By Tayla Santos
Asked in infomercial voice: Do you want to go on an exotic vacation but don’t have money to stay somewhere nice? Maybe you’re like me and want to take a trip somewhere warm to escape the cold for a week but don’t have the money to afford $400 a night at a fancy resort/hotel on the beach! I totally understand that, and I am here give you some tips for traveling on a budget.
I recently took a five day vacation to Florida to escape the harsh New England weather and after posting a couple pictures on my instagram, I got some questions referring to the resorts I was staying at. People wanted to know where I was staying and some of my closer friends who are aware of my (broke) financial state were confused as to how I was affording to stay at beautiful, high end resorts during my time there.
Guys, I’m not here to lie to you and make you think that my life is something to be jealous of. I know for a fact that some people might look at my instagram feed and think Im always having fun, or always doing something adventurous but trust me, thats not the case. Im always going to let you guys in on all the “Blogger secrets”. I may not have expensive things or live an expensive lifestyle but I really try to make the best of what I have and Ive always loved being creative with what I have. So lets talk about my week at St. Pete’s Beach in Florida.
When planning the vacation a month earlier, my friend and I looked for the cheapest Airbnb that we could find. We knew we would be spending most of our time out and about so we didn’t really care about where stayed. we just needed somewhere decent to shower and sleep at night. Would you believe me if I told you that for the entire week, we paid just under $200.00 for where we were staying? A $200.00 vacation that looked like a million bucks to a lot of my followers!!
To be totally honest, we didn’t do much planning in regards to what we were going to do while we were there before we physically got there. All we knew is that we wanted to just go there and sit on the beach all day everyday. We wanted to chill, soak up the sun and have absolutely not time limits on anything we did. It wasn’t till the night we got there that we decided to Resort hop for the week. We had spoke to a local that owned a small boutique and he told us that there were resorts in the area that didn’t mind locals coming in and spending the day, as long as they were ordering food and drinks! Sounded easy enough for us, so that was our plan.
From that night on, we would search for the best rated resorts, and read some reviews. Then we would simply wake up early, pack a bag for the day, including a change of clothes, and Uber to the resort. We made sure to pack an extra outfit for afterwards because we didn’t want to waste time by coming back to the airbnb at anytime throughout the day. After spending however long we would spend at the pool/beach, we would come back into the hotel, find their lobby bathroom and change into our “evening outfit”. We made the most of our time by being prepared and packing everything we might need for the day. Yeah, it might have been a pain carrying around a bag all day but honestly, it was so worth it! We were able to have full and productive days where we were able to fit so much into just one day. We might have only been there for five days, but it felt like so much longer.
A lot of people asked how we managed to just walk into a resort we weren’t staying at and to be honest, that was the least of whatever worries we had. Because we were told by so many locals that there were specific places that didn’t mind outsiders coming in, we didn’t see what we were doing as “wrong”. There was no reason to be suspicious, so we weren’t. We just walked in and followed the signs to the pool!
During the week there, we visited four different resorts. Three out of the four were a success, the last one was a little more exclusive and we weren’t actually allowed to sit by the pool without a day pass/wristband from the hotel. The whole point was not to spend any extra money, so we didn’t bother trying to stay there. However, the good thing about all these resorts was that they all had beach access. So not only could you sit at the pool, but beyond each pool was beach access with beach chairs and full food and drink service from the hotel to your beach chair. For “on beach service”, you didn’t need to be staying at the hotel or resort. This was just a service that the hotel offered for local beach goers. This was amazing because that meant that even if we WERE to get kicked out of a resort for whatever reason, we could just find a resort that offered a service like this on the beach. Always have a back up plan hahah!
We had so much fun, and everyone we met was so kind and helpful. Another piece of advice I have for you is to talk to the locals, talk to your Uber drivers, your servers at the restaurants you eat at. Find out what’s fun to do around the area. Run ideas you might already have by them and see what they think! Nine times outta ten, you’ll get something good! Then, if anything, fact check them on google if you really have to.
When I booked this trip, I was nervous cause I really didn’t have the extra money to spend on a vacation. However, by maximizing the use of the resources I did have, I was able to make the most out of what could have been a flop. I originally went into this week with only $80.00 to spend, and this is what came out of it! Traveling doesn’t have to be super expensive, you can always make it as “over the top” as you want it to be. Just gotta try, and dig, a little deeper! (;
Hope this post was the least bit helpful for those of you who are like me…Happy Traveling!