Myrtle Beach hotels can be expensive. There's no doubt about it. You might even be thinking about cancelling this year's vacation because of the economy. But you really need the time to relax and just be a family. Here are some new tips to help make your vacation more affordable.

Timing is always important. If it is possible to take your vacation just before the summer season begins or just after it ends, you can get better rates at most of the resorts in the area.

There are a few discount hotels offering low rates year round. If all you are looking for is a bed and a warm shower, you can try a discount hotel. The quality and location vary. None of them are located right on the water, but sometimes you can work with that. If the price is far below average, try to find out why before you make a reservation.

One way to stay at a nice resort without blowing your budget is to ask some friends to come along. A multi-room suite suitable for two families or even a vacation home might not cost much more than a week-long stay in a Myrtle Beach hotel that is part of a chain.

By the time you split the costs, you should be able to save money by finding a house or large suite. You might enjoy your vacation more, because you have your friends along. It could be a win-win situation.

How much you spend on accommodations is a big part of the vacation budget, but there are other things to consider. You might be able to easily afford a nice room if you are careful about other expenditures.

Food is expensive at all resorts and vacation spots. Many of the beach's discount hotels are sandwiched between fast food restaurants. Some actually have large restaurants in their parking lots. It is safe to say that the two businesses feed off of each other. You might pay less for your room, but the cost of dinner is higher than normal.

If you rent a room or suite in a Myrtle Beach hotel with a kitchenette, you can bring food from home. Some of the beach's chain grocery stores promise that their prices are the same as they would be elsewhere in the state. Unless eating out is really high on your list of priorities, eat on the beach, on the patio or in your room. You'll save a fortune.

One final suggestion is to check for coupons. Most Myrtle Beach hotels have racks of brochures in the lobby. Many of the brochures include coupons for area attractions. You'll be surprised by how much you can save.