I'm 24 & This Is How Much I Spent On A Girls' Weekend In Vancouver

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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 24-year-old senior administrative assistant spends a long weekend reuniting with her college girlfriends.
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: 24
Occupation: Senior Admin Assistant – currently in the process of applying to grad school
Salary: $48,000
Annual Number Of Vacation Days: 15 Vacation days. Also my job has a perk were we get every other Friday off. So I also get 26 Friday's off a year!
Hometown: Washington, DC
Trip Location: Vancouver, BC
Trip Length: 4 days, 3 nights
Travel Companions: Three girlfriends from college
Transportation
Costs: Flights – I flew from Washington D.C. to Toronto, and from there to Vancouver. On the way back I flew Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal to DC. My flight cost $340.28 plus 10,549 miles that I had.
When did you book? Do you think you got a good deal? I’m sure I would have found something better but we kind of decided spontaneously to take a girls trip so I only booked the tickets 2 months out before we left.
Total: 340.28
Accommodations
Costs: We are staying in an Airbnb in downtown Vancouver that we booked in advance. It cost $716.36, we split this evenly four ways. Came out to about $180 a person for the four days, 3 nights.
Total: $180
Miscellaneous pre-vacation spending:
- Pedicure: $35
- Toiletries: 4.23
- Face wipes, and socks: $11.65
Total: $50.88

Day One

4:00 a.m. – I slowly wake up to finish packing and shower before I have to leave my apartment to catch my flight. I literally lay in bed for an extra 20 minutes, contemplating whether or not I actually want to go to Vancouver or just stay in my bed forever.
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5:00 a.m. – I call my Uber and head to the airport. I go through security and board my flight to Toronto with minutes to spare. My flight to Toronto is only about an hour and a half, so I just watch Bohemian Rhapsody. $11.36
8:00 a.m. – Land in Toronto and begin to wander aimlessly through the airport after going through customs in search of food. I start to get more and more annoyed with myself since my body wants something healthy and 1. Everything healthy at the airport is more than $20 and 2. Is anything at the airport actually healthy!?!? I waste a lot of time moping around and then I settle on Starbucks because I wasted too much time. I grab a cheese danish (I know, not healthy but whatever) and a tall iced chai. I consume all of it in .5 seconds then board my flight to Vancouver! $6.29
11:00 a.m. – Land in Vancouver! The whole flight there I sit next to a really nice Canadian guy who was sharing all the best places to go. I don't normally chat with people on airplanes because I usually just pass out the moment I sit down, but he was super lovely! Shout to D. for making my flight much less boring, also he has a really cool business. I hang around in the airport and wait for my friends to arrive from Arizona. I snack on some trail mix that I already had in my bag and read my book. I’m reading Early Risers by Jasper Fforde. His writing is always kooky, weird, and super clever and that’s my favorite type of writing to read, I highly recommend reading it.
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1:00 p.m. – Finally, after much confusion about which terminal I am in and which one they had arrived in, I meet up with my friends in the international terminal! We all hop into a cab (there’s no Uber or Lyft in Vancouver; Canadians how do you live like this!!?!?) and head over to our Airbnb. My friend pays for the cab. I don't know how much it was but I offer to pay for her lunch to balance it out. Once we get to the Airbnb we realize we are starving so we drop off our bags and then just Google “poutine” and run over to the nearest place, Smoke’s Poutinerie. I know there are probably really great places to eat poutine but we were desperate and, honestly, it was pretty yummy, in my opinion. That might not mean much since I'm American, but oh well. I split the bacon, chicken, ranch poutine with one of my friends (the one who paid of our taxi) and I pay for two water bottles. $11.53
2:00 p.m. – After lunch, we decide we don't want to go back to the Airbnb just yet, we all know if we do we will just fall asleep, so we start to walk towards Stanley Park to see if we can find some bikes to ride. On our way there, I grab a donut from Tim Horton’s because I’ve thrown out healthy eating for the day and because vacation ($0.77). We end up doing the bike-share thing and I pay for a day pass ($10.00) We ride the trail a couple of miles bordering the outside of the park and the harbour and then we bike back and drop off the bikes. $10.77
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5:00 p.m. – We are wandering about in what I think is downtown Vancouver (very sorry that I don't know where I am. I’m terrible with directions) and happen upon the Olympic Cauldron. I wish they still lit it! We walk over to Tap & Bottle which is conveniently next door and get a round of beer to reward ourselves for biking 5 miles. I get some raspberry-blackberry beer and it’s fantastic and deliciously purple. $8.68
7:00 p.m. – We finally head back to the Airbnb, but before we get there, we pop into Whole Foods and buy a couple of things for breakfast and snacks. I grab vanilla yogurt, three bananas, and two Kind bars. $7.24
8:00 p.m. – After getting ready and listening to music, we walk down to Yaletown, which is only about a 10-minute walk from the Airbnb, and then wander around until we find a place where my friend (she’s gluten and dairy free) can eat. We settle on Yaletown Distillery Bar & Kitchen. It took us forever and by the time we sit down, everyone is hangry and annoyed. I tell my friend later after the meal that since she has the allergies she will have to figure out what and where we are eating for dinner tomorrow. Before everyone says I sound mean, I would just like to say I made an entire Google Doc with restaurants options and told her to look at the menus ahead of time. She forgot to look at it beforehand, so I fully relinquish all responsibility and it's her problem now. At dinner, I have a nice big ol’ glass of cabernet and a kale salad with salmon. Everything was delicious, our server was very adorable, and everyone leaves happy and in a much better mood! $31.73
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11:00 p.m. – We wander around for a bit and then decide to just call it a night so we walk back to the Airbnb and go to sleep.
Daily Total: $87.60

Day Two

7:00 a.m. – I wake up no problem since it's 10 a.m. in DC. The girls and I get up, have breakfast in the Airbnb, get dressed, then walk over to pick up our rental car, which we decided to rent that morning (lol). Since I’m only 24, my friend K., who is 25, was the one who actually rented the car. We split the cost four ways and then drive over to Quarry Rock to go on a hike. It’s beautiful and once we get to the lookout we sit, snack, and enjoy the sun, views, and dogs. Before we leave, I nearly kill myself taking a photo: I was walking backwards to take a selfie and wasn’t paying attention to how close I was to the edge and a very kind stranger reached out to make sure I didn’t fall over. I honestly hate myself for being one of those people but I really wanted a photo to show my family so it was #WorthIt? $20
12:00 p.m. – After we are done, we drive our rental car to Gastown and go to Belgard Kitchen for brunch. I get the Railtown Breakfast Wrap and try the belgard coffee (it’s a vegan coffee with housemade irish coconut creme and it was amazing) I also have a Mango Saison. It is all delicious and I think to myself, not for the first time on this trip, that I should move to Vancouver. $35
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Side note: there are loads of guys here in Vancouver. We noticed since night one just tons of guys hanging out in large groups, literally everywhere. My friend mentioned something about the men to women ratio being 11:1. I want to say she’s lying, but, honestly, there were dudes everywhere and I wasn't mad about it.
2:30 p.m. – We drop the rental car back off (we only rented it for a day) and then go to the Airbnb to take showers and chill for a bit before head over to Granville Public Market.
4:00 p.m. – After many wrong turns and a ferry ride ($4) we arrive! I would also like to note now that Google Maps was not our friend on this trip; our phones couldn't figure out where we were. Granville Public Market is fabulous and I wish we could’ve spent the whole day there. There are tons of art, crafts, and local vendors as well as a market and other yummy treats. Alas we couldn't stay nearly as long as I hoped, as they close at 7:00 p.m. So we shopped and sampled and then I consumed my body weight in gelato ($3) and was nearly attacked by a bird but I don't blame him, the gelato really was that good. I bought lots of syrup ($15.39) for friends, a painting ($35) (I collect local art and socks when I travel) and a super cute Vancouver mug ($19.19). $76.58
7:00 p.m. – We take the ferry back, the ticket we bought was round trip so we don't have to pay again and it drops us off in Yaletown. We walk all the way to Historic Chinatown to go eat dinner. I wanted to go to Bao Bei since I've heard a lot about it but my friend said she had more food options at The Union so that's where we went! I had the Banh Mi Karaage Fried Chicken and a gin drink called Thread of Fate… I had three of these and they were delicious. $43.43
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9:30 p.m. – We all pile into a taxi and head back to the Airbnb. It drives through Gastown and we vow to come back tomorrow to shop. I pay for the taxi. When we get back, two of the girls decide they want to stay in for the night so my friend K. and I decide to go out since it's Saturday and we are young! We head over to Granville Street where there are tons of bars and literally watch a kid vomit right in the middle of the sidewalk so we turn around wander back over to Yaletown in hopes that its less young people puking in the street and more 20-somethings who maybe have their shit together? $7.18
11:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. – We pop into Cactus Club (it's a restaurant that gets more clubby as the night goes on) and have lots of gin & tonics and make new friends. We then decide to see if we can get into Bar None, there is a line and the bouncer says it is $22 CA so we decide to head back over to Granville. We go into a pub with no cover and have more drinks, my friend pays for mine because I paid for the taxi after dinner and then we dance with tons of fun strangers until about 2:30am. I go outside and meet a super cute Irish guy who is living in Vancouver for work and we share a cigarette. Walk back to the Airbnb, clean our faces, and go straight to bed. $31.47
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Daily Total: $213.66

Day Three

8:00 a.m. – Wake up, chug water as I’m slightly hungover, eat breakfast, and walk over to a hotel 10 minutes away to catch the free shuttle to Capilano Bridge. We bought our tickets to the suspension bridge the night before to avoid the line so when we get there we just stroll right in. The bridge and park are fantastic we walk around enjoying nature and then head out. $40
11:00 a.m. – Hop back onto the free shuttle. Hop off and then catch a cab to Gastown that I pay for ($7.03). Once we get there we walk into Local Gastown for food and drinks; we all have mimosas and I order the Braised Beef and Bacon Hash ($20). In that moment I decide to come back just so I can eat my way through the city. $27.03
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.–We walk around and go shopping in Gastown. I go overboard and buy a pair of high waisted striped flare pants that made my butt look incredible and a mustard yellow shirt to match it all comes out to $125. I was planning on not using my credit card on this trip but I'm all about #TreatYoSelf. We see the Steam Clock go off. I’m still not sure what the importance is of the Steam Clock but it was very cool and kitschy! After shopping we split off into pairs, two of the girls go to the art museum and myself and my friend S. decide we are going to try as many different beers as we can before Game of Thrones starts. $125
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6:00 p.m.– Our beer tour has finished and I feel very full but also very accomplished. We went to Steamworks first and had an apricot beer. S. paid for mine since I covered our taxi. We then asked our server where we should go next and she sent us to Black Frog where we have another beer and chicken fingers with plum sauce. My friend also covers this and I vow to cover our beers at the next place. We then walk over to the Alibi Room and have a beer flight and a cheese board. We start pounding back the beers (I know that's now what a flight is for, but Game of Thrones was starting!) inhale our cheese, pay for our food and rush back to the Airbnb. I pay for the taxi ($7.18) and our beer flights and cheese ($42.01). $49.19
6:15 p.m. – We freak out because we realize we can't access US HBO in Canada??!?!? I can live without the Ubers but this seriously made me question if I could live here.
6:30p.m. – One of my friends does some techy magic thing I don't understand and we manage to watch the show.
9:00 p.m. – The show is over we are all emotional and stressed. We decide to get drinks since its our last night so we hop in a cab back to Gastown. We end up at Pour House and I have a glass of wine and we listen to live music. We finish our drinks and I am starving. I remember reading a Thrillist or maybe Eater list that mentions Gringo Tacos and it's only a two-minute walk so we go there. I love that its in alleyway my friends however did not. $15.59
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11:00 p.m. – Many delicious tacos later we all hobble out to the street, catch a taxi, which L. pays for, and go back to the Airbnb. We shower, pack, and make sure everyone’s taxis have been scheduled for tomorrow morning. $10.79
Daily Total: $267.60

Day Four

6:00 a.m. – I’m seriously questioning if this was a vacation. I haven't slept in once and my body hates me. Wake up, change, give my friends hugs and kisses, and then head downstairs to meet the taxi driver. He gets me to the airport in record time $25.
I get stopped in security because I have too many liquids. I didn't realize this was a thing, in the states you can walk through with as many as you want as long as it’s under 3 fluid ounces each. They tell me I have to go back and check my bag. I run out, flag down a worker, and this SWEET ANGEL BABY OF A HUMAN BEING checks my bag for free and escorts me back so that I can breeze through security. I make my flight and send a prayer to God that he bless that woman a hundred times over.
9:00 p.m. – Finally home in D.C. after so many flights. I flew from Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal to D.C. In between, I bought a bag of chips and a sandwich. I slept literally on all the flights I watched no movies had no drinks. I just slept. $11.34.
10:00 p.m. – After grabbing my bag and getting a taxi home, I take a quick shower and then fall into bed dreading the fact that I have to be at work at 8:30 a.m. but also feeling incredibly lucky and blessed to have been able to go on a much-needed vacation with some of my favorite humans. $15.95
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Daily Total: $52.29
How did you prepare for this trip?
I read so many Thrillist and Eater articles to find food and brewery suggestions I also looked at Pinterest too.
Did you use credit card points/miles to pay for parts of this trip?
I used 10,549 miles of my miles to cover some of my flight.
What was your favorite part of the trip?
I would definitely recommend going to Quarry Rock the hike was intermediate but doable i.e. there were dogs and children who were doing it and there was also kayaking on the lake!
What was the best meal or food you ate while you were there?
It's definitely a tie between Postmark Brewing and The Union. Both meals were delicious and the drinks were A++.
What advice would you give someone who is traveling to the same location?
If you plan on being more outdoorsy definitely consider renting a car. We only did the second day when we realized it would take a lot of work to use public transportation to get to some of the hikes we wanted to do.
Would you stay at your Airbnb again?
Yes I would! It was very central on Howe and Nelson and the space was clean and big enough for four girls!
Do you feel like you were there for the right length of time? Would you have come home sooner or stayed longer given the chance?
I honestly wish we had just been there for longer like a week. I will be back and have now actually considered going back to live there once I've finished.
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.
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