Budget Breakdown for My Ten-Day Trip to California in December

Here is a breakdown of my expenses when I went to California for 10 days from Dec. 20 to 30, 2016. We went to San Diego, Universal Studios, Los Angeles, Disneyland, and San Francisco.

Expenses before leaving for California

  • CAD$452.82 – roundtrip flight Calgary to San Diego from Dec. 20 to 30, 2016. Flight booked on Oct. 9, 2016.
  • US$211.98/CAD$291.06 -two Universal Studios tickets (Justine) or US$105.99/CAD$145.53 per person
  • CAD$200 – two nights at Herbert Hotel in San Francisco from Dec. 26 to Dec. 28 divided by two people is equal to CAD$100 each
  • US$68.20/CAD$90.24 – one night at Motel 6 Westminster North in Anaheim on Dec. 25 (Justine)

Total expense before leaving for California: CAD$934.12 *Take note that for accommodations, we only paid for three nights out of our 10 days in California because the remaining seven days, we stayed at my aunt’s and uncle’s place.

December 20 – Calgary to San Diego *Total expense for the day: CAD$33.17

  • CAD$12 – two Starbucks frappucinos at YYC airport
  • US$16/CAD$21.17 – sandwich, bottle of coke, and one chocolate macaron at SFO airport
Good thing California sunsets are free ­čÖé

December 21 – San Diego *Total expense for the day: US$25.98/CAD$34.38

  • US$25.98/CAD$34.38 – Red Ribbon cakes, two half rolls, one brazo de mercedes and one ube brazo de mercedes

December 22 – San Diego *Total expense for the day: US$54.18/CAD$71.68

  • US$1/CAD$1.31 – bubble tea *the rest of the amount covered by David
  • US$12/CAD$15.88 – macaron lip balm
  • US$10.18/CAD$13.47 – two small Iceskimo
  • US$31/CAD$41.02 – food from Up2you Cafe
This is a must-try at Universal Studios LA.

December 23 – Universal Studios *Total expense for the day: US$113.64/CAD$150.37

  • US$10/CAD$13.23 – parking at universal studios *it is actually US$20 for preferred parking but my boyfriend and I split it
  • US$24/CAD$31.76 – two Krusty Burgers with fries for lunch with no drinks
  • US$27.20/CAD$35.99 – slippers from Universal Studios
  • US$10.85/CAD$14.36 – lush lip tint
  • US$16.30/CAD$21.57 – socks
  • US$2.26/CAD$2.99 – three postcards
  • US$13.03/CAD$17.24 – Ghirardelli ocean beach sundae
  • US$10/CAD$13.23 – gas

December 24 – San Diego *Total expense for the day: US$105.06/CAD$139.01

US$0.56/CAD$0.74 – Mcdonald’s

US$50/CAD$66.16 – Fleet Science Centre tickets US$30 for one adult ticket plus I covered some of my sister Angel’s

US$15/CAD$19.85 – Toto’s Isawan

US$29.25/CAD$38.70 – two pairs of socks

US$10.25/CAD$13.56 – Up2You cafe food

Christmas at Disneyland – a dream come true!

December 25 – Disneyland *Total expense for the day: US$143.25/CAD$189.55

  • (US$360/CAD$474.51 – three Disneyland one-park tickets or US$120/CAD$158.17 per person *these were free because it was my aunt and uncle’s gift to us and I am not including this in the total expenses above)
  • US$18/CAD$23.82 – Disney parking
  • US$71/CAD$93.95 – Disney hoodie (credit card)
  • US$4.25/CAD$5.62 – one Disney churro
  • US$30/CAD$39.70 – Disney lunch x2
  • US$20/CAD$26.46 – Disney dinner
Seeing this beaut is also free!

December 26 – Anaheim to San Francisco *Total expense for the day: US$91.70/CAD$121.33

  • US$9/CAD$11.91 – Mcdonald’s breakfast x4
  • US$20/CAD$26.46 – gas
  • US$6/CAD$7.94 – toll fee
  • US$40/CAD$52.93 – dinner
  • US$10/CAD$13.23 – Vicks and toothbrush from Walgreens
  • US$4.50/CAD$5.95 – roundtrip muni tickets
  • US$2.20/CAD$2.91 – postcards

December 27 – San Francisco *Total expense for the day: US$129.83/CAD$171.80

  • US$10/CAD$13.23 – breakfast
  • US$2/CAD$2.65 – bus ride to Fisherman’s Wharf
  • US$1.09/CAD$1.44 – postcards
  • US$1/CAD$1.32 – souvenir
  • US$8.25/CAD$10.92 – Mrs. Fields cookies x4
  • US$11.38/CAD$15.06 – Ghirardelli chocolate bars x2
  • US$30/CAD$39.70 – body cream
  • US$4/CAD$5.29 – tshirt
  • US$6/CAD$7.94 – shrimp cocktail
  • US$1.25/CAD$1.65 – bus ride to Lombard Street from Pier 39
  • US$2.25/CAD$2.98 – golden gate bridge fare
  • US$10.28/CAD$13.60 – replica of golden gate bridge and postcard
  • US$2.10/CAD$2.78 – three siumai from Chinatown
  • US$5.43/CAD$7.19 – taro smoothie from Chinatown
  • US$21.75/CAD$28.78 – Uniqlo pants
  • US$13.05/CAD$17.27 – four beer cans from Mikeller Bar
Up2You Cafe is hands down my favourite dessert place in San Diego. You should try their honey toast with mascarpone cheese, oreo cookies, and ice cream! *Not the one in the picture, although, that one’s good, too!

December 28 – San Francisco to San Diego *Total expense for the day: US$80.61/CAD$106.66

  • US$11.13/CAD$14.73 – one sushi roll and bottle of water at Walgreens
  • US$11.96/CAD$15.83 – lunch
  • US$4.68/CAD$6.19 – macaron ice cream
  • US$35/CAD$46.31 – 24-hour parking in Union Square
  • US$10/CAD$13.23 – gas
  • US$7.84/CAD$10.37 – Jack in the Box meal

December 29 – San Diego *Total expense for the day: US$93.50/CAD$123.72

  • (US$180/CAD$238.18 – Enterprise car rental from Dec. 22 to 29 *paid by David and I am not adding this to the total daily expense above)
  • US$50/CAD$66.16 – lunch at Zarlitos
  • US$13.50/CAD$17.86 – fries at lolitas
  • US$30/CAD$39.70 – tobacco

December 30 – San Diego to Calgary *Total expense for the day: US$40.59/CAD$53.71

  • US$25/CAD$33.08 – baggage check in
  • US$13.08/CAD$17.31 – lunch at LAX
  • US$2.51/CAD$3.32 – cookie at Starbucks LAX

Grand total: CAD$2,129.50 *This is the total amount that I have personally spent in California for 10 days which includes flights, accommodations, food, shopping, and other activities.


For other budget breakdown articles I wrote, check them out by clicking the links below:

Also check out “What you can do in San Diego on a budget”

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someoneShare on Reddit
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Related Posts

Previous Post Next Post


  1. I go to LA a lot as my best friend lives here, it is good to see a breakdown of how much things cost as I stay with my friends.
    melbtravel recently posted…The perfect start to the season Val dÔÇÖIs├Ęre FranceMy Profile

  2. Being British I had to convert the final amount to GBP and girl, that’s not half bad! For what you ended up doing I reckon the total sum’s pretty alright. I visited California for 4 days last summer and visited Universal Studios, Disneyland and just spent a day roaming around Hollywood and I guess I must have spent about $600 USD altogether on just those 4 days.

  3. That was very thorough and helpful for planning! How did you get from SF to SD ? I wanted to go to Disney and Universal when I was in California but it was out of budget ­čÖü

    • jusztravel
    • January 18, 2017

    Hi Alice! We rented a car! It was only USD$180 for one week! Where did you stay when you went to California?

    • jusztravel
    • January 18, 2017

    USD$600 for four days I think is on the range of what I’d spend max! ­čÖé

    • jusztravel
    • January 18, 2017

    Oooh! That would be nice to be living so close to LA!

  4. Wow, I LOVE how you include the cost breakdown, this helps SO much! That desert looks amazing, and the Golden Gate Bridge is my Favorite!!

    • Liz
    • January 18, 2017

    Eeek, such a bummer at the Canadian exchange rate, I remember just a few years ago when it was close to 1:1. Still, impressed at how much you were able to fit in on a lean budget!
    Liz recently posted…going minimalist: clothing + accessoriesMy Profile

  5. wow that’s quite a detailed budget…..looks like you have it down! I love the Disney pic and CA is my all time fav spot to visit besides Hawaii,


  6. Very informative post!

  7. sounds like a very fun & comfortable trip! I am once again reminded that America has such cool food – krusty burgers? Honey toast with mascarpone & oreos? Sounds like a dream. What was your favourite part of this whole trip?

    • jusztravel
    • January 19, 2017

    hahaha that’s easy! My favourite part is going to Disney as well as going around California just stuffing my mouth with food!

  8. Such a detailed budget breakdown! The US is off our list for a little while beach as the AUD is so ridiculously low but I would love to go back one day. Your itinerary almost mirrors what we did a few years ago. Great memories!

  9. Wow! I love The idea of breaking down costs for each day. My friends and I often track how much we spend daily for trips, but never thought to put it in a post. California can definitely be expensive. I travel there for work often. Even lived in Southern California for about 10 years. There are definitely ways that you can travel hack the system. Thank you so much for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge



Through the years

%d bloggers like this: