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California is an incredible destination. You’ve got jaw-dropping National Parks, incredible coastlines, fantastic cities, and amazing wine regions. But California is one of the most expensive destinations in the United States and the world.

So I’ve rounded up my best budget tips and tricks to help you take your dream California vacation.

Here’s how to travel California on a budget!
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Travel California On A Budget

Rent an RV. RV parks are everywhere in the state, even in the large cities. An RV will let you save money on accommodation and food.

Visit during the shoulder and off-seasons. If you avoid Spring Break weeks, the summer months, and holidays, then your money will go much further. Northern California is one of the Best Destinations To Visit In October, and all of California is one of my Fantastic Places To Visit In April.

Take day trips to more expensive cities. Visiting San Francisco, Monterey and Carmel, Los Angeles, Napa Valley, Palm Springs, and San Diego as day trips will save you a lot of money on accommodation.

Travel California On A Budget

Do free activities. Scenic drives, self-guided walking tours, hikes, and lounging on a beach are all iconic California vacation activities that (with some careful selection) are free.

Book ahead of time. Booking accommodation, transportation, tours, theme park tickets, and other activities ahead of time can save you money.

Use your points. Credit card reward points and hotel loyalty points can go a long way to offset the cost of a California trip.

Eat off the beaten path. Don’t eat at restaurants near famous landmarks. You’ll pay a premium to eat in Hollywood or near Pier 39 in San Francisco.

Travel California On A Budget

Drive a high-MPG car. If you’re driving your vehicle, bring the most fuel-efficient one in your family. And if you’re renting a car, get a high-MPG vehicle because gas can break the bank in California.

Bike, walk, and use public transportation. If you’re in one of the larger cities, opt to leave your car behind and walk, bike, or use public transit. This will save you money on gas and parking.

Thoroughly research accommodation options. Compare hotel prices across multiple sites to make sure you’re getting the best deal. And consider a hostel or Airbnb.

This post is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this article about how to travel California on a budget are entirely my own. Some of these links are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

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