Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Saving on Your Shore Vacation

No doubt about it, driving down the shore is going to be more expensive this year. $4 gas? Haven't seen it yet in New Jersey, but I won't be shocked when I do.

Here's a few ways to save.

Coupon Clipper. Find the town’s chamber of commerce or tourism office. Not only do they give out free maps, but most shore towns create coupon books that offer discounts on everything from food to amusement parks.

Go Off Peak. This doesn’t mean you have to walk the beach in December. Most hotels and B&Bs charge more in July and August. Try a June vacation, or September if the kids aren’t in school. It’s a lot cheaper, and less crowded.

Or Book Late. If you must go in August, and haven’t thought about where you’ll stay until then, ask hotels and B&Bs if they offer any “procrastinator’s specials.” That late in the season, many places are trying to fill rooms any way they can, so they’ll drop the price to get you in rather than leave a room empty.

Special Events = Special Savings. If the town is running any special events, check with restaurants, retailers, hotels and B&Bs to see if they’re offering any promotional tie ins. For example, the weekend of the Ocean Drive 10miler and Marathon, shore hotels and even restaurants ran special deals for us runners.

Souvenir Savings. You don’t have to pay through the nose for souvenirs. Check local grocery stores, which usually carry town-branded items, like t-shirts and mugs, at lower prices.

BYOB. Why pay the mark up? Bring your own at the shore's BYOBs. I marked which spots allowed you to do this in my book (plug plug plug!) I'm headed down the shore today and will be picking up a few bottles of vino on my way in to take to dinner.

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