At the Beach, Tips 'n Tricks, Travel and Leisure — February 1, 2016 at 5:00 am

6 Ways to Save Money On Your Next Beach Vacation

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©istockphoto/BraunSBeach vacations don’t have to be expensive! If you’re looking to cut costs during your next trip to the sands, here are a few ways to go about it. Pack up your beach towels and sunscreen because you don’t have to be rich to enjoy the ocean.

Stay off the beach.
We don’t mean keep off of it entirely, of course, just that you don’t have to actually sleep on it. Instead of booking a hotel right on the sand, consider hunkering down in a room a few miles into town. The closer to the water you stay, the more money you’re going to have to put down. Staying a mile or two away might not be as glamorous, but the drive is short and you can still experience those sunrises and sunsets—just not from a balcony.

Avoid touristy towns.
Are you dreaming of heading down to Miami or Key West this summer for a beachside oasis? Consider heading to Tampa, instead. The beaches are just as gorgeous but the hotels are half the cost in most cases. Just because a place is popular doesn’t mean it’s the only option; there are plenty of places along the coast with spectacular beaches that don’t get as much press, which means the locals don’t feel the need to jack up all the prices during the summer season.

Consider different dates.
Holiday weekends are some of the worst times to vacation. The prices of everything from hotel rooms, restaurants and souvenirs are jacked up to ridiculous prices. Forget about hitting Myrtle Beach for the Fourth of July this year and book for an earlier date if you can one. Find a time when the water still feels warm enough to swim in but the beaches might be a little less packed and you can save a lot of money.

Bring food with you.
Don’t wait to do your grocery shopping once you’re in town. Bring along food from home that’s probably cheaper than what you’ll find in a popular beach town. Also, even though you’re on vacation, consider cooking meals in your room instead of eating out every night. You can make it a fun experience by trying new recipes so it doesn’t feel like what you’d have back at home. 

Go in a group.
There’s no better way to save money on lodging than to go with a large group. Even if someone has to sleep on the couch (you can always rotate each night), it’s still typically better than having to shell out hundreds for your own room. You can get closer to the water without breaking the bank. Just make sure you’re traveling with people you love to be around, and not your obnoxious mother-in-law.

Budget.
Budgeting is far and away the best away to save money at the beach. Vacationers often throw caution to the wind and let their excitement take over when visiting the beach, which leads to spur of the moment purchases of souvenirs and wakeboarding adventures. Combat this by sitting down and planning out your budget ahead of time, then sticking with it. Choose your activities before you go, and look for fun, free ways to fill in the gaps.

Going to the beach doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. Follow the tips above and you’ll still have a great time without feeling guilty once all is said and done

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