Below are some helpful tips our family uses whenever we head south to our favorite turquoise waters and white-sand beaches. I hope these nine tips will make your planning process a whole lot easier, and maybe even save you some money!
Explore deals on the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism website. Listing deals for every season, you’ll stay abreast of great opportunities to save on packages, local festival tickets, and accommodations.
Load up on the non-perishable snacks. Buy protein bars, trail mix, chips, fruit snacks, etc. Pack a cargo truck (slight exaggeration) full of those kinds of snacks and leave some in the car and in the beach condo. Not only will this help save you money, but it will tide the kids over in between visits to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach restaurants and during long waits between meals. Less-cranky kids is always a parent-win.
Check Groupon before traveling. Scan “Things To Do in Gulf Shores” on Groupon and see if you can find tickets for local attractions at a reduced rate. Be sure to read the fine print for restrictions on any Groupon you buy.
Stop at the Gulf Shores or Orange Beach Welcome Center. Want to know what the locals know? Stop in the welcome centers and talk to the staff. You’ll also find coupons and discounts at your favorite restaurants and attractions.
Bring a medicine bag. It doesn’t have to be a Mary Poppins-sized black bag, but bringing items like Tylenol, Emergen-C, Dayquil, and aloe vera for sunburns has saved us late-night trips to the store, and a whole lot of stress and money.
If you’re driving, download an audiobook. Let the kids get involved in picking a story they’d be interested in hearing. Then listen as a family during the drive.
Speaking of involving the kids, invite them into the packing process. Some of you might be thinking, “That’s not going to help make my planning any easier. Quite the opposite!” I like to give my kids a list (five shirts, five shorts, one pair of jeans, three pajamas, etc.), and have them lay it all out on the floor so I can approve it. Involving your kids in the planning process gives them ownership in the family trip. I’ve found that my kids are more helpful when they feel useful.
Be sure to look at the calendar of events so you know all the fun things going on while you’re in town.
Don’t stress about finding a pet sitter or kenneling your dog. Bring your little guy or gal with you. Discover all the area’s pet-friendly hotels, beaches and restaurants here.