The following is a contribution from my good blogging friend Lance at Money Manifesto. Since I’m going on my own beach vacation next week I thought it would be great to have him share about his new site and ways you can save on your next beach vacation. If you’d like to contribute to Frugal Rules, please contact us.
Beach vacations are awesome! You get to go have fun in the sun at one of nature’s most beautiful scenes. If you play your cards right, you can even get a vacation at the beach pretty cheap. Here are a few ways you can save money on your next beach vacation.
Buy Supplies Before You Leave
You should definitely stock up on most of the supplies you’ll need before you head to the beach. The only exception I’d make is food, which you can buy at a local grocery store when you arrive at your beachfront destination city. Beach stores are at the beach to make money from tourists who are unprepared. Knowing that ahead of time will help keep you from getting suckered into wasting money on overpriced items.
Why pay higher beach prices on basic supplies you could get for cheaper at home? Don’t forget to stock up on sunscreen and any medications you might need, especially prescriptions.
Go For A Vacation Rental, Not A Hotel
One of the most expensive parts of your beach vacation will be your lodging. Fortunately, there are many ways you can save on this aspect of your trip. Rather than reserve a hotel room on the beach at insanely high nightly rates, opt for a vacation rental instead.
You have many options when you book vacation rentals. You can rent from local rental agencies or directly from rental owners on sites like VRBO. While these sites do provide a lot of information, you’ll want to make sure you know all about your vacation rental to make sure everything will suit your family well.
One thing a lot of people overlook when booking vacation rentals is the floor plans. In beachfront condo buildings, there can be many different floor plans. Make sure you pick one that suits your needs best and choose one that has the amenities you really want.
You’ll have to do some research to find the floor plans of units, but it’s well worth it if you can get a beachfront master bedroom rather that one on the highway for the same price. If you’re visiting Panama City Beach, Florida be sure to check out my new site MyBeachInsider.com to research floor plans of the condos on the beach.
Prepare Food In Your Vacation Rental’s Kitchen
Another big cost of many beach vacations is dining out for every meal because you don’t have a kitchen. By choosing a vacation rental, you eliminate the problem because you’ll have a kitchen at your disposal.
When you arrive at the beach, stop by the grocery store and stock up for the week. Making your own meals could easily save a family hundreds of dollars just for a one week beach vacation.
Split Costs With Friends
Want to go on your beach vacation at absolute rock bottom prices? The secret is selecting a bigger vacation rental for just a little bit more than the smaller one bedrooms. But what would you do with all of the extra space? Invite your friends and family!
Of course, you wouldn’t be inviting them to freeload on your vacation. Instead, split the costs of the rental and in most cases you’ll save a ton of money. Bigger vacation rentals aren’t that much more expensive than the smallest ones. Have a couple in every bed and your vacation cost per person will be significantly reduced.
Skip The Tacky Souvenirs And Beach Supplies
Everyone likes having great memories of their trips. I completely get it. Just don’t choose to remember your trips by buying tacky souvenirs. They’re cheap and poorly made. They’ll either break or end up in a yard sale in a year or two, so save your money.
Instead, take some pictures while you’re on vacation. Rather than just letting them sit on your phone forever, actually get them printed and put them up around your house. Those memories will mean so much more than a tacky souvenir.
I hope these tips will help you plan for your next beach vacation. Saving money on vacation is awesome, because it means you get to take more vacations. 🙂 If you ever find yourself in Panama City Beach on a beach vacation, stop by and say hi.
Where is your next vacation going to be? Have you ever used a vacation rental property instead of a hotel? What was your experience like? Would you do it again?
Lance Cothern is a local resident of the Panama City Beach area. He loves going to the beach and helping people learn about the area, especially beachfront condominiums through his new site MyBeachInsider.com. He’s also a personal finance nerd and blogs about all things money at MoneyManifesto.com.