It’s important to know in advance how much money you are willing to spend during your travels or vacations. That’s why we came up with a series of travel budget on what we spent, to make it easier for you to plan your travels.

Keep in mind, we are budget-minded girls, who try to do as many things as possible for the little price. So, please, don’t rely 100% on our budget, but take a look at how things cost in this country. And yes, we write down absolutely everything we buy in a note in Google Keep, even a 10 cents bottle of water.

It’s divided into categories of flights, transport, accommodation, food, and entertainment.

California Travel Budget

California Travel Budget:

Flights

We took a flight from Barcelona to Los Angeles with LEVEL, the low budget company of Iberia. To our surprise, it was extremely cheap. We prepared ourselves with a lot of food for the 12 hours flight since cheap flights don’t offer often meals (that’s why is so cheap). But guess what… we totally forgot we paid a small extra fee for checked baggage and the food was included as well with this option. So typical us! And there we were, with extra double food that we had to finish before crossing the US border.

Flight Barcelona – Los Angeles $675

Surfer in Santa Cruz, California

Transport

California and public transport are not good friends at all. That’s why renting a car is the best option if you want to visit something more than one city.

RV in Joshua Tree National Park

Rental car 13 days $1100
Petrol $266
Total Transport $1366

Good to know: Take note that the amount you see in any page on internet for renting a car will never be the real one since they don’t show the price of the insurance, which is what makes so expensive to rent a car. The amount changes drastically if you are US resident. Then, you don’t need the same type of liability insurance than a foreigner. We recommend to get the insurance directly in the rental station or if you decide to pay the insurance from a partner, read carefully the small letter. We had a problem with Expedia where we paid in advance a policy insurance not valid for us because they would just cover a US resident, so we had to cancel and pay a new one. After a long flight, it’s an unnecessary headache.

Accommodation

We are lucky enough to have friends living in California, this made it much more affordable for us. Thousand thanks to Sara and Samu and Lluna and Leo who hosted us in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since we knew in advance accommodation is expensive in California, we took our camping gear to use it as much as we could, mostly in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Campground $78
Yucca Valley Motel $67
Palm Springs Motel $80
Total $225

Good to know: If you decide to do camp in Yosemite during summer, definitely check the official site for booking your campsite, it’s massively popular. Normally you would reserve it 6 months in advance, like a Rolling Stones concert.

For the total of 13 nights, we ended up paying only 2 nights in motels that we found on booking.com. Sometimes a shower is necessary after camping for 3 days…

Food

This ended up being quite expensive! Even if we ate almost everyday hummus with vegetables for lunch… One of our mistakes was shopping in Safeway which is an expensive supermarket. Instead, our friends recommended Trader Joe’s, and what a difference!

Restaurants $324.13
Supermarkets $128
Coffees $68.62
Snacks $12.45
Total $533.2

Some restaurant recommendations:

Isa doing picnic in Yosemite, California

Good to know: You should pay a tip when in a restaurant. Count between 10-20% more on the total amount.

Entertainment

That can be much more expensive depending on the activities you do. For us, the priority was hiking in National Parks, that’s why this category is one of the most inexpensive ones.

National Parks Annual Pass $80
Disneyland Parking $20
Laundry $5
Total $105

Each National Park costs around $30 per car. We decided to buy the annual pass for National Parks ($80) since we wanted to visit 3 of them. Now, we have one year of any National Park in the US, that’s a good deal.

Half Dome Yosemite, California

If you plan to visit an amusement park like Disneyland or Universal count with $100 more per person for only the entrance fee. We went to Disneyland because we had free tickets (Isa was working in Disney Research until the end of September 2018, so we spent her last complimentary tickets).

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