Saturday, March 31, 2012
Planning a Beach Vacation on a Budget
So its been almost 2 years since we took a beach vacation. We went to the Outer Banks, NC in July, 2010. By far the best beach vacation ever! Last May we headed to Disney World, which was wonderful, but the boys wanted to go back to the beach this year and so did I! So for spring break we are heading to the Florida Gulf Coast! Here are some tips we use to keep the costs down:
1. We drive instead of flying. For a family of 4 it would cost us about $2,000 to fly. With driving we estimate about $500 in gas and $200 for hotel rooms. A lot cheaper. Plus we have the extra time to drive and enjoy the scenery!
2. Think Condo instead of hotel. We always rent houses or condos when we go on vacations. There are some great deals to be had and you have so much more space! I am not a fan of cramming 4 people in a hotel room for a week, not my idea of a vacation. My husband and I like our own bedroom so we can enjoy our vacation too! Two great resources we have used in the past are Homeaway and VRBO.
3. Pack non-perishable items from home. We always pack everything we can from home. It is a lot cheaper since you probably got some deals on those items anyways. Plus you do not have to pay the inflated food costs at the grocery stores in tourist towns! Typical items we pack include: cereal, peanut butter, chips, dip, condiments, snacks, spaghetti, coffee, canned fruit, juice boxes, bottled water, pop, pancake mix, syrup, etc.
4. Eat Breakfast & Lunch in your condo. It is so nice to wake up and make breakfast and not have to worry about where to take everyone for breakfast! Everyone can eat at their own pace and when you are ready head out to the beach! It is also nice, to just come back to your condo and make a quick lunch and get back to enjoying the beach. Save your eating out for dinner!
5. Eat some dinners in your condo. We usually find a condo that has a grill. Who wants to take cranky kids out dinner after a long day? If we find we have a day where we just want to eat at "home", we grill up some burgers, hot dogs, or steaks. Eat it on your balcony and enjoy the sunset! We also normally buy a frozen pizza or two for a really "quick" dinner!
6. Pack all of your toiletries that you will need. Again, no need to go shopping for items such as toilet paper, paper towels, dish soap, hand soap, napkins, etc. Pack these items from home and bring them along. Another perk of driving, you can put all of these items in the car!
7. Make sure you enjoy your vacation! You are after all on vacation. Have your money set aside on what you will spend and enjoy yourself! These are the times to make memories with your kids! Make sure you enjoy it yourself!