Travel can be prohibitively expensive, especially in Florida. Even a cheap hotel adds up after a week or so. Add in meals and gas and the giant sucking sound you hear of cash draining from your bank account can overpower the sound of the gentle surf cascading through your $179 per night beachfront room at the Holiday Inn.
Not everyone can afford to travel the conventional way, so some folks have gotten creative: They live in their vehicle. Some carry a tent in their car and stay in campgrounds. Some drive pickups with camper tops, while others drive vans or small RV's. Some stay in campgrounds / RV parks, but others might discreetly park in a Walmart parking lot overnight to save money. You know Walmart is all about saving money, you probably just didn't know about that angle.
Tent camping in Florida can get unbearably hot and buggy during the warmer months, and pretty crowded in the cooler months. It's the cheapest way to go though. And you don't necessarily have to let the heat stop you. Since most campgrounds have electric hookups, even the tent sites, you can fairly easily rig up a portable air conditioner in your tent. Are you laughing? Don't. This creative guy shows how he hooks up an A/C in his tent for summer camping in the Mississippi Delta. It doesn't get any hotter and steamier than that folks.
I'm not an expert on this kind of mobile lifestyle, but I'm looking into it as a part-time possibility because I've got lots of beaches to explore and write about but a limited travel budget. So I've come across some pretty interesting websites published by the mobile community, which appears to be growing, partly because of the economy, and partly I think because of internet connectivity. Here are some really cool websites you might like to visit:
Cheap RV Living: Living and Traveling Full or Part-time in a Van, Car, or RV - Robert Wells has an awesome website with all kinds of advice, ideas, photos, etc for the mobile citizen. Dang, I spent almost half a day reading every page on this site.
Brenda's Video and Photo Blog - Brenda lives out of her van and travels all over the US. She writes about her setup and how she gets along (very well, thank you!) Brenda also has some very interesting YouTube videos which include interviews with other travelers with a mobile lifestyle. She's also got a helpful e-book called "Setback Survival Guide: How to keep going when life kicks you in the teeth," with lots of practical advice about how to survive after you've lost your job, suffer a financial setback, or find yourself homeless. And don't miss Brenda's page of helpful links and resources.
Where to park your live-in vehicle overnight for FREE! Some places will let you, and some won't. Better to know before you go. Here's some more sage advice on where and how to overnight-park safely, from Robert Wells.
Tynan.net -here's a different sort of blog by a very mobile citizen. Has an angle of making money online, but plenty of good stuff here on the mobile lifestyle and how to support it. I enjoyed it enough that I've subscribed to his RSS feed in my RSS Reader.
More Cheap Florida Beach Vacation Ideas:
Happiness is a Cheap Florida Beach Vacation
Finding Inexpensive Beach Accommodations
Eating Well on the Cheap at the Beach
Go Mobile, Live Cheap, See More, Stay Longer