By Andrea Romano
June 27, 2019
Courtesy of Julius Stukes

Traveling on a budget can be a battle, especially if you’re going to an expensive destination like Los Angeles. But one man managed to spend eight days in the California city without breaking $250 — and he posted the entire trip on Twitter.

Julius Stukes Jr., a digital content creator (including film, podcasts, graphic design, and events) from Brooklyn, went to Los Angeles for a business trip for eight days in June. Stukes had never been to the city before, and he jumped at the chance.

Stukes told Travel + Leisure in an email that he asked friends how much he should set aside for his trip, and many people told him that he should expect to spend about $500 for about five days in the city. “I decided to cut that down in half and be wild with it,” Stukes said.

After setting a $250 budget for himself, he headed to LA. Stukes documented his travel budget on Twitter, which quickly gained him some modest viral fame. At the time of writing this article, Stukes’ Twitter thread has received over 8,000 retweets, over 2,500 likes, and over 500 comments.

According to Stukes, his flight, room, and transportation were covered by his employer and coworkers, since this was more of a working trip rather than a vacation. “My coworkers took care of the Uber and I know people out in L.A., so they picked me [up] and dropped me off around L.A.,” Stukes said. “I also thought I was going to pay for my Uber, but the universe loves me that much.”

This gave Stukes some advantages when it came to his budget, so he only had to spend money on food and toiletry items. Overall, Stukes spent a commendably thrifty $119.27, according to his Twitter thread. Some of his biggest purchases include edibles and oils ($32.25), sushi from a grocery store ($8.69), sliders and pizza ($15.61), a bottle of Bacardi ($13.23), and a quesadilla ($7.50).

Courtesy of Julius Stukes
Courtesy of Julius Stukes
Courtesy of Julius Stukes
Courtesy of Julius Stukes

But he didn’t just eat and work in L.A. One of the best experiences he had, according to Stukes, was going to see Mary J. Blige at the #BETX Fan Fest. His coworkers paid for his ticket, so it was free to him.

“I walked into those doors and a wave of culture just slapped me across my face. It’s the greatest festival a human being can attend,” Stukes said. “BET really outdid themselves. The best festival I’ve ever been to, honestly.”

Courtesy of Julius Stukes

Stukes’ budget trip has been met with some criticism, since Stukes managed to get by on a lot of generous friends and freebies. Some people on Twitter responded to his thread saying that the only way to recreate the experience is to have rich friends. While the point is valid, it doesn’t change the fact that Stukes was savvy enough to work with what he had to have an enjoyable trip without shelling out a ton of cash. And he doesn’t mind the haters.

“I love every response. The doubters and the people cheering me on are all a part of the fun,” Stukes said. “There’ no such thing as doing something you like doing and not receiving the criticism. That’s the beauty of balance. Also, why would I turn down free things so I can struggle?”

Even if you don’t have tons of contacts in other cities, everyone can learn something about traveling on a budget from Stukes' experience.

“I now know to make more friends from the internet who live in L.A.,” he said. “Knowing people is a plus, but having a relationship with them will save your life.”

If you are looking to travel on a strict budget, Stukes also suggests being friendly and personable. And learning to be a good negotiator is also a huge help.: “Don’t be afraid of the finesse. You can buy a bottle of Whiskey for the price of a bottle of Poland Spring if you know how to. The game of life is to take advantage of it,” he said. “If I was traveling to a place where I didn’t know someone, then by the end of the trip I can promise you that I’m going to leave with new friends. We all need each other to survive.”