Tips for traveling Southern California on a budget

As a CPA it is natural for me to analyze the best deals for exploring Southern California. My goal is to get the best experience for the best price. If I am able to effectively accomplish my goal, I may have some money left over for another adventure.

I plan on writing a variety of articles on how to travel Southern California on a budget. I want to bring my experience as well as my analytical talents to others looking for a good time while not trying to break the bank. In this article I will give some general ideas for saving money on a day trip.

Tip #1 – Pack a lunch

It may not be the sexiest travel idea for a day trip, but generally speaking, it could easily save you $20 for a family of four per meal. That equates to a minimum of $60 for a days worth of meals.

Tip #2 – Check the air pressure

Studies have shown that low tire pressure could result in the loss of a couple of miles per gallon. In theory, the harder the car has to work, the more gas it will use. It makes sense. A couple of miles a gallon isn’t much over a short distance, but it can add up over multiple, long trips.

Tip #3 – Pick a destination close to home

There are usually spots around most communities that go unvisited. If I get a comment saying that someone has visited every worthwhile location within a 25 mile radius around their house, I would have trouble believing them and would have to prove them wrong. Do a little research on Google and visit one of those locations.

Tip #4 – Look for discounts

Many locations offer a variety of discounts throughout the year. For instance, Catalina Express offers a birthday special that we took advantage of last year. Multiple business around the island offer buy-one get-one free packages. The ferry ride over was also free for the person on his birthday.

Tip #5 – Travel off season

Many businesses offer better deals during certain times of the year. Summer tends to be the most expensive with the most demand, so prices will generally be higher. I talked to one of the shopkeepers at Calico Ghost Town which is east of Barstow in the Mojave Desert. She told me that their busiest time of year is in the summer. I don’t know if you have ever been to the Mojave Desert in the summer, but it can be awfully miserable. This goes to show that people will endure even the most miserable conditions to travel during that time of year.

Tip #6 – Watch for free events

It seems that throughout the year, especially during the summer, many communities and organizations host free events. A few summers ago I was able to see the Commodores and Kansas for free in a show hosted by a neighbor city. Total cost for each show was approximately $6 (gas). I suggest each person to take some time every few months and locate a couple of local events to attend.

Now carry on my wayward sons and daughters and go experience the world around you!

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