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Bi-weekly podcast

High-Value Travel

Discover ways to optimize your travel budget as you explore the best the Golden State has to offer

With the relaxing of COVID-19 protocols statewide, the summer ahead is looking bright and busy for travelers seeking a California vacation. Whether that means playing on the beaches in San Diego, indulging in foodie finds in Los Angeles County, or visiting a world-class museum in San Francisco, there are ways to do it all without breaking the bank.

On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson explores some ways to plan a vacation that deliver exceptional value. First, he chats with Family Vacationist blogger Christine Sarkis, who suggests a variety of low-key, low-cost destinations and activities that offer priceless memories—everything from picnics on the beach to wandering Healdsburg’s idyllic downtown plaza.

Next, Johnson talks to Ali Khan, host of the Cooking Channel's Cheap Eats, about the most delicious bargain bites in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Finally, Johnson connects with Sarah McCann, senior regional director for GoCity, a one-stop shop for attractions around the world, who shares some great ways to engage in fun activities and save money at the same time.

Sponsor: California’s High Sierra

If you’ve ever imagined a California mountain road trip with waterfalls and wildflowers galore, you’ve probably pictured the High Sierra. From Lake Tahoe in the north, the High Sierra ranges through hundreds of miles of lush forests and rugged terrain, down to the pristine wilderness east of Bakersfield. 


Christine Sarkis, cofounder of Family Vacationist

Ali Khan, host of Cooking Channel's Cheap Eats

Sarah McCann, GoCity senior regional director


Family Vacationist travel writer Christine Sarkis says make sure to save time for simple, low-key activities on vacation, like hanging out by the pool.

Pier 39

Yosemite National Park

Rush Creek Lodge



Point Reyes National Seashore

San Mateo Coast

Santa Cruz

Monterey Bay

Cheap Eats host Ali Khan firmly believes the best places to find great food are often hidden in plain sight.

Los Angeles


San Gabriel Valley

Elite Restaurant

Zankou Chicken



Original Kabob Factory

American Market

Taqueria Cancun


Bacco Ristorante Italiano

Zuni Café

San Diego

Chula Vista

Tacos El Gordo

Sarah McCann says traveling with a GoCity pass is a surefire way to increase flexibility and value on your next getaway.

Universal Studios Hollywood

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Knott's Berry Farm

SeaWorld San Diego

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

LEGOLAND California

USS Midway Museum

San Diego Speedboat Adventures

San Diego Natural History Museum

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Fleet Science Center

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Petco Park Tours

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

La Brea Tar Pits

California Science Center

Grammy Museum

Griffith Park

LA Galaxy

Aquarium of the Bay

Alcatraz Island

Madame Tussauds San Francisco

USS Pampanito

California Academy of Sciences

San Francisco Zoo

Oracle Park Tours

Golden Gate Bridge

About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis in 2016. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson uses the California Now Podcast platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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