My wife and I just spent some time in San Francisco this past week. I was there for work during the week, and then my wife joined me there on the weekend.
We had a wonderful week doing the tourist thing, visiting all the well known San Francisco landmarks from Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge.
The picture below is a panorama composite of 3 photos showing the famous “Postcard Row” houses on Alamo Square.
Neither one of us had ever been to San Francisco, and we weren't sure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised, and we found it to be a beautiful city, with tons of things to do, great food, and very friendly people.
The weather was picture perfect, in the 60s and sunny all week. From talking to some folks who live there, this kind of weather is pretty much the norm here. For us Minnesotans who are used to the single digit temperatures in February, it was a virtual heat wave.
Traveling To San Francisco Can Be Expensive
We do have one confession to make – we spent way too much on eating out while we were there. San Francisco is an expensive city – and if you're not careful you can find you've spent yourself into the poorhouse. Luckily we had budgeted for this vacation so we didn't break the bank, but beware!
If you're thinking of taking a vacation in San Francisco, don't hesitate – just book it. It is one of America's great cities, and you won't regret a moment you spend there.
Money Saving Tips In San Francisco
If you do go to San Fran, here are a few tips to save some money on your vacation:
- Avoid the rental car: If you can, avoid getting a rental car because parking can cost an arm and a leg in San Fran. If you're planning on traveling outside of the city proper, you may need to get a rental car, but don't forget to find and stack discounts on your rental!
- Buy a transit card pass: Buy a Muni transit card pass to get discounted public transport rides while you visit.
- Plan your trip in advance: Make sure to plan your trip in advance to find the best deals on your airfare and hotel. Use tools like the Bing airfare predictor to figure out the best time to purchase your airfare. Use online aggregators to find a discounted hotel deal.
- Stay outside of downtown for a more affordable hotel: Hotel prices in San Fran can be extremely pricey. To find a better deal look outside of the central downtown area. Also make sure to search aggregators like Priceline, Hotwire and others.
- Eat more fancy lunches than dinners: Want to eat at a fancy restaurant? Try having lunch there instead of dinner. It's often quite a bit less expensive.
- Make sure to visit free attractions: There are a lot of things you can do for free in San Francisco, including visiting Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. It's a beautiful city and sometimes it can be a lot of fun just to stroll through an eclectic neighborhood and people watch!
- Get discounted attraction tickets: If you buy multiple attraction tickets you can often get a big discount. Not only that, but some attractions like Alcatraz have several companies doing boat tours to the island. Make sure to shop around before you leave to find the best deal.
There are a ton of ways to save while you're on vacation. Just make sure to plan ahead, shop around and take advantage of money saving tips and tricks to have a frugal and under budget vacation!