frugal san diego vacation ideas please
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  1. #1
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    Default frugal san diego vacation ideas please

    our family of 6 is set to go to san diego next month for 5 days. staying at a descent hotel that includes free hot breakfast. we are planning on visiting the 3 major parks (sea world, legoland, and the zoo). from what i gathered, getting the go card will save us money instead of buying at the gates or online. we are renting a car (our beater may not make it, lol!). and plan to dine in cheaper places. no fancy restaurants for us. after visiting the 3 major attractions, we will go to the beach, walk around.

    other than that, do you have any other suggestions on how to save money while in san diego?

    thanks!
    =) b

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    we are renting a car (our beater may not make it, lol!)
    It's only an 8-hr drive, your 'beater' must be in pretty rough shape? lol
    Your gas cost would be about $150 - so you would save about $600 or $800 on plane tickets, and about $150 for car rental.

    So - a trip savings of about $600 or $800 to drive. Or, if the beater needs a few things - tires, brakes, etc - that might be a better way to spend the money. As for door-step to door-step trip time - it's about the same whether you fly of drive.

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    Gas must be high there to cost that much for only an eight hour trip. We just drove 800 miles to the Black Hills in western South Dakota with our 8-cylinder truck towing a pop up camper into a stiff headwind for under $200.


    Since you're driving, bring a cooler. If you even do day trips very often, invest in a good five-day cooler and pack your own lunches in it every trip so you can minimize eating in restaurants. Doing that, the cooler will soon pay for itself. It's only the two of us and we barely leave the driveway without at least a small cooler with drinks in it. For longer trips we take a 100-quart cooler in the truck and also use our camper fridge. We eat a lot of fresh foods, including raw veggies for some of our snacks. I also have a picnic bag with paper plates and everything we could possibly need to eat lunches at rest stops or parks. Sandwiches are easy to throw together at a rest stop or park while the kids run around and burn off some energy, which they can't do in a restaurant as easily. Assorted types of salads keep well in a cooler if the dressings are added to each portion right before serving. We just finished off a pasta salad that was still fresh after seven days because I didn't add the mayo till each portion was served. Hard boiled eggs make great snacks on the road, as do apples and other fruits and veggies that can be eaten without dishes. I do a lot of food prep the day before we leave on a trip. It's work but then I don't have to do much cooking or cleaning during vacation. Planning food ahead of time can save you huge money with a family that size, and you can eat much healthier, too. We ate out three times on our recent eight-day trip, and that was unusual. Often we never eat out on a trip, or maybe once if there's someplace special we'd like to try.

    Remember water is a perfectly good beverage, and it's important to stay hydrated while traveling, especially in hot weather. You can't do that with carbonated, sugary beverages. We've found we feel much better if we get enough water and avoid too much pop or sugary drinks. We carry a small cloth cooler (not to keep stuff cool, it's just that it's the right size for a carry bag) that holds 9 stainless steel water bottles so we don't have to buy bottled water or waste space carrying cases of bottled water. We just refill the bottles as needed. In fifteen years of camping, we've only found two campgrounds that had water so bad we didn't want to drink it, and in both cases we had enough of our SS bottles in the truck to get us to the next park and better water.

    I read a tip on our camping forum years ago where the mom picked up cheap souvenirs of the destination at garage sales and smuggled them to the destination in the parents' luggage. Then she doled them out to the kids as if she had secretly bought the items as a surprise at the expensive gift shops at the parks they visited, and gave them to the kids at the end of the day in their hotel room. The kids were still young enough she could get away with that, the kids were tickled, and they saved a ton of money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by old guy View Post
    It's only an 8-hr drive, your 'beater' must be in pretty rough shape? lol
    Your gas cost would be about $150 - so you would save about $600 or $800 on plane tickets, and about $150 for car rental.

    So - a trip savings of about $600 or $800 to drive. Or, if the beater needs a few things - tires, brakes, etc - that might be a better way to spend the money. As for door-step to door-step trip time - it's about the same whether you fly of drive.
    our drive is about 10 hours. i was debating whether or not to take our van, and just use the $540 for rental car towards our van. i think that we may just go ahead and go that route. i wish renting a car would be $150! $540 was the cheapest find. for 8 days rental = $540 with hertz. everyone else wanted way more!

    our van is 16 yrs old, so not the best on gas.

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    definitely will be taking 2 coolers. one for drinks. the other for cold cuts/mayo and such. i plan on buying snacks at costco too.

    i forgot to say, our 16 yr old van fills up with about $40-49 when completely empty, at costco. gas price right now in bay area costco is $2.49 a gallon.

    last year, we went to see the big trees up nothern california, rented a van, i think it was a 2015, and it was super good on gas! needle barely moved. but our oldy van is not as good as the newer vans =(.

    i think old guy mentioned gas would be $150, i agree, for a newer van. but not for our older van. i think close to double (maybe that is pushing it, but close just to be safe) for our old van as we are going to drive a 10 hour trip round trip plus drive around san diego.

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    I think we were paying around $2.15/gallon in the wilds of the Dakotas, and that was an ethanol mix which drops the MPG so we hate it, but didn't have a choice. We generally lose about 1 mpg when towing the camper, well worth it for us because it cuts the cost of overnight stays to between $20-40/night and food costs to almost nothing. It's a rolling motel room with kitchenette. Plus we get to sleep in our own beds which we know are clean and eat our own food.

    Age of a vehicle doesn't have anything to do with mileage.

    Gas is always our biggest expense on a trip, by far.

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    Gas here has been jumping up and down. I paid $2.05 then $2.40 and i just saw it $2.25. Of course I use the Kroger card and knock it down .50 a gallon.
    Anyway.

    We have stayed in a kitchette motel. I groc. shop,arom the electric coolers w/ treat/snacks then load up back packs for the day. I am super careful not to forget anything like sunscreen.sunglasses.towels. because I hate being gouged or even having to pay Walmart for things I have at home-so lists.

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    Here's a tip: Don't leave your specially purchased on sale camera cards, new in their little packages, that you got for under $10 per 8-gig card, laying at home on the bed. We literally paid for that mistake when we filled up the cards in the cameras and had to pay $25 for a 2-gig card in Yellowstone, feeling stupid for forgetting our new cards at home but grateful at the same time that at least cards were available in the park.

    It was still a fantastic trip so we couldn't complain.

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    We visited SanDiego several years ago & found that we could buy a zoo membership that got our family in to both the zoo & the wild animal park, including parking, then we could use it at other zoos, even at home. We walked around Balboa park & there were free exhibits- I remember an art gallery. Then we got day passes for the public transit & road the train to Mexico just to say we had been there. That was kinda of weird, but for 5 bucks each, it was fun. We walked all over the place. There were a lot of homeless people. The hotel gave us instructions about encounters with the homeless. We had no problems.

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    Our normal mode of operation is to avoid eating out when we can. Even if we fly, we can get one of those foam coolers to keep a few things in our room. I don't know about San Diego, but these days there are CVS in most cities. They sell some fresh foods, like sandwiches & salads.

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    It sounds awesome!
    I wanna say thanks to resumeedge.com website and to writers, that work there, for their quick reply and good patience. My master is always crazy about requirements so I needed everything to be shiny. After using this writing service I have got my first “A” in the class!!!

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