3 days in Hollywood, California: Solo + Couple Travel on a Budget

Are you like me and like to get away on the weekends?  I am definitely a part of the weekender’s club!  Weekend travel is like a snack to get you by, a nice little reprieve.  It can also be extremely affordable if you do it right.  My most recent weekend trip was a solo trip to Hollywood, California. I wanted to attend an amazing Instagram workshop with TheBrandGals over the weekend and thought I could also squeeze in a little Cali-style me time!  Let me share with you how to travel solo or even as a couple to Hollywood on a budget.

Finding good flight deals to Hollywood

As you may know, there is not a direct flight to Hollywood itself.  You can either fly into LAX or to the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.  It is much easier to get to Hollywood from Burbank than it is from LAX, especially when you consider that awesome traffic LA County is known for!  I chose to look for flights to Burbank even though flights to LAX are less expensive.  Ultimately this was the best decision, as I spent less on Uber rides that made up the difference in cost, and it was more time-efficient.  

To find the best flights I always use Kayak.com.  I have tried so many others such as Google flights, Priceline, etc.  I always come back to Kayak because their platform is user-friendly and, most importantly, the flights are comparable or less expensive than other platforms I have seen so far.  I found my flight to Burbank about two weeks before my trip.  I ended up paying $183.50 total round trip.  Not too bad at all for a flight to Burbank from Colorado.  

One trick for finding inexpensive flights is to book a flight that leaves in the middle of the week.  If that is not an option (as it wouldn’t if we’re weekender traveling), is to choose an early-bird flight.  It is not the most pleasant to have a flight leaving 6:30am-7:00am in the morning, but you can always sleep on the flight.  Plus, you will land earlier and have more vacay time at your destination!

Affordable Lodging in Hollywood

There are so many options these days to find great hotel and lodging deals.  My recent stay in Hollywood I stayed at the Time Zone Hostel.  It was only a few blocks from Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd.  The hostel was hospitable, comfortable, and clean. They had fairly private bathrooms available too, which is amazing since I like to sprawl out and take over when getting ready.  For sleeping areas, they have bunk bed rooms, pods, and private rooms.  I would strongly recommend sleeping in a “pod” if you’re by yourself and a private room if traveling with your S.O. But, that is only because I’m almost 30, and no longer interested in living the dorm-life.

The platform I use the most for places to stay is Booking.com, next option is hotels.com, then Airbnb.  It all depends on my needs. Booking.com has great deals for hostels and what I would consider medium-grade hotels (2-3 stars).  They do have great deals for nicer hotels as well, but I will go with Hilton or Marriott brands in most cases and book those through my Hilton Honors or Marriott Rewards accounts.  I get pretty good deals this way and then I can use my rewards towards future rooms.  

Hotels.com is honestly just as good for hotels as Booking.com, but it’s all about preference and which interface you like better.


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Hollywood To-Dos Without Breaking Bank

Be on Live TV fo’ free!

I discovered some pretty cool tricks to get on TV, make appearances as an extra in movies or shows coming out, or to attend private movie screenings when I lived in Santa Monica, CA years ago.  

Search for shows and live tv tapings you want to participate as an audience member in for free at TvTickets.com. On my latest trip, I signed up to be in the live studio audience for CBS’s “Man with A Plan”.  Even with your ticket you’ll print out and take with you, you have to remember to show up at least an hour early, two hours early to be safe. Entry is first-come, first-serve and people are very serious about their positions in line!

Also, they do not allow you to bring in any recording devices, including your phone. You will either have to leave your phone in your car or with security.  Have a plan for what to do with your phone, and make sure you go to the restroom before the taping. Tapings can be 4-6 hours long sometimes! They usually provide a complimentary simple dinner of sandwiches, pizza, or something similar, mid-way through, along with some snacks.


Attend a Free Private Movie Screening

Feel like a VIP when you sign up to see a private movie screening of a new film coming out. You might even get to meet a celebrity!  Before your trip register here and make sure you choose Hollywood as your region.  You will start to get emails of new movie screenings coming out each week.  When a screening pops up for during your planned trip, you can sign up.  Another option is to check out Gofobo.com and enter in the zip code for screenings in the LA/Hollywood area.

Book a unique experience or tour


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A new website that I adore is PlacePass.com. Not only because it’s headquarters is in my beloved prior residence, Boston, but because they have amazing, unique trip experiences and activity packages you won’t easily find anywhere else.  Some activities I would take advantage of in Place Pass for Hollywood are:

+ Classic celebrity homes open-bus tour

+ Hiking tour in the Hollywood Hills

+ Behind-the-scenes Warner Brothers Studio Tour

+ Best of Hollywood Food Tour


Have you been to Hollywood, California? Or elsewhere in LA County? What were your favorite things to do there?

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