First, let’s talk about the “when.” Vacations to popular beach vacation destinations during the tourist season is simply going to be more expensive than the same trip during the offseason. Prices for everything (hotels, food, tickets, etc.) from November through May at popular beach holiday locations are going to cost more. There are ways to go for less, of course, but traveling on the cheap means that you’re going to have to forget about the luxuries and provide service for yourself.
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But even during the tourist season, prices vary. Everything is more expensive on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday than on other days of the week.
Now let’s discuss the “where.” All beach vacation destinations are not equally desirable. Some areas cater to the party crowd, while others cater to family fun. Some try to cover all contingencies. But a trip to Acapulco, for example, will cost less than a trip to Cancun. Trips to all of the beaches in Florida don’t cost the same, either.
Now, about the level of luxury: this is a point where you have the most control over the cost of your beach vacation. If you find it necessary to go first class all the way, you’re going to pay for it. If, on the other hand, you want to cut the expense as far as you can, look for rentals rather than booking rooms in major hotels right on the beach. Check out hotel prices that are a bit further inland.
And avoid the tourist traps. Many restaurants and shops cater especially to vacationers. The locals don’t pay those prices. Find the places where the locals shop and where the locals eat out. You can save a lot of money.