10 Easy Ways Guaranteed to Save Money on Your Beach Vacation
If you're trying to have a budget-friendly beach vacation, it's really quite easy to do. All it takes is a little bit of planning and preparation to help get more vacation for your money. Here are 10 of the best ways to save money on your Florida Gulf Beach vacation. An amazing beach vacation doesn't have to break the bank or your budget. Here's how to do it.
1. Choose off-season vacation dates.
Off-season vacation dates are generally more affordable than the peak season, so your first budget-friendly vacation tip is to schedule your vacation at the right time. Look at your calendar and try to choose the less popular and less busy times to book your vacation. On Florida's Gulf Coast, the off seasons are generally late springtime after Easter and Spring Breaks (April – June), late Summer/Early Fall (from mid-August to mid-November), and Wintertime (between the Christmas/New Year holidays and Valentine’s Day). The lowest vacation rental rates overall tend to be in Fall, so book now!
2. Set your budget.
Like any other expense, you want to plan for what you can and want to spend on your vacation. Try to plan for and calculate as many of your big-ticket items in advance to know how much you'll need—and the sooner you start saving, the better. Set aside spending money for all of the incidental expenses that are bound to crop up during your vacation time also.
3. Travel with family and friends.
Sharing the expenses by traveling with extended family and friends is another great way to get more vacation bang for your buck. Not only will you have more memories and quality time with your loved ones, but you'll be able to pool your resources and split the costs of the vacation rental, while still having all the room you and your guests need to be comfortable and content. Win-win!
4. Search for coupons and deals online.
Why pay full price when you don't have to? Here on Florida's Gulf Coast, check out the deals at the Beach Welcome Center (BWC) for discounted tickets to area attractions or call 727-595-4575. There are coupons in the Beach Welcome Center Visitor Guide, which can be found in your Plumlee Vacation Rentals Welcome Bag when you check in. Sales and restaurant specials are also promoted on the Beach Welcome Center Facebook page.
5. Plan your meals ahead of time.
If you're taking full advantage of vacation rental kitchen (and you should), you're already saving money by choosing to eat a few meals in. Plan your menu ahead of time and know what you need. The same rings true for going out to eat. Plan ahead and set aside money for dining out expenses. Don't forget to factor them into your budget so you're aware of how much you're able to spend.
6. When you dine out, go early.
Look for early bird specials, happy hour offerings, and other opportunities to save when you go out to eat. A great way to save money on local seafood like grouper and snapper is to order it at lunchtime. Sample different kinds of Gulf Coast fish everyday! Guppy’s on the Beach, E&E Stakeout Grill, Keegan’s Seafood Grille Crabby Bill’s, PJ’s Oyster Bar, Caddy’s Pub, and Caddy’s on the Beach are award-winning local favorites. Check out more favorite Gulf Beach restaurants here.
7. Buy your supplies before you leave.
Another wonderful way to save money before your vacation even starts is by stocking up on your beach vacation supplies at home. Odds are you already know your local pricing and where to get the best deals in your home area. By buying things like sunscreen, toiletries and various other sundries, plus snacks and staple food items in advance before you leave for vacation is an easy way to save money.
8. Use apps to your advantage.
If you're flying, using apps like Kayak, Hopper, SkyScanner, Kiwi, Hipmunk, and Skiplagged give you instant access to the hottest flight deals and savings (and they're free). If you're driving, apps like GasBuddy are useful tools for finding the cheapest gas wherever you are on your trip or when planning where to stop for gas along the way to your vacation destination.
9. Find free activities and things to do.
You always want to take advantage of free! Get to know what free (or inexpensive) things there are to do where you are vacationing. The first place to start is with your Plumlee Perks which give you free bikes, free DVDs, and more just for choosing to vacation with us. Then check your BWC Visitor Guide (pages 10-11) for local parks, recreation and museums. The Beach Art Center and Island Cove Gallery offer inexpensive art/jewelry classes where you can make and take a souvenir home.
10. Stay in a beach vacation rental.
Renting a beach vacation home or condo is more affordable than a hotel or motel stay. What you gain in choosing a vacation rental over a hotel/motel room (think better privacy, more space, more personalization, a kitchen, extra bathrooms, etc) translates into more vacation for your money. Vacation homes and condos can meet your specific needs and wants by providing the amenities that are important to you and your family, instead of settling for a cookie-cutter stay in a place that's geared toward meeting the average needs of the average vacationer. Don't settle for less!
These are our top 10 ways to save money on your beach vacation. Did we miss anything? Let us know in our comment section. We'd love to hear your feedback!
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