Sweet, sweet summertime is quickly approaching, and you know what that means. You need to capture some rays of the sun. Not only is this a daunting task, but this can get expensive, and fast. We have found six free (or nearly free) fun summer excursions in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
It’s no secret that travel expenses increased throughout 2022. Many missed out on an opportunity to travel for the holidays. But now, summer is around the corner. Will you make this summer the best one yet?
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Quick Day Trip or Weekend Getaways
These free, or nearly free summer excursions, are perfect for adults or families. They’re perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway. Or they work well for an affordable addition to a vacation already planned.
1. The Beach
Nothing is more fun than the beach. Sun, sand, and salty water are a perfect kid-friendly combination. Pack a picnic lunch, an umbrella, sunscreen, and your beach toys to make a day out of hitting the beach. Santa Monica Pier is full of amusements and sightseeing opportunities to enjoy a full day by the water.
2. The Getty
The Getty Museum is one of the most unique places to visit in the city and admission is free. Families of all sizes and ages will find something to enjoy at The Getty. Kids older than 5 can enjoy art classes while you take in the exhibits, botanical gardens, and everything else The Getty has to offer.
Again, pack a backpack of snacks to keep this outing as inexpensive as possible. Unfortunately, parking is $15 but there is bus transportation that will stop less than a mile away.
3. La Brea Tar Pits
Take a step back in time at this museum that features the Pleistocene Garden full of prehistoric plants resembling the Ice Age. Get down in the dirt and experience what life is like as a Paleontologist by examining fossils that were excavated off site. Best part is children under 4 get in for free and children 5-12 are only $5.
4. Big Bear Lake
Named one of the top 10 places to visit in California, the Big Bear Lake provides the perfect spot for outdoor activities. During the summer, families are able to fish, hike, and mountain bike. The only expenses are equipment and supplies depending on what you decide to do. If your family is big on an adventure though, you likely own a lot of these items already.
5. Sand Dune Park
If you want an energy-burning excursion that kids will love, look no further. The Sand Dunes Park is every outdoor-loving kid’s dream! Spend time soaking up the sun on one of the trails that follow throughout the dunes. Kids can enjoy playing in the 12 and younger areas. Oh, and did we mention the views? Panoramic views of Manhattan Beach make your hike feel like a breeze. Open 8 AM – 7 PM daily.
6. The Huntington Library
Relive your favorite childhood movie in the Huntington Library’s beautiful garden designed with their youngest patrons in mind. Art exhibits and botanical gardens make this library extraordinary and surely will awaken, if not stimulate, your children’s imagination. Plus, admission is free on the first Thursday of the month!
Decrease Travel Expenses
If you live in California, some of these trips may be within driving distance. If you leave early in the morning and are fine with night driving, you might be able to entirely skip the cost of the hotel.
With this, the only other expenses would be gas and food. It may be a long day, but if you go on a Friday or Saturday, you can rest for the remainder of the weekend.
If you live a little further out, you might need to take a plane or stay at a hotel. There are a few smart ways you can save there too.
Use the Sharing Economy
So many people are happy to share what they have. Oftentimes, it can be a lot cheaper than with a big brand. And, it might help shape the trip if you get to meet someone local, who knows the area.
Check out sharing economy sites like Airbnb, Turo, and Eatwith to take advantage of experiencing life like a local. Plus, you’ll be able to save money on things like home rentals, car rentals, and even food, respectively. There are even resources like JustPark, where people will rent out their parking spots!
Split Up the Cost Over Two Pay Periods
If you have time, you can split up the costs over two paychecks. It may not help you save money, but it can help keep the expenses more manageable. You can book the plane tickets now, and then book a hotel after you’ve received your next paycheck.
If you need to travel immediately, consider a cash advance to help you split costs between pay periods. Financial services like this will help you momentarily hold off on spending your own money on a large expense until after your next paycheck.
Do you have travel miles for hotel or airfare? The answer might surprise you. A lot of people don’t realize they’ve racked up travel miles. This is especially true if you haven’t traveled in the last year or so. You might have an account you’re forgetting about.
Check with the airline or hotel brand of your choice to see if you have an account with them. If not, you can login to your credit card account and see if it has special benefits like airline perks, or even cash back.
You might check with Expedia, or your travel deal booking site of choice. Many of these sites have rewards and loyalty programs.
If you don’t have miles saved up, you still have options. Sometimes, buying miles and spending them on a plane ticket, is actually cheaper than buying a plane ticket outright. Check your preferred airline and compare the cost of miles versus tickets.
You Deserve to Travel
Traveling is fun. Plus, it’s the perfect break from work, or even life. Sometimes though, traveling has to be done on a budget. That’s okay. There’s plenty of fun activities to do.
If you look hard enough, you’ll find little opportunities here and there. Some trips are best for adults, and others will create the perfect memory for the family.
Keep traveling and see what new adventures you stumble upon.