Happy Birthday to Me! (+ Travel Tips)

June 6, 2013
Happy Birthday To Me! - Sweet and Savoring

Red velvet birthday cake, four years ago in Brooklyn

Today, I choose happiness.

Why? As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, today is my birthday!

Happy Birthday to Me! - Sweet and Savoring

My 26th birthday five years ago. I’m the one with no hair 🙂

I’ll raise the happy up to excited for the next reason: a four-day San Francisco visit with my best friend starting Saturday! Traveling! Me, on a plane once again (it’s only been two years, but it feels like so much longer)! New sights, new scents, a whole different coast and city to explore.

Happy Birthday To Me! - Sweet and Savoring

Wow…cannot wait to take some better pictures of San Francisco

These past several months, I have just been so restless. I long to wander strange streets and stick my feet in the Pacific Ocean- no matter how cold it is 🙂

Happy Birthday to Me! - Sweet and Savoring

The Pacific coastline is kind of blissful at daybreak <3

Traveling is my passion. It’s certainly something I did a lot more of in my old life, pre-marriage-school-and-apartment. You know what you usually need a lot of to travel? Money. And boy, do we not have a lot of it at the moment. I thought it would be fun to head out to California with a mission: find as many free activities and sites as possible- and if I find free food, even better! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always traveled on a very tight budget, but European settings don’t exactly lend themselves to frugality. San Francisco, however, has an incredible variety of free events, activities and attractions! Yippee!

Some things to keep in mind if you’re in a new place and looking to save money:

  • Happy hours at some bars still serve some pretty good food with the purchase of a cheap drink. Stuff like chips and salsa, sushi, quesadillas, and crudité.
  • Never pay full price at a museum when you can take advantage of their free nights. For many institutions in San Francisco, that night is the first Tuesday of every month (I’ll be there the second Tuesday. Oh, well). Speaking of museums, did you know that ‘suggested donations’ are just that, suggested? At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, when you say “two, please”, just hand over however much money you can afford. Really!
  • Farmer’s markets, fairs, and festivals, all of which are abundant in SF, almost always have free samples of their offerings. Walking around from booth to booth and grazing on local or specialty foods just might constitute a light lunch!
  • There are all sorts of quirky, offbeat (and often free) spots to track down in every city, and Atlas Obscura is a fantastic resource to find them all.
  • Carrying around a couple of pieces of fruit, some nuts, or an energy bar are good ways to fight off hunger when you’re out and about with no affordable options in sight.
  • Depending on how long you plan on staying in one city, day or week passes for public transportation will typically save you money over paying for an individual ride.
  • Student discounts! You can bet I’ll be pulling out my college ID card if I go anywhere that offers student discounts. There’s also  AAA, if you have a car. You’d be surprised at the places that offer discounts with a AAA membership.
  • Good old Google: I found so many free activities by typing in “San Francisco free things to do”, many via this gold mine of a website: Fun Cheap SF: Free & Cheap Events & Things to Do in the San Francisco Bay Area.

One of my favorite things to do (anywhere, really, not just in a new place), is wander around, turning spontaneously down new streets and taking pictures of anything and everything. The ultimate free activity 🙂

Do you have any recommended ways to save money while traveling? What’s your favorite spot in the San Francisco Bay Area? Any long-awaited trips in your future?

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite out-the-plane-window shots (and this is why I always request a window seat):

Happy Birthday To Me! - Sweet and Savoring




‘Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.‘   –“Anne of Green Gables”, L.M. Montgomery

You Might Also Like

  • Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat June 6, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Happy Birthday! Spending time with your friend in San Francisco sounds like an awesome way to have a bday celebration. I love travelling too! Thanks for the great tips!

    • Christy June 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      My pleasure, Holly- and thank you, I can’t wait to get to SF!

  • Rebecca Kelsey Sampson June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Happy happy birthday, to you! To you! Happy happy birthday!

    Imagine that with a little jig. Have a great time in San Francisco! I went there recently for work and boy was it a gorgeous city.

    Kindness is the best accessory,

    • Christy June 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Rebecca, thanks for stopping by! Your comment made me smile and feel so special 🙂

  • Deb Rothaug June 6, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Happy Birthday dear daughter! We have some treats here too…count on taking some for your plane ride to this next adventure!
    Enjoy your “freebie” treats today, and we are so happy to be blessed by the gift of Y-O-U!

    • Christy June 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Your treats were chocolatey deliciousness, Mom!

  • Aunt Susie June 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Happy, happy Birthday Dear Christy!

    Enjoy your wonderful day and your wonderful trip to SF too! Will you see your cousins and perhaps another Auntie? I hope so….the more the merrier.

    Whatever you do, I wish you Peace, Love and Joy!

    • Christy June 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Thanks Aunt Susie! I’m going to pack as much into SF as I can!

  • Olivia @ Liv Lives Life June 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Happy birthday!!
    I hope you have a great time on your trip to CA. I get very restless every so often, but usually can do nothing about it because of lack of money, like you mentioned. 😉 Those are some great money-saving tips, though. Thanks for sharing!
    That last picture is just gorgeous.
    Have a great trip!

    • Christy June 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Thanks, my birthday was quite nice 🙂 When I used to travel more, the money thing was sort of easier because of the ‘work/live in community during the spring/summer/fall, travel in the winter’ lifestyle. the not paying rent thing was a big help!

  • Christie Jones June 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Happy birthday! Love your travel tips!

    • Christy June 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks Christie- they come experience and a need to spend as little as possible on basically all of my travels, haha.

  • Natalia June 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Happy Birthday!! : ) Have a wonderful time in San Francisco! I was there for 3 days, 5 years ago – my favourite memory was biking towards the Golden Gate bridge, and how I couldn’t believe – after all those movies I had seen in which it appears – that I was finally seeing it with my own eyes! I have always travelled on a tight budget (the month spent in the USA, including those 3 days in SF, were the tightest yet!) – cheap accommodation and street food is the way to go!

    • Christy June 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks 🙂 I know, isn’t that feeling of seeing a new place you’d only seen in TV and movies just the best? Paris and Vienna in particular were magical for me because of the movies “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” 🙂

  • Rachel June 7, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Happy Birthday for yesterday! Gorgeous pictures, those clouds are making me want to fly away!! xx

    • Christy June 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks, yesterday, today, tomorrow- it’s a multi-day birthday celebration! Thanks for the compliment!

  • Camille June 7, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Happy birthday! I hope you have a great time here in SF, there’s so much to see!

    • Christy June 13, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      I did have a great time, thank you Camille!

  • Pleasant Summer Evening: A Prairie Home Companion at Tanglewood | Sweet and SavoringSweet and Savoring July 4, 2013 at 1:19 am

    […] the beautiful Berkshires, which is right next door to the Hudson Valley. We hiked in the Berkshires on my birthday, and I’d love to keep exploring Western MA […]

  • %d bloggers like this: