Here's a two-in-one tip that can save you money on your California trip, but can be just as useful at home. I've been a member of Goldstar for a couple of years and I've found it to be a great way to get deep discounts on a variety of activities, lower prices than so-called "rush" tickets and it allows you to plan ahead which the local same-day, half-price ticket office doesn't.
What Goldstar Is - And How it Works
This is how the Goldstar website describes itself: "Not every show sells out, so instead of letting seats go empty, venues list them with us to sell to our members." Some of the larger venues they work with in California include the Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, Oracle Park and Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre. They also work with Cirque du Soleil nationwide, but all that's only the beginning.
As I'm writing this, they have tours, food and music festival tickets, a concert at one of my area's nicest venues, dinner cruises, baseball games and the National Day of the Cowboy and Cowgirl at LA's Autry National Center. They even have free tickets to a few selected events.
The way it works is easy. Just sign up (free) at their website. All you have to give them to start is your email address and zip code (so they know what area's list to put you in) and you'll get periodic emails about local events. If you want to also use Goldstar on vacation, see the following section.
Using Goldstar on Vacation
If you're visiting one of California's larger cities, you'll find a variety of discount cards, multi-attraction passes, discount coupons and other ways to keep your costs down. They mostly focus on big tours, attractions and the like, but what if you want to go to a comedy club in the evening, see a play or something like that? Goldstar has great prices on lots of those kinds of activities - along with some tours and other events. If you're traveling and already a member, just go to their website or open their app and choose the location you're visiting (they're at the bottom of every page), choose the tickets you want, log in and buy them.
Here's a partial list of activities in California's top tourist destinations that you might be able to enjoy for half price or less. What's available when you're planning a trip may be different, depending on availability and this list is intended to just give you an idea of what kinds of things Goldstar offers.
- San Diego: Kayak tour, bay cruises, sunset cruises, whale watching and walking tours
- San Francisco: Theatre performances, sightseeing tours, rocket boat tour, harbor cruises and dinner cruises, Fourth of July fireworks, concerts, a variety of walking tours, culinary tours, a wine country tour and tickets to a Major League Ultimate Frisbee game.
- Los Angeles: Outdoor and indoor concerts, street food festivals, baseball tickets, dance performances, guided tours, day trips to Joshua Tree National Park and a road trip to the Bacon & Barrels festival
Using Goldstar at Home
If you live in the territories served by Goldstar, it works at home, too. They serve more than 30 of the country's biggest cities and metro areas.
Goldstar's emails are useful, easy to read and if you have trouble figuring out what to do, they'll give you a bunch of ideas you may not have thought of on your own.
More Ways to Save On Your California Vacation
If you're looking for more ways to save money on your California trip, try these discount cards, too. The links lead to a full review of each one, with its pros and cons: