Miami beach sunny day

Taking a beach vacation doesn’t have to break the bank; there are plenty of ways you can plan for a trip that will allow you and your family to have fun without spending a ton of money. The key is to do a bit of homework beforehand and think about the easiest ways to save, such as planning your trip at a time of year that’s considered “off-season.” If you’re headed to places like Miami, this is especially important as these destinations are often flooded with tourists during certain months.

Once you’ve chosen which beach you’ll hit and when, start looking for coupons and deals on lodging online, and don’t forget to utilize things like your AAA membership, which might afford you some discounts. Remember that choosing a vacation rental with a small kitchen might be a bit more expensive than a hotel room, but it could save you loads of money in the long run if you’ll be staying for a week or longer as you won’t have to eat out for every meal. Read on for more Travel Magazine-approved tips on how to save money and enjoy the beach.

Location is everything.

Not only do you want to find a beach that won’t be packed in the middle of tourist season, you’ll also want to look for a location that isn’t too far away from you. While the point of a getaway is to put some miles between you and home, it can get pricey when you have to factor in plane tickets and rental cars that charge by the mile. 

Miami is a popular option because it offers clean beaches and lots of restaurants and shopping. The Florida Panhandle is also great because it stretches out for 200 miles, giving you plenty of areas to choose from, including Panama City Beach. There are plenty of places to stay that won’t eat into your budget, as well.

Plan outside of summer.

Spring and summer are, of course, the most popular times for Florida beach vacations, which means you’ll be competing with thousands of other families for a great place to stay and you’ll be paying more for the privilege. Instead, wait until fall when the temperatures are still comfortable in the South but fewer people are traveling. This also means fewer people on the roads, so driving there won’t be such a hassle.

Find a rental with a kitchen.

Eating out with the family can really add up over the course of a week, so find a rental that includes a kitchen and go grocery shopping once you arrive. You don’t have to do this for every meal — taking the family out for a couple of nice dinners and a lunch is fine — but having things there for breakfast and sandwich makings after a day in the water will help everyone stay happy and keep you on budget

Popular destinations like Miami have a wealth of exceptional rentals that offer full kitchens, WiFi, seamless check-in, are professionally cleaned, and have all amenities you could wish for. Do a quick search for options that meet your budget and location preferences, and you’ll find there is something for everyone, from warm, cozy settings to spaces large enough for the family to spread out. 

Do some research.

Before you go out and buy a bunch of beach towels and sandcastle tools for the kiddos, find out if your rental offers them. Many places in Florida keep those items on hand for their customers, and not only will it save you money, but it will also be several fewer items you have to worry about packing.

Remember that there are other ways to save money, such as making sure your car is in ship shape before you leave — check the tire pressure, the fluids, and the windshield wipers to ensure you won’t have any surprise expenses on the road. Doing a bit of work ahead of time will help give you peace of mind and keep your money in your pocket.

Ready to hit the road? Know before you go with Travel Magazine.