We just got back from a great trip to Virginia Beach, and I thought I’d share some of the tips we’ve used over the last several years to save money on our beach trips. It’s always nice to get away, but you don’t want to spend so much in getting away, that you’re doubly stressed when you get back.
First, I’d recommend setting specific money aside through the year just for traveling. It could be money you set aside from your paychecks that goes into a separate account…my bank actually has a vacation club account that has some sweet features! Or you could use money from a specific side hustle just for vacations. The point really is to have certain funds designated just for that purpose so you have a budget to work with.
Next, when it comes to accommodations we’ve been exclusively using Airbnb. There are so many reasons we keep using it, but we started with Airbnb just for the money savings on places to stay. We’ve rented some amazing spaces. One trip we stopped for the night and stayed in a tipi! Yes! You read that correctly!
It was such a fun experience. You just never know what you’ll find. To be able to stay steps away from the beach for just $80-90 per night is remarkable. We’ve also learned that staying with Airbnb, especially at the beach, means that you get to be in residential areas where there are far less people on the beaches, and there are lots of restaurant options that are very unique. I just think the “tourist” experience is so different from being in the areas where folks are that actually live there!
Another tip is to look for deals on the attractions you want to take advantage of in the area! On this trip, we wanted to take a dolphin watching tour, which was something on my mom’s bucket list, and after taking a look at a few companies that offered the tours we found one that offered an early bird discount on tickets for the first cruise of the day! We saved $5 per ticket for just getting up and getting going early! Bonus…we saw so many dolphins!! It was so freaking cool to be up that close and to see them riding the waves as the boat left!
A fourth tip is to look for restaurant coupons before you leave. Because we’ve been to Virginia Beach before, we do have some restaurants that we like to go to each time and we know the area…so that helped in my deal search. I ended up finding an offer on Groupon, a few months before the trip, for a restaurant that we’d talked about, but hadn’t tried yet. I got a $20 gift certificate for $9! It was definitely a good call and saved us a little cash on food.
Another way we save on food is by bringing food for lunches and some breakfasts along. We just load up a cooler and have fixings for sandwiches and snacks! This also keeps us from having to stop for lunch on the drive there and on the drive back. I do wish we’d taken more drink options this last time. I paid for some rest area beverages a couple of times and could have bought a whole case of water for what I spent on two drinks. I guess it never hurts to have some variety.
So those are just a few ideas for some great ways to stick to your vacation budget! I can’t wait to go back to the beach next year! I can never get enough time in the sand! 🙂