How Do I Travel to San Francisco on a Budget?

By Anna Duncan

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States, boasting iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf. That being said, it can also be one of the most expensive cities to visit.

But don’t let that deter you from exploring the City by the Bay! With a few tips and tricks, you can travel to San Francisco on a budget.

Plan Ahead

The key to budget travel is planning ahead. If you book your flight and hotel accommodations in advance, you can often get them at discounted prices.

Additionally, many hotels offer packages that include discounts on local attractions and transportation services. Planning ahead also allows for more time to research deals on meals and activities.

Stay at an Airbnb

Airbnb offers a variety of lodging options in San Francisco that are typically cheaper than a traditional hotel room. Plus, staying at an Airbnb will often provide you with access to a kitchen or living room which gives you more space for less money.

And if you’re traveling with friends or family, it’s an even better deal! You can split the cost and have more money for other activities during your visit.

Take Advantage of Free Activities

San Francisco is full of free (or nearly free) activities that are perfect for budget travelers! Take advantage of free walking tours around some of the city’s most popular spots, like Chinatown and Alamo Square Park. You can also spend some time exploring Golden Gate Park – admission to this 1,017 acre urban oasis is free!

Use Public Transportation

Public transportation is one of the best ways to get around San Francisco without breaking the bank. The Muni bus system covers almost all areas within city limits while BART makes it easy to explore nearby cities like Oakland and Berkeley without having to rent a car or pay for taxis or rideshares.


San Francisco may be known as an expensive city but it doesn’t have to be if you know how to travel on a budget! Plan ahead for discounted flights and hotel rooms; consider staying at an Airbnb; take advantage of free walking tours and visits to Golden Gate Park; and use public transportation instead of renting cars or taking taxis/rideshares whenever possible. With these tips in mind, visiting San Francisco without breaking your budget is possible!