How This Influencer Traveled To L.A. For 8 Days On A $250 Budget
By Stephanie Ogbogu
Julius Stukes Jr. is a social media influencer, comedian, and actor who knows a thing or two about traveling on a budget.
In the past, Julius has challenged himself to travel from his home in New York to popular events across the United States on a shoestring budget. Shockingly, he’s managed to always do so successfully. Julius has taken two trips so far, one to Atlanta for A3C Festival in October 2018 and the other to Austin, TX for SXSW in March 2019.
“The budget for Atlanta $200 and that was for about 5 or 6 days. I left Atlanta with $4.50 and I was impressed on the way to the airport,” he recalls.
His latest challenge was visiting Los Angeles for BET Awards weekend for 8 days on a budget of $250.
Travel Noire: How did you come up with $250 as your budget?
Julius: I asked some people who traveled to LA in the past and I also asked locals how much I should budget. Some said $500-$700, so I came up with a lower number to challenge myself. $250 on an 8-day trip sounds pretty wild.
Julius began his trip on June 17th, spending $18.27 during a quick trip to Target for snacks. The most expensive item he purchased that afternoon was a bottle of Sangria for $5.00.
Shortly after his trip to Target, Julius stopped by Smart & Final for some cheap sushi. The total came out to $8.69, bringing Julius’ remaining balance to $223.89 with an entire 7 and a half days to go.
Those familiar with the cost of living in Los Angeles began to doubt that Julius would be able to pull off such a feat.
Travel Noire: How did it make you feel when people doubted that you could make it in L.A. on a $250 budget?
Julius: I felt empowered and entertained. When it comes to spending a limited amount of money, no one should ever doubt me. People were in my [Twitter] mentions mad because I didn’t feel like spending big money on food. That was so weird to me because I’m not that much of an eater lol.
On day two, Julius enjoyed an omelet and fruit breakfast (at the expense of someone else) and for dinner, sliders and pizza at Yard House totaling $15.61.
With $176 left to spend during the remainder of his trip, Julius utilized his network to make his funds stretch.
“The best part about saving money is spending someone else’s,” says Julius. “If you have enough connections and solid relationships, you’ll be able to get about anything.”
And that’s precisely what he did. On June 19th, Julius had two drinks and two orders of shrimp cocktail paid for by a co-worker. On June 20th, Julius spent a little bit of money on some small bites.
And later that night, he enjoyed a Mary J. Blige concert in a skybox suite, again, thanks to a co-worker fronting the cost.
Just before midnight on day 6, Julius treated himself to 3 tacos for $7.34. By the end of day 6, Julius had only spent a total of $102.07, thanks in part to co-workers covering meals and entertainment, food vouchers from the venue, and small snacks he purchased earlier in the week.
Julius began day 7 with sponsored breakfast and lunch buffets, again, keeping his budget in tact.
Julius enjoyed a Fat Burger and fries for $13.93, followed by a dinner buffet.
His budget is now down to $88.14.
With just hours to go, it’s highly possible that Julius could indeed pull off his goal of spending less than $250 for his 8-day trip.
“I’ll probably spend $30 before my flight leaves,” he tells Travel Noire.
If he’s right, Julius would have completed yet another successful under-budget trip.
Many people did not believe he could pull it off, although they likely did not account for the strategic planning that went into making a trip like this happen. For Julius, traveling with a purpose (traveling for work, having food and entertainment accommodated) and having a solid network worked in his favor.
Travel Noire: What tips do you have for those wanting to travel on a tight budget?
Julius: Know people who will be in the area you’re traveling to. They could be of use to you for a ride, food, or even a place to crash.