How You Can Visit the Beach on a Budget
As the cooler months roll in, many people start daydreaming about a vacation at the beach. There’s just something about the sun, sand, and water that makes you smile. You’d love to take a beach vacation, but you’re worried about how to pay for it.
Thankfully, there are ways to travel to the beach on a budget. Read on to discover how you can travel to and stay at the beach more cheaply.
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Traveling on a Budget
One of the most expensive parts of any beach vacation is the actual traveling, especially if you have to fly. However, there are ways to find cheaper tickets. RealSimple.com explains that airfares change regularly. What’s expensive now can get cheaper later. Sign up for email alerts when prices change. And if your beach is outside the country, look for non-U.S. airlines for cheaper prices.
Of course, driving to the beach will be cheaper. Search your area for lakes with beaches, as these can have the same feel and amenities as a coastal beach.
Nomadic Matt lists a few other ways to travel more cheaply:
– Sign up for an airline credit card. Many airlines offer free flights just for signing up, and you can earn points for cheaper flights later.
– Watch for deals giving you frequent flyer miles. Earning enough points by shopping at the right stores can help you get closer to free tickets.
– Put as much of your bills as possible on the airline credit card. As long as you can pay your balance off each month, you’ll be earning miles for costs you normally have anyway.
Saving on Hotels
Once you have your travel figured out, your beach vacation is coming closer to reality. The next step is to find a budget-friendly place to stay. NerdWallet has a list of ways to find cheaper hotel rooms, including:
– Once you’ve found a good price on a hotel room from a site like KAYAK or Expedia, look for promotions on the hotel’s website. Sometimes, those prices are lower.
– Call the hotel and negotiate. Explain the low price you found online and ask if they can beat it.
– Check any organizations you belong to for any discounts. AAA and AARP members, students, and members of the military can usually get lower room rates.
– You don’t have to get a beachfront hotel. Hotels a little way from the beach are often cheaper, even after factoring costs for an Uber.
But hotels aren’t your only option. Airbnb and HomeAway let you rent a room or apartment directly from owners, which often saves money. And if you have any family or friends near the beach, you should ask if you can stay with them. Sleeping on the couch can make a huge difference in your budget.
Two Great Destinations
As you explore reasonable hotel and travel options, you may be looking at many different destinations for that beach vacation. There are lots of options available, but two that stand out for budget travelers are Panama City, Florida and Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Panama City on the Florida Panhandle is one of those “hidden gems” for most people. Their local airport (Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport) has recently added many direct flights into and out of the city. Panama City has fantastic beaches, plenty of reasonably priced hotels, and easy travel routes. If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay, there are many affordable and comfortable rentals available.
Gulf Shores, AL is another great place for a beach vacation. There are many activities to do here, or you can just sit on the Gulf Coast beach and relax.
And don’t forget to make arrangements for your home and pet before you leave. Knowing that things at home are taken care of will allow to relax and get the most out of your vacation.
Make Your Beach Trip Affordable
Heading to the beach doesn’t have to break the bank. There are ways to find cheaper flights and hotels, and two great but affordable destinations include Panama City and Gulf Shores. It’s indeed possible for you to take that much-needed beach vacation and feel good about how much you spent for it.
Author credit: Catherine Workman
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