Planning a beach trip this summer? Here are a few tried and true ways to save BIG on your trip!
Gift Cards for Gas
I have family members and friends who typically buy all their holiday or birthday gift cards at Kroger, just for the fuel points. They will end up filling up for free once the points roll in. If you are a customer of a store with loyalty points such as Kroger, this one can help out big time when taking those long trips to the beach!
Cook Your Food versus Eating out at Night
We all know that cooking versus eating out is a big cost saver. I recently heard a co-worker telling of how she and her family have “theme nights” when they go to the beach. One sister will have “fiesta night” and cook a taco bar for everyone. The next family member may host a “make your own pizza” night. This idea sounds really fun, and the kids will totally get into the themes!
Make a List and stick to it
Oh, this may be a hard one for some….I’m not talking to myself at all, ya’ll. Hehehe…. Start out making a list a month or so before the trip and familiarizing yourself with the items on it. When you’re out running errands in the weeks leading up to the trip, you will know what items to be looking for that may be on sale. How many times have we gotten to our vacation destination and forgotten shampoo, deodorant, little Emma’s allergy medicine? I know I’m not the only one…. Forgetting things is ALWAYS an added expense that we can usually can be avoid by just making a list.
Shop for Summer Items in Fall and start to stock up
In the fall, summer things go on sale. In the spring, winter things go on sale. Start practicing buying during off seasons, on everything, not just beach or swim items.
Groupon for Restaurants
If you are one of those vacationers that simply HAS to partake in the local cuisine, check Groupon for awesome deals on restaurant coupons. I have used Groupon in the past with great success. If you are a good cook, then buy fresh seafood and cook it at your rental, if you are staying in a house or condo.
Take Beach Chairs and Rentals
Beach rentals can range from $10-$30/day, depending on your locale. Make some extra room in the car and bring a chair or two. This is a big dent in your vacation budget if you are staying and need beach chairs for several days.
Airbnb is a newer way to save big on travel. Started in 2008, it is a website that hosts vacation rentals around the world. It may be an extra room in someone’s home you are looking for, or a 5 bedroom home in the middle of nowhere. The site will pretty much have any type of accomodations you are looking for. Plus, many times the travelers end up making friends with their hosts. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Book last minute
Two years ago, my family and I scored a much nicer house on the beach for the same price we had paid for a not-so-fabulous rental with 2 fewer bedrooms. The way this happened was that the rental company had not rented the larger property out and I called the Thursday before we were to arrive Saturday. All it took was to ask. You never know when you might score an awesome deal last minute. The companies would rather rent out the property than it sit empty, so check daily before your planned trip to see about any last minute upgrades.
Book in May or September
If you have the flexibility to go in late May or early September, prices decrease considerably. While I realize this may not be an option for most parents with children in regular schools, homeschoolers or others may enjoy the price breaks with this option. Plus, the beaches, restaurants, and other hot spots are much less crowded.
Stay off the beaten path
Look for hotels or rental properties further away from the main tourist area. These are usually significantly cheaper than beach view, and since you got all the free gas, who minds driving a bit to see the scenery? Even staying across the street from the beach decreases the price per night of rentals, and this can be a big cost saver when planning your trip.
Are you packed and ready to go? Don’t forget the sunscreen! What great ideas do you have for saving big on your summer trip?