My Last Weekend Trip: The Cost of a Spontaneous Trip to San Francisco

I took a last-minute, spontaneous five-day trip to San Francisco last week to see some friends, mostly because I couldn’t pass up the cheap airfare, and also because I had $400 socked away in a savings account dedicated specifically for a vacation that I could use. Here is the trip, and the final tally (numbers were rounded up):

Day One

This is the first of many cappuccinos I will be having on this trip. Imagine how much I would have if I saved my cappuccino money and put that in a retirement account! 😉

These were free on the flight, and are amazing.

• Roundtrip airfare from New York to San Francisco: $96
• A ticket on the Long Island Railroad to get to the Air Train to JFK: $7
• Air Train to Terminal 5: Free (A station agent let me in after my card refused to work)
• Cappuccino and croissant while waiting for flight: $8
• After having to switch flights: $12 on a burger and fries for lunch while waiting for new flight
• Roundtrip Bart ticket from San Francisco Airport to friend’s apartment: $17
• Tacos from hole-in-the-wall for dinner (missed u, really good Mexican food!): $6

Day One Total: $134

Day Two

Breakfast was at John’s Ocean Beach Cafe, and consisted of coffee, apple pancakes, and pork hash with poached eggs. Amazing and recommended!

Two friends and I took a spontaneous trip out of the city to Hog’s Island to buy a bag of oysters — 62 of them to be exact.

We shucked them, ate them raw and grilled with lime juice next to a lake at Tomales Bay State Park. (Okay, my friend shucked them, while I entertained with stories.)

And then we went exploring. (That’s me.)

We found a beach.

On the drive back, we came across a grove of trees and decided to explore it.

Inside the grove, was a cemetery. I went in first to look at it.

We stopped by Drake’s Bay, and then headed to the Cowgirl Creamery where I bought a cappuccino and my friends bought cheese for dinner.

Before heading back to the apartment for dinner, my friends took me to look at the ruins of a bathhouse in the city. This was our most jam-packed day.

• Coffee, apple pancakes, and pork hash at John’s Ocean Beach Cafe: $16
• Share of bag of oysters: $21
• Cappuccino: $4
• Cheese plate dinner at friend’s apartment: Free

Day Two Total: $41

Day Three

Today was a work day, so I spent most of the morning and afternoon working out of the Pocket offices on Market Street, where a friend and colleague works. He took me out for lunch (more delicious Mexican food) and bought me a cappuccino.

I decided to have a last-minute Billfold meetup before dinner, and got to meet some readers. All of you were great, and I hope to meet more of you soon.

Dinner was at St. Vincent Tavern, and it was fantastic! My friend and I ordered a bottle of cabernet franc, pickled eggs, bone marrow, spicy chicken and short ribs to share. Everything was terrific.

• Lunch with work colleague: Free
• Cappuccino: Free
• Old-fashioned at last-minute Billfold Meetup: $8
• Dinner at St. Vincent: $74
• Bus fare home: $2

Day Three Total: $84

Day Four

For lunch today, a friend and I went to Chile Pies (& Ice Cream) and shared: a Frito pie, a chicken pot pie, a raspberry-peach pie, and a chocolate pecan pie milkshake, which is basically a slice of pie blended into a milkshake. I KNOW. Hey, I’m on vacation.

Afterward, we walked to the California Academy of Sciences to look at sea creatures, take a nap in the Planetarium, and go through an earthquake simulation.

As a thank you to my friends for letting me stay with them, I took them out for dinner at Wexler’s, where we shared a country salad, smoked beef tongue with English peas, a pork plate with shrimp and grits, scotch eggs, and a banana cream pie, because apparently, I just didn’t have enough pie that day.

On the way back to the apartment, we heard someone yodeling in a bar. It was Toshio Hirano, a noted Japanese country singer in the city, so we stopped in for a listen. It was the perfect way to end the night.

• Bus fare: $2
• All the pies at Chile Pies: $16
• Admission to California Academy of Sciences: $35
• Cappuccino and latte for friend: $8
• Dinner at Wexler’s as thank you to friends: $123

Day Four Total: $184

Day Five

I said goodbye to my friends this day and headed back to New York.

• Bacon and egg sandwich and coffee breakfast: $10
• Air Train to Long Island Railroad: $5
• Long Island Railroad Ticket back into the city: $7

Day Five Total: $22

Total cost of spontaneous trip: $465

Considering the cost of air fare, the spontaneous trips within the spontaneous trip, the opportunity to see friends, and all the good food, I’m deeming this trip: WORTH IT.

Thanks for the memories, San Francisco.

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