Every week I share five frugal things that I’ve done during that week just to show you that the small things you do all add up to a great frugal lifestyle where you can learn to live a fabulously frugal life.
Before I start though, in case you don’t already know, I should say that when we originally booked our trip to LA we chose a mid-range hotel that was nowhere near as nice as the one we ended up in. We were upgraded after an issue with the hotel we booked led to us making a complaint and ultimately ended up in an amazing hotel in a much better location.
The fact that we were lucky enough to get a luxury hotel for the price of the budget one we’d booked turned our holiday from a dream trip to a once in a lifetime kind of deal – something we’re very thankful for.
1) One of the things our hotel offered us was the use of their town car (a Tesla no less) and driver and we made full use of it!
I don’t think there was a day when we didn’t use it for at least two trips so you can imagine just how much money it saved us over the course of the week. It only operated within a set radius of the hotel but because of the hotel’s location, that actually covered quite a lot of the places we wanted to visit which was fantastic.
2) As much as our hotel was absolutely amazing, it definitely isn’t aimed at people like us on a budget!
Our room had the best stocked mini bar I’ve ever seen with a huge variety of drinks and tempting snacks but at $5 for a small bottle of water, there was no way we were going to be sampling any of them.
We ended up pushing all the hotel goodies to the back of the huge fridge and filling it with bottles of water and snacks of our own bought from Target. For the equivalent of one hotel bottle of water, we bought enough water to last us for the whole duration of our six-night stay – with leftovers. 😉
3) Because of the research, we did before we went, we knew pretty much the things we wanted to see and do and we knew what was close enough to be done at the same time.
So we knew for example that on the day we went to Santa Monica we were also going to head to Venice Beach. We knew that we wanted to say the main tourist things in both areas – the Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach etc but we also knew that we wanted to find the Venice Canals which I genuinely wouldn’t have known existed without research as they’re about a ten minute walk from the promenade area and they’re not signposted or anything.
Imagine being 10 minutes from this and not visiting! We had a walk down by the canals and it was genuinely a world away from the madness of the beach area – it was so tranquil with just a couple of people wandering along the paths. We didn’t spend a penny (or even a cent) on the day we visited Santa Monica and Venice Beach as we took our own water and a few snacks from our Target snack supply with us and we just enjoyed wandering.
4) We thought a large amount of our budget would be food and drink as we’d heard how expensive it could get in LA for eating out but we discovered a huge Shopping Centre within the area that our hotel’s car would take us which had a fabulous dining court there with all sorts of places to eat for all budgets.
I think the most we spent on a meal for the whole week including our drinks was $27 dollars and that was in Shake Shack which was amazing and had been on our LA Bucket List. The other nights we either did Chipotle which was about $18 or Panda Express which was about the same as Chipotle – portions were huge and we sat outside most nights on comfy chairs with heaters to keep the slight chill at bay.
Breakfast was around $10 a day and consisted of a pastry of some kind and a drink each, usually eaten outside in the sun which was the perfect way to start our days.
5) We mainly used cash to pay for things while we were away but a couple of things I did use my card for and when I did, I was faced with that question that I always forget the answer to – do I want to pay in local currency or did I want the retailer to do the exchange for me and charge me in sterling?
I got it right this time and made sure I selected the option for payment in local currency as I know that the small amount my bank charges me to pay in dollars would be less than the extra that the retailer would charge me for the honour of converting the amount into sterling for me.
Merchants notoriously use a much poorer rate of exchange than your bank would so you’ll usually end up worse of if you choose to pay in sterling although it’s definitely worth checking this out with your own bank before you go on holiday though as they’re all a little different.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll also be sharing details of our trip to LA over on my travel blog, Wanderlust and Me so I’d love you to pop over and check them out if you get chance!
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