Travel Budget for California Visit California on a Budget or Travel in Style

California, United States of America

How much does it cost to travel to California?

You should plan to spend around $252 per day on your vacation in California. This is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.

Past travelers have spent, on average for one day:

  • $48 on meals
  • $43 on local transportation
  • $232 on hotels

A one week trip to California for two people costs, on average, $3,525. This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.

  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day
  • One Week Per person
  • 2 Weeks Per person
  • One Month Per person
  • One Week For a couple
  • 2 Weeks For a couple
  • One Month For a couple
This data comes from the travel budgets of real travelers - How it works. Put these numbers on your website.

How much does a one week, two week, or one month trip to California cost?

A one week trip to California usually costs around $1,763 for one person and $3,525 for two people. This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

A two week trip to California on average costs around $3,525 for one person and $7,051 for two people. This cost includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

Please note, prices can vary based on your travel style, speed, and other variables. If you're traveling as a family of three or four people, the price per person often goes down because kid's tickets are cheaper and hotel rooms can be shared. If you travel slower over a longer period of time then your daily budget will also go down. Two people traveling together for one month in California will often have a lower daily budget per person than one person traveling alone for one week.

A one month trip to California on average costs around $7,554 for one person and $15,109 for two people. The more places you visit, the higher the daily price will become due to increased transportation costs.

Independent Travel

Traveling Independently to California has many benefits including affordabilty, freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to control your own experiences.

All of the travel costs below are based on the experiences of other independent travelers.

Is California expensive to visit?

Prices in California are reasonable and comparable to your average travel destination. Hotels, food, and sightseeing are generally within normal price ranges.

Within North America, which is known to be an expensive region, California is a moderately priced destination compared to other places. The overall cost of travel here is fair for the region and comparable to many other destinations.

For more details, and to find out if it's within your travel budget, see Is California Expensive?

How much money do I need for a trip to California?

The average California trip cost is broken down by category here for independent travelers. All of these California travel prices are calculated from the budgets of real travelers.

Category Cost
Accommodation 1 (Double Occupancy) $232
Local Transportation 1 $43
Food 2 $48
Entertainment 1 $63
Tips and Handouts 1 $2 - 7
Alcohol 2 $10 - 31
Accommodation Budget in California
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

The average price paid for one person for accommodation in California is $116. For two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room, the average price paid for a hotel room in California is $232. This cost is from the reported spending of actual travelers.

  • Accommodation1 Hotel or hostel for one person
  • Accommodation1 Typical double-occupancy room

Hotel Prices in California

Looking for a hotel in California? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options.

Find the best hotel for your travel style.

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world.

Transportation Budget in California
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The cost of a taxi ride in California is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $43 per person, per day, on local transportation in California.

  • Transportation1 Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.

Recommended Services

Flights to California
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.

Rental Cars in California
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.

Food Budget in California
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • While meal prices in California can vary, the average cost of food in California is $48 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in California should cost around $19 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.

  • Food2 Meals for one day


Entertainment Budget in California
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • Entertainment and activities in California typically cost an average of $63 per person, per day based on the spending of previous travelers. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

  • Entertainment1 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.

Recommended Activities

Tips and Handouts Budget in California
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The average cost for Tips and Handouts in California is $4.37 per day. The usual amount for a tip in California is 10% - 20%.

  • Tips and Handouts1 For guides or service providers

Scams, Robberies, and Mishaps Budget in California
Average Daily Costs

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 $108, as reported by travelers.

  • Scams, Robberies, and Mishaps1

Alcohol Budget in California
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • The average person spends about $21 on alcoholic beverages in California per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

  • Alcohol2 Drinks for one day


Water Budget in California
Average Daily Costs

Calculated from travelers like you

  • On average, people spend $5.56 on bottled water in California per day. The public water in California is considered safe to drink.

  • Water2 Bottled water for one day

California On a Budget
California 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.
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?

We've been gathering travel costs from tens of thousands of actual travelers since 2010, and we use the data to calculate average daily travel costs for destinations around the world. We also systematically analyze the prices of hotels, hostels, and tours from travel providers such as Kayak, HostelWorld, TourRadar, Viator, and others. This combination of expenses from actual travelers, combined with pricing data from major travel companies, gives us a uniqe insight into the overall cost of travel for thousands of cities in countries around the world. You can see more here: How it Works.

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. Thus, the overall daily average cost is not a summation of the individual categories.