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HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A DISNEY HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACH VACATION

 SAVE MONEY ON A FAMILY BEACH VACATION 🏖

After 25 years of vacationing at the Hilton Head Island Disney Vacation Club Resort, I have “saving money 💵 on a beach vacation” down to a science.  Our first Hilton Head Island trip was when our oldest was 18 months and I was pregnant with Katie, our second. We love the island, but soon learn that it could be quite expensive.

By our second trip to Hilton Head, we had two little ones, built a house🏠 , and had purchased a  Disney Vacation Club Membership. Saving money while creating a fabulous vacation was a must.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A DISNEY HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACH VACATION 4 TRICKS TO SAVE BIG!

While money was tight when we were newly married with two little ones, purchasing the Vacation Club was one of the best financial decisions we ever made. While this is not my first tip, if you are planning on making yearly trips to any of the Disney locations or would like to, it is worth checking out. We purchased over 20 years ago and has saved us thousands.  It is a large purchase so I would recommend looking at the current packages closely and decide for your family if it makes financial sense.  As you can see the location is Beautiful!

 

 

Beautiful Disney Hilton Head Island Vacation Club

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A DISNEY HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACH VACATION 4 TRICKS TO SAVE BIG!

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A DISNEY HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACH VACATION 4 TRICKS TO SAVE BIG!
BEACH HOUSE POOL
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A DISNEY HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACH VACATION 4 TRICKS TO SAVE BIG!
Broad Creek Pier

We had started building our home a few years before we had our first little one, so we were on a tight budget on our first vacations. As you know with each addition to the family it became harder to vacation. But Jim and I love to travel especially to the beach⛱.  We were determined to share our love for the beach each year with our children.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A DISNEY HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACH VACATION 4 TRICKS TO SAVE BIG!
MAIN RESORT POOL

I am always amazed at how much the children learn and grow in their development on each vacation. On each trip, their vocabulary and life skills would take a giant leap.  Because we needed a break from work and we wanted to give our little ones new life experiences, it was not an option to not take a vacation.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A DISNEY HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACH VACATION 4 TRICKS TO SAVE BIG!
RESORT ROOMS

I spent months asking friends and family neighbors and co-workers about how they keep their vacation budget low. (We did not have the internet or Pinterest, I know hard to believe) I developed over the years a tried and true plan for making a  Beach Vacation affordable.

 

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Disney Vacation Planning Savings Tip #1
PLAN AHEAD! 

It may seem like common sense but the first step is to plan ahead and I mean way far ahead. I can not stress how much detailed planning will save a lot of money. Souvenirs, clothes, and food are the most expensive items on a beach resort vacation. The last thing you want to do as a parent is spending your entire vacation saying no.

On an island vacation, you can also easily spend $100-$200 on a family meal out. At a Disney resort or park, you can easily spend $50 to $100 on little items at a gift shop. You can easily spend the entire vacation saying no to souvenirs and eating at fancy restaurants and find yourself very frustrated. The solution is in the pre-planning!

Disney Vacation Planning Savings Tip #2
BUY AHEAD!

It is very important if you want to keep your little ones from spending all your vacation money on little souvenirs, is to buy souvenirs and Disney items at home and bring them with you.  Especially on a Disney vacation, the resorts have Disney items everywhere.  In the resorts, the price of Disney character items is a premium. (You can same on Disney Stuffed Animals and Plush Here)

Luckily for Mom and Dad, Disney items can be bought at home at any discount store at a fraction of the price.  All of the favorite beach items are also expensive at the resort but can be more than affordable at a discount store or Dollar store.  Great Disney Beach Items can also be found here at a great price. Click Here

Target and Walmart have huge selections of  Disney stuffed animals,  beach hats, beach sunglasses, beach towels,  jewelry, and clothes. I almost forgot swimsuits and rash guards (does anyone know why they call them this). These can be found at great bargains outside the resorts. And if you’re lucky to live next to a Disney store you can search their clearance section. I start out very early, months before our vacation, hunting down sales.

I look for Disney stuffed animals, hats, clothes, bathing suits, and beach towels. You can also find sales of stuffed Disney animals and other character items on the Disney Store website. Disney cups, Disney shirts, Disney beach towels are all items the kids will want when they get to the beach and easy to find at home at a fraction of the price.

I stick all these pre-purchased items away even if I need to pack them in a separate suitcase and bring them along it is worth the savings. All these items I would save until we had reached our destination and then as the kids started exploring gift stores, where all these Disney items are 10 times the cost,  I start pulling out my brought from home items and everyone is happy. (Especially Mom & Dad)

I am not a total Grinch, I will let each child pick out one or two items that are special to that vacation.  However, I am not spending $40 on a swimsuit that can be found at the discount store for $19.99.

Disney Vacation Planning Savings Tip #3
The Dollar Store or Discount Store for Small Food Items!

I also start shopping at the Dollar store or discount store for small versions of common food items. As we are going to be eating breakfast and dinner in our room (this is tip #4) the nonperishable food items you only will use a little of, can be very pricey on the Island.

A small bottle of ketchup for the microwave chicken nuggets, that you thought you were saving on instead of purchasing at the poolside snack bar, will cost you over $4.00.  At the Dollar store it is, you guessed it, $1 dollar. This is the same for mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper shakers, vegetable oil, vegetable spray, foil, baggies, and cheap food containers for leftover.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A DISNEY HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACH VACATION 4 TRICKS TO SAVE BIG!

These items can be all found for as little as a dollar or a little over, but they are all overpriced at the Island grocery store. (They are planning that you are coming unprepared). Do not let them take your hard-earned money when a few trips before your vacation and an extra box in the car or bag on the plane will save you hundreds.

Disney Vacation Planning Saving Tip #4
Make Dinner In Your Hotel Room!

Having a hotel room with a kitchen or even a kitchenette will help you save hundreds of dollars on your Beach Vacation. We have been so blessed with the Disney Vacation Club Membership that we always have a small kitchenette or a full kitchen depending on the room size.  Even when I only had a small refrigerator, a small microwave, and a little bit of counter space in the smallest rooms I made breakfast and dinner for our family.

As our family has grown up and we have added spouses we have booked larger rooms that have a full kitchen which had made meal planning and preparation easier.  But even in that small kitchenette I cooked in an electric skillet and made our dinners.

Breakfast is the easiest as cereal, toast, pop tarts, instant oatmeal, bagels, and muffins are easy to make and serve. When the kids were very little it was baby food, then as toddlers it was cereal and one year our son saw at a discount store for $10.00 a Mickey Mouse Waffle Maker.  One year we ordered breakfast on our last day when all the food was gone and they had waffles in the shape of Mickey’s head.  When Joey pointed out the waffle maker I grabbed it up and we have been making Mickey waffles in our room ever since.

We bring that waffle maker every vacation and I make waffles.  I buy a small bottle of maple syrup at home and bring packaged waffles mix.  This is a huge saving from room service for three children.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON A DISNEY HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACH VACATION 4 TRICKS TO SAVE BIG!

Dinner is a little more complicated but with planning and my electric appliances, I have been able to make a wholesome dinner each night.  I also do not spend my whole afternoon in the kitchen.  On our first trips, I would take an electric skillet.  A few years later I took my slow cooker.  Now, we do not go on a road trip vacation without my Electric Pressure Cooker.  

I have a lot of pressure cooker recipes that are quick and easy, hands-free for The Dinner Meal that can be made quickly in your hotel room. Find all the Instant Pot recipes Here.

We make a trip to the grocery store when we get on the Island and one trip to Sam’s Club. I have the dinners all planned out so that I can buy the staples at home and bring them (see Saving Tip #3).  Now that my children are older they help prepare a salad with each pressure cooker dinner.  This way we save time and money.

Instead of splurging on a dinner out which for 7 of us is very pricey, we let everyone eat at the pool.  The Hilton Head Island resort has two pools and two quick serve restaurants. The food is moderately priced and lets everyone have one meal eat out a day.

Our my favorite Vacation Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipes

~ Have a Great Beach Vacation ~ Susan

 

 

 

 

 

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32 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday! That is SUCH a good tip to go and shop at the dollar store for small items and stock up for the trip.

  2. First, they call them rash guards because they prevent rashes, both from sunburn and from sand abrasions, particularly that surfers could get. Now…I live in Celebration, Florida so I get plenty of my regular Disney “fix”. I was fortunate to get to travel to Hilton Head for the first time last year with my husband, we had a lovely time, especially strolling on the beautiful beaches! Thanks for sharing at Celebrate Your Story!

    1. Thank you for the info. We love Celebration, we have visited many times, I am so happy for you that you live there. It is one of my Dream places to live. Thank you for your comment.

  3. That looks like a beautiful vacation property!

  4. I have so many wonderful memories of Hilton Head as a child. We went several years in a row with my cousins, and I still remember sitting under the tree watching Gregg Russell sing. We even sat through my first hurricane on Hilton Head island. Thanks so much for sharing your tips and for reminding me of so many wonderful memories and thanks for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

  5. What a great place! We are within driving distance from Hilton Head and I know my kiddos would love it! Thanks for sharing for the #HomeMattersParty !

    1. The grounds are beautiful on the entire Island, and the atmosphere is relaxing. You have to go and spend at least a weekend

  6. Sounds like a fun place. I had no idea about the Disney Vacation Club. My kids are too old now but it would of been great! Great travel tips. Sharing on Twitter. Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Have a great week!
    Kim

    1. My kids are all teenagers & college grads and they all love it. It is very low-key Disney but just enough to be fun. The service and grounds are spectacular. I know you would love it even without the kids.

  7. I am glad I stopped by from the link party, anything Disney always catches my eye! We’ve looked into stopping sometime there, because we LOVE Disney, but we always end up doing to Disney World, because we feel like we get the whole package there, just not a beach getaway. Plus, there are more places to pin trade! I’d love one day to be a DVC member, but that’s not in our stars just yet!

    1. We are in Ohio, and we started going to HHI as a stop overnight on our way to Disney and as the kids got older they wanted to stay a week just at the beach. We are very blessed we get two weeks a year out of our DVC membership so we can visit Disney once and Beach once.

  8. Carolina Twin Mom / Mary Peterson says:

    I totally eat this stuff up! It can almost be a game to see how affordable a vacation can be with a little creativity.

    Genius idea to have a pressure cooker along! That’s a new one for me and I will most certainly give this a whirl.

    (BTW, I *think* that those shirts are called rash guards because they can keep skin from rubbing on boogie boards or surfboards. But don’t hold me to this!)

    Great article… thanks!
    #happynowlinkup

    1. I am so glad you liked the tips. Going on vacation can be stressful if you are not prepared. Thank you for hosting.

  9. We spent a few summers in Hilton Head with my cousins, and they’re some of my favorite childhood memories. I’d love to take my own kids there sometime, so thanks for the tips and thanks for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

  10. Fabulous tips Susan, I bet people never thought of half of them you are one smart cookie ( love the waffle maker!

  11. These are really good tips for a family beach trip. By cutting where you can everyone can enjoy some time away. We now travel just the two of us, we actually get very tired of restaurants on our vacation. Buying the small sizes ahead of time is a wonderful idea.

    1. I hope the ideas are helpful and we love to vacation but we have a limited budget. And you are so right I get tired of restaurants I like to be outside and enjoy the area I do not want to sit in a restaurant for hours. When the kids were little it was too stressful trying to keep them quite, with cooking in your room they can play you can relax and save $ at the same time.

  12. Hey, Hey
    Thanks for sharing with us at the Bloggers Pits Stop your tips on saving up for a beach vacation. As a travel blogger myself and travel fanatic, I have done lots of research on vacation Clubs and I found one that doenst cost thousands and goves you a variety of destinations to create peak life experiences. The beauty of it is I dont pay for it anymore and yet still have access to all the benefits. One of its great perks. I am so grateful for that travel club. I also find your post Informative!
    Pit Stop Crew

  13. Wow! We take a beach trip every year to Galveston with our kids and grandkids. Great tips!

    1. Thank you so much, I hope the post is helpful. Any tips you have I would greatly appreciate.

  14. This looks like a great vacation. Great tips, thanks for sharing! Visiting from #ThursdayFavoriteThings.

  15. These are great tips! Buying souvenirs at home is a great idea. I just love Disney Hilton Head Island Resort. Just a beautiful place to spend time with family.

    1. We are getting so excited for our next trip. I love your Instagram pics. Such a beautiful family

  16. With three boys we try very hard to stay somewhere that has a kitchen. Not only is a cheaper but we have more quality time together. We aren’t as rushed and we can relax.

    1. You are so right. Having the time together at dinner in the room is so much better quality time than eating out.

  17. These are some really amazing tips! Thanks for sharing at the Family Joy blog link up party! Pinned 🙂

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