10 Cheap Ways to Keep Your LA Trip Under Budget

May 29, 2019

Los Angeles may be home to the rich and famous, but you don’t need a movie star’s bank account to have an incredible time. Check out these 10 cheap ways to keep your Los Angeles trip under budget. Any questions after reading? Send us a message!

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

#1: Take public transportation

A good way to budget travel in Los Angeles is to use the city's excellent public transportation

Yes, you read that right: Los Angeles has public transit, and it’s pretty great! Most people in Los Angeles choose to drive, but the metro and buses are cheap: a single ticket is $1.75, a day pass is $7, and a 7-day pass is $25. You can buy a TAP card (aka a metro ticket) at any metro station—these can also be used to pay for the bus, as well as for the LA metro bike share. Check out this article on Los Angeles transportation for more info.

Pro tip: It’s not like you’ll be riding buses or trains with only tourists. LA only ranks behind NY and SF when it comes to citizens using public transportation to get to work.

#2: Plan a trip for the offseason

To keep your Los Angeles trip under budget, consider visiting during the offseason. You won’t be sacrificing much—weather in LA is almost always perfect, and even if it dips below 70 degrees (that sound you just heard was millions of southern Californians searching for scarves and hats), you’ll have plenty of options for indoor activities. Consider planning a trip in the winter or early spring!

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#3: Visit the (free) museums

With so many free museums its easy to plan for budget travel in Los Angeles

When it comes to LA travel prices, museums are by far the best deal: many of them are free! So you can enjoy some of the most incredible art in the world—contemporary pieces at the Broad, classics at the Getty, and 6,000 years of art history at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—without having to worry about your travel budget.

Other places, like the Huntington Gardens, also have specific free days.

#4: Spend a day on the beach

There are 30 miles of public beaches in Los Angeles. Spending a day lying in the sand is both budget-friendly and relaxing. If you take the train or an Uber, you won’t have to worry about finding/paying for parking.

Santa Monica, Venice, and Manhattan Beach are constant favorites, but someone who lives in Los Angeles can tell you about their favorite spots to chill in the sand.

#5: Go on a hike

Taking a free hike is an excellent budget travel activity in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known for movie stars and traffic, but the nature scene in LA is hard to beat. Partake in one of the best things to do in Los Angeles by exploring the city’s amazing walks. Hiking up to the Hollywood sign is a classic, and locals love Runyon Canyon because dogs are allowed to be off-leash. So when we say take a hike we mean it in the most encouraging, budget-friendly way possible.

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#6: Instead of staying in Beverly Hills, find lodging in Koreatown

Beverly Hills has more name recognition, but you’ll get more bang for your buck by staying in a Los Angeles neighborhood like Koreatown. Not only is it one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Los Angeles, but it’s central and full of activities (great Korean food and amazing karaoke). Plus, it’s easy to get from Koreatown to other parts of LA

#7: Eat like a local

Eating at LA classics like In-N-Out can help keep your Los Angeles travel under budget

When in Rome, right? Eat like the locals: indulge in California favorites like In-N-Out (where a cheeseburger costs just $2.40), check out the incredible LA food truck scene, and be sure to check out cheap eats in Chinatown, like the delicious Lao Tao.

#8: Learn about the best happy hours in town

Speaking of great deals involving food, definitely educate yourself on LA’s best happy hours. See what locals say about the best places in LA to get cheap drinks—they’ll have better info than some random article you find on Google from three years ago.

#9: Explore LA’s art scene

LA has a lot of free art related activities which is good news for anyone looking to budget travel in Los Angeles

It makes sense that LA has an incredible art scene—so many creatives flock to the city of angels! The best part is that most art activities are free. The downtown Los Angeles art walk takes place the 2nd Thursday of every month, Venice hosts a “first Friday” walk that includes tons of food trucks, and Culver City also hosts an arts walk every 2nd Saturday of the month. All free! So much art!

Pro tip: Los Angeles is safe, but if you’re going to be walking around at night remember that LA is a big city—use the same precautions you would anywhere else.

#10: Go to a studio taping

If you love television but don’t want to spend $60 on a studio tour, think about going to a live studio taping instead. Request tickets in advance for shows like The Voice, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and CONAN (or have an LA local take care of the logistics for you).


Ok travelers, you’re all set for an incredible trip. Use these cheap ways to keep your LA trip under budget, or better yet, ask a local for their budgeting tips. Not only can they tell you about the best happy hours in town, but our local trip planners can design a custom itinerary that fits *your* interests. Plus, they’ll be on hand 24/7 with phone support if you run into any issues. Questions? Send us a message!


Still have questions about travel to Los Angeles?
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