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Personal question...just for fun.

Which Panama City Beach hotels are on sale?
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Indiana
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Personal question...just for fun.

My husband and I agree about most things, but vacation can sometimes be a different story. With the cost of living being so high these days (especially with gas prices) he would be fine to scratch vacation altogether. I on the other hand, am always thinking about our next vacation. (Must be fun to be a travel agent.)

Our compromise was that as long as we can afford it, we will go someplace "closer to home" one year and then some place "further away" the next. He grew up always taking family vacations. My family took very few vacations, so I say that is my reason for having incurable vacation fever.

I try to plan ahead of time what attractions and restraunts we won't to miss, making sure I budget accordingly. Of course, these things add up quickly. I think we'll have to pick and choose and save some ideas for future trips.

Now, I know lifestyles vary greatly and vacation budgets depend on your individual preferences and the size of your family, but I also figure almost everyone is out to save some cash these days.

We buy food and snacks for our hotel room and we often eat breakfast in the room. I also read a suggestion of eating brunch and later dinner rather than 3 meals per day (although I think that may be challenging with kids).

What things do you do to save money on vacation? Any good internet coupons for PCB, know of any cheap eats or other helpful info???

Bloomington...
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1. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

Well to start with ,if at all possible go in early May or in September. Both of these times are considered "low season" the rates are quite a bit cheaper at most places and you can save hundreds of dollars. To give you an idea we got a room for 79 dollars a night oceanfront that would run 140 a night in high season. So for a weeks stay we saved over $400 ( $553 compared to $980 for the same seven nights). The weather is still warm the water is fine, the wait at restaurants is less and you can actualy go into walmart without needing medicine to calm your nerves...lol.

Eat out for lunch instead of dinner. Food is just as tasty and a lot less expensive. Get steamed shrimp from one of the fish markets and some fresh bread and butter from the local bakery and have a yummy dinner on your hotel balcony. For that matter go to any off the beach restaurants (most are cheaper but have just as good seafood) and get a meal to go. Eat it on your balcony or down at the hotel patio. That way you will have a great meal and a great view without the huge bill.

There are a ton of coupons to be found at the hotel lobbys and at the PC Beach visitors center. Take them and put them in your car so you are never without them. (we always seemed to forget them in our hotel room and could have saved tons with them).

Many of the theme parks and mini golf had coupons with specific times and hours to be used. Read them before you go out so you can plan ahead.

A cheap way to enjoy the day is a trip to st. andrews park. For only $5.00 per vehicle you can spend the day at the jetties, hiking or looking at gators at the overlook.

We had fun fishing at the pier. Cheap and entertaining. Think sharks, rays, eels, strange life from the deep... ;-)

Buy a cheap beach umbrella (about $12 at walmart and such) This will allow you to stay out at the beach so much longer than without one. If you have older kids spend about $5 on a small cheap foam body board for them to ride the waves on their tummies... a whole afternoon of fun getting beat by the waves. The more you are at the beach the less you will be out spending money at the arcades and such.

www.panamacitybeach.com has a section if you scroll down that offers printable coupons but you can also get these when you get down there.

Also to save on overnight stays on the way down and back from Illinois we stop at the state line visitors center when we cross into alabama and pick up the hotel coupon books. We have had great luck with these! We usually only spend about $50-60 dollars on the hotel for the night that run $80 or so rack rate.

Have fun planning your trip. I am the same way. I dream and plan about vacations year-round.

PS Georgia
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2. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

Going away on vacation off season can save you a heap of money but sometimes thats not always practical. My vacation this year fell in the third week of july and there was no way to change it.

We opted to go for only four nights and five days. We were lucky this year because we found a place that didnt require a seven day stay.

Look for a place that has a kitchen and more importantly a full size fridge. Stop at Wal-mart and buy sandwich fixins. If you can get a place with a fridge you can prolly get a stove also.

We stayed fairly cheap, We did our grocery shopping like normal as if we were home. We ate cheap most of the week, Cereal/eggs,bacon for breakfast came back to the room for a quick lunch which consisted of sandwiches some days and frozen pizza the others. For dinner we ate as if we were home, We cooked out on the grill wich basically consisted of hamburgers and hot dogs.

We did go out a few times for dinner, Shuckums was a great place to eat, We fed a family of four with the adults drinking Margaritas for 60 bucks. Our last night we were there we went to Angalo's Steak Pit for dinner and we blew about 150 bucks but i have to say it was worth every penny because the food was fabulous.

Stay away from the Plaza Motel !!! Yeah its cheap but its a rat hole. We stayed there a few years ago and yes it was cheap but it was a hole.

This year we stayed at the Seascape Inn. We payed 460 for four nights. It was a very decent place and best of all it was cheap. Clean and updated and very affordable.

Dont expect to be in the lap of luxury but if you on a budget its a great place to stay.

Chattanooga
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349 posts
39 reviews
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3. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

You can find great lodging deals on vrbo.com. If you are going in the offseason, book a week or 2 in advance to save even more. You can find condos for less than hotels cost. ome are less than $100 a night in August.

Another foodsaving idea is breakfast in, a buffet at about 2, and micro popcorn and fruit or ice cream for a late snack. We don't do it every day, but a few times a week is fun.

I'm with you on vacations. My husband will never take vacation time to paint the house or piddle around. Pack the car, we're going somewhere!

Indiana
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258 posts
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4. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

Hey, fellow Hoosier! We too are on a strict budget. Here's my money saving plan. First, since we're not bringing any school agers this trip, we're coming end of October. Big savings! Got a place off vrbo for $525 for 7 nights at LBR! Second, always go condo or at least a room with a kitchenette. Yes, it costs a little more for the accomodations, but you save on eating out. We'll get groceries and eat breakfast and most lunches in that week. We'll also do a shrimp boil one night for dinner.

Several of the area attractions have websites with printable coupons. Found some for Alvin's Island, Gulf World, and Coconut Creek so far. Just starting that search so I'm sure to find more.

Learned the hard way last time, don't buy souveniers until you're ready to leave. We bought at the first place, then found the same stuff cheaper elsewhere. Who wants to mess with returns on vacation? Also found the same stuff at a souvenier place at the Alabama/Florida state line waaaayyy cheaper. Very irritating. Also, the best souveniers are the pictures you take.

We did some number crunching and found driving, even with gas at $3 ga. is cheaper than flying and renting a car. Long drive, but pretty. We'll leave Friday after work and drive all night, straight through. We did this last time and thought we'd be too tired to play the first day, but we were so pumped when we got there! Our second wind carried us all day and we really slept good that night. Plus driving at night is much calmer, less traffic. Even Nashville was a breeze. We do the day driving on our way home so we see everything and we're relaxed after a week in paradise.

All-in-all our vacation for a whole week in PCB is only going to cost us $600 more than our trip to Holiday World for 2 nights with the kids this weekend.

Indiana
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5. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

Thank you all for your ideas. I really look forward to this trip. We're planning this as a family vacation next year, so I have plenty of time to plan. Although I tell my husband we should come down for a long weekend this fall to "test it out". lol

We went to the Bahama's a few years ago and it was beautiful clear blue/green water. I have been to Daytona, Cocoa Beach and Myrtle Beach and still haven't found a beach that compares, although from what I have heard Panama City Beach will.

~netter~ Isn't it crazy how those close getaways can cost almost as much as a week-long vacation. I've never been to Holiday World, (we're from north/central Indiana) but it looks like a nice clean place.

Thanks again everyone!

Indiana
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258 posts
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6. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

Jermainiac,

We're Northwest Indiana. You should try Holiday World sometime. It's worth the drive and makes Indiana Beach look like a cheap county fair! Very clean and family owned and operated. I can hardly wait to see Scooter's reaction to the baby rides! : )

GA
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469 posts
7 reviews
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7. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

My husband is a cheap skate : ) so we left him home this year and went with my mother instead. : ) When he used to go though, and it was before our son was in school, to save money, we went in late April. We saved a lot of money instead of going in peak season. We also got a room that didn't have a full kitchen, but, had microwave and mini fridge. You can buy and cook a lot that way! We always took our own electric stove for cooking eggs, bacon, burgers, etc. on, and we saved a lot not eating out. We also found rooms down on the beach (beach level) instead of street level to be a little less expensive. My husband likes buffets, so we went over the bridge a lot and found those instead of eating on the beach where you can pay an arm and leg to eat.

Atlanta
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42 posts
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8. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

Jermainiac -

It's true if you can avoid going in June, July or August the rates will be cheaper. But definetely get a condo especially if you have more than 1 child. The most expensive things are usually the eating out. Your much better off putting the money in the room instead of eating out and the kitchens in the condos are so nice you don't mind cooking a little and with microwave food nowadays its pretty simple. How old are your children because the place we just stayed at is great for young children & they provide on site entertainment which helps cut down on going out & spending money. The Taco Bell, Pizza Hut & KFC is pretty cheap too.

Gallatin, TN
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1,744 posts
24 reviews
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9. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

Jeraminiac--You've rec'd some great suggestions here which I agree with so for the sake of repeating what everyone else has already said, I'll just say I agree!

About being a travel agent must be a lot of fun...yep...it is. Have been for 11 yrs now! LOVE my job!! :>) Only one little problem tho...I work on commission so LOTS of times I go months w/o a decent pay check which can be a booger! But I do have fun!

Baton rouge, la
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40 posts
2 reviews
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10. Re: Personal question...just for fun.

Every hotel, motel condo etc. should have plenty of coupons in lobby. You can also stop at the welcome center and get a coupon book for free. There is always some deal somewhere in pcb. Hope that helps.