Travel Tuesday: Florida beach vacation on a budget
If you’re looking for a beach vacation but you’re on a budget, Florida is the place to go.
Coastal regions, like the Space Coast, are significantly cheaper than their cross-country counterparts, such as the San Diego area of California. Everything from food to lodging will be a refreshing financial break.
Although there are pockets of Florida where prices get higher, you can find plenty of smaller towns with excellent beaches and low prices. To name a few, St. Pete’s Beach, Cocoa Beach and Melbourne have a great selection of inexpensive seafood and lodging.
Beyond picking the right city, here are some other ways to help you travel to Florida on a budget.
1. Take free tours:
Many distilleries and breweries offer free tours that include tastings. Anheuser-Busch in Jacksonville includes samples of brews, or head to the Florida Beer Company in Cape Canaveral, for craft brew tasting.
2. Use Cash Back on your travel purchases:
Never pay full price for airfare, a rental car or your lodging. No need to scour the web for the best deals. Check out your favorite travel companies, such as Hotels.com, on ShopAtHome.com, which lists all of the newest, best coupons and promos, and offers additional Cash Back and ShopGold Points. When you’re talking about hotel prices, even 2 percent Cash Back (from Hotels.com) can mean legit cash in your bank.
3.Visit free parks and beaches:
The great thing about Florida is the weather is beautiful year-round (although it does get humid and hot in the summer), so you can spend most of your time outside in the sunshine.
Beaches are free — and isn’t that why you come to the coast to begin with? Instead of renting a beach umbrella and chair every day, consider buying your own from a store more inland, like Walmart, rather than a beach specialty shop near the water. Sell them on Craigslist or to another traveler before you leave.
Don’t overlook Florida’s parks, either. Pack a picnic of PBJs and fresh fruit to eat amid a beautiful backdrop, such as Wickham Park in Melbourne. No need to go out to eat for every meal, when you can go outside to eat.
You can find fully stocked, fancy picnic baskets for upwards of $100. Or score a simple, inexpensive picnic basket at Walmart.com like this Quickway Imports picnic basket for $18.50.
4. Volunteer your time:
Increasingly more travelers are planning philanthropic vacations, which not only provides free entertainment and education, but also can help leave the world a better place.
Volunteer with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, and it will secure you a spot in one of the society’s guided hikes through sea turtle nesting spots. Nesting season peaks in the summer, but you can see these creatures in their natural habitat from March through October, during nesting season.