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23 May 2018
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Sanibel Island is a tropical paradise. A small, barrier island with nearly 2/3 of the land protected as a nature preserve, it offers the vacationer an unparalleled value for a tropical get-away. But all this abundance of greenery, wild life and undisturbed beaches, complemented by nice restaurants and lovely shops puts the Island at a higher price point than many Florida beaches on the mainland. You do get what you pay for but, there are some ways to cut expenses that might make the Sanibel holiday within your reach.

Of course, and at no surprise at all, renting a condo, home, cottage or villa is going to make the Island more affordable if you are coming with several in your vacation party. Renting multiple rooms in any of our lovely inns or hotels will be considerably more expensive. And, as most people do realize, coming off season (generally May 1 to Christmas week) to Sanibel will save you plenty, where ever you stay!

But having made that decision, where else can you save?

The first and most obvious way to save is to buy your food and cook in. Both Island grocery stores, Jerry's and Bailey's, have a large selection of items making your meal planning easy and practical. They even offer alternative food choices for those who have allergies or preferences off the beaten path of menu planning. I mean, just think about it? A family of 4 going out to breakfast can easily top $30 for a round of tasty and satisfying breakfast food. That $30 will buy a whole lot of eggs, bread and bacon!

But when you do opt to eat out, there are definitely some places that will save you a good deal of money. No, it's not fine dining, but it is fun dining. For lunch or quick dinner, you will walk away filled and satisfied. There are many options, but our favorites are the Cafe at Jerry's, sharing a pizza at Matzaluna. Dairy Queen's hamburgers are as good as any on Island and quite a bit less in price. Or just take some of your bounty purchased and create a picnic for the beach, eating exactly what you want.

Although you probably need to have a car on Sanibel for your journeys (dinners out and off island explorations), you don't need to drive your car. The benefit to the environment, as well as your pocketbook, can be advantageous if you bring your bikes to "our bike friendly" community. A ride around the island, through Ding Darling and to various shops and eateries is not only safe and fun, it is the frugal and environmentally friendly thing to do.

If you have found some ways to save money on your vacation on Sanibel, we would love to hear from you!