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Spending money in California query

(21 Posts)
Shelly32 Fri 10-Feb-17 14:28:12

I know this will vary depending on whether you're a high end restaurant goer or a fast food chain fan and whether day trips were in the mix too but we were planning on doing a bit of both and wondered whether anyone could shed some light on an estimated amount of money that a family of four might need for 18 days travelling around California in the summer. All accommodation and flights have been paid for but I have no idea how much money we should be budgeting per day. Any ideas would be appreciated- thank you smile

RusholmeRuffian Fri 10-Feb-17 20:18:18

Whenever we go to the US we budget $100 dollars a day per adult including fuel and we always have plenty left for shopping. Hope that helps.

ArriettyClock1 Fri 10-Feb-17 20:19:51

We would spend about twice that, tbh.

Shelly32 Sat 11-Feb-17 12:56:49

Thank you. I was thinking about £150-200 so glad I was in the right area. smile

Shelly32 Sat 11-Feb-17 12:58:56

ArriettyClock, we're not paying for trips/activities out of that, just food and drink so I guess in total it would double it.

ArriettyClock1 Sun 12-Feb-17 09:32:14

I just saw prev post said $100 per adult. That would be about right.

lovelyupnorth Sun 12-Feb-17 10:04:27

Found food not to be cheap in many places we spent nearly $100 every meal more of beer was involved. Cheapest was about 60-70

dorothymichaels Sun 12-Feb-17 10:20:03

When we went to California a couple of years ago I got a Fairfx pre-loaded credit card. You can top it up online so if you under budget it's easy to rectify.
I know that's not what you were asking, sorry, but might help! We stayed with family so probably spent much less than that.

InformalRoman Mon 13-Feb-17 16:39:03

For anyone on a budget I'd recommend the Chipotle fast food chain - good value wraps made with rice, salsa, beans, guacamole, sour cream etc and a choice of meat or veggie for around $8. Filling and reasonably healthy (I make them regularly at home now).

babymouse Mon 13-Feb-17 16:44:35

Just be aware that Chipotle has had issues with two ecoli outbreaks from it's restaurants last year.

Budget will also depend on if you have access to a fridge and cooking facilities/ if the places you are staying have continental breakfast. But budget as much as you can, better too much than not enough!

TheMysteriousJackelope Wed 15-Feb-17 19:10:24

Quite a few hotels do a free breakfast. It isn't that great a quality but there is usually fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, and cereal, and hot food like scrambled eggs, waffles, and sausage. Some do free dinner on weekdays, usually there is only one option, it's worth looking to see what the week's menu is.

Quite a few restaurants do 'earlybird' and 'happy hour' specials where food and drink are reduced price in the late afternoon/early evening. They may also do reduced prices on different days e.g. kids eat free on Wednesday. When you are out and about it's worth looking for things like that. A lot of places offer smaller portions at a lower price at lunch.

Restaurant portions tend to be large, most places don't mind if you share a plate, you may need to pay a sharing charge (although I never have had to), they will also give you an extra plate to use for sharing a meal.

If you are eating at a fast food place I'd allow about $6 a person per meal, if you are eating at a medium range restaurant then around $18 per person per meal (including soft drink). Cocktails are around $10 each, beer about $3.50 - $5.00, Soft drinks around $2.

GreenGinger2 Thu 16-Feb-17 10:04:43

So basically for a family of 5 with 3 teens $500 a day on food alone?shock

InformalRoman Thu 16-Feb-17 16:43:43

Just be aware that Chipotle has had issues with two ecoli outbreaks from it's restaurants last year.

That was over a year ago. There was an e coli outbreak in the UK more recently from mixed salad leaves (2 people died). I wouldn't be put off from eating at a Chipotle. Or eating mixed salad leaves.

bojorojo Thu 16-Feb-17 23:55:18

Now the £/$ exchange rate is so awful, doing anything in the USA is expensive and that includes eating! Also, any meal quoted at $20 and believe me, that is fairly cheap these days, you have to add the local tax, say 8%, and then the tip: double the tax! This is on the whole bill. You would find it difficult to eat out for three meals a day plus drinks for less than $75 per adult/teen. You may eat snacks which are cheaper and not have a cooked breakfast.

We travelled in the USA in October (partly in Califirnia) and found a lot of medium priced hotels now had a microwave in the room. Lots of people go to a supermarket and buy food to eat in the room. Do this if the $ are tight. It is a sad fact that any holiday in the USA is now $$$$$!

witwootoodleoo Thu 16-Feb-17 23:58:24

I've been recently and due to the exchange rate and higher cost of living in that part of the US it's very pricey at the moment. We easily spent £150 a day in food and drink and for two adults and we really don't have expensive tastes so no fancy restaurants or 3 course meals

OutandIn Fri 17-Feb-17 00:00:48

CA is pricey - grocery shopping can be a bit eyewatering, prepare yourself for $5 loaves of bread! You need to shop around a bit.

In and Out burger is v. cheap and good quality- ~$6 for burger, fries and drink. We cut down to 2 meals a day plus snacks as it was hot.

OutandIn Fri 17-Feb-17 00:07:10

Also lookout for groupon deals for restaurants- $20 for $40 spend say. We got some great deals on places we prob would have gone anyway. I think yipit.com consolidates alot of the usa deal sites.

barkingfly Fri 17-Feb-17 05:48:04

There are a ton of fast food joints-and a limited choice of ready made meals , but you can always pickup something already made at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. When our daughter was small, we rarely ate more than one meal a day out while traveling. Of course, lunch is going to be cheaper than dinner.

A typical day might be cereal, milk, fruit for breakfast, ready made salad or sandwich for lunch, and dinner out.

Oliversmumsarmy Fri 17-Feb-17 06:07:22

We actually found it to be very cheap given the portion sizes. It might also be cheaper for us because we don't drink and don't eat meat. We were there about 3 years ago.

We would get 1 starter to share .

24 pieces of flatbread with a huge bowl of hummus in a very nice hotel in San Diego I think it was about $14.

In some places you order your starters first . Then you order your main.

We cottoned on to the fact the starters were huge and so we just ordered 1 between us.

witwootoodleoo Fri 17-Feb-17 07:18:38

It's waaay more expensive post-Brexit sadly - worst exchange rate we've ever had and we've travelled to the US frequently over the last decade. Sadly we've decided we won't go again until the exchange rate improves as it's now much more expensive than London

bojorojo Fri 17-Feb-17 22:20:37

I remember £1=$1.95. Happy days! DD going next week £1=$1.22. New York is worse than California!

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