Going to the beach is the ideal vacation for many people who want to get away from it all. Soaking in the sun. Swimming in the ocean. Just kick back, relax, and let the day slowly roll by. Unfortunately, if you don’t live near the beach it can get a little expensive to take a vacation on one. But, with a few simple tips and just a little time, you can have an amazing affordable beach vacation.
1. Start saving now.
Decide about how much money you would ideally like to spend on the vacation. Be a little flexible if possible. The more money you have, the further it can go, but you don’t need a ton to have an amazing trip. What expenses are there going to be? Lodging, food, gas, parking, and fun money. Set aside a little money at a time. When you go shopping, try using a rebate app on your phone to get extra money back on items you already buy. Instead of eating out during the week, put the money you would have spent into your vacation fund. If you opt out of a couple of those little niceties you have every week, like a latte or a cheeseburger, you can stockpile money for your trip a lot quicker.
2. Location is key.
Try looking into the panhandle of Florida for a beautiful coastline and warm water. There are several cities to choose from. Galleries and boutiques are scattered throughout the towns. Sand dunes and all sorts of trees line the beaches. From pines to palms, the scenery is exquisite. You could even try someplace like Gulf Shores, Alabama. When you think about a beach vacation, you may not immediately think “Alabama”, but don’t rule it out. There are some truly gorgeous white sand beaches there and a lot of activities like deep-sea fishing, and even some historic locations. Whatever your interests are, these areas have a little something for everyone.
3. Know when to go.
Once you know where you’re going, how do you save money on your trip without sacrificing the quality? There are a few things you can do. Planning a trip during the slow or off-season of your destination will often give you better prices for lodging and travel. Hotels and other accommodations usually reduce their prices during the slower months to help get more visitors. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to be there, or too cold to enjoy, it just might not be the hottest month of the year. The traveling part of your trip can get expensive if you fly and don’t plan far enough ahead of time to get a good deal, so you may want to consider driving to your destination. Compare your cost of mileage, gas, parking fees, and wear and tear on your car to the price of flying and maybe renting a car, taking a cab, or using a ridesharing service.
4. Go to the grocery store.
To help save some money on food, go to the grocery store. It seems like common sense, but a lot of people spend a lot of money by eating out for every meal while they’re on vacation. It adds up really quick. Doing some basic grocery shopping before your road trip or after you get there will save you tons. If you don’t have a refrigerator in your room, get an inexpensive cooler and some ice to keep it cold. You can make sandwiches and take them to the beach with you. You won’t have to leave your perfect spot, and you won’t have to be hungry. You can still eat out, but try limiting it to just a couple times, instead of every meal, and try to pick places where locals eat. The cost may be less at the local spots, and it’s just about guaranteed to be good food.
5. Ask a travel agent.
Many people believe that Travel Agents are a more expensive way to travel but this couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t pay a Travel Agent directly. They work on commission from hotels which means you won’t pay more to let someone else do the heavy lifting for your vacation. Travel Agents also know what the peak seasons are in many beach destinations and can help you avoid traveling during the most expensive times. If you have to fly, Travel Agents can help find the best airfare or suggest low-budget airlines to help save on costs but still get you where you want to go.
Going on a beach vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. There are several things you can do to save money on your trip. Planning ahead of time will save you the most money, and give you time to save up. Taking your trip during slower travel seasons will help cut some costs as well. Looking for alternate forms of transportation and dining in will also keep more money in your pocket. Doing even just a couple of these tips will have you at the beach and saving money in no time.