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It’s officially time to start day dreaming and planning your summer vacation to the beach! This is a family favorite for us. If you are heading somewhere warm and sandy this year, check out our tips for a cheap beach vacation before you book and travel!
Timing really is everything when it comes to saving on vacations no matter where you are traveling. Consider traveling during off seasons or at least shoulder seasons. The weeks before school lets out in late May or even after schools resume in August can be almost 50% cheaper than peak summer weeks! If you can’t take off earlier in the year, at least avoid holiday weeks as the rates will increase by 30-40% over holiday weekends.
Renting A House/Condo Is Cheaper
Gone are the days staying in hotels at the beach. With many rental agencies plus great sites like VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner) you can find houses with multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, washer and dryer and many other perks that a hotel would never give. You can also find rooms in resort areas for a fraction of the price by booking through the owner. To compare prices, a 2 bedroom condo on Hilton Head Island (SC) starts at $97 on VRBO, hotels in the same area are $110+ for just one room. Now you can spread out and relax and cook your own meals! There are other ways to get the rental price even lower…
Be a Spontaneous Procrastinator
While you may plan your vacation dates long in the future, wait until a week or two out to actually the book a house. Yes the top of the line house may be gone, but plenty of houses sit unrented so take advantage of the owners desire to rent. Work directly with the owner to get reduced rates to fill open spots on their calendar. You will find some rentals are already marked on sale, but for others it never hurts to ask! If you haven’t picked your dates, just deciding at the last minute to head to the beach gets you the same discounts.
Negotiate Further Reductions
Before finalizing a rental booking see if there are any other discounts possible. Can they waive or reduce cleaning fees? Are there discounts for return renters? Can you do any odd jobs while there and reduce the rental price? No one is above bartering and depending on the skills you have you may be able to work out a great deal. If they don’t have any other reductions, one more option is to also go with a larger house and split the cost with friends!
Shop for Deals on Outings
There are still great deals on daily deal sites like LivingSocial and Groupon for many beach activities. Go ahead and plan your outings before you travel and grab discounts online. Save on jet ski rentals, boat tours, kayak rentals, and many other things. Don’t forget about discounts on restaurants too for a cheap night out while are there. Another option for saving on eating out is Restaurant.com, look for coupon codes at all of these sites to save even more!
Meal Plan & Shop Before You Leave
Grocery stores in vacation areas have a markup that can be over 200% of the regular price. That means you are paying double for the same items. Plan ahead for any meal you want to cook, snacks, even paper goods and detergents. Buying it before you leave (hopefully on sale) can truly save you hundreds! Taking everything with you already planned out also helps to keep you from eating out a lot.
A Few Other Tips:
- Ask your home owner if they have beach toys, pack and plays or any other equipment you might need. Save yourself from hauling extra things down (it saves more room for your food). Also check if they provide a grill so you know if you can cook certain meals.
- Hit the library before you leave to save on all your beach reading material. Also check out travel books for the area you are going to to get special inside tips.
- Heading to the closest beach and skipping air fare saves you a ton. If you can’t handle it and want to go far away check out Skiplagged for super cheap flights.