FLORIDA - 5 Essential Money-saving Tips for Your Beach Vacation

Heading to the Florida beaches this year to enjoy the balmy weather, gentle waves, and fantastic sightseeing opportunities? Good choice! Want to save a bundle and still have a great time? Even better! Follow these handy tips for a terrific beach vacation that won't break the bank:

  1. Unless there are only 2 of you or your time is quite short, it probably makes more sense to drive than to fly. You'll really want a car once you're in Florida, and renting one can be quite pricey. But more than that, you may find that, like life, the journey is as meaningful as the destination! When you feel boredom approaching on the highway, tell Siri to fix you up a little side route through smaller towns and open countryside. You'll be amazed at the difference in the quality of the trip!
  2. Rent a house or condo instead of getting a hotel room. The savings this will bring are immense, beginning with grocery shopping and cooking at home instead of eating restaurant meals and fast food. Even the smallest condo will have more space than most expensive hotel suites, and you can relax more completely when you have a door you can close, a sense of privacy even from the group you're traveling with, and options for places to sit, play, and enjoy the view. Many rental properties are available nightly as well as weekly or monthly, and most include linens and kitchen tools. You may even find one with such amenities as wireless Internet, a washer and dryer, and a DVD player -- all adding to your savings as well as your enjoyment of your vacation time.
  3. Build activities around the landscape you're in rather than the sightseeing attractions you're near. Florida's beaches are breathtaking, its swamps are unique, and its wildlife is awe-inspiring. The state is a paradise of parks and nature preserves, not to mention historical sites dating back to the earliest European settlement in St. Augustine. Nearly all of this is free, and so memorable!
  4. Use photographs, journal entries, and sentimental mementoes in place of expensive souvenirs. Which will mean more to you in 5 years when you look back on your perfect Florida vacation: an expensive piece of jewelry from a coastal boutique, or a shell you fished out of the sand at low tide that morning you got up and watched the sun rise over the Atlantic?
  5. Remember the old adage, "Beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes." Many excited vacationers shop for a new wardrobe before heading to the beach, yet few places are more laid-back when it comes to apparel. Check that your swimsuit fits, make sure you have decent walking shoes, and go as you are. You'll love having the extra money sitting in the bank when you come home!