Affordable Beach Trips: Did you know about Gulf Shores?
For many students in the north part of the South East the beach doesn’t sound like your typical weekend road trip. Since no body of salt water is within an afternoon’s drive college students may be more likely to go camping for the weekend in the Smokies or head down to Atlanta for a Braves game. But even though beaches are a little further away the destination can be a really practical one.
Hit The Road
With gas prices considerably less than they were only a few months ago traveling to destinations like Gulf Shores, AL cost about half as much. And splitting gas among 4 people round trip would only be about $20 per person at the most. And let’s be honest, what road trip doesn’t fly by if you have 4 ipods and entertaining conversation?
Additionally, Gulf Shores is more affordable because technically it’s in Alabama and not Florida—even though it’s the same Gulf Coast you’d visit if you were going to Panama City Beach or Destin.
Cutting Down Cost
The best way to keep costs low on beach trips is to make it a party. By that I mean, the more people that are in on your seaside adventure the cheaper it will be! Condominiums on the beach are probably the smartest way to go as far as where to stay. Be sure and ask about sleeper sofas. Bringing air mattresses is also smart. Many of these condos are spacious enough for 8 or more but only have beds for 4-6. It’s a great way to have a few extra people stay. Also, choosing a condo with a kitchen is smart because then you can cook a few nights during your stay. Eating in and of course buying alcohol and passing on drinks at restaurants are hugely cost effective choices.
Gulfshores.com is a great website to check out to find places to rent for the week. Depending on what is important to you—fitness room, beachfront, indoor pool, etc., you can find what you’re looking for at a decent price.
Also certain times of the year are considerably cheaper than other times. Did you know that in September prices are slashed? The spring is also a cheaper time to go to the beach. If your weekends are flexible and you don’t mind missing a day or two of class a random weekend (non-holiday) would be the smartest time to travel.
Planning Saves $$$
With a little bit of planning and organization your beach trip can really be a possibility. The bottom line? Designate someone to be in charge and organize everything. Drive and split the cost of gas. Go out to eat (Gulf Shores has incredible seafood) but eat in as well. Don’t drink alcohol at restaurants. Share condos with as many people as can comfortably fit. And enjoy the laid back feel and non-crowdedness of Gulf Shores. When you’re lounging on the beach drink in hand in disbelief that you got this great vacay for such a good deal please think of me. I’ll be looking for your postcard.
By Hillary Sutton