Caleb enjoying the ocean water and hunting for shells.
Me: thinking I want to get in the van and head south again!
We thoroughly enjoyed spending time at several beaches along the Tampa and Clearwater area coastline, soaking in the sunshine and fresh breezes.
The sand at Clearwater Beach was like walking through powdered sugar. Heaven for your toes!
Tom and I had been discussing a trip to Florida for quite some time. Our last visit was during our honeymoon, over 9 years ago. He agreed to make the trip if I could keep our costs down-no luxury vacation this time! I was ready for a challenge and willing to do anything as long as I could see the ocean in January!
So here are a few things we did to save money:
Went camping! State parks are great. We tent camped at one, and slept in a yurt at another! The facilities were very nice. I'm not a primitive girl-have to have my morning shower.
Made online hotel reservations a couple weeks ahead-saving us $30 per night! Our AAA card gave us an extra discount as well.
And the biggest money saver of all-bringing most of our food. We ate out only one dinner, using a gift card saved from Christmas (thanks Dad and Mom!). Lunches are cheaper, and so if we did eat out it was (often using coupons!) at lunchtime. About 85% of our meals were from food I previously prepared and/or items purchased from a local grocery store. I brought my crockpot along and a few other kitchen tools. It worked great! I made some one dish dinners-like spaghetti-froze flat in freezer bags, and kept iced in the cooler. I have a few kinks to work out-like timing how I thaw the dinners!-but overall I was very pleased.
Be watching for the next post-one of our favorite crockpot meals enjoyed during the trip!