California Vacation Costs

Hey guys,

It’s taken me a while to put up this post not just because of a deadly disease I have called procrastination, but also just because I’ve really been trying to think of the right ways to be able to explain and breakdown everything that I did in a way that makes sense and is helpful; which, I think I’ve finally got.

Recently I got a request from someone I know asking me to detail more or less the cost of our California trip because they were interested in setting a trip up there as well, BUT they were on somewhat of a tight budget.

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Before I get into the technicalities of it all, I just want to mention that throughout our time booking this trip (which was pretty much only 3-4 months), we were on a tight budget as well, AND it was somewhat of a last minute decision to book.

We had been going back and forth about it for a WHILE until we were all finally just like screw it…we’ve never traveled altogether before, and it could be a great and fun experience for us all; plus (at the time) my brother had been going through a break-up and his birthday was approaching, AND the time we were going was a little bit after MY birthday, so we figure it was the perfect time to do it.

Being that it was all a little last minute, we tried to be as smart as possible about our finances, like putting money to the side from each of our checks and as much as we could  put to the side at the moment, going for Airbnbs instead of hotels, buying groceries in bulk instead of eating out every night, and finding discounts on park tickets.

I also just wanted to mention that since we were all traveling and doing these things together, we split relatively all of the costs down the middle so that it was all even and wouldn’t be nearly as much as it would have been had we all paid for this stuff individually.

That being said, I’m going to go into all of the nitty-gritty details about all of the things I just mentioned.

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Necessary Expenses: Places to Stay, Food and Transportation

  1. First thing’s first, FLIGHTS. We used this app called Hopper which really came in handy when it came to booking our flights because it allowed us to track them for a while to see when/if prices for them were going up or down. It would also give us predictions for the best/worst times to book because they would either be the cheapest in the moment or they may get slightly cheaper (same with the alternative of it possibly getting more expensive). Does that make sense? Per person, our flights going to San Francisco was $119 which was the absolute cheapest price we probably could’ve gotten it for (and we flew Alaska Airlines and was a straight flight). Coming home from Los Angeles, we actually weren’t as lucky with a straight flight or a cheap one for that matter. We ended up accidentally waiting a little too long and the price per person went up to $181 (we flew American Airlines coming back home).

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2. Second were the Airbnbs. Doing this ended up helping us a LOT too believe it or not because we easily would’ve ended up spending twice as much had we stood in a hotel. In total for the airbnbs we spent about $1,386.20. We were only in the San Francisco airbnb for 2 nights, which came out to a total of $830.16 (which per person was $207.54).We were in Los Angeles a lot longer (4 nights, 5 days), which came out to a total of $1,112.07 (which per person was $278). The thing that I liked about booking the airbnbs the most was the fact that they did the payments in installments. That was super helpful, they asked you to pay half of the cost the day you booked it, and then the other half later on down the line (which for us was about a month and a half after we first booked). So we didn’t have to worry about putting all that money down all at once.

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3. Next was Ubers. Unfortunately while we were in San Francisco, our only real form of transportation was taking Ubers everywhere. We spent a LOT of money on it, which kind of sucked, but honestly, we had no other option. We didn’t know the buses or trains like that so if not for Ubers, we would’ve lost a lot more time simply trying to figure out how to get around. So, I would not recommend doing this unless you completely plan ahead for the public transportation use OR do a car rental, which we didn’t think necessary to do since we were only in San Francisco a day and a half. We spent almost $200 on Ubers all over San Francisco.

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4. Next was booking our MegaBus tickets from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We played around with the idea of renting a car to drive ourselves to LA, but thought it would be an extra unnecessary expense plus paying for gas, snacks along the way, etc., so we stuck to taking a bus there. The tickets in total were $216.50, which per person came out to about $54. Not too bad. Plus it was an interesting experience to drive along the coast for ALL of us to enjoy instead of taking turns driving and what not (it was also a 6 hour trip btw).

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5. Next was our car rental in Los Angeles. This we found to be a little more necessary just because of the longer amount of time we spent here, plus all the places we ended up going. It was just better and easier. We rented our car from a website called Turo , which was super quick and easy to use. The guy we rented from was really nice and super responsive for any/all questions we had about the car. Plus his car was really nice (we had gotten a 2017 Nissan Altima). The total for the car, given the amount of days we needed it for, was $261.91, which came out to about $65 per person; it was also pretty good on gas and we only had to fill it up 2-3 times.

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6. And finally shopping for food in bulk. We thought this would be one of the best ways to attempt to save some money out there as opposed to spending on eating out every single day whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or all of the above. So, on our first official day in LA we went to a nearby Walmart and spent $140 on groceries with all of those things to sustain us for the rest of the week. Now, of course we did end up eating out a few times because there were certain places out there that we wanted to try, but generally, I think we did pretty good with saving SOME money by buying our food in bulk. Plus our Los Angeles airbnb we had the entire house to ourselves WITH a fully equipped/stocked kitchen, so why wouldn’t we take advantage of that?

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Leisure Expenses: Eating Out, Theme Parks & Souvenirs

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So this part is for the extracurricular things we obviously decided to do on the side that weren’t “necessary” but did cost a decent amount of money.

  1. Amusement parks. While we were in Los Angeles we couldn’t pass up the opportunity of going to the amusement parks….I mean, we could’ve, but I wasn’t going to let that happen!!! So, we ended up going to Disneyland and Universal Studios. Typically, the prices for tickets to these parks could be pretty freakin’ pricey, if we’re being honest, BUT we were able to get discounted prices on ours thanks to my mom’s job and this website that employees there tend to get discounts for on a variety of things. A typical 1-day ticket to Disneyland (per person) costs $174, for an adult. With my mom’s discount, we were able to get our tickets for $149. Similarly with Universal Studios, one ticket normally costs about $139, and we were able to get them for $94.50. Unfortunately I don’t have any tips and tricks for this one other then to try googling discount codes or seeing if your job or anyone you know’s job offers discounted prices on things like this.

2. Souvenirs & Food. This one is kind of hard to write and talk about just because I didn’t bother to calculate how much I/we spent on food or souvenirs, and even if I did, it wouldn’t really matter just because stuff like that depends on the particular person traveling. Personally, whenever I travel anywhere, I’m a huge souvenir person, that’s just how I am, but Diego for instance isn’t. I have to like force him to get little souvenirs because he’s fine with just experiencing the places, taking pictures/videos, and just being good that way. As for food, again it depends on the person or people you’re with, as well as yourself. We ate at a few different places in the Disney parks, we got In n Out, we tried this bakery called Susie Cakes, we tried this place called the Rose Cafe for breakfast one day and then we bought the food in bulk from Walmart for all the other days we were there.

So, all in all, when calculating everything, yes we still spent a decent amount, BUT it just basically comes down to being mindful of your spending habits and looking for deals whenever you can. At the end of the day, it’s vacation so you should be splurging a little, BUT there are also ways to be smart about it like finding affordable apps for flights, places to stay, etc.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post and that it gave you a better perspective as to the cost(s) of a trip like this, more specifically when you’re in a group and on somewhat of a tight budget.

Also, just an FYI that I did 2 travel vlogs on my YouTube channel completely showing how our trip went in both San Francisco and Los Angeles , which, if you haven’t already done so, you should DEFINITELY check it out. It also shows you a better idea/view of the airbnbs in case the pictures on the site aren’t that great.

Don’t forget to like and subscribe to the channel btw to stay up to date with all of my videos 😉 .

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you guys in my next post.

-Xoxo, LeoGirl ❤

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Vacation Fashion

Hi guys,

For today’s post I thought it would be fun to share with you guys my vacation outfit and bathing suit choices. I want to map out for you guys what I had on, where I got them from, etc. Especially since this (fashion/style) is definitely something that I want to try incorporating more of in my future blog posts, so here we go!

If you guys haven’t noticed through my Instagram posts, when it comes to my style, I’m super simple. Like don’t get me wrong, I love to be able to get dolled-up every so often, beat my face and throw together a cute outfit, but generally, my style is simple and always has been.

Simple and cute is how I would describe it, although I am trying to little by little step out of my comfort zone and expand on my fashion sense, but that’s a discussion for another post.

So without further adieu, let’s get started…..

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I was actually pretty pleasantly surprised because in the midst of preparing for our trip to Thailand, with the exception of a few bathing suits and rompers/jumpers, I really didn’t buy as much stuff as I thought I was going to.

You know, the excitement of going on vacation so wanting to go a little crazy whenever you go shopping? Yeah, that didn’t happen too much. But I guess that was actually pretty okay, for my wallet’s sake anyway haha.

Clothes:

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The airport outfit: Regardless of how near or far the distance is, I think that an airport outfit should always be something that you’ll feel comfortable in; which is why I think this outfit is cute, simple and super comfortable especially for that 22-hour flight we had.

Top: FashionNova 

Leggings: Garage

Sneakers: Adidas NMDs

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Sightseeing outfit: 

Sunglasses: Quay Australia from the Jaclyn Hill collection.

Tank top: Garage although I bought this in-store a few years back when I worked there, you might get lucky and either find it on the site or find something better! They have a ton of cute stuff here.

Shorts: They’re actually from Charlotte Russe, and a pair that I, again, bought a few years back. BUT, being that they shut down for the time being and no longer have a website running, they may be a little hard to find, although you could probably go ANYWHERE and find similar ones.

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The ‘Playing with Tigers’ outfit:

This entire outfit was from Garage, here’s a link for the shorts and here’s a link for the tees and tank tops section since I can’t seem to find the exact top on the site, although on the top itself it says “Every Summer Has A Story.”

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Baby’s Birthday Dinner Outfit: 

Dress: I actually bought this dress on the Pretty Little Thing website, but unfortunately, when I went to check it out, all of the sizes were sold-out. They do, however, a few alternatives that you could check out if you were interested in it at all though.

Sandals: Forever 21

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I’m actually a bit disappointed because there were 2 other outfits plus some accessories that I had worn out there which were SO cute and fitting for the general Thailand/vacation vibe of it all, but I never got any pictures in them….ugh!! Don’t you hate when that happens?! 🙄

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This romper was one of them which I actually wore on one of our first days in Thailand when we were kind of just walking around, taking in our surroundings and then ended up at the beach afterwards. Super cute, loose, stretchy and comfortable which were all necessary things especially for that blazing 90+ degree weather in Thailand. If interested, you can click here to check it out and purchase it. It’s actually sold-out in all of the sizes on the site right now, but FashionNova is usually pretty good with restocking their stuff, so you can add your email address and get notified when it’s back in stock!

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This jumpsuit was another one. Very chic, island vibes sort of outfit. It’s more on the dressy side, I think, so I actually saved this to wear it out with Diego for one of our more done-up, fancier dinner dates. Click here to be able to check it out. This one unfortunately too is sold-out in all of the sizes, but make sure to put your emails down so you can know as soon as it comes back!!

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Bathing Suits, Cover-Ups & Accessories:

Both the top and bottoms of this bikini are from Missguided. On this site (as are on most sites these days), you have to buy the top and bottoms separate, so here is the link for the bottoms. As for the top, I can’t seem to find that specific color on the website anywhere, so it must’ve sold out because I remember buying it on sale, but they do have the exact same top in other colors. Click here to check it out in a nice charcoal gray color.

Oh and the sunglasses are actually Diego’s that I borrowed and they’re Ray-Bans.

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This one piece is also actually from Missguided although, again, it must be sold-out because I can’t seem to find this suit anywhere on the site either. I looked back in my emails and found that the name of the suit is ‘Brown Textured Ring High Leg Swimsuit,’ for anyone that may want to do some more investigating to see if they find it anywhere.

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For this one piece, I actually bought it a while back from Barneys, but when I went to check the site to get the link for you guys, it doesn’t seem to be available anymore either (WTF PEOPLE!?!). So, I checked around and although a lot of places either say it’s sold-out or don’t have many sizes left, I did manage to find it on this site called Bikini.com . I’ve never actually heard of that site but it is more or less the same price that I paid for the suit and they do seem to have all sizes available for it, so check it out!!

4.

Crochet Swim Cover-Up Dress

I wore this cover-up a few times while I was out there to the pools, but predominantly when we went on our Phi Phi Island excursion. Even though it has like holes going all around it and it’s pretty airy, the material itself was a bit heavy. It didn’t bother me too much, but just keep that in mind if that’s not really the kind of thing you’re in to. I got it at Forever 21 for $29.90, and it was super cute plus it comes in another color, so I think it was worth it.

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Contrast-Trim Straw Boater Hat

Although, personally, I think Forever 21 is super hit or miss when it comes to their clothes, bathing suits, etc., I think that when it comes to their ACCESSORIES you’re almost always guaranteed to find SOMETHING. Their accessories can be so cute and chic depending on where you actually go to find them. But, that being said, I got this hat from Forever 21 as well.

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And then finally, there’s these sunglasses.

I literally wore these for the first time EVER on our first day there while at the beach, and the waves were SO freakin’ strong while we were in the water that at one point a huge wave came, not only knocking me out and making me fall on my ass in the water (yep picture that), but also completely smacking the sunglasses off of my face which caused me to lose them 😦 ….

Yes, I lost these Tom Ford sunglasses in the ocean while in Thailand and it was absolutely tragic when it happened…ugh 🥺. Hopefully I’ll be able to replace them eventually, but that’s the link for where to find them if you’re interested.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post. Let me know in the comments below or through social media if you happen to have any questions about any of the products I mentioned.

Please like, share, follow and comment and I’ll see you guys in my next one!

-Xoxo, LeoGirl ❤

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Tips For Making Your Last Minute Christmas Shopping (Slightly) Easier

Hello Everyone and happy Sunday!!

For my 5th Blogmas post, I thought it would be good, with there being only 9 days until Christmas left and knowing that many tend to leave their shopping for the last minute, to share some tips that I think will be helpful/beneficial in making your shopping (slightly) easier.

Now, some of these may not at all be ground-breaking to you guys, but these are things that I would suggest to anyone in general that I think would be best and easiest when you’re on a time crunch of any sort for holiday shopping.

Plus, some of these things were things that I obviously used in my own personal experience(s) when I was shopping for my family and friends, and they all for the most part ended up working out relatively well.

So let’s get started!!

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  1. Know your audience (A.K.A. the person/people you’re shopping for)!

Probably one of the most obvious things to keep in mind, because the more you know the person you’re shopping for, the easier it’ll be to pick something(s) for him or her, OR at the very least, it’ll give you an idea of where to start when you’re looking for something to get them.

2. Know how much you’re willing to spend on them.

Another fairly obvious one just because you’d be surprised at how many things/items are narrowed down when you pinpoint how much you’re willing to spend on the person. That alone can help you determine what kind of websites, stores, etc. you’ll end up shopping at, which in turn, may help you pinpoint the particular item(s) you want to get based off of what those places are most known for.

3. Invest in Amazon Prime (at least until your free trial or Christmas Shopping is all done!)

Guys Amazon Prime is literally a life-changer and life-saver. If you haven’t done or tried it before, I recommend you go on their website right this second and sign up for their 3-month free trial or whatever the deal is at the moment. You can buy whatever it is you want to buy for the person/people you’re shopping for, AND get FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING on the item(s). What’s great about that too is that, although not ALL of the items on their site will have the option for the 2-day shipping, 1. while you’re shopping, somewhere next to the items shown, it’ll say ‘amazon prime,’ as in it’s eligible for the 2- day shipping, and 2. they also tend to show you different buying options for the particular item(s) you want. Meaning, if one specific seller of the item you want doesn’t offer it for free 2-day shipping, another seller with the exact same item, might have it instead!

OR if you don’t want to go through the hassle of signing up their free trial, hit up a friend that does have it and ask if you can borrow their account. It’s not like you would be using their cards/money, because you could always input new credit/debit card information for the buying.

4. Order online and pick-up in store!

This is super easy AND convenient because almost ANY retail store usually has this option. It also just makes any sort of shopping twice as easy, because it avoids the hassle of you having to pay for shipping, as well as having to go into the physical store to find whatever it is that you’re wanting and then wait in line to have to pay for it. Sure you’ll probably have to wait on a separate line to pick the item up, but it’s still saving A TON of time compared to the alternative and more traditional shopping method.

5. Opting for gift cards!

This may be sort of cheating, and is more of a gift suggestion than anything, but I still consider it to be a great gift and tip. I say this because say you’re the type that not only tends to leave their Christmas shopping for the last minute, but ALSO have no type of idea what to get the person/people you’re shopping for….why not opt for a gift card? You can easily find out their favorite store(s), and just buy them a gift card either online or in-store and let THEM buy whatever it is they truly want/need themselves. Again, similar to buying online and picking up in-store, it allows you to avoid any of the craziness of ‘normal’ shopping, while still managing to get them a gift.

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Well guys, those are all of the tips and tricks that I have for you for any last minute Christmas shopping you guys may be doing throughout the next few days. As I said, I definitely did and followed a few of these things, so I hope you guys enjoyed them and found them helpful to you in some way, shape, or form.

Thank you guys so much for reading and following my posts! Please follow, like, share and comment and I’ll see you guys on Wednesday for my next Blogmas post!

-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

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