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How I Planned a Mini Getaway to San Diego on a Budget

Earlier in the year, I planned a fun and inexpensive girl’s weekend in San Diego. Typically, I’m not one to take weekend trips because I work remotely and have the flexibility to be away for more than a weekend, but I’m not one to turn down a trip to San Diego.

Finding Accommodation

The basis for planning this trip was that I had an IHG Ambassador BOGO Weekend Certificate that was due to expire at the end of March and I had no plans to use it. The certificate is a perk of being part of InterContinental’s Ambassador program and is given to members each year. It requires booking the hotel’s Ambassador rate, which is generally more expensive than the least expensive rate. But when you check into the hotel you only pay for the first night. The stay must include a Friday and Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday night to be able to use the certificate.

I didn’t have a specific destination in mind to use my certificate but I knew that if I wanted to have a friend join me, it was most likely going to have to be a trip within the US and not too expensive. After looking at all of the InterContinental hotels in the US and comparing rates and weather into account, I decided that visiting San Diego was most intriguing for this trip and was able to recruit my friend to join me!

The full price of the hotel for two nights was $538.95. The first night cost $209 and the second cost $219, plus about $100 in taxes and service charges. Since we got the second night for free (the more expensive night) we only had to pay $263 for two nights. That’s a great deal for a stay at such a beautiful property!

We decided to extend our trip by one day to just have a little more time to spend together but decided to change hotels. We moved to the Hotel Indigo Gas Lamp District, also a beautiful hotel and paid $116 for our third night.

In total, three nights in San Diego cost us $379, which was $189.50 between the two of us.

Flights & Activities

I redeemed credit card points to book my flight but if I hadn’t, the flights would have cost about $300 roundtrip. That’s more than I would generally want to pay for a domestic flight, but after considering the hotel options it ended up being the best overall option.

As far as activities go, we didn’t do a whole lot! We walked around, enjoyed the beautiful weather, and spent time on the beach. Yes, we ate food, but we would have both had those expenses at home and we didn’t go anywhere that was very expensive or extravagant. It was more a trip about relaxing, unwinding, and catching up with a good friend!

Total Trip Cost

I ended up spending $489.50 for flights and hotels for a wonderful weekend trip to San Diego with my friend. In the past, I haven’t planned mini getaways because of my work flexibility. But now, I’m hooked! I had such a great time on this trip that it’s something I want to do again in the future!


[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

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SpartyAir July 4, 2019

How did you spend $489.50 for the trip if the hotels were 189.50 and $116, and airfare was $0 since you used points for a total of $305.50. Did you spend $184 on food? You said you dined inexpensively.