San Diego


Let’s face it, vacations are expensive. Traveling to and from your destination, checking out the local food and bar scene, as well as entertainment all add up very quickly. The anticipated costs of a trip can easily scare away many people, especially those who don’t have much trip planning experience. However, doing a little bit of research prior to planning your trip can ease your mind and the stress on your wallet.

Choosing somewhere that is easily accessible, think a few hour drive or short flight, can lessen travel costs significantly. If driving, invite lots of friends to split gas, but if you choose to fly, make sure to check out as many options as possible. Cheap flights between major cities regularly go on super sale! Rumor has it that buying tickets six weeks prior to your departure is the prime time for the best prices!

San Diego, California is a prime vacation destination that is easily accessible from many places. With flights from major cities like Denver, Chicago, and Houston available for under $200, flying is an economical option. San Diego is less than 6 hours by car from Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas, making it something to consider for even just a long weekend visit.

San Diego offers visitors plenty of things to do but finding options to fit a limited budget takes a little bit of extra work. Thankfully, the city has plenty of affordable options.


La Jolla Cove


La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is one of the city’s top attractions. It is a small, secluded beach offering visitors some of the best views in the area. It is considered one of the most photographed beaches anywhere in California! The beach is home to smaller surf, making it great for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The waters and the animals that inhabit it are protected, as the entire cove is included in the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve. With an abundance of fish, whales and dolphins, this is a great place to check out some of the ocean’s most amazing creatures. Whether it is by standup paddleboard, kayak, snorkeling or diving, the beach’s incredibly clear water makes this a prime whale and dolphin watching area.


San Elijo State Beach

Just a short drive north of San Diego is San Elijo State Beach. Entrance to San Elijo is very affordable at $15 per vehicle. If you’re planning on camping out, make sure to reserve your campsite, which you can do up to six months in advance. There are numerous campsites that for both RVs and tents. While at San Elijo, entertainment options are extensive. For those with children, the park offers a Junior Ranger program designed to both educate and entertain kids. The Eli Howard Surf School offers overnight surf programs for the adventurous type. Classes are offered for surfers of all skill levels and can easily accommodate larger groups. San Elijo is a great affordable option for anyone checking out the San Diego area.

Petco Park

Sports, Zoos, and Museums

Like most other major American cities, the city of San Diego has plenty of things to do, including watching sports. The city is home to the San Diego Padres, a major league baseball team. Unlike other major professional sports in the US, it is still very affordable to attend a baseball game. Tickets can be had for under $20 for many of the team’s home games.


San Diego Zoo

The city is also home to the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, which is home to over 3,700 animals of 650 different species! Long known as a pioneer in the zoo industry for its innovative ideas, like open air cages and creating very realistic artificial animal habitat, the San Diego Zoo is one of the top attractions in the city. Admission starts at $44 for children and $54 for adults and includes a full day of activities, making this a great bang for your buck option.

Another top draw for many visitors to San Diego is the Natural History Museum. Admission here is very affordable ($12 for children, $19 for adults) and there plenty of exhibits to explore. “The Nat” as it is affectionately known, has many great attractions with some of the favorites being dinosaur and Southern California Geological history.

San Diego is a top vacation destination for many thanks to its great weather and variety of attractions. You could stay for weeks at a time and just barely scratch the surface of things you can do. Don’t let the anticipated costs of a vacation scare you off, spending time here is very doable, even on a tight budget, with some good planning and preparation!


By Jayson Goetz.

Jayson Goetz is a writer from Phoenix, Arizona that is passionate about traveling on a budget. Being a broke writer, Jayson soon learned that if he wants to travel he needs to find the best deals. He loves sharing his experiences and tips in hopes of helping people travel the world.

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