Category: cheapskate guide

The Cheapskate Guide To: Tijuana

Want to travel cheap in Tijuana? Like, EXTRA cheap? Click through for a local's tips on $28 Airbnbs, $4 Mexican pizzas, and free readings from famous actors –
Did you know that Tijuana, Mexico is only 35 minutes south of San Diego? And you can take a trolley from San Diego to the border and then walk over?! Today, lifelong Tijuana resident Nicté Trujillo is telling us about $24 hotels, $4 tlayuda (aka ‘Mexican pizza’), and free art exhibits!

Hey there, I’m Nicté Trujillo, a graphic arts nerd and photographer born and raised in one of the most visited borders of the world and I’m so happy to show you my beloved city! I love Tijuana and take any opportunity available to share the wonders it has to offer to the world.

Because we are so close to the United States, we’ve developed a cross-border culture you’d be amazed to see live, and although Tijuana is very young city we have internationally renowned dishes and landscapes, bespoke shoes, polka music, great weather all year long and so much more!

Cheap lodging Tijuana

Cheap lodging in Tijuana

If you’ve ever wanted to give Couchsurfing a go, this is the city to do it! We have an awesome community and are always eager to show people around but if staying with strangers (potential best friends forever) is not your thing, these are some of the options you can try:

Gamma by Fiesta Inn – $35 / night

This is a very centric hotel, it was recently renewed and has all the accommodations necessary to make you feel happy and comfortable.

Hotel Pacific – $24 / night

It’s not fancy, but the location is perfect – close downtown and many coffee shops, restaurants and eateries. You’ll be glad you stayed there! 

Hostel Pangea – $10 / night per bed

This is the only hostel in the city and it has a whole floor dedicated to art exhibitions, a restaurant featuring locally-grown ingredients, concerts on a constant basis, and it’s right in the heart of downtown.

Airbnb – $23 – 28 per night

There are plenty of affordable, highly-reviewed private room options in Tijuana, like this room that’s a 10-minute walk from the beach, this room in a stylishly minimalist home, or a tiny cottage with a sleeping loft for $28 a night!

And if you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking!

Cheap food in Tijuana

Cheap food in Tijuana

We take food very seriously in the city and have our very own style where we mix the Mediterranean recipes with local flavors and even our tacos have a very unique touch. You can find taco stands almost every corner and delicious coffee shops are now abundant too, so even if you just take a stroll down the main streets you surely will find something delicious.

Caesar Restaurant & Bar – $7 for a caesar salad (home of the original Ceasar salad!) 

You might not know this but the Caesar salad was invented in a hotel in Downtown and you can still visit the place where they created it. They will prepare right by your table and the flavor will amaze you!

Plaza Fiesta – $3 for a Craft Beer

In the last few years, lots of entrepreneurs have looked at craft beer as an opportunity to experiment and create amazing stuff, for and by the locals. Nowadays many breweries have established in Plaza Fiesta and offer a special (cheaper!) price on Tap Tuesdays so this an amazing opportunity for you to try different craft beers and even try some snacks.

La Oaxaqueña – $4 for a Tlayuda

The best way to explain this dish is to call it a Mexican pizza. This is a traditional Oaxaca, dish and it’s one of my favorite things to eat in town. It’s a huge tostada (toasted tortilla) with beans, meat and vegetables – perfect for sharing!

Cheap places to eat in Tijuana

La Diferencia – $4 for a Cactus and pork grinds salad

This restaurant has amazing interpretations of Mexican dishes that mix flavors and textures so all the items on the menu are amazing! If you should only try one thing, try this salad; it mixes the traditional and the modern.

Mariscos El Mazateño – $5 for 2 spicy shrimp tacos

If you want to experience the warmth and flavor locals love, visit El Mazateño for their wide arrange of seafood tacos. My favorite is the “camarón enchilado;” it’s a spicy shrimp taco that comes in a crispy tortilla with melted cheese. Yum!

Humo – $5 for a bacon hot dog

Humo is part of one of the most popular food trucks park of the city and it probably has the best hot dogs of Tijuana. With a homemade sausage and bread and a corn cob on the side, you have got to give it a go if you are a meatlover.

Veggie Smalls – $5 for a lentil and Portobello hamburger

Tijuana also has some amazing dishes for vegetarians and vegans. Try their tacos and hamburgers with onion rings or sweet potato fries along their homemade ketchup.

Cheap things to do in Tijuana

Cheap things to do 

Mercado Hidalgo – free

This market is an amazing sample of the colors, flavors, and tastes of Mexico. You can find spices, crafts, exotic fruit, piñatas, and so many chilies. Walk among the vendors, grab a cup of fruit with chili powder or drink from a fresh coconut and you’ll be in paradise in the middle of the city!

Picture with a Burro Zebra – $5

Take a picture with our traditional donkey dressed up as a zebra!

Since 1939, photographers have been decorating a wheelbarrow with Mexican paraphernalia, like sombreros, zarapes, etc., and visitors could pose with the donkey. Since the pictures were black and white back then, the donkey wouldn’t show much so someone decided to fix this by painting the animal!

Since has become a tradition and you will find these zebra/donkeys on different corners of Revolucion Avenue.

See the art exhibits at the CECUT, Tijuana Cultural Center – $3 – $5, free on Sundays

CECUT has a few different options if art and history are your thing. On the weekdays, you need to get a ticket (the price range is $3-$5) for most of their art exhibits but on Sundays, all the exhibitions are free. You can visit the contemporary art building, El Cubo, walk around their botanical garden or check any of their temporary art exhibits, where you can find both local, national or international artists creations.

Movie at the IMAX dome – $3

You feel that you are right inside the movie…just be careful if you get motion sick easily.

Want to travel cheap in Tijuana? Like, EXTRA cheap? Click through for a local's tips on $28 Airbnbs, $4 Mexican pizzas, and free readings from famous actors –

Tianguis – free

If you love treasure hunting, looking for antiques or second-hand trinkets you will love our “sobreruedas” or “tianguis.” These are open air markets, where you can find food, clothes, furniture, and many other things. They are very common around the city. You’ll find them on a weekly basis and some of the biggest ones are in La Villa or by the Border in Otay Mesa.

Ask a local to point you to the closest and have a walk among the fruit vendors and grab some hand-churned ice cream for less than a dollar!

Walk by Playas de Tijuana – free

Our sunsets are best viewed on the beach! If you’re lucky, you might even see some dolphins riding the waves along the surfers. You will also see  our binational garden, which grows edible plants on both sides of the fence that divides Mexico and The United States.

Casa de las Ideas – free

This space and organization was created to promote creative thinking and aid in decreasing violence through workshops and events that promote collaboration and communication.

The building has won multiple architectural awards. Casa de la Ideas frequently hosts events that are free/cheap and open to the public, including reading by well-known actors and even yoga.

Walking tour Tijuana – free

A couple of couchsufing hosts host a free, weekly walking tour! You will be able to walk around the art corridors inside downtown, have a taste of locally brewed beers or even attend art exhibits, make great friends and just have a great time with locals.

As you can see, there is something for everyone in the city and if you have time to spare, you could drive south of the city to see more of our amazing state, like the new wine route, the Ensenada Pier or even see where the famous Tecate beer is made!

Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Nicté! Have any of you guys been to Tijuana? If you have, I’d love to hear your favorite cheap tips!

P.S. 7 travel tools I will not shut up about till you buy them!

photo credits: sam wheeler // following photo sets by nicté trujillo // cc

The Cheapskate Guide To: Atlanta

Want to travel cheap in Atlanta? Click through for tips on $15 camping, $1.95 biscuits, $10 river tubing, and free Walking Dead tours! >>

It’s getting colder. Don’t you think it’d be a great time for a long weekend someplace warm? Atlanta’s still in the high 60s in November and with a huge airport, it’s easy and cheap to get direct flights! Today, Atlanta local Katie McLendon is telling us about $15 a night camping (or $85 a night glamping), $1.95 biscuits, $10 river tubing, and free Walking Dead tours!


The Cheapskate Guide To: Leeds, England

Looking to travel Leeds on the cheap? Click through for bargain travel tips from a local - what to do in Leeds, where to eat and stay, and tons of other cheap travel tips!

Traveling on the British pound can get a bit pricey for Americans and Canadians, but today Leeds local Amy is telling us where we can find cozy rental cottages for $42 per night, $1.50 pizza slices, free pub quiz nights, and cheap beer!

My name is Amy and I moved to Leeds in 2011 to study (and a bit for love, too). Over that time I have totally fallen in love with the city. It’s a real gem, and definitely doesn’t get the attention (and tourism!) that it deserves. I spend my time scouting out the best restaurants, reading all the books and baking pies. Oh, and blogging about life in Leeds over at Amy Elizabeth.

The Cheapskate Guide to: Leeds //

Cheap Lodging in Leeds

Airbnb is usually cheaper than a hotel – especially if you’re traveling with friends or staying for a few nights. Here’s a studio apartment in the center of the city for £45 a night and here’s a two-bedroom house in the suburbs for £48. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking!

There are quite a few budget chain hotels in the city centre which are good in a pinch, although a little soul-less – Premier Inn is the best of the bunch.

If you’re travelling with a friend or two, Roomzzz Aparthotel in the city centre is a great option and gives you a little kitchen to play with (check out the Leeds Market for fresh food and a fun experience!). You can also stay in rooms at the University of Leeds – there’s usually more availability in the summer whilst the students are away.

Looking to travel Leeds on the cheap? Click through for bargain travel tips from a local - what to do in Leeds, where to eat and stay, and tons of other cheap travel tips!

Cheap Food in Leeds

Food is where Leeds really shines! Over the past few years, the foodie scene in Leeds has exploded and you’ll find reasonably priced, super delicious eateries all over the city.

Cafe 164 – $4.50 – $7.50 (£3 – £5)
If you’re looking for a pit stop during the day, take yourself over to Cafe 164. The coffee is excellent, the staff are wonderful and they have a great selection of cakes to give you a little boost. Many are vegan and/or gluten-free and the apple flapjack is particularly addictive. It’s also an indie art gallery with an ever-changing exhibition to browse whilst you sip your flat white…

Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen – $1.50 – $9 (£1 – £6)
Belgrave is home to two permanent residents – Patty Smith’s Burgers and Dough Boys Pizza, both of whom have offers you’re gonna want to take advantage of. Their amazing burgers will usually set you back £6 ($9), but you can often pick up a second for just £1 more. If you drop by during the day you can also pick up a slice of pizza for as little as £1 ($1.50).

Drop by on the second Saturday of every month and you’ll be lucky enough to experience Belgrave Feast where you’ll be able to pick up some of the best street food from across the UK for around the £5 ($7.50) mark. Look out for Belgrave Feast regular, Noisette Bakehouse – you don’t want to miss those Salted Caramel Brownies!

Belgrave also has the best roof terrace in Leeds. On a sunny day, ask for your drink in a plastic cup and head straight to the top!

Anything at Trinity Kitchen – $8 – $10 (£5.50 – £7)
Trinity Kitchen is no ordinary food court. Ignore the permanent stands and head straight to the back where a rotating lineup of some of the best street food vans in the UK make their home every month – you’ll be able to pick up some excellent grub for around £6-7 ($9-10)

Bundobust – $4 – $10 (£2.50 – £7)
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian (or even if you’re not), you’re going to want to head to Bundobust for some Indian street food and craft beer. Swing by at lunch time and get two of their excellent dishes for just £7 ($10). Don’t miss the Bhel Puri.

My Thai – $3 – $10 (£2 – £7)
There’s a lot of Thai food to be had in Leeds and a lot of it is delicious and reasonably priced. Nowhere more so than My Thai – a sweet little place at the top of town decked out in fairy lights. Be prepared to queue for a little while – the wait is worth it.

No dish is more than £6.50 ($10) and if you’re on a budget you can easily share a large dish and a couple of their cheaper starters. The steamed pork dumplings (£2 / $3) are delicious but be careful not to burn your mouth – everything comes out piping hot!

The Pay As You Feel Cafe – Free/Donation or Volunteering Appreciated
This will be the most happy-making meal you have in the city. Run by The Real Junk Food Project, which was set up here in Leeds but has spread its message across the country, the Pay As You Feel Cafe intercepts food that would otherwise ended up as landfill and turns it into delicious, hearty food.

You can make either a financial donation for your meal or trade your skills and time, so you can choose whether this is the most expensive or the cheapest meal of your trip. The cafe serves up a double whammy – cutting food waste and helping feed the community. Total winner.

The Swine That Dines – $7.50  (£5)
Foodies of Leeds rave about this place. By day, The Greedy Pig serves up stellar breakfasts and lunchtime sandwiches – a not-so-greasy greasy spoon, if you will. By night, they open as The Swine That Dines, serving up creative small plate dishes for just £5 ($7.50).

This is nose-to-tail dining, with an ever-changing menu of seasonal produce. If you’re willing to be a bit adventurous, then you’re guaranteed the best meal of your trip. Oh, and it’s BYOB.

The Cheapskate Guide to: Leeds //

Cheap Activities in Leeds

Take a Trip to Roundhay Park – Free
One of the most beautiful parts of the city, Roundhay Park is the perfect place for a stroll (and a picnic!).

Head over on a Sunday morning to ogle at all of the adorable dogs being walked, and take a little bit of bread to feed the many ducks (and swans!) that populate the lake. Pop to the Roundhay Fox for a warming drink or a pint after your walk – perfect in the winter when they have the fire going!

See the Meerkats at Tropical World – $7.50 (£5)
Whilst you’re at Roundhay Park, you should definitely make a trip to Tropical World. Tropical World is home to tropical plants aplenty, lots of beautiful butterflies, all sorts of reptiles and, most importantly, the cutest little troupe of meerkats. Entry is just £5 ($7.50) for adults and free for under 5s.

Window Shopping at the Corn Exchange & Victoria Quarter – Free
The Corn Exchange and the Victoria Quarter are two of the most beautiful places in Leeds – you won’t be looking at the shops for staring at the buildings themselves.

The Victoria Quarter is home to most of the designer shops in Leeds, and is totally Instagrammable, whilst the Corn Exchange has a quirky selection of specialist shops, including a camera shop and a vintage clothing shop, and  the most stunning roof you’ve ever seen. Looking around is free, of course – just try not to fall in love with anything if you’re on a budget!

The Cheapskate Guide to: Leeds //

Kirkstall Abbey – Free
History buffs won’t want to miss out on this gorgeous ruin. Once a glorious abbey, the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey are perhaps even more beautiful and it’s a wonderful place to while away an afternoon (for free!). There are often events on here – from food-markets to live music, fireworks and interactive film nights, all of which are pretty reasonably priced.

Catch a Gig at The Brudenell Social Club – $8 (£6)
The Brudenell is the haven of students throughout the city – a working men’s club turned hipster music venue with cheap drinks and a retro appeal. Known for hosting great local and not-so-local bands, you can usually grab a ticket for around £6 ($8).

Pub Quiz at The Hop – Free
Fancy a free meal and a chance to test your knowledge of useless trivia? Get yourself to The Hop – their Tuesday night pub quiz is free to enter and includes a complimentary supper of proper pub grub, which adds up to a pretty cheap night out.

Even if you factor in the local ales you’re definitely want to try whilst you’re there.

Explore the Yorkshire Countryside – Free
One of the best things about Leeds is just how close it is to the Yorkshire countryside, renowned for its beauty. They don’t call it God’s Own County for nothing.

Make your way to the Yorkshire Dales National Park or the Peak District National Park for stunning scenery, or keep it a bit more local and explore Ilkley Moor or Haworth – once home to the Bronte sisters and inspiration behind those moors that Heathcliff and Cathy were so fond of.

And that’s that! There are so many cheap and fun things to do in Leeds, I couldn’t possibly list them all. It’s a city for exploring – I know you’re gonna love it!

Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Amy! Other British readers – what would you add? 

P.S. 7 travel tools I won’t shut up about!

photo credits: paul ratcliffe // tim green // tim green // quite peculiar // yelp inc // jason charlesworth // michael beckwith // tim green // minniemouseaunt // cc

The Cheapskate Guide To: London

Is London travel in your future? Click through for cheap London travel tips from locals who know! Cheap food, affordable lodging, and fun activities! >>

Is London travel in your future? Are you refreshing every few days and hoping the exchange rate has changed? At the moment, $1 US = £ 0.77. If you’d like to stretch your money further, you’ll looooove this guide to cheap London from two of my favorite American expats! Keep reading for affordable theater recommendations, cheap curry, and window shopping at Harrods!


The Cheapskate Guide To: Chicago

Want some cheap travel to Chicago? Click through for a local's recommendations on $34 Airbnbs, $5 Chicago-style pizza, and $7 comedy shoes at Tina Fey + Amy Poehler's alma mater! >>
Chicago is one of my favorite long weekend destinations. The public transport is easy and cheap, there’s tons to do AND THERE IS A GIANT LAKE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY. Today, local Windy City-er BreAnna is telling us all about $7 comedy shows, free brewery tours, $5 Chicago-style pizza, and a clever way to get to the top of the John Hancock building for $9!


The Cheapskate Guide To: Brooklyn

Want to travel cheap in Brooklyn? Click through for a locals tips on $40 Airbnbs, cheapo Polish food, and FREE performances from a six-time Grammy-winning choir! >>

June + Brooklyn = yes, amirite? Just picture yourself: biking over the Brooklyn bridge, stopping at food trucks and sitting on stoops, instagramming that skyline from a ferry. Today, Brooklynite Katie is telling us where we can find $40 a night Airbnbs, cheapo pierogis, and free performances by Grammy-winning choirs!