The Best Money-Saving Tips for Your Next Beach Vacation

Who doesn't want to s-t-r-e-t-c-h their vacation dollars to get the most bang for your buck? I know I do. Sometimes you may think you can't even afford a vacation because it's too expensive. That's not true! With a little planning, research and time, you can enjoy a relaxing vacation without breaking the bank or going over your budget.

How? It's easy.

The Best Money-Saving Tips for Your Next Beach Vacation

1. Plan Ahead... or Last Minute for the Best Travel Deals

Having a vacation budget ahead of time is the first step in planning. Putting a little bit away when you can throughout the year can add up quickly. When you plan ahead of time and research the area you plan to visit, you also have time to price shop and compare your options. Many times you'll find special discounts if you book during certain times of the year, whether it's off-season or just a promotion, so that's the time to see what's available.

With that being said, it's also true that you can find some amazing travel deals when you are flexible and ready-to-go at a moment's notice. Last minute deals can give you incredible savings! You just have to be willing and able to go when the moment strikes. If you have done some research ahead of time on where you'd like to travel, keep a close eye on what area vacation rental companies are offering on their websites, what Groupon or Living Social deals are being offered for that area, and any other discounts that are being offered (see #4 below).

2. Choose Your Accommodations Wisely

Okay, this is important since most of your vacation budget goes toward where you're staying. It's a big chunk of your money, so spend it wisely. It's really hard to beat a vacation rental with all the benefits (money-saving and otherwise) it has to offer. This is particularly true if you're vacationing with family and kids.

Think about what you want from where you stay. A pool? Close to the beach? A kitchen? A grill? Enough room for everyone to sleep comfortably? Think about how you're going to spend your time. If you plan on going to the beach every day, then it would make sense to stay right on the beach or as close as possible. Saving a little bit of gas money adds up to other things you can spend your vacation money on. If your kids love the pool, then it would be best to find accommodations that offer a pool. I think everyone would agree that having enough space for everyone is crucial for a relaxing, enjoyable vacation. Vacation rentals offer a wide range of size options and allow you to customize your stay by choosing the amenities that are important to you. They are also more cost effective than a hotel or motel stay, especially if you're vacationing for a week or more or if you're traveling with other couples or extended family.

3. Be Mindful of Your Meals

Meals can take a huge chunk out of your vacation budget—but only if you allow them to. Thinking ahead and being mindful of your meal planning is a little thing that can make a big difference to your wallet. One of the biggest benefits of a vacation rental or condo is the kitchen. If you choose to eat only one meal a day at your vacation-home-away-from-home, it still makes a noticeable difference in savings. It's also very convenient. You can wake up, have your coffee, grab a quick breakfast and head right out to the beach. No hassle, no fuss. If you choose to eat more meals in as opposed to eating out, you'll save that much more money. Don't forget to try the local farmers' markets and fresh markets in the area you're vacationing in. Not only can you find fresh, delicious, seasonal selections, but they are also pretty reasonably priced for the quality of products you receive.

Dining in restaurants can still be factored in to your beach vacation budget, but eat smart! Take advantage of happy hours, early dinner specials, kids' meals and any other savings you can find. Scope out the options before your stay and decide when and where you want to eat accordingly.

4. Discounts, Discounts, Discounts

Again, take a little time to research what's available to you in the form of discounts, coupons and other money-saving options when it comes to the attractions you plan on visiting during your vacation. Often times, you can go to the website of whatever attractions you're interested in and find out what's available to you. Many times you can secure a discount just by purchasing tickets online in advance of your arrival. As mentioned earlier, the local Groupon and Living Social offers available in the area cater to local attractions and things to do, so see what they have to offer. Another great place to look is at your credit cards or bank facilities. They sometimes have discounts for these things, also.

5. Find Free Things To Do

You can be so focused on finding discounts that the obvious escapes you. Don't forget about free! There are usually plenty of free things to do to be found in the area you choose to take your vacation. Many museums and other cultural or historical sites offer free admission with the appreciation of a small donation. Free events are everywhere, so visit the chamber of commerce or online visitors guides to see what's happening during the dates of your stay.

One of the best parts of a beach vacation is the fact that you'll likely spend a majority of your time enjoying free entertainment in the form of sun, sand and surf. Walks on the beach don't cost a thing and neither do swimming, building sandcastles, shelling, or catching the sunrises and sunsets. Area parks and nature centers are also free-of-charge and available for your vacationing pleasure. Let's not forget to mention that kids love the beach and are easily occupied happily for hours on end. Who can blame them? Pick up a cheap beach bucket, some sand tools to dig with, and let them enjoy and explore what the coast has to offer.

Has this been helpful to you? Do you feel ready to start planning your next beach vacation? Good! Of course, we highly recommend Topsail Island, North Carolina for your next great beach escape. See what we have to offer by clicking here.

Wherever your next beach vacation takes you, we hope you'll take some of these budget-friendly vacation planning ideas all the way to the bank. Make it your mission to see how much you can save by trying these suggestions.

Beach Vacation

What's your best money-saving tip when planning or taking a beach vacation? Share with us in the comment section. We'd love to hear about it. Cheers to fabulous beach vacations that are affordable, fun and stress-free!

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