NY to Los Angeles,CA for only $300 CAD. Click here to access it.
If you want to search for other dates, just head over to Google flights.
So now to get to Buffalo airport you have a couple of options. Obviously you can take the greyhound bus which is only like $20-25 RT from Toronto to Buffalo’s airport. But I would rather drive to make the whole experience a little bit easier. Buffalo airport got the parking business down! For the dates of this trip, I was able to find On-Airport Parking for $45USD. They run a free shuttle 24/7 that can pick you up from the parking lot and take you to your terminal. Buffalo’s airport is fairly small so this mean you won’t have to do much to arrive at your gate, unlike Pearson airport. You pretty much walk in, no US customs to go through (since you already passed that on the drive at the border), complete the security check and you’re pretty much at your gate! The airport process in actually must faster than Pearson airport. Click here to get more info on parking.
You need a car to survive in Los Angeles! Plus, you want to be able to get off the grid and explore the beautiful coastline, and you can’t do that in an Uber! The whole driving on Highway 1 is an experience by itself that should not be missed. I was able to find a SUV car rental for pick up at LAX on the night of your arrival for $88.50 CAD/ person (when divided by 2). This means you don’t have to get an Uber when you get to LAX. Instead, you jump on the car rental company’s shuttle to take you to their office, you sign out a car and freedom begins! Click here for the rental car. I always use Kayak to search for the best prices on car rentals.
Alright, I wasn’t going to leave you homeless for the night….at least not for the first night! There is some fabulous Airbnb’s in Los Angeles that you can take advantage of to not only save money on your trip, but to really experience California living. I chose an Airbnb that I have stayed at myself during one of my visits to LA.
This place was really a gem with a private entrance and private bathroom. It’s like having your own studio apartment with a beautiful oasis in the backyard.
Oh, and it had a better shower than 5 stars hotels! It comes with Parking space, and it’s close to the highway so it’s easy to get around. Click here to see it. For this trip, I selected 2 nights at this beautiful place, Friday night – Sunday morning. Stay tuned for Sunday night! The next Airbnb is for Monday night, which is the last night. I chose this Airbnb in Santa Barbara that looks great from the reviews. Click here to view it. Notice that both places that I have listed are super hosts (Highly rated). Santa Barbara is only 2 hours away from Los Angeles and it’s going to be on your way to my next point….
Here is a picture of when I stayed at the LA Airbnb listed.
I love getting outdoors and camp, especially when in California. One of my favorite campgrounds in California, which I think is a must, is Jalama Beach. It’s only about an hour north of Santa Barbara. If you didn’t read my post about my camping experience at Jalama Beach, click here to read it.
Camping at this spot will allow you to see the beauty in the rugged coast line of California. It’s almost like you have done a trip to Big Sur, except without the 6 hours’ drive.
Camping at this campground is only $25USD/night. You can pull your car in and sleep in the car since you got an SUV. Just put the seats down, throw down a sleeping bag and fall sleep to the sound of ocean waves crashing against the shore.
There is a store on site that sells hot meals and famous Jalama burger. To check out the campground, and to book your site click here.
Gas in California is cheaper than Toronto (everything is so expensive here!), so $70CAD should be enough to get you around to all places mentioned.
Some of my favorite things to do in Los Angeles:
Hike the Hollywood sign
Visit the Griffith Observatory (free admission)
I love this place. Such a beautiful grounds and so educational. You can see the Hollywood sign and downtown LA from here too.
Walk/bike along the beach in Santa Barbara
Take a stroll down Manhattan Beach
Stop at El Matador Beach
Do the wine trail in Santa Barbara
*These pics are actually from Four season Santa Barbara. Even if you’re not staying there, go checkout their ocean facing Ty Lounge and the grounds. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
Bike on the strand from Venice to Santa Monica
If you want to be an audience for one of the Hollywood shows, like Price is Right or Jimmy Kimmel, checkout this website On Camera Audiences. You can sign up to be in the audience for free for whatever shows are being taped during your visit.
So there you have it! Hope this post was helpful!
P.S. Thank you to those who leave me a comment and support. It really makes my day to read them 🙂
As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out 🙂