Little girl running out to the beach in Gulf Shores, AL

6 Easy Money-Saving Vacation Ideas

Budgets and vacations can co-exist! Read on for tips for your Gulf Shores and Orange Beach vacation.

A budget-friendly beach vacation doesn't have to mean you have to ditch all of the fun. With proper planning and these money-saving tips, you and your family can have the vacation you’ve been anticipating all year.

Top 6 Money-Saving Tips

1.) Travel during the offseason

Yes, a July vacation may sound traditional, but consider the perks of off-season (shoulder season) travel. On the Alabama Gulf Coast, you'll find warm weather and water well into the fall and spring. Pair this with off-season rates on Gulf Shores and Orange Beach condos and hotels and you've hit the jackpot of savings. Lodging is often the most-costly part of a vacation, so this is the first stop for those who want to keep some green in their pockets. Even traveling just a few weeks into August can net significant savings. Early summer is also a great time to visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. May temperatures are perfect and there are numerous events happening.

2.) Look for free-night specials on lodging

Aside from traveling during the offseason, many vacation rental management companies will offer last-minute discounts or free-night specials. For example, stay five nights, get the sixth for free. Keep a close eye on the SPECIAL OFFERS page for the latest Gulf Shores and Orange Beach lodging specials and discounts, or subscribe to our monthly eTidings newsletter for access to other exclusive deals and offerings.

3.) Find discounts and pick up coupon books

Search online for restaurant and attraction discounts or coupons prior to your arrival. After you've arrived, stop at the Gulf Shores or Orange Beach Welcome Center and browse the rack cards. Many will provide an attraction discount or free appetizer or dessert at your favorite beach restaurants. Also, inquire with your accommodation partner about discount passes or any restaurant perks they may offer.

4.) Eat in

Renting a Gulf Shores beach house or Orange Beach condo with a fully equipped kitchen makes eating “at home” easy. Plan your meals before embarking on your vacation. You could even bring prepared and frozen casseroles so you're not cooking away your vacation. Pre-order groceries with Walmart or Publix and pick them up on the way to your room. It’ll save time and money on impulse purchases, plus you’ll be prepared to cook or offer breakfast and lunch options as opposed to eating out.

5.) Plan your indulgences, then indulge 

This is your vacation, after all. The key is to plan them. Whether it's a big family dinner, a special activity or spa treatments, you can ditch the budget guilt when you've planned for the expense and set aside the money to cover it. In fact, it's best to plan a daily meal and activity allowance. It can be a liberating experience to know all of your expenses are planned and covered!

6.) Book direct

Whether you’re looking to book a hotel, condo or beach house in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, it’s always best to go straight to the source for the best price. By booking directly through the accommodations provider rather than a third-party vendor, you’re guaranteed the best rates and no hidden fees.

Teen girl in condo pool Orange Beach, AL

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