Big city vacation destinations offer excitement and cultural enrichment. For example, a world-class city like San Francisco boasts diverse attractions such as its famous China Town and Alcatraz.
San Francisco, like many other major cities, is also well known for being pricey. With planning and creativity, however, a savvy traveler can save money and still enjoy big city experiences.
Consider Mass Transit and Bike Rental
Big cities just aren’t very good at accommodating vehicles. Although smart phone apps like Best Parking and SF Park help you find parking spots, you’re still paying to park a car.
To save money you could skip the car rental and use taxi cabs and buses instead. Tourist areas in big cities usually connect major attractions with mass transit systems. Riding a bus may not sound glamorous, but you’ll get to see everything without struggling through traffic on unfamiliar roads. Plus you won’t have to pay for parking.
When a bus is inconvenient or unavailable, you can always take a cab. This costs more than the bus but still provides effortless transportation.
Bike rentals are sometimes available in cities like San Francisco or Chicago. If the weather allows, look into biking.
Go to the Park
Municipal parks are generally free. In San Francisco they also offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. A day spent strolling or biking through a big city park will immerse you in a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Control Your Lodging Budget
When every dollar counts, you may want to focus on paying for events and fancy food instead of a luxury hotel. By planning ahead you might be able to find hotel deals online. One resource is Hipmunk’s FAQ on staying in San Francisco where you can browse information about hotels.
A good tip for the budget traveler is to book a room in a neighborhood outside the expensive tourist districts. If you know people in the city, perhaps you can stay with them. Maybe you could arrange to house sit for someone who’s out of town and enjoy free lodging during your vacation.
Staying on Budget at Museums
If you enjoy visiting the same city often, consider investing in a membership at the museum you love visiting. This will give you a discounted rate every time you go. You can also check online to see if a museum has any discounted days in the middle of the week. Only pay for a special exhibit ticket if you know you’ll have time to see it. Most museums have plenty to offer for a basic rate.
Professional Sporting Events
Going to a stadium or ballpark can be a real budget blaster. Tickets can easily go for over $100 a seat. Strategies for saving money at sporting events include looking for ticket specials, buying seats from a season ticket holder, and skipping the food at the park. Concessions are high cost, so it’s best to save your money for dinner at a nice restaurant before or after the game.
Although urban centers demand high prices, they remain rewarding places to visit. The cultures, cuisine, and fine arts that can be experienced in big cities create unforgettable memories that will inspire you for years to come.
This post was provided by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, a travel website that helps you to locate the best deals on transportation, accommodations, and more.