Everyone seems to be stretching their dollars these days and that is one of the reasons Beach Bux came to be in the first place.  Whether providing coupons on the site or tips for relatively inexpensive places to stay, eat and play, the goal is to help others enjoy Panama City Beach without breaking the bank.

We’ve had some questions about savings in the Summer season.  As you can imagine, this is the time that businesses in Panama City Beach and the surrounding areas make most of their money.  The rest of the year, condo owners, hotels, restaurants and attractions offer deals just to try to get people down here, to stay in their facility, eat at their establishment, shop in their stores, etc.  Many businesses just break even and count on the few months of Summer to bring in the profit.

For this reason, Summer at the beach can be fairly expensive if you don’t do it right.  For the many people with children in school, who can’t take your family vacation during the slower, deal-finding months, here are a few tips to save as much as possible.

Lodging
Stay in the best accommodation for your vacation style and keep in mind your length of stay when considering whether to try a condo or a hotel or motel.  Some things to consider:

Will you be staying longer than 3 nights?  Do you prefer or are you willing to make some meals yourself?

A motel might be less expensive per night but if you have to eat in restaurants three meals a day that will wipe away any savings that you had with the accommodations.  On the other hand, if you prefer to let others cook for your entire stay, unless you really need the extra sleeping space for your family I’d definitely check the rates in the hotels and motels to see if there is some savings since you don’t need the kitchen.

If your trip is only two or three nights you might find that the cleaning fees for condos bring your total lodging expense so high that it makes sense to stay in a traditional hotel or motel, even if that means eating just about every meal out.  Even in a room with no refrigerator I have always managed to keep a cooler with fruit, yogurt, juice and some milk for cereal so that I don’t have to go out for breakfast.

Other options for saving are the properties just off the beach and the campgrounds.

If a condo is the way to go for you, check out the coupons on Beach Bux for some owner specials and make sure to contact them to find out their latest deal for the time you are looking to head down our way.

Food
When I travel, my philosophy on food spending is “well I have to eat anyway…” meaning that I am not necessarily spending a whole lot more on food than I would if I were home.  I eat out when I am not traveling and I try to eat in when I travel, too.  Yes, I probably do splurge a bit but for the most part, it is an expense I would have if I were here at home in Panama City Beach, or on a trip to the mountains, to San Francisco or Paris.

If you do opt for a condo, and many of the options in Panama City Beach are condos, do bring some food with you or go to the grocery store when you are here.  Stock up on breakfast items, plus snacks to take with you to the beach and plan for some easy meals to prepare yourself.  Most condos have outdoor grilling areas for their guests to use and many are poolside.

Consider switching your big dinners out to lunch instead.  You will save a lot by ordering from a lunch menu and you will get your family out of the sun during the peak sunburn time of the day!  Or, try the early bird menus offered at places such as  Saltwater Grill, Boarshead and Firefly and make sure you keep up on my blog posts about my favorite every day deals around the beach.

Restaurant coupons are all around and by Summer there will be some on Beach Bux for sure.  You can save really big if you check Restaurant.com first.  You might have to go into Panama City or over to 30A for a participating restaurant but the savings can be really great.  You will pay $10 or often much less for a $25 certificate to spend on a meal.  They usually have requirements such as the purchase of at least two entrees or a certain dollar amount spent but these certificates are a wonderful way to try new places and save a a nice chunk on the bill.  You might even find that a lot of your favorite restaurants at home are a part of the program plus you get the chance to experience new ones at a discount.  Don’t forget to tip on the original amount though!

Family Fun
What kinds of activities can you do while in Panama City Beach on a budget?  With so many activities that are fun for children and adults of all ages, you will surely not get bored.  Just keep your eyes peeled for coupons when seeking out these fun activities.  Beach Bux coupons are one source but many of the attractions advertise in coupon racks and the glossy visitors’ magazines  that you can pick up at shops, restaurants and large hotels and condos all over the beach.

Of course, the beach is free and the state parks are very inexpensive but when you want to go out and do something different, check Beach Bux before you come and while you are here, then check with your condo or hotel staff for discounts.  You might only save a few bucks per person but those bucks can really add up!

Many of the larger condos and hotels offer children’s activities so that might be another factor for your decision when finding a place to stay.

A vacation is always a splurge but if you can find a few ways to cut back in your regular life, and then look for deals while you are at the beach, it can be a splurge that doesn’t have to set you back too much.

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