Somehow now that I live in Ohio, everything seems expensive when traveling to the east or to the west coast in the US. And California is NO exception! Here are a few things on saving money in San Francisco, Sonoma and Napa Valley:
1. I’ll say it again and again, we set a budget by day and tried to stick to it.
2. Buy your snacks at a grocery store or market in San Francisco. SF has great markets throughout the city so ask where you are staying to find the nearest place.
3. Don’t rent a car for SF… there is plenty of public transportation (BART is the commuter train) from the airport to your hotel and getting around the city.
4. If you are touring around by trolley in SF and for several days, I recommend buying the Muni & Cable Car 7 Day Passport. This can be purchased through citypass.com and offers discounts to some of the local attractions. Note that kids 4 and under ride FREE!
5. When you do need that rental car, it’s usually cheaper to rent a car from the airport than from one in the city, and then you can return it more easily when you are flying out (and usually it’s cheaper to rent and return at the same place).
6. If we are traveling without the kids, we tend to have a big breakfast and skip lunch as it’s one less meal we have to worry about (and usually our hotel provides the breakfast). With the kids, we make sure to order one meal per two adults as portions are big in the US, even in Cali. And although I hate to admit it, we take some of the fruit from breakfast for our snacks!
7. Stop at Target on the way into Napa Valley! My cousin told me about this and so we bought snacks and water for the car on the way out so we would have food between our taste testing.
8. Use the Foursquare app on your smartphone if you have one. Many times if you “check in” on this app when you arrive, there is a Buy One Get One Free offer for some of the wineries.
9. Other times we bought only one tasting and split it. One of us did have to drive!