As you long-time readers know, the FG family often vacations (frugally, of course!) in Myrtle Beach. Though I don’t usually do such area-specific posts, Myrtle Beach is such a popular destination, some of you readers are bound to be Myrtle Beach vacationers as well.
And even if you’re never going to set foot in Myrtle Beach, I think some of these suggestions could be applicable to other vacation spots as well.
I started to write this post and it ended up getting awfully long. So as not to stress your attention spans, I decided to break it up into two posts, and I’ll probably publish the second post next Tuesday.
At least, that’s the plan.
This may not be possible for everyone (homeschooling definitely makes this tip easier for us to apply), but if you can manage to avoid going to the beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you can save yourself enormous amounts of money on accommodations.
For instance, a beach-front condo that costs $1200 to rent in July will often cost $600 after the first week of September.
The cheap prices aren’t the only upside, though.
–The weather is still very warm but not too hot in South Carolina (we usually experience 80s in September, and in May, the temperatures are usually in the upper 70s)
–The water is pleasantly warm (warmer than the Delaware ocean water is in August!).
–The crowds are much more manageable (this makes the beach and pretty much any other activity more enjoyable, as you don’t have to stand in long lines for anything).
Bring your linens/Do your departure cleaning
We rent through Elliott Realty every year (their prices are the best we’ve found), and unlike a lot of rental agencies, they let us choose if we want to pay for linens and departure cleaning.
Linen rental for the condo can cost between $75-$100 for a week, so we bring our own. We bring towels, sleeping bags for the kids (we just lay them on top of the beds, so it’s super easy to pack them up), and sheets for the master bed (it’s a king usually, which is bigger than our bed at home, so we just picked up an inexpensive set of sheets and we bring them with us each year).
The departure cleaning is definitely harder than bringing linens, but you can save about $125 by doing it yourself. And if $125 is the difference between being able to go to the beach and not being able to, you may decide doing your cleaning is totally worth it.
I usually do our departure cleaning, but when my sister and I stayed in a condo for a week with 8 children, we decided that the stress of cleaning it ourselves while trying to pack up might possibly put us over the edge. So, we paid for departure cleaning and I think it was a very wise choice.
I’m not trying to say that everyone should clean their own condo, but just know that the option might be there for you if you really need to pinch pennies.
Rent a place with a kitchen
Dining out, especially if you have a family, can get insanely expensive. We could easily spend more on dining out than on our condo, actually.
If you stay in a kitchen-less hotel room, you’ll pretty much be forced to eat out for the duration of your visit. If you rent a place that has even a fridge, though, you can at least buy cereal and milk and eat breakfast in your room.
A full kitchen makes the most sense for us, so we always rent a condo instead of a hotel room. We eat breakfast and lunch in the condo (well, sometimes we pack lunch to take wherever we’re going) and we eat most dinners in our condo as well.
Now, cooking fancy meals is not my idea of a vacation, so we keep things super simple. We eat cold cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and our dinners are easy, quick meals like tacos, frozen pizza, spaghetti,or grilled hamburgers (most of the condos we stay in have charcoal grills available, although I must say that trying to light charcoal near the beach does require a small pile of matches!).
Get coupon books
These are available free all over the Myrtle Beach area…at your check-in location, at grocery stores, at drugstores, and so on. In North Myrtle Beach, you can grab almost every coupon book available across from the Tricia Lynn hotel in the Windy Hill section (coupon book dispensers are by the newsstands).
Not every coupon in the books will be useful to you, but you’ll probably find a keeper or two. We always use the Del Sol coupon each year (if you buy $5 worth of merchandise, you get a free $20 color-changing canvas bag). I use these bags for my groceries every single week and I love them.
You can find lots of coupons for dining, mini-golf, real golf, shows, and shopping, so always check in the coupon book before you go spend any money.
Ok! That’s it for today, but I’ll hopefully have a second set of frugal Myrtle Beach tips for you next Tuesday (those tips will be about frugal activities).
Today’s 365 post: This one’s for my mother-in-law