Having fun in the sun but for less money than you think


Pippa James

There's no better way to kick off the warm summer season than with a beach trip! Unfortunately, beach trips don't always come cheap. There are many factors to consider when planning a beach holiday, from the cost of petrol to get there to the (sometimes astronomical) cost of accommodation. But don't be discouraged! We have some killer budget beach holiday tips for you. When many people think of budget holidays, they think of camping and living off of sandwiches for a week. This couldn't be more untrue! There are several practical ways you can have the beach holiday of your dreams on a budget. Check out our top tips below.

Split the travel costs

It's highly unlikely that you'll be embarking on this beach holiday solo. If you are, then more power to you! But if you're holidaying with friends, take advantage of the situation and carpool. Depending on how far away from the beach you live, it could be a long and lonely car ride down to the beach, which will also mean that you'll be paying an arm and a leg for petrol. Instead of driving alone, offer to use your car to bring a few of your friends if they help pitch in for petrol. That could be the difference between paying £100+ versus as little as £20. The less money you spend on travel, the more you can either save or spend on things like food and accommodation once you get to the beach.

Bring your own food

If there's one thing everyone can agree on, it's that restaurants and shops in beach towns charge ridiculous prices. You could easily pay double at a beach-front restaurant for the same dish you could get back home for a reasonable price. Even the more casual restaurants take advantage of tourist season and increase their prices. The food simply might not be worth the extra cost. You could save hundreds of pounds just from bringing your own food. And no, that doesn't mean you'll be dining on pasta and cheese for your entire holiday. While sandwiches are one of the easiest foods to prepare, you can also bring fruit, veggies, crisps, pasta salad (in a cooler box) and so much more! Also, if you're on a budget but still have a bit of room for food, why not pack breakfast and lunch so you can afford to dine out for dinner?

Girl and her father walk in the shallows on the beach

Don't stay on the waterfront

A serious error you can make on a budget beach holiday is booking a room in a waterfront hotel. Beach front hotels can be even worse than restaurants when it comes to charges. Besides, sure, the views are nice, but how much time are you really going to be spending in your room? If you're like most of us, you'll be at the beach all day and will only return to your hotel room at the end of the day for a sunburnt induced nap. There are so many other affordable options for accommodation during a beach holiday that can range from glamorous to outdoorsy.

Top beach essentials

  • A portable beach mat
  • Cooler and ice pack
  • A high-SPF sunscreen
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • An oversized beach towel
  • An oversized beach hat

"Budget sun fun is not impossible" 247Moneybox.com
Click to Tweet

Sun cream

Other top tips for budget sun holidays

Want even more top hints and tips about enjoying beach holidays in the sun for less? Yep, thought you might. So staying near the beach or on the waterfront is going to be pricey, so what are the alternatives?

Renting out a cottage in a beach town is a fantastic real estate opportunity that many people take advantage of. Staying in a beach cottage with your friends can be both an exciting experience, as well as an economically wise decision. Split between a few of you, the weekly cost of a beach cottage rental could end up being less than it would cost to stay in a hotel for a week.

This relatively new concept has been a life saver for budget travellers for years now. You can rent everything from a room in someone's apartment to an entire house. This is the most flexible option because there really is something that can suit every budget.

Just because you shouldn't stay in a waterfront hotel doesn't mean that all hotels are off limits. If you're insistent on staying in a hotel, you should be able to find some affordable options further inland and away from the beach. If you don't mind a long walk to the water (or a short car ride) then a cheap hotel can be a viable option.

Motels are not just a US concept and are becoming increasingly common in beach towns for the exact reason mentioned above, waterfront hotels can be just too darn expensive. If you're on a strict budget, then motel rooms would be the best solution for you and your friends. However, it is true that motels are much smaller than and nowhere near as nice as hotels. Just be sure to check the motel's reviews before booking and you'll be good to go!

While not as common as hotels and motels, more and more hostels are popping up around the country even in beach towns. In a hostel, you are essentially renting out a bed rather than a room. You can rent a bed in a large room for cheap and some hostels even include added perks like breakfast and lockers to keep your belongings nice and safe. Depending on how many friends you're traveling with, you may even have enough to rent out an entire room! There are many perks of hostels, but the most popular perk for young travellers is the ability to meet new people, as hostels are very popular with the younger crowd.


What's better than falling asleep to the sound of the waves? If the beach you're visiting allows it, why not set up camp right there? Falling asleep on the beach can be the most peaceful experience you'll ever have. Nearly all beaches have an area designated for overnight camper van parking. If you and your friends are looking for a true adventure and essentially free accommodation, this is it!

Bring your own beach equipment

People will find a way to charge for the most ridiculous things at the beach. It's extremely common nowadays to find people renting beach chairs and umbrellas on the sand. This might sound like a convenient option, but the rates they charge can be absolutely ridiculous! Don't waste your money on beach equipment. Instead, bring your own chairs and umbrellas and save your money for the important things.

Don't splurge on unnecessary items

We know beach holidays can be exciting! Especially if you haven't had a proper holiday in a while, going on any sort of trip can be like a dream. However, it's all too easy to get caught up in the excitement and end up spending money that you don't have. While purchasing a new swimming costume may be in order, you definitely don't need to buy a new surfboard for your beach trip. If there are bigger items like surfboards that you'd like to use at the beach, consider renting one from one of the local shops. While it may be expensive, it'll be much cheaper than buying your own.


Consider staying away from the biggest trap of all, beach-front stores. These stores may have cute souvenirs, but they can cost an arm and a leg. Besides, some would say that most of these souvenirs are very generic and could be found just about anywhere. Why not pick up a pebble from the beach instead?

Find free activities

Many beaches offer fun but pricey activities for visitors like surfing lessons or windsurfing trips. While these activities are obviously entertaining, are they really worth the cost? For most of us, the answer is no. But that doesn't mean that the only thing you can afford to do on a budget beach holiday is bask in the sun! There are plenty of free activities you can do at the beach from creating your own seashell collection to participating in a sandcastle building contest! With a sense of adventure, you'll be able to have fun doing anything!


Taking a beach trip is a quintessential summer activity and shouldn't be reserved only for those who have unlimited funds. There are so many ways to have the time of your life at the beach without going bankrupt in the process. Follow these tips and you'll find that you aren't missing out on anything during your beach holiday and that you're saving money in the process

Get in touch on any of our social media pages and let us know your hints and tips about holidaying in the sun on the cheap. For more information on budget breaks check out this page.

Make sure to do your research before going on holiday, in the same way as you should do your research before deciding to use bad credit loans.