A series for maximizing your vacation budget going to Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Day 1First, booking your place to stay. Normally I start looking in January to book our vacation for July/August time frame. The reason being is that you have the most choices available. Sure you can grab a place around the time you're ready to go, but it's more than likely going to cost you more because you won't have as many choices. Going with Family? Get those plans nailed down first. I can't tell you how many times i've made plans with someone that didn't work out, but if you are confident that you have the right people in line, it can save you even a greater amount of money. For instance, if I were to find someone who needed 1BR I could split the cost of this condo and we could live happily ever after. You have to be sure of that, because even if you both go in your own direction, you have to spend the week with them. I've searched and searched, done a lot of research on my most favorite place to be, the beach. I live on the East Coast, so that is mainly my destination for a value vacation for the family. My family consists of 3. For all the reasearch I've done, I always come back to Myrtle Beach for the most budget friendly. Typically I can get an ocean front 2BR condo for around $900 for a week during peak season. That's a great price for the entire East Coast. Normally I search VRBO or Home Away to find deals on condo's directly from the owner. Normally it is a little more cost effective rather than going through a realtor. Condo's in the same building are priced at a higher cost going through a realtor. Based on the qualities that you want, you can have a pool, elevator (which is important because you'll be grocery shopping), restaurant's on site, etc.
Ok so you've found the best place for the money and now you just have to wait...ah waiting to go is the worst part! In the meanwhile start planning. Make sure that you have all of the necesseties such as clothes, beachwear, sunscreen, etc. because yes, there is Walmart there, but you will still pay higher prices at the beach.
Plan on taking whatever you can, if you can take your laundry detergent/dish liquid/cleaners---take them. If you've decided on a condo, they usually come fully equipted with a kitchen. Yes, we do eat out, but for lunches on the beach, snacks, and even an occassional dinner you will need to plan accordingly.
Take a cooler for the beach (and for the seafood you may pick up...we'll talk about that another day) Beach chair, sunscreen, a camera (and film if you have a regular camera), batteries, toiletries, sand toys, swimwear, etc. That's all more expensive at the beach. If you plan ahead, you can watch for the deals where you live and have it all ready for when you leave.
Day 3 in Vacation savings Myrtle Beach series
Some tips for the trip:
If you're driving, pack snacks and a cooler for drinks. You don't want to have to stop too much and pay for overpriced snacks at gas station/minit markets/etc. We normally take some fruit snacks/pretzels, Peanut and butter jelly sandwiches, cookies, etc. You know what your family snacks on so stock up before hand.
Pack the car so that you have easy access to the things you'll need on the road, such as:
This is an important part of your trip, make sure you have the necesseties not only for the beach but for the trip down. Spending unexptected money on the way may hurt your "fun" budget for when you get there.
Day 4 Myrtle Beach Vacation Series
Decide on the drive---Are you going to try to drive right through to the destination or going to split the time and stay overnight somewhere? If you do stay overnight, choose ahead for the best deal.
You can go through ebates.com (if you're not a member, join, it's free!)
There are many hotel chains that you can earn cash back on. I've found that you can usually get a good deal anytime before the vacation, so no pressure to book early. Of course if you are staying in a place where there's an event going on, you should try to book early.
You can do gas price checks for your route here, AAA fuel cost calculator. That way you can estimate your gas price right into your trip
Day 5 Myrtle Beach Vacation Series
Try to plan ahead on the big things. Such as if you're planning on doing a jet ski dolphin tour, book ahead for a discount. Here's a favorite place of mine: Thomas Water Sports
A good dinner show to book ahead http://flash.piratesvoyage.com/
Start planning your MB vacation here: http://www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/?cid=g_destination_mb
A good tiger adventure for the kids http://www.tigerfriends.com/RSF.html
The main destination for my family is the beach. Pack a lunch and enjoy the day. (Don't forget the sunscreen)
Vacation Myrtle Beach Series day 6
Have fun. Don't forget your frugal living while you're there. Make some dinner's in, pack lunches for the beach and buy snacks in advance. Take from your stockpile from home things such as condiments, dry goods, cereal, etc. Thing you won't need to buy there.