Back in May I was down in San Diego, soaking up the sun and visiting with some good friends from university. While we were firing off guns and relaxing at Pacific Beach, I did manage to take some time to scribble down my spending habits for the 4 days and 4 nights that I was there (May 15th evening to May 19th evening). The results are quite interesting (if you’re as fascinated with budgets and numbers as I am) and should give a good basis for budgeting should the opportunity for a similar weekend trip present itself.

As an added bonus, scroll to the bottom to download my personal detailed budget spreadsheet for my 4-day party weekend with friends in San Diego.

All values below are in Canadian Dollars. At the time of writing 1 CAD = 0.96 USD

Surf boards on a beach in San DiegoFlight – $361.51 + 17000 Aeroplan Miles
I managed to cut down the cost of my flight by spending some of my Aeroplan Miles. Using 17000 miles cut the round-trip cost down from approximately $650 to $361.51, which is a return of 1.7 cents per point. This is a pretty decent return based on Aeroplan savings that I’ve researched in the past.

Food – $208.59
Pretty typical expenses here for a western nation – four full days in SD at approximately $50 a day. Since there were a whole bunch of us packed into a one-bedroom apartment there really wasn’t much room to save money by cooking food.

Car Rental and Gas – $45.32
As you may recall we cruised around SD in our very sexy minivan rental. Hey, we had to cut corners somewhere to leave money for beer! Never having left the city and splitting the bill seven ways kept the rental and gas costs minimal.

A dog taking a ride on a kayak in San DiegoAlcohol – $154.29
Yikes, this expense may need a redefinition of the word “budget”. I guess I knew what I was getting into meeting up with 6 university friends in a foreign country and planning pub crawls, daytime beach drinking and swanky night clubs. I still managed to come in within my budget and had a fantastic time, so I guess I can’t complain.

Entertainment – $136.50
If you remove the alcohol it actually looks like I had relatively inexpensive entertainment for the weekend. The two big expenses were the shooting range costs (rentals and range time) at $62.56 and a 4-hour pontoon boat rental which worked out to $55.37 each. If you’re looking for some inexpensive entertainment, look no further than surfing. I could spend hours upon hours out on the water, but only managed to get 2-3 hours in when I was in SD. The grand total cost for this? A whopping $18.57. There’s also a fixed daily max rate somewhere around $30 or $35. If you really have a tight budget there are many free things to do around San Diego, including swimming at the beach and hiking.

Other Costs – Travel Health Insurance – $27.00
Travel health insurance is a dry and boring topic to write about, but it is a necessity. I picked up my travel health from Royal Bank of Canada.

Total Cost – $933.21
Overall not a bad total for 4 days in sunny SD. The only place where I really could have saved money is on alcohol, but that was expected and somewhat balanced out by the flight savings.

If you’re looking for the detailed breakdown spreadsheet of my San Diego party adventure, you can find it here:

BWSB San Diego Cost Breakdown – May 15-19 2013.xlsx

Have you been to San Diego? How did your budget work out? Do you think I spent way too much money, or could I have indulged more? Share in the comments below!