I'm 27 & This Is How Much I Spent On A 4/20 Weekend Trip To Denver

Welcome to Travel Diaries, a Refinery29 series where we tag along as real women embark on trips around the world and track their travel expenses down to the last cent. Here, we offer a detailed, intimate account of when, where, and how our peers spend their vacation days and disposable income: all the meals, adventures, indulgences, setbacks, and surprises.
This week's travel diary: A 27-year-old yoga instructor visits her brother in Denver, CO for a weekend of 4/20-inspired fun.
For questions, feedback, or if you're interested in tracking your travel expenses during an upcoming trip email us at traveldiary@refinery29.com.
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Age: 27
Occupation: Full-time yoga teacher & part-time studio manager
Salary: ~$24,000 it’s still a new gig for me so I’m building it up. Last month I made $2,000. However, I get $2,500 a month from my parents. Each paycheck I get I put 40% in savings (taxes & emergency fund), 10% goes to tithes, and the rest I give to my parents. It’s kind of a loan in that I pay back what I can but I’m not in debt to them, so it’s also kind of an allowance.
Annual Number Of Vacation Days: Up to my discretion. I’m paid hourly and have no paid vacation days.
Hometown: Houston, TX
Trip Location: Denver, CO
Trip Length: 3 nights, 4 days
Travel Companion: I’m traveling alone but will be visiting my little brother. He lives in Denver
Travel Companion Salary: ~$25,000. He was a waiter and now works for a grocery delivery service so his paycheck varies
Travel Companion Number of Vacation Days: Up to his discretion
Transportation
Flight: My dad’s secretary booked it using his points. I did not pay for my flight or my pick-up/drop-off service.
Total: $0
Accommodations
I stayed with my brother, his roommate and his roommate's girlfriend. It cost me nothing!
Total: $0
Pre-vacation spending: I paid $300 for our 4/20 event and $113.08 for our painting event.
Total: $413

Day One

7:00 a.m. – My light therapy alarm clock sounds its bells for the last time this week. I immediately roll over and snooze it. Then, I remember I have to get up because I’m going to Denver today and my car will be here in 30 minutes! I hop out of bed, pull my hair half up with a scrunchie (hell yes my fave trend), brush my teeth, put on some YSL eye cream, and get dressed. My airport attire is very yoga chic – leggings, a V-neck, an oversized sweater, and some platform sneakers. My mom comes in to make sure I’m awake and helps me carry all of my stuff downstairs. I brew a cup of coffee and grab some Siggi’s yogurt and “bluebs.” We head outside just as my dad is pulling up after his workout. He hugs me bye and then I load up in the car.
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7:15 a.m. – On my drive to the airport, I work on some social media posts for the studio I manage and eat my breakfast. One of my besties from where I used to live texted and asked when I was coming back into town because she misses me. Why can’t you come to me though? She never responded because I never actually asked her that.
8:30 a.m. – I get to the airport and realize that the upgrade my mom paid for was lost when I changed my flight to an earlier one a few days before. And I didn’t get TSA pre-check. I check my bag ($30, ugh United why though) and then lug around two yoga mats with my backpack. I get through security and head to the gate. $30
9:15 a.m. – I grab a croissant, a banana, and a protein bar from a little café. I fill up my water bottle at the water fountain, make one more restroom stop, then I get on the plane and pass the heck out. I woke up about an hour later, had some airline “maple wafers” (10/10 recommend), hot tea, and read my book for the rest of the flight. I’m reading Tana French’s The Witch’s Elm and so far, so good. I usually read so much… like a book a week but I’ve been distracted lately… mainly with social media and I hate it. I’m making a vow to myself, once I get back to Texas, to have no technology in bed! Books only. $7.77
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12:00 p.m. – I land in Denver and my little brother, P, greets me with an iced vanilla latte with almond milk ($9.72 including the cost of his drink). Gosh I love this kid. We grab my luggage and then head to his truck. We pay $5 to leave the airport garage. $14.72
1:00 p.m. – P lives in Downtown Denver so I’m enjoying the drive past the mountains and then through the city, all while hitting his THC pen. I can’t believe he lives in such a cool place!
1:30 p.m. – We get to his apartment and have to find some space for my suitcase. He didn’t even bother cleaning his room. We’re going to a special 4/20 event tomorrow and P picked up our “goody bags” the day before ($20 each so $40 total. FREAKING STEAL). He shows me the goods and it genuinely felt like Christmas. There was a half-gram oil cartridge, some CBD gummies, THC/CBD chocolate peanut butter cups, THC olive oil, and two canisters with the most legit-smelling flower ever. I popped a couple of the gummies, tried a droplet of the olive oil (hm not bad), put on a hat, switched my shoes out for some better suited for walking, and left his apartment. $40
2:1 5 p.m. – We stroll for a while before we found some scooters to rent. It ended up being $2 a piece. $4.
2:45 p.m. – We are starting to get hungry so we stop at a sushi restaurant. P orders a beer and some miso soup, I order water and a house salad. We split gyoza and two rolls ($48.11). P pays but we are combining all costs for the trip. It took over an hour to get our food but we made good use of the time by talking. I love my brother and I also love the intellectual and enlightened conversations you have while under the influence of marijuana. We talk about our parents, how we are pattern-breakers, and how much pressure he feels to lead a specific type of life (take over the family business, work all day everyday like our dad, settle down to raise a family etc.). He wants to travel, discover what he’s passionate about, and then find a career in that field. We’re very fortunate to have such supportive parents so he’s been figuring himself out for the last year. We talk about a plan and how he can move forward in life all while maintaining happiness. $48.11
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4:00 p.m. – We walk all the way back to his house. It felt like a million miles but we just hit the pen and talked. Mostly I complained about having to walk but you get the idea. Once we got home, I had a snack because munchies are real. One of P’s roommates, K, introduces me to pimento cheese and Ritz crackers. Hello heaven. We pop a few more gummies then the four (me, P, K, and D (the dog) of us leave for Red Rocks.
4:45 p.m. – We arrive at Red Rocks only to discover they are having a concert so we’re not able to get into the main site. We drive around for a bit before stopping at a different area just so I can say I was there. There ended up being a trail nearby so we did a baby hike of about a mile. I had just hit 10K steps on my FitBit and the long day is wearing on me by this point. Was I really on a plane just this morning? How does time exist? Who am I? We eventually make our way back to the car; D and I pass out immediately upon arrival.
5:45 p.m. – Once we’re back at my brother’s place I collapse on the couch. I try to convince him to let us cancel our dinner reservations but he does not let that happen. Party on. We (I) force ourselves (myself) off the couch to freshen up. I put on black distressed jeans, a super cute gingham button down from Madewell that I just got, some converse, and a little YSL CC cream. P changes T-shirts and puts on a pant version of the shorts he was wearing. Boys have it so easy.
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6:30 p.m. – We scooter our way to the Dairy Block ($5 each, so $10). Which was legit the coolest place I’ve ever been to. I freaking love all of these food halls or whatever the heck they are. We stop at a coffee shop; I order a cold brew float and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be the same. The bitterness of the cold brew with the sweetness of the ice cream. Wow. My two favorite things in a cup. My brother ordered a cappuccino. He’s also a big fan ($10.73). $20.73
7:00 p.m. – We leave the coffee shop and continue walking around the Dairy Block. There is a super cool hotel with a badass lounge that we stop in to figure out our game plan. P gets a drink. $13.22
7:15 p.m. – We leave the Dairy Block and decide to scooter to dinner ($5 each, so $10). Our reservation isn’t until 8:30 but ya girl is hungry so I’m hoping if we get there early they can seat us a bit ahead of time. We hit the pen a few times before we get there. $10
7:45 p.m. – Our table isn’t ready so we sit at the bar. I don’t drink so I ask the bartender if she can make me a mocktail. She brings me the most delicious and refreshing drink of I don’t even know what. I think I had two. And then I switched to Pellegrino. So classy. P ordered 3 drinks. He likes to consider himself a cocktail connoisseur so he needed to try an assortment from the menu. We order some arancini as an appetizer while we wait. The bartender is super cool and tells us we should just stay and eat there so P cancels our table. We order mussels to share, carbonara for me, and gnocchi for him. $130.70
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9:00 p.m. – We each only ate about half of our entrees because our goal was to save it for tomorrow AND to make sure we have room for dessert. My brother has been on a crème brulée kick lately, like...making it at home on a Tuesday kind of kick. So we leave restaurant number #1 in search for crème brulée.
9:15 p.m. – We walk a little bit (I complain about this, don’t worry) to Capital Grille and sit in the bar once we get there. P gets some fancy bourbon drink and I have water. We order a crème brulée and coconut cream pie ($39). The pie was alright. I basically just eat the topping. P devours his crème brulée. He only comes up for air to flirt with the waitress. We have a joke that every time we hang out he needs a shirt that says “This is my sister” so I don’t cramp his single bro vibe. $39
10:30 p.m. – We Uber home (my Uber account is connected to my mom’s credit card) and I immediately hop into the shower. I eat a few more gummies, hit the pen once or twice, and then fall asleep after a long AF yet amazing day.
Daily Total: $358.25

Day Two

8:00 a.m. –My alarm and P’s roommates wake me up. I fly out of bed excited for the day to come. It’s 4/20! I feel like such a stoner high school kid. I never really understood the purpose behind the holiday but today I will be celebrating. First time for everything. I brush my teeth, take my meds, and then stroll into the living room to wake up P who is passed out on the couch.
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9:00 a.m. – We get dressed in our finest yoga attire and then scoot ($5 each so $10) our way back to the coffee shop we went to last night. I order a croissant and a cold brew, and P gets a lemon scone and a dirty chai tea latte. I pay ($18.43). $28.43
9:50 a.m. – We’re going to a private 4/20 event today and it starts at 10:30 a.m. We were hoping we’d have time to scooter over there but we took too long drinking our coffees. I call a Lyft to take us instead. $8.89
10:15 a.m. – We get to the event space right on time. We check in, snag us a good spot to unroll our yoga mats, and go off to explore before the class started. I found CBD coffee on my exploration so clearly I had to get a cup and then we got in line for the dab bar. What the heck is a dab bar? I had the same question. It’s THC concentrate that you smoke and these beautiful hippy girls with flower crowns set the bong up for each new person in line! I took a baby hit and P took a big one; we’re officially baked. The event was pre-paid for.
10:45 a.m. – The yoga class starts and it was amazing. Even my brother got into it and this was only his second time doing yoga! The instructor was so good and I told myself to find her later so I can pick her brain. (Side note, to “pick someone’s brain” is such a strange saying. What are we...zombies? Another side note, iZombie on Netflix is really good).
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12:00 p.m. – We pack up our stuff and then load up in a shuttle (4/20 friendly of course). We smoke and mix and mingle with the other riders as we head to the next destination.
12:15 p.m. – We arrive at an art gallery and I’m just blown away by the detail put into this event. There are beautifully set tables within the space, an outdoor seating area, live music, a dab AND joint bar, all while surrounded by amazing pieces of art. I felt very cultured. And chic. But mostly high.
12:30 p.m – P and I share a joint outside, hit the dab bar, and then head inside to feast. The menu says that the first course is bread with cocoa butter. The butter was on the table but the bread was nowhere to be seen. They brought us a salad, some strawberry french toast, maple pork loin, and finally, a shrimp and grits quiche! Everything was delicious but it was not nearly enough food to feed a group of extremely high (and cultured and chic) adults. At the end of the meal, P was so devastated that he never got the bread that he bottled the cocoa butter up in one of the weed storing jars they gifted us. And we skedaddled.
2:30 p.m. – We walked for a little bit before we found the Uber-sponsored electric bikes. PSA - if you’ve never ridden one before, do it ASAP. I want one instead of my car now! We rode bikes for about an hour and it was glorious. I was perfectly baked and the weather was amazing. It truly felt like a dream.
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3:30 p.m. – We needed coffee and maybe a snack. We stopped at the Dairy Block (of course) so we could go back to our favorite coffee shop (twice in one day). I have another cold brew float, P orders a latte, and we split a meat and cheese board. ($27.22) I told P that I added “live in a city where I don’t need a car” to my bucket list. If I could bike/walk everywhere that would be so cool. Though I’m sure the grass is always greener. $27.22
4:00 p.m. – We walk around the Dairy Block for a bit so P can get some ice cream ($3.85). I decide against ice cream, after just having it in my coffee, but I do get a cinnamon roll. I keep a list on my phone of all the places I try cinnamon rolls and they are ranked 1 to 5 based on texture, temperature, icing, and overall flavor. This particular cinnamon roll? Best I’ve eva’ had. I also order two chocolate chip cookies for P and I to eat later ($12.02) $15.87
5:00 p.m. – We bike back to P’s apartment ($13.97 for P’s bike). The bike is through Uber and I use my mom’s account. Once we’re upstairs, I chill out for a bit while P rolls some joints with the flower we got from the event. I’m hella chill after all the goodies and 5 cups of CBD tea at brunch. We go upstairs to smoke on his balcony and then watch last week’s episode of Game of Thrones. Hell yes. I love Sansa. And Dany and Jon Snow. Bran weirds me out. The night from then on just consisted of Netflix, leftover carbonara, and then bed. P went out with his roommates and I chilled by myself. I’m an introvert so I need some alone time to recoup so the day ended perfectly. I also ended up eating both of the chocolate chip cookies and texting a guy I kind of ghosted.. Only one thing went well. I’ll let you figure out which one. (It was the cookies). $13.97
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Daily Total: $94.38

Day Three

9:00 a.m. – I wake up naturally, which is my favorite thing to do, and stroll into the kitchen. K has made blueberry muffins! YUM. My brother has this brand of jelly that he’s been wanting me to try so after my muffin he makes me a “toast flight” which was just two pieces of toast with different jellies. My brothers other roommate, T, joined us in the living room and we talked for a bit since I hadn’t seen him yet!
10:00 a.m. – I start getting ready for church. I try to run the curling iron through my hair but decide it’s useless so I pull it back. I put on a little YSL CC cream, some powder, and blush. P tells me he’s going to smoke a little bit before going to church. He said that it makes him feel closer to God. I’ve really been struggling with the whole “can I smoke weed and still be a good Christian?” mindset for a while now. On one end of the spectrum, I feel incredibly enlightened when I’m high. I think clearly, have epiphanies and I feel much more relaxed. However, getting TOO high leads me to destructive thinking and no motivation so I think it’s finding the balance. In all things in life, I suppose. Long story short, I ate a few of the CBD gummies before church just to see if it was any different for me.
12:00 p.m. – The service was amazing. Definitely what I needed to hear and to be reminded of. The gummies made me more focused for sure but I don’t think I’ll get into the habit of THC/CBD consumption on Sunday mornings. We left church and headed to another food hall called Avanti. I’m obsessed with these places! I got a burger, fries, and a root beer ($18.27...y tho) from the “American Grill,” so patriotic of me. P got a french dip, truffle fries, and a bloody mary ($33.66) from a little French cafe. P’s fries were much better than mine. Ugh. $51.93
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1:30 p.m. – The entire crew gets home and immediately changes into cozies. Except for me. I’m wearing a new pair of jeans and these babies gotta stretch out. P rolls a few more joints while I log on to do some work for the studio.
2:45 p.m. – We go upstairs to smoke a joint. These things make me sooo high. Like two hits and I’m a giggle box. I’m impressed yet concerned with my brother’s ability to consume so much weed and it not really impact him.
3:00 p.m. – We leave for the Museum of Nature and Science, P is driving us. It’s about that time of the day where I start complaining about coffee so we find a coffee shop on the way. P gets (another) dirty chai latte, and I get an iced vanilla latte. $12.96
3:45 p.m. – We purchase two tickets to get into the museum ($37.90) and immediately see a virtual reality arcade. BRING IT ON. We each get 30 minutes of game time ($48) and the people who work there get us suited up with the goggles/eye masks/robot thing. They put us in a small room with nothing in it to play games. Like a closet. It was trippy. I play a cooking game and I would drop something in the game and would actually bend down to pick it up. IT’S NOT REAL! Why is this what we as humans enjoy doing nowadays? I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was super cool. But also sad. I step out of my box a few minutes before time was up to see what P was doing. He’s playing a game where he has to dodge bullets and he’s literally throwing himself around. So funny to watch. But again, also sad. $85.90
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4:30 p.m.Once we finally emerge from the VR arcade, we realize the museum is closing in 30 minutes. We wander around frantically and then decide to go see a movie at the iMax theater about dogs ($14). We were pumped to see they were selling snacks; we each get a small popcorn, and Coke Zeros. P gets a Kit Kat and I get a Snickers bar because chocolate and popcorn is everything ($14). The movie was adorable and I only cried a little bit. It was about dogs and how they are superheroes. I couldn’t agree more. $28
6:30 p.m. – We wander outside and see that the museum is right by a beautiful park. We decide to explore it because, why not. We stroll over to a giant old tree by the water and sit down at the base. This is probably the most stoner-esque part of our weekend. We lean into the tree and smoke a joint as we gaze across the grass to the pond. The wind cool against our cheeks. A dream.
7:00 p.m. – We have another event at 8:30 so we leave the park to find some dinner. We decide on Union Station because it’s a cool Denver spot to check out. P wants oysters so he finds the fanciest seafood restaurant in the place. We ball out. We start with a pound of crab legs, then P gets a dozen raw oysters. I order a bib salad and some buffalo oysters. P’s main course was mussels. He orders 1 cocktail and I ordered 3 different types of their homemade soda so I can mix them. I like to pretend I’m a bartender on occasion. ($237.25). We pay $10 to leave the parking garage. $247.25
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8:30 p.m. – We drive to a super weird part of town and luckily find a parking spot. We walk about a mile to our next destination — a Puff Pass Paint class! Think painting with a twist but with weed. It was so fun! The painting was flowers in a vase that was actually a bong. I decided to do my own thing and just paint flowers. P, who is usually quite artistic, was cracking me up the whole time because his painting was horrible and he kept adding to it, which made it worse. We sat for a bit, once we both finished, to let our paint dry and then we walked the billion miles back to the car. The event was pre-paid for.
10:30 p.m. – Once home, I took a shower, smoked a little bit more and then we watched Game of Thrones. I passed out as soon as it was over and had sweet dreams of the Night King. (jk that dude is creepy is AF)
Daily total: $426.04

Day Four

8:30 a.m. – I wake up frantically because I can just tell I’m running late. I look at my watch and, sure enough, I was supposed to be up an hour ago to head to the airport. I start packing like a crazy person and go to make sure my brother is awake. Once we finally slowed down long enough to actually think we realized that there was absolutely no way I would make my flight. I went online to see flight times and lucky me they were offering up flight changes for free! HELL YES.
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10:00 a.m. – We lounge around until it’s truly time to get up. P works at noon and he wants to take me to this sandwich place before I leave. I throw on some clothes (whatever I could find that was clean..or not), smoke a bowl or two, and we head out.
10:30 a.m. – P orders both of our sandwiches (I trust his taste), I grab some jalapeño kettle chips (my fave) and we split a blueberry green tea ($25.21). Our food arrives and it’s glorious. A bacon, egg, and Philly cheese steak sandwich on a toasted brioche bun. Ok what. I ate half of my sandwich and all my chips. P...on the other hand...not a crumb left. $25.21
11:00 a.m. – We swing by the Dairy Block on our way home to hit up our fave coffee shop one more time. P drops me off so I can run in and he doesn’t have to worry about parking. I order him a large dirty chai latte and me an iced almond milk vanilla latte ($15). I will miss you Huckleberry Roasters. $15
12:00 p.m. – Once we’re back at P’s place, he changes for work and then tells me bye. I’m surprised I wasn’t more emotional because I was so sad to leave. We had the best time. He tells me he’s proud of me for how far I’ve come with the mental health issues I’ve struggled with over the last few years and that our trip was genuinely enjoyable. Ugh I love him and I’ll miss him so much. I’ll see him in June though!
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1:00 p.m. – I chill on P’s couch watching Instagram stories (hating myself the entire time) until it’s time to leave. I finish packing, eat the rest of my sandwich, and call a Lyft.
2:00 p.m. – The Lyft drops me off right on time ($33.21) and I speed through check in ($30 for my bag..again WHY UNITED) and security (shoutout to TSA precheck). $63.21
2:30 p.m. – My flight boards in about an hour so I wander around the HUGE airport looking for a smoothie shop. I’m craving vegetables and fruit. I finally find a Jamba Juice. Not my first pick, but it will do. I order an Apple + Green smoothie (paid for with cash I found in my wallet - $7.55) I walk to the gate and then sit down to figure out our expenses from the trip. $ 7.55
3:30 p.m. – I board the flight and immediately pass out. What a weekend.
6:30 p.m. – We land safely in Houston and my dad’s driver was there to pick me up. He swings me through the Chick-Fil-A drive thru on the way home and I get a market salad and a small chicken noodle soup. I use a gift card to pay.
7:30 p.m. – I get home and immediately head to the neighbors to get my pup. I missed him so much! But I know he had a blast with their other two dogs.
7:45 p.m. – I eat dinner and watch one episode of 90 Day Fiance. I’m so excited because my friend picked up my 6:30 a.m. yoga class in the morning so I could rest. Praise be.
9:00 p.m. – I take a shower and then climb into bed. My dad ordered me a weighted blanket to help with my anxiety and it arrived over the weekend. I pull it over me and fall into the best sleep I’ve had in awhile.
Daily Total: $110.97
How did you prepare for this trip?
My brother was a wealth of knowledge even after only living there for about 6 months. I also Googled 4/20 events in Denver and that is where I found the events we went to.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
My favorite part was the 4/20 event we went to. It was through Mason Jar Events and apparently she throws a ton of different parties, not just on April 20th. I would recommend her events to anyone and everyone.
What was the best meal or food you ate while you were there?
Huckleberry Roasters for coffee & Salvaggio’s for breakfast sandwiches.
What advice would you give someone who is traveling to the same location?
April was a great month to go in because the weather was amazing. Also, wear legit walking shoes because the Denver airport is no freaking joke.
Where were you located in the specific city and would you recommend staying in that part of town?
My brother lives in Downtown, right next to the baseball field. Traffic would get really bad during certain parts of the day but other than that it was conveniently located to just about everything.
Is there anything you wished you had time to do, but didn’t?
I wish we had more time to explore the Nature and Science Museum! But virtual reality got the best of us.
Travel Diaries is meant to reflect individual women's experiences and does not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.
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