Five summer trips that help stretch your vacation dollars

If you live in the Birmingham, Alabama area and saw me on Fox 6 Thursday night (May 14, 2015), here are the details from the destinations we talked about during the travel segment.

Helen, GA
This replica of a little Germantown offers a fun and exciting cultural experience with German food and architecture, but more than that, it offers big savings for a family vacation. Lodging is affordable (hotels – there is a unique Hampton Inn there within walking distance of the main drag, cabins, chalets and more) and my favorite family activity there is river tubing for only $5! Stroll the streets and duck in and out of one-of-a-kind gift shops, take a hike, go fishing and enjoy getting back to nature!

The beautiful Chattahoochee River winds through Helen and the surrounding areas of White County providing a place to cool off while continuing the summer fun.
The beautiful Chattahoochee River winds through Helen and the surrounding areas of White County providing a place to cool off while continuing the summer fun.

For more information, please visit http://thetravelvoicebybecky.com/2013/01/17/helen-georgia-a-little-germantown/.
Distance from Birmingham: 3 ½ hours

Mexico Beach, FL
Located approximately 30 minutes east of Panama City, Mexico Beach is known as the Forgotten Coast. This old Florida style coastal community is only five miles long, has no stoplights, only a two-lane road, no high rises, no chain restaurants…just family togetherness. Fish off the pier, bike around town, charter a scalloping boat and just enjoy the unspoiled beaches of yesteryear. Accommodations are VERY affordable compared to neighboring seaside communities and include the El Governor Hotel, low rise condos and precious beach houses.

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For more information, please visit: http://thetravelvoicebybecky.com/2013/08/17/floridas-hidden-paradise-mexico-beach/.
Distance from Birmingham: 4 ½ hours

The Beach Club in Fort Morgan, AL
Just off the beaten path to popular Gulf Shores is the stretch of peninsula known as Fort Morgan where fun, family resorts are hidden, such as The Beach Club. A community of its own, Beach Club, a Spectrum Property, has everything you need to park the car and enjoy your vacation without driving anywhere else! Spacious condos, adorable villas around a lake, you choose! Pools, on-site restaurants, private beach access, tennis courts, basketball courts, fitness center and an amazing full-service spa! This is an upscale property that many folks think exceeds their budget…so how about this…partner up with another family and split the cost…you’ll have plenty of space, you can stock the kitchen with groceries and eat in…but yes, you can afford this if you are careful!

Beach Club - exterior

For more information, please visit: http://spectrumresorts.com/ and click on The Beach Club.
Distance from Birmingham: 4 ½ hours

Memphis, TN
Memphis is a great family destination with one of the best zoos around. There is also Graceland, the home of famed rock-n-roller Elvis Presley, the Peabody Ducks who make their march at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day, plenty of barbeque to sample and the brand new Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid with duck ponds, the tallest freestanding elevator in America, a bowling alley, and so much more! Hit the welcome center when you cross into Tennessee and grab some HOTEL COUPON booklets and you can score a great deal on a nicer hotel. I use these all the time and recently scored a Marriott with hot breakfast for $59 plus tax per night!

Courtesy of the Memphis Zoo.
Courtesy of the Memphis Zoo.

For more information regarding Memphis, check out http://thetravelvoicebybecky.com/2015/02/28/radio-linkups-for-2-28-15/.
Distance from Birmingham: 4 hours

Carnival Breeze Cruise
Currently sailing out of Miami on 6- and 8-day itineraries, Breeze is the largest ship in the Carnival fleet and the newest! The kids will enjoy the fabulous water slides, SportsSquare, Hasbro: The Gameshow, Camp Ocean and the Seuss at Seas activities (a partnership between Carnival and Seuss Entertainment) while adults will love the Serenity adults only deck, the spa, multiple restaurants, casino, spa and so much more! Beautiful Caribbean ports of call include places like: Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman.

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Think you can’t afford a six-night trip like this during the summer when cruise rates are the highest? Well, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you and found that over the summer, the cheapest sailings (as of right now) are: June 28th, August 9th and August 23rd with rates 50-60% off – why? Miami offers lots of competition because it’s a large home port. Daily flights are available to Miami, but sometimes cheaper flights go into Fort Lauderdale so check that out (Carnival offers Miami transfers from Fort Lauderdale), but also, don’t be afraid to drive! I have done it many times…drive to Fort Pierce the day before and use a coupon booklet for a cheap rate and you only have two hours left on the trip.

For more information, please check out: http://focusdailynews.com/a-fresh-breeze-on-the-water-p7411-86.htm.
Distance from Birmingham: 13 hours or 2 ½ hour flight

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