Seasonal temperatures don't vary much in the City by the Bay, so go in winter, when hotel rates are 27% below their fall highs, says Connie Chang Pistilli, San Francisco blogger for social travel site Gogobot.
For a convenient and affordable hotel, bypass those at Fisherman's Wharf and head for one of the smaller boutique options in Union Square, such as the Mosser or Hotel Triton, where a typical room costs $120 to $180 a night in winter.
Short-term apartment rental site Airbnb was launched in NoCal and has 5,000 listings for the city. The site recently listed a studio apartment with a roof deck in Nob Hill (where hotel rates can top $400) for just $125 a night.
They soar above ordinary trips and perform feats of vacation derring-do, all while nailing their budget. Here are their travel tips.