California Travel Cost - Average Price of a Vacation to California: Food & Meal Budget, Daily & Weekly Expenses | (2023)

How much money will you need for your trip to California?You should plan to spend around $199 per day on your vacation in California, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.Past travelers have spent, on average, $37 on meals for one day and $34 on local transportation.Also, the average hotel price in California for a couple is $185.So, a trip to California for two people for one week costs on average $2,787.All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.

How expensive is California? How much money do I need for California?

How much does a trip to California cost? Is California expensive? The average California trip cost is broken down by category here. All of these California prices are calculated from the budgets of real travelers.

Accommodation Budget in California

Calculated from travelers like you

The average price for one person for accommodation in California is $92. For two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room, the average price for a hotel room in California is $185.

  • Accommodation1Hotel or hostel for one person


  • Accommodation1Typical double-occupancy room


How much do vacation rentals cost in California? Prices vary by location, date, size of the place, and the level of luxury. See below for options.

Find the best vacation rental for your travel style.

We love VRBO because of their commitment to small businesses. VRBO is part of the Expedia family, one of the biggest names in travel.

Transportation Budget in California

Calculated from travelers like you

How much does it cost to go to California? Naturally, it depends on the dates. We recommend Kayak because they can find the best deals across all airlines.

The price of renting a car in California will depends on dates, the type of car, the location, and your age. We recommend Kayak because they can find the best deals across all car rental companies.

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Food Budget in California

Calculated from travelers like you

  • While meal prices in California can vary, the average cost of food in California is $37 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in California should cost around $15 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in California is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

  • Food2Meals for one day


Entertainment Budget in California

Calculated from travelers like you

  • Entertainment and activities in California typically cost an average of $49 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

  • Entertainment1Entrance tickets, shows, etc.


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Tips and Handouts Budget in California

Calculated from travelers like you

Scams, Robberies, and Mishaps Budget in California

Calculated from travelers like you

  • Unfortunately, bad things can happen on a trip. Well, you've just got to deal with it! The average price for a scam, robbery, or mishap in California is $103.

  • Scams, Robberies, and Mishaps1


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Alcohol Budget in California

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The average person spends about $17 on alcoholic beverages in California per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

  • Alcohol2Drinks for one day


Water Budget in California

Calculated from travelers like you

California On a Budget

California Travel Cost - Average Price of a Vacation to California: Food & Meal Budget, Daily & Weekly Expenses | (1)Big Sur, California

California is the most populous state in the U.S. and is known for a variety of attractions such as Hollywood, warm beaches, the San Francisco bay area, Redwood trees, national parks, and stunning mountain vistas. With a variety of locations and activities to offer, California has become one of the premier travel destinations in the world.

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The city of San Francisco is unique in the U.S. with its European style streets, cable cars, and eclectic personality. Nearby is the city of San Jose, known as "Silicon Valley", the internet hub of the world. Not too far north is wine country, with Napa Valley and Sonoma at its heart. Just north of San Francisco are the Marin headlands, a natural protected area with rugged mountains, hiking trails, and Muir Woods.

In the far north of the state are several national parks, including Redwood National Park, famous for its massive and extremely tall trees.

Following the coast south from San Francisco will lead visitors to Monterey Bay, known for sea life and its aquarium. Nearby is Carmel, a nifty beach and golf town with a long stretch of attractive coastline. Further south is a stretch of coastline known as Big Sur, which showcases mountainous landscapes with green hills that plunge into the blue sea. Occasional hidden beaches can be found in some of the inlets. In fact, this area should definitely be part of your California Road Trip experience.

Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the U.S. and has much to offer from Hollywood to the nearby beach areas of Santa Barbara and Long Beach, as well as Orange County, Beverly Hills, Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, and the list goes on.

San Diego, in the far south near the Mexican border, offers the warmest weather, scenic beaches, and a historic downtown area (the Gaslamp quarter) and the world class San Diego Zoo.

Inland, California offers rugged terrain and national parks. Southern California has a wide area of desert, and visitors can visit Death Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Mojave Desert. In central California, the Sierra Nevada range hosts Yosemite National Park, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, Lake Tahoe, and other state and local parks.


Popular activities in California include surfing on the many beaches, visiting the numerous national parks, exploring the famous cities, and even skiing in the winter.

Hiking in the summer months is very popular, especially in national parks such as Yosemite, Redwoods, Kings Canyon, and Joshua Tree. The inland desert areas of the southern part of the state are very popular destinations in the winter months.

The Lake Tahoe area is quite popular in the summer and winter. The winter months are terrific for skiing and snowboarding.

Food and Dining

California offers a wide variety of cuisine. In the south, much of the food is influenced by Mexico. It's common to find Mexican restaurants, especially those that are low cost and casual. Try a burrito if you're on a budget and you'll have a fresh, delicious meal that will sustain you until your next craving.


With multiple international airports in major cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento, to name just a few, connections via plane should not be difficult.

California is also crisscrossed by various interstate highways. While distances can be far, driving times can be acceptable between most major cities depending on traffic. However, expect a very long drive from southern cities such as L.A. to the northern cities of the Bay Area.


Looking for a party hostel in Las Vegas or San Diego? Traveling alone to NYC or LA? Want a budget hostel in San Francisco?

1 Categories averaged on a per-item basis.
2 Categories averaged on a per-day basis.
For example, the Food2 daily average is for all meals for an entire day, while Entertainment1 is for each individual purchase.

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How much would it cost to go to California for a week? ›

A vacation to California for one week usually costs around $1,393 for one person. So, a trip to California for two people costs around $2,787 for one week. A trip for two weeks for two people costs $5,573 in California.

How do I plan a trip to California on a budget? ›

We gonna go through 7 general tips to cheap California vacations:
  1. Learn to save money with food in your trip.
  2. Use affordable modes of transportation.
  3. Find the rigt flight in the rigth time.
  4. Save money in a long term trip in California.
  5. Save money in a short term trip in California.

How much money should I bring to California? ›

In total, expect your average California trip cost to be about $95-155 per person per day if you want to visit on a budget. While there are certainly ways that you can cut down on costs and not spend that much, this is the budget to stick to if you want to cut costs in some ways and splurge in others.

How much does a road trip to California cost? ›

California Road Trips Costs

The average daily budget for a California road trip is between $75-$150 – this includes gas, a rental car, lodging, food, drink, and entry into certain attractions.

What is the cheapest month to visit California? ›

Crowds and prices drop for a cheaper California vacation on the coast and in the mountains in the shoulder season (April – May, and mid-September – October). Along the coast, rates drop even further in the winter season from November to March.

What's the best month to visit California? ›

The Best Time to Visit California

The months of September and October are ideal to visit California as they avoid the fog and the crowds and the temperature is ideal for spending time on the beach, sight-seeing, and attending festivals.

How many days do you need to explore California? ›

The most popular travel itineraries in California fall into 2 categories. Obviously one does not exclude the other. It depends on the time available and the type of attractions you prefer to see. To fully enjoy both, you will need at least 15 or 20 days.

How much spending money do I need for 2 weeks in Los Angeles? ›

A vacation to Los Angeles for one week usually costs around $1,342 for one person. So, a trip to Los Angeles for two people costs around $2,685 for one week. A trip for two weeks for two people costs $5,370 in Los Angeles.

Where is the cheapest place to travel? ›

Cheapest Places to Travel: North America
  • San Salvador, El Salvador.
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
  • Medellin, Colombia.
  • Cali, Colombia.
  • Bogota, Colombia.
  • San Jose, Costa Rica.
  • Toronto, Canada.
  • Calgary, Canada.
Jun 24, 2021

How much money do you need for a 5 day vacation? ›

Rice says that a reasonable baseline is between $50 to $100 per day per traveler. Again, this is just an average. The amount of money already accounted for your trip, plus where you are going are the two biggest factors that make or break how much money you'll really need.

How much money should I take on a 2 week trip? ›

How Much Spending Money for 2 Weeks in America? The average person spends roughly US$3000 for a fortnight-long trip to the US. Consider budgeting: Low budget: US$1000-1500 per person.

What should I know before visiting California? ›

14 Things to Know Before Visiting Los Angeles
  • Bring a jacket. People think Los Angeles is perpetually 72 degrees and sunny, and it often is. ...
  • Wear sunscreen. ...
  • Los Angeles is wide. ...
  • Alcohol is expensive. ...
  • Those jokes about L.A. traffic aren't always jokes. ...
  • Parking signs are tricky. ...
  • Public transit. ...
  • If you can't smoke, you can't vape.
May 17, 2017

How long should you drive a car on a road trip? ›

As a general rule, it's best to take a break of at least 15 minutes every two hours, and to not drive for more than eight hours in a day, to ensure you stay alert and avoid the associated risks of driving for too long without a rest.

How can I spend 10 days in California? ›

The best 10-day California tour
  1. Map of the 10-day California road trip.
  2. Venice Beach.
  3. Santa Monica Pier.
  4. Hollywood Boulevard - Walk of Fame.
  5. Giant sequoias in Sequoia National Park.
  6. Sequoias seen from the ground.
  7. Yosemite Valley seen from Tunnel View.
  8. Half Dome from Glacier Point.
Jan 17, 2022

Is it cheaper to drive or fly? ›

For the shortest trip, driving is more economical than flying. But for the longer cross-country trip, flying is far cheaper. And keep in mind that this only considers solo drivers. Families or friends traveling in one vehicle can save money by driving, even on longer routes.

What is the cheapest city in California to fly into? ›

The 5 Cheapest Airports to Fly to in California
  1. Los Angeles.
  2. San Diego. ...
  3. Santa Ana. ...
  4. Oakland. ...
  5. San Francisco. ...

What is the most affordable beach town in California to visit? ›

Oceano Beach is one of the most affordable places to live in California near the beach. I want you to know that Oceano is a mix of the old and new culture, it offers fewer amenities but still has many good places to hang out with friends and families.

What month is the cheapest to fly to LA? ›

The best months to fly to Los Angeles include January, February, and September for the cheapest deals from anywhere.

What is the coldest month in California? ›

The coldest month of the year in California is January, with an average low of 30°F and high of 44°F.

What is the hottest month of the year in California? ›

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday that July was California's hottest month ever observed. The state's average temperature of 79.7 degrees edged past the previous record of 79.5 degrees in July 1931 and was five degrees warmer than normal.

Is it safe in California? ›

At A Glance: With #1 being the best, California is ranked #32 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C. You have a 2.33% chance of being a property crime victim in California in the next 12 months. California's property crime rate is 10% higher than the average crime rate in the United States.

Where should I go for a week vacation in California? ›

One Week in California Itinerary
  • Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • See San Francisco Bay.
  • Ride the cable car.
  • See the views at Twin Peaks.
  • Visit Alcatraz.
  • Relax at Golden Gate Park.
  • Visit Fisherman's Wharf.
  • See the sea lions at Pier 39.
Mar 28, 2022

Is flying to California expensive? ›

Average worldwide flight costs to California (from all airports) are between $703 and $1,145 per person for economy flights and $2,207 to $3,595 for first class. Depending on activities, we recommend budgeting $56 to $114 per person per day for transportation and enjoying local restaurants.

Is California expensive? ›

California is the third most expensive state in the United States. It has a cost of living index of 142.2. Because California has the highest gas prices, transportation costs are the country's second-highest. Housing costs are twice the national average, with a typical single-family home priced at $683,996.

Is food expensive in California? ›

Just as food costs are higher than average in California, so, too, are incomes. The typical family in the state earns $89,798 a year, compared to the national average of $80,069.

How much gas would it cost to drive to California? ›

Fuel costs
Fuel gradeAvg PriceTrip Cost


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