HOUSTON (CBS Houston) There’s nothing like a great beach getaway! When it comes to planning a trip to the sand and sea, it’s all about having a great time and saving as much money as you can.

Check out these ways you can save on your beach vacation and still have a great time near, in and by the water!

1. What friends or family members do you know have unused timeshares? Tap into the folks you know first whom may be willing to give you a great getaway in which you do not have to pay a penny! One year my mom gave me the gift of a timeshare to Hilton Head she banked and could not use. If you cannot get it free, see if you can get a great week of fun and sand, water and sun for a great discount. Many times, folks do not want their timeshares to just go to waste so you can benefit from a great discount!

2. Make a budget. I used to cringe at that word but honestly, it has become a great word that does not mean “deprivation” but rather “sensibility’. What are you willing to spend on lodging and food? Are you allocating money for gifts and souvenirs? When you sit and create a budget, you are less likely to spend in excess. So take the time to create a vacation budget, knowing that even on a budget, you can still feel like the queen and/or king you are!

3. Food and eating is very important on your vacation but do you have a plan of action for your meals? For example, during my time in Hilton Head, I was equipped with a kitchen. So I took the time to go buy a loaf of bread, some cereal and milk and a few snacks. I enjoyed my meals prepared with my groceries out on the sand or on the patio watching the sunrise. I also had enough funds left over to dine out by myself at a local Italian and Mexican eatery. Being on vacation does not mean that you have to dine out every day and at every meal. As you can imagine, that can become quite expensive! So take the time to purchase a few items that you know you will eat, all in the name of saving money and find a great restaurant deal down the beach for a great evening out!

4. Comparison shopping can be done during your beach vacation when it comes to extra-curricular activities. Look at your budget. Is it more economical to take a lounge chair and umbrella with you or is it more economical to rent those items? How much does it cost to rent a bike at the beach? May times rentals can be great and other times they can be expensive. It’s all about what is within your financial reach when it comes to extra fun on your beach vacation. Look for great group rates or off-peak times for rentals; or if you are driving to your vacation spot, load up your own bikes and enjoy them on vacation.

5. Transportation and location is very important when it comes to beach excursions. Your transportation does not have to cost an arm and a leg. At the time of my Hilton Head excursion, I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. So I only traveled a few hours down the highway to paradise. I filled up my car with gas to drive to Hilton Head and upon my arrival into Hilton Head, I topped it off again, with cheaper gas! Then, I left my SUV sitting in the garage the entire time I was in Hilton Head. The weather was beautiful and I walked everywhere I went. I walked to the store, I walked along the beach and I walked to the local restaurants. As mentioned earlier, consider location when planning your beach vacation. It was so nice to have a full tank of gas ready to greet me on my return trip home! I spent no money on gas during my vacation, thanks to a prime location! So even if you have to drive for a few moments during your trip, save your gas and save your money for the return trip home. If you are flying to your beach vacation, you can still consider location as a factor. Ditch the rental car, grab a cab to your hotel and walk where you need to walk. It really makes a difference!

Do you have additional ways you save on beach vacations? Share them and watch related video below:

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