Traveling to Palm Springs on a Budget
June 2018 // By Natalie Jean
A few weeks ago, Mark and I and two good friends went to one of our favorite places, Palm Springs + Joshua Tree. One thing that I love about traveling (believe it or not) is being able to find a good deal. When I see people posting/talking about how they'd love to travel more but its too expensive I feel like I can relate, however lately I've been doing more to find deals and savings. It feels so good when that feeling of "I'll never be able to afford that" changes into a "Wow! I can't believe we get to go!"
Mark and I went to Palm Springs for our honeymoon almost three years ago and we had such a beautiful time. I've noticed lately on my Instagram feed that its becoming quite the popular place! With popularity comes higher prices, so traveling to Palm Springs (or any popular travel destination) can be tricky.
One thing that makes travel a little cheaper is traveling with friends/family and splitting the bill for your rental home. We chose to stay in a really cute home in Twentynine Palms (the desert) and being able to divvy up the bill really helped with planning the trip. We chose a place that had a kitchen, a hammock, a hot tub, and a record player so there was a place to cook our own food and things to do when we weren't out exploring!
Another way to save money when traveling is by cooking or planning your meal budget. We saved around $200 because we chose to get some groceries and cook in the kitchen rather than eat out at restaurants for each meal. Saturday evening Christian made homemade pasta while the rest of us made roasted veggies, guacamole, and salad. It was so delicious! Then on Sunday + Monday morning we made breakfast and enjoyed it all together after soaking in the hot tub. Talk about relaxing!
We had one nicer dinner on Sunday evening at King's Highway and it was great! I got a Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich that was so tasty and afterwards we took a few photos in their adorable photo booth. The restaurant is attached to Ace Hotel + Swim Club so we walked around a little to check it out and took a few more photos there as well.
As far as flights go, you might have to do some comparison and shopping around. We flew with Southwest and ended up getting our flights when they were on sale which was awesome! Keep your eyes open for sales, discounts, etc. and be sure to use any flight points you might have too. We flew in to San Diego and it was a lot cheaper than flying in to Palm Springs or LA. So be sure to check out neighboring airports and compare those prices as well. We rented a car for around $20 a day and then drove to our AirBnB. It took around 2 hours but the drive was so beautiful and it gave us a chance to see more than we would have if we would've flown in and out of the town we were visiting. Really glad that we did that!
Find activities that are free or don't cost much, like walking around cute neighborhoods, visiting a botanical garden on discount days/hours, seeing a show or movie at matinee pricing, getting ice cream or iced coffee, visiting free museums, etc. Our last day in SoCal was spent in San Diego where we went shopping, rode rentable electric scooters around, and drank so much coffee. It was so fun! Ready for some photos of the things we did? Scroll!
If you do want to do things that cost money, just be smart about it! Save ahead of time, budget, or split the cost with the people on your trip. The two most expensive things that we did on our trip to Palm Springs/Joshua Tree were going to Joshua Tree National Park that had an entrance fee (around $30 a car) and then we rode the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway which I highly recommend for around $25 per person. The national park at the top and the views were incredible!