Happy first day of summer Y’all!!! It’s been so hot here in Nashville that people can’t believe it’s just now summer. With summer though, comes vacations! I just planned an entire vacation for my family and stayed well under my budget! Today I’m going to show y’all some tips and tricks to stay within your budget when you plan your beach trip.
Book Really Early or Really Late
For beach trips, I choose to book really late. Late as in, I just booked our condo last week and we are going to the beach June 23rd-30th. Most sites will run early bird and late specials. I got our 3 bedroom 2 bath condo for $1,400 for the week. That worked out to $200 a night for a condo that size. That’s crazy unheard of for peak season! I wouldn’t have gotten that deal if the owner hadn’t been running a special because it was so last minute. If you like to book your trip months in advance, I recommend searching HomeAway or even Groupon. They have specials running all the time. Also, if you find a place you love and want to book, search the property on google first. Most property owners cross post and will have their listing on multiple sites and some of those sites could even have the property cheaper or on sale. Be sure to search the internet for coupons for the site you’re booking on as well. Sometimes houses and condos are way cheaper than hotels and they have full kitchens.
Don’t Eat Out Every Day
We eat in quite a bit when we are at the beach. If you get lodgings with a kitchen then you can hit the grocery store and get food for the duration of your vacation. I know that going to the beach means eating your weight in seafood. You can go by the local seafood store and they will have daily/weekly specials so you can get a lot more bang for your buck, especially if you have a family. We will stop by Sexton’s in Destin, FL. almost daily and get their daily specials to cook for dinner. We go to the store and get sandwich fixings and fruit (we stick to water-based foods so we aren’t getting dehydrated) to cut up and take to the beach with us for lunch and snacks.
Buy Your Sunscreen BEFORE You Get There
We’ve run out of sunscreen at the beach before and it was not pretty! The prices are so much more when you’re actually at the beach than if you would buy your sunscreen at home and bring it with you. I think we spent $65 on sunscreen when we ran out. It still makes me sick to think about it. Remember that coverage for adults is about 1 oz. or about a shot glass full (adjusting that amount for your body size). It’s been proven that people only apply about 25%-50% of the recommended amount, which means you aren’t actually getting the SPF coverage that is stated on the bottle. This means you’d need a quarter to half of an 8 oz. bottle for a long day at the beach. Make sure you take this into account when buying your sunscreen for your trip.
I know it might seem crazy but if we have the extra room we will bring our “food tote”. We will hit stores here and grab non-perishables to take with us to the beach. Food is typically more expensive in vacation spots so we will go buy stuff like popcorn, chips, bread, etc. to take with us so we just have to get the refrigerated stuff when we get there.
Choose a Different Location
We choose to go to Destin, FL. every year and this year is going to be no different. However, we did look at different locations at first and this condo popped up for really cheap; we practically stole it. We looked into Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, and Navarre Beach which were significantly cheaper than Destin and Panama City Beach and are a lot less crowded too. Port St. Joe is actually considered one of the “Lost Beaches of Florida”. So when looking into a location for your vacation, be sure to look at surrounding locations too. They may very well be a lot cheaper and save you the headache of an overcrowded beach!
Talk to the Locals
Not only will you meet new people, but they will also know the best places to eat in town. The restaurants they recommend are usually ones that have amazing food at decent prices. We’ve been suckered into a place that we thought was local only to find out that it was a chain restaurant. We were recommended this awesome little place that’s right on the water, and you literally have to go down this sketchy looking alley to find, but man oh man was the food to die for and super cheap!
All in all, I tend to stick to this guide when I travel. It pretty much works for any place that you go to, not just the beach! These tips are my go to stay on budget, and I hope that they help you guys out too!