Every summer my sisters and I book our own vacation at our favorite ocean side spot in the world, Ocean City, Maryland. As three young adults, two of which have just graduated college not too long ago and one who is still in college, planning a trip to the beach can take a heavy hit on our wallets.
But as life is short, I am a firm believer that traveling is important and that it’s important to enjoy our lives and time away from work and the regular hustle and bustle of life when we can.
In order to be able to afford our beach trip, my sisters and I did some research our very first year on how we could make our vacation as affordable as possible. As soon as the plans were in the works, we began to scrimp, budget, and save over the next several months.
After a few years of making this trip, I’ve been able to come up with a list of the tips and tricks we use to make our beach vacation as affordable as possible. Hopefully, they will be able to help you afford your own trip to the beach!
1. Check out free beach activities your vacation spot might offer.
It can be tempting to want to check out all of the fun activities your vacation spot has to offer such as water parks, mini-golfing, go-karting, jet-skiing and more, but one of the things that all these activities have in common is the hefty price tag that can come with them. For instance, one admission to a water park can cost $50 or more!
Many beach towns and resorts have a plethora of free activities that are offered to vacationers. All you have to do is look for them! For instance, some beaches have free corn hole or volleyball games on the beaches during the day. Many beaches also offer free firework shows or free movies on the beach on certain days of the week.
You can also do some digging before your vacation and check out what other free activities your vacation spot has to offer. There may be some parks, zoos, or other cool spots that have free admission.
If there is one activity that you and your group really enjoy, budget for that in your planning. Personally my sisters and I really enjoy mini-golfing and so we always make sure to set aside some extra cash.
2. Be on the look out for coupon booklets.
Some resort towns, Ocean City included, pass out free magazines and coupon books to vacationers upon their arrival. These booklets are full of information about the town including the names of restaurants and other businesses and they give you information on activities in the town.
You can also probably find coupons in these booklets so if there is really something you were looking forward to doing you can at least save some money.
3. Enjoy more of the great outdoors.
I love going to the beach because I love to be outside in the sun, enjoying the water and the sand. For some people, vacation means more than lounging on the beach or frolicking in the waves. It means dinner out, lots of fun and shopping, and maybe some pampering.
However, a cheaper alternative is to enjoy all the great outdoor fun your vacation spot has to offer. Be on the look out for hiking trails if that’s something you enjoy doing or explore local nature reserves and wildlife.
4. Eat in.
Eating out every night adds up fast. If your accommodations have a kitchen or kitchenette pack groceries with you to make as many meals as possible. This will help cut down on expenses in a huge way. And remember it’s okay to treat yourself to one or two nights out, as long as you planned for it!
5. Stay at a beach house or condo instead of a hotel.
While hotels are in abundance in resort towns they are not always the cheapest option. Sometimes they can be the most expensive option for accommodations. For instance, my sisters and I were able to rent a condo for $1,000 a week in Ocean City, Maryland while the hotels we looked at for the same week would have cost us about $1,400-$2,100 a week.
With the size of condos and beach homes, larger groups and families are able to rent and split the cost making it cheaper for each person.
Another great thing about condos and vacation homes is that they have kitchens or kitchenettes allowing you to save on food costs.
6. Avoid buying as much as possible in resort towns.
Resort towns are expensive! Everything from food to clothes and beach toys and more costs more than it would elsewhere. In order to avoid spending more than you should, buy as much as you can at home and pack it with you.
In addition, try to avoid the temptation to buy useless souvenirs while you are out shopping. Look around until you find one thing you really want and limit yourself to that one item for the duration of your trip.