Written by the OC Outsider – a blogger with a love of Ocean City and opinions and perspectives that do not necessarily reflect those of this site.
Yes, it can be done. The opportunities are out there, so continue reading and I’ll tell you where to find them and how to get away with the whole thing…
First, before I get too far into this let me set the record straight. For me this time of year is the absolute pits! The holidays seem as if they were a lifetime ago. It’s gray, miserable, and slowly slipping into a deep freeze outside. I hate the cold and have zero use for snow. So, in an effort to try and pull myself out of this funk, I focus on something positive, like planning my summer vacation. Which means firing up my laptop, and seeing all the great pictures on the hotel’s websites, you know the ones I’m talking about. They show you the sand, the surf, the bright blue pools, tiki bars, along with photos of the rooms that were taken seconds after they were remodeled; nice, right? Those pictures conjure up images in my head of the most perfectly balanced week of fun and relaxation that one could possibly wish for at the beach. Suddenly the cold gloom of winter becomes the furthest thing from my mind, and just when I’m about to pat myself on the back for finding the ultimate cure for my seasonal affective disorder, I scroll down to the bad news: the PRICE!
Tighten your chin straps
Here’s some of that “unvarnished” rhetoric they warn you about: Staying in Ocean City during peak season can be quite expensive. I’m sure this news doesn’t come as much of a shock to many of you out there. As a matter of fact, I think the only people who don’t understand this are the hotel groups and their marketing teams. If you need proof of this just check out the TV commercials. You know, the ones where they have these people wearing yellow shirts, who used their vacation days to do mundane tasks instead of enjoying themselves on a beach vacation? Are they kidding themselves or just us here?? Do they really believe the reason more people aren’t vacationing in Ocean City is because they are so clueless that the very idea of taking a beach vacation never occurred to them before some lifeguard blows a whistle in their face for a reality check??? Give me break! People haven’t forgotten what their vacation days were meant for, that’s a joke (and, I think, one in poor taste). The town can plug their fingers in their ears, bury their heads in the sand, or whatever else they choose to do, in order not to hear this, but like it or not cost can be a problem here.
If you’re looking to visit during July and want to stay at that big oceanfront boardwalk hotel, they have rates posted on their website ranging between $519 – $569 plus 10.5 percent tax that works out to a whopping $4401.25 for a one week stay. This is a big nut to crack for a lot of families out there, and then of course you have to ask yourself if you’re really getting the most out of those “vacation days”? I mean, true, it’s better than using them for Dr. Appointments, but for even less money a family of four also could spend an entire week with the mouse, at the parks down in Orlando, or a seven night Caribbean cruise. You would get your food as well your entertainment, not just your lodging at either of those. Pretty hard to justify.
So what’s the solution?
The good news is you have some options to try and save a few greenbacks here. If you have more time and energy than money to waste, you could spend it writing letters o , which probably isn’t too effective an approach. You obviously could shop around for lower rates, but keep in mind you get what you pay for. And, if you’re anything like me, you want your big summer vacation to be nothing less than first cabin. Don’t get me wrong, I like to save money as much as the next guy, but If I have to sleep in an uncomfortable, unclean room for seven nights just in order to be able to afford a week at the beach, then I’d sooner save myself the grief and just stay home, after all, I could be miserable there, and it wouldn’t cost me a dime.
So, if you find that you are indeed an “all day sucker” for good ole Ocean City, (as I am) then you’ll simply bite the bullet and pay the premium, just as I always do, but with a little effort, you could save yourself hundreds and get even more bang for your vacation buck. Who wouldn’t want that?
More bang for your buck
The key here is flexibility in your schedule. If you have the option for starting and/or ending your trip during the week vs. the weekend, you’ve already got half the battle won. Most people start and end their trips on Saturdays. Now if you have a 5-6 hour commute like I do, you spend the better part of your first day on the highway just trying to get here. Chances are even if you woke up at the crack of dawn and arrived in town early you’ll still feel feel strung out from the road for hours later. So your vacation has just begun and you’ve already lost a good portion of day one. Now here’s my way around this- I’ll leave Friday after work (around 5:30) and be in Ocean City in time to watch the eleven o’clock news. This way, I’ll get a good nights sleep, wake up fully rested and save mega money on my hotel stay.
How do I do it? Simple. I do a one night stay at the Holiday Inn Express on 126 St., check out Saturday morning after the free breakfast, head on down to the hotel I’ll be checking into the rest of the week, let them know I’m here, use the changing room, beach, and pool, while waiting for my room to be ready. This “One Night Stand” trick shaves $300 off the rest of week’s stay at that luxury boardwalk hotel we talked about above, and since I’m practically gaining another full day by doing this, I’ll set my check out for Friday instead of Saturday saving myself another $550, bringing my total savings to a whopping $850!
Of course you could always use this formula in a reverse order too, and there are other hotels that offer one night stays. I just picked one that I know is clean and reasonable. Now, my little one night stand method certainly won’t work for everyone out there, but it’s just another way to think outside the box in order to maximize your time at the beach, while not breaking the bank.
The Ocean City Outsider