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Ten things to consider when planning a budget beach vacation

Planning a beach vacation on a budget takes a plan, coupled with the ability to travel without a plan. Sound like a contradiction? Think again. Traveling to the beach, in a high priced tourist resort will cost a bundle. Traveling to the beach on a budget, requires that you think through the plan carefully, allowing room for the unexpected, and adapting a flexibility to take advantage of bargains. The top 10 things to consider when planning to vacation on the beach without breaking the bank account are:

Think ahead of time of traveling and the items you need before stepping out the door. Remember to pack the toothbrush, hairbrush and towels before you leave home. Don’t forget suntan lotion and sunglasses. These small items will cost you a bundle at the beach resort. They are unnecessary expenses that you have at home, and shouldn’t spend your hard earned money buying, because you forgot to bring them with you.

Think about camping out in a campground near or on the beach. Several KOA campgrounds, equipped with clean showers and bathrooms are located near beach resorts. You can save a bundle of money camping in one of them. Whether you are a experienced camper or novice, camping is an inexpensive way to travel.

If you don’t enjoy camping, and your idea of camping is an air conditioned hotel near the beach, consider traveling to a hotel that is a nice hotel without a fancy name. When you check into a five star resort, much of your expense pays for the nice looking lobby. Instead of supporting the upkeep on a fancy hotel with a fancy lobby, consider an offbeat hotel near the resort you want to visit.

Consider traveling with another couple, or family. Instead of renting a single hotel room, rent a “beach house” that you can share with another couple. All of your hotel expenses are immediately cut in half.

Plan to cook some of the meals yourself, rather than traveling out to dinner each night in a restaurant. Shop at the grocery store and pick up fresh fish, coffee for the morning, or other food items you might want to cook.

Visit an area during off season, non peak holidays. If you plan to visit Florida during Christmas break, you will spend quite a bit of money traveling “in season”. Try visiting an area just after the season has ended. If you are looking to visit Florida, visit at the end of April, as the hotels will be deeply discounted as most of the tourists have returned home, and the “season” is winding down.

Investigate renting a houseboat. Renting houseboats rather than hotels can give you all of the features of a nice hotel room without the expenses of the room.

Take advantage of coupons and discounts. Many hotels, and tourist resorts give travelers who use AAA, or are senior citizens discounts, for visiting or staying with them. Ask for cut-rate deals. If you don’t ask, you won’t be able to take advantage of a last minute cancellation that may have occurred, offering you a deeply discounted room. Priceline.com has created a market for the last minute traveler. Research all of the available deals, and then take advantage of them. Sometimes you can eat dinner at 4:00 and get the “blue plate special”, the same meal at a lower cost, due to dining before the traditional dinner hour.

If traveling by car, travel at nighttime. You will spend less on food expenses getting there, and can avoid the hotels. If traveling by plane, research airline flight specials. If you have frequent flier miles, use them.

Stop at the chamber of commerce in the location you are visiting to find bargains or free stuff to do in town.

When you learn to budget money, take advantage of special deals, and think outside the box, you really can soak up the sun, at your favorite beach resort at a bargain price.