If you’re living on a budget, but still longing for that beach holiday . . . then don’t despair! There are ways for you to achieve your dream with just a little bit of wise planning. You’ve just got to know how to get the most for your money.
You need to be looking at discount booking sites for a start. There are lots of them, but my favourites are Liberty Travel, Apple Vacations, Cheap Caribbean and Priceline. You can check these sites for great package deals that include your flights, accommodation and rental car. This way you usually pay a lot less than if you booked these things separately. You can also try Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia and individual airline sites. Shop around and make sure you do the math to make sure you’re booking the cheapest option.
Wherever it is that you want to visit, do your research and find out what the official tourism sites of the place are. Often you’ll find they offering discounts on dining, lodging, activities and other components of your holiday.
You can also save money by booking accommodation other than a hotel. Holiday rentals by owners and Craigslist cut out the middleman as do Airbnb and iStopOver which are B&B social networking sites that offer a large variety of rooms and bargain rates. Lots of hostels now offer private rooms and amemities, and some are placed in ideal beach locations. And if you’re really frugal, there’s Couchsurfing, GlobalFreeloaders and Hospitality Club, where members offer their spare bedroom or sofa’s for free! Do please be safe though and check people’s references.
Concentrate on towns or regions that have low key motels and cottages, or are near to the state or national coast. For example, instead of Miami Beach go to the Florida Panhandle; instead of Santa Monica, try California’s Huntington Beach; instead of Cape Cod, try Rhode Island’s South County. I’ve provided some information on each below along with a couple more of my favourite budget friendly destinations.
Understandably, tourism along Florida’s Northwest Gulf Coast took a bit of a nose dive after the 2010 BP oil spill. But it seems to be making a comeback now and the sugar-sand beaches are as beautiful as they ever were – despite the fact that even now you can still see crews patrolling for tarballs. There is a new airport, Northwest Florida Beaches International, which provides easy access to South Walton, Pensacola, Panama City and some other popular beaches. Destin is charming, with its dockside cafes and fishing boats. The state parks of Grayton Beach, St. Joseph Peninsula and St. Andrews are rated among the most beautiful in the country.
South County, Rhode Island
Whilst you’re driving leisurely past the scenic vistas and fishing villages of the Rhode Island Coast, imagine the masses sitting in traffic on Cape Cod! There are more than 20 beaches to choose from in South County. Narragansett Town Beach has 2 full-service pavilions where you can get surfing lessons. Atlantic Beach Park has an antique carousel, bumper boats, batting cages as well as other amusements. East Matunuck State Beach is a pristine strand with ample picnic tables and parking.
St. John, US Virgin Islands
The stunning Caribbean island of St. John is home to the world renowned and ridiculously expensive resort of Caneel Bay. However, there are also some great bargains on the island! At the eco studios and tent camps of Estate Concordia Preserve and Maho Bay, you’ll be able to appreciate the same stunning beaches as the rich folk at a fraction of the price! You can choose from platform tents with communal showers and bathrooms, or villas and studios with kitchens, private bathrooms and electricity. They have solar powered showers and composting toilets, but that’s just part of the charm!
Huntington Beach, California
You may never have heard of Huntington Beach, but what about Surf City USA? Yep, it’s the very same place that Jan and Dean made famous in the 1960’s song and this is proven in the International Surfing Museum and the Hall of Fame. It’s cheap and easy to sample the Californian good life here, with lots of casual accommodation and eateries to choose from. There are 8 miles of beaches and Huntington Beach Pier is 1,800 feet long and houses entertainments, farmers markets, volleyball and surfing competition and other events all year round.
One of the main attractions of this lovely little European island are its beautiful and unspoiled beaches enclosed by crystal blue waters. With a coastline of only 216km, it still claims to have more beaches than Ibiza and Majorca collectively. Most of them can be accessed quite easily, but there are a few that can only be accessed by sea. They are all different. Some have fine white sand and others have hidden rocky coves. There are many companies on the island that offer organised boat trips to these fantastic locations. Villa holidays in Menorca are a great option for cheap accommodation as they sleep so many people so you can split the cost.