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Tips and Tricks to Enjoy Your Los Angeles Trip on a Budget
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Tips and Tricks to Enjoy Your Los Angeles Trip on a Budget

Always wanted to visit the city of angels? Here are some tips for your Los Angeles trip on a budget.

Roubina Al Abashian

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6 min read

November 22, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

A Trip to Los Angeles includes a lot of art, cultural attractions, entertainment venues, and natural wonders. These things usually prove to be costly, especially when you’re talking about the Entertainment Center of the World. But, whoever made you believe that Los Angeles isn’t a budget traveler’s dream destination as well couldn’t have been more wrong. Truth is, you don’t need an A-lister’s bank account to have a fantastic vacay in L.A. With tons of free and cheap things to do in L.A., you’ll be surprised at how wrong you’ve been about visiting costs to the city. If you’re not sure how to plan your budget-friendly trip, read along and find out how your vacation can be so easy on your wallet.

When in L.A., public transportation can be a great alternative. The transportation system n in the city is awesome and cuts a lot on your expenses.

Tips on How to do L.A. on a Budget

Remember how your second cousin left for L.A. with little to no money to pursue her dream of becoming an actress? If she managed to make a life for herself in the Entertainment Capital of the World, imagine how easily you can spend a few days here without breaking the bank. You don’t need to take our word for it, all you need to do is live like a local and you’ll do just fine. If you’re wondering how that is, here are a few quick tips to survive your Los Angeles trip on a budget.

  1. Eat like the locals do.
  2. Use public transportation. 
  3. Take as many walking tours as you can. 
  4. Plan your trip during the low season.
  5. Enjoy nature, it has no entrance fee.   
  6. Check for deals. You’ll be surprised at the number of awesome deals you’ll find online.
  7. Pre-plan your trip.

 

As the summer season comes to an end, the crowds begin to retreat from the L.A. beaches, leaving you alone with your fellow budget travelers.

The Best Time to Take a Trip to Los Angeles on a Budget

Sunny, warm, and packed is how you can describe summers in Los Angeles. Tourists come in flocks to the city and crowd its beaches and attractions, making summer the peak tourist season. Naturally, with the crowds comes an increase in prices. So, if you’re traveling to L.A. on a budget, you better be against the flow of tourists and choose a time of year when they take a break from the city. By that we mean, you can be a budget traveler all year in L.A. except for the summer months, the holidays, and spring break. 

In short, your best bet for an affordable trip to Los Angeles is between March and May and then again between September and November. The crowd would’ve retreated, the weather would still be great, and the prices would’ve calmed down a little. If you don’t mind skipping the beach, December is a great time to visit as well, just make sure to leave before the holiday season starts.    

Save a lot of money and enjoy the city’s beautiful nature while camping in the mountains of Los Angeles, such as the Angeles National Forest.

Where to Stay in L.A. Without Breaking the Bank

Luxurious staycation spots in L.A. seem like the only options available in a city so glamorous, but that is far from the truth. Just one look at the city and its surroundings will make you realize affordable options galore. And not only are those options affordable, but they’re exciting too. Between finding a cool Airbnb, sharing a room in a hostel with fellow budget travelers, and staying overnight at one of the stunning places to camp near Los Angeles, you’ll be having the time of your life. Trust us when we say, staying in L.A. doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. 

A Budget Traveler’s Guide to Having Fun in Los Angeles

1. Check Out the Beaches

When we’re talking about L.A., we’re talking about “surf, sand, sun” all day, every day. With an array of awesome beaches all around, you can spend a full vacation in the city just visiting one beach after the other. From Venice Beach and Manhattan County Beach to Malibu Surfrider Beach and Dockweiler State Beach, you have a lot of tough choices to make. The best part is that your trips to the best beaches in the city don’t even need to be limited to daytime; some of the state’s coolest beaches for bonfires are located here, and making new friends around the fire is one of the top reasons to travel to Los Angeles.

The awesome museums and art galleries in L.A. are both beautiful on the outside and inside, and they are free of charge.

2. Tour the Museums and Art Galleries

California is filled with free art galleries and museums that could change your life, and the best of them are located right here in L.A. Yes, you read that right, FREE. But, not charging any money at the entrance isn’t the only perk these museums and art galleries have, they’re downright awesome. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), The Broad, and The Getty Center are all free of charge on all days, while the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is free of charge for Los Angeles County residents and has free admission days every once in a while. So, take advantage of the city's beautiful opportunities and enjoy the charm and cultural education these museums present.

3. Try the Food Trucks

If you want to travel to Los Angeles and stay within your budget, you need to eat like a local. That means a lot of grocery shopping and food truck meals. And what’s not to love about California food trucks? They offer both the savory and sweet, and they won’t leave you flat broke. The best of them are the taco stands though, which happen to be scattered all across the city. And even though you’ll want to spend your every dime on them, make sure you try some other food as well. And if we’re being honest, Los Angeles food trucks and taco stands are mighty competition to even 5-star restaurants – the best dining spots are holes in a wall. Who would’ve thought that eating out would be one of the cheap things to do in Los Angeles?

There’s no other place in the world where you’ll feel so small yet so grand at the same time, except next to the D.T.L.A. skyscrapers.

4. Go on a Walking Tour

When in L.A. you need to meet L.A. We mean, getting to know every corner of the City of Angels is what a true L.A. experience should be. And what better way to do that than by taking a walking tour in full Californian spirit? A walking tour of Downtown Los Angeles, for example, introduces you to the D.T.L.A. skyscrapers caressing the city’s skyline, and a tour of Hollywood Boulevard brings you closer to the stars. It’s about time you ditch your transportation means and rely on your feet some more.

5. Attend a Taping

If you’re a TV fan, you will want to take a studio tour while in Hollywood. But those could cost too much, especially if you’re traveling on a budget. There’s a sweet alternative to a studio tour though, and it’s completely free — studio taping. If you’re all excited about it already, you should request tickets way in advance and hope for the best. If you’re really lucky, you’ll come across some studio tapings that pay you to attend!

6. Hike the City’s Awesome Trails

Your budget-friendly Los Angeles trip should always include a good hike. This is La La Land after all, and the views are too breathtaking to miss. Not to mention the thriving health culture of L.A., the hiking trails are always bustling with glamorous, active locals. You have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to hiking here, but none beat the Hollywood sign hikes – or the famous Runyon Canyon where you might catch a celebrity sighting. Put on your hiking boots and go on the hike of a lifetime. 

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