Spring break can mean fun, sun and no worries, unless you blow your budget. Use these tips to help you stay on track during break and save your money for your education.
1. Plan ahead.
Start scouting for sales and less-expensive options early. Check out flights, hotels, destinations and activities so you don't pay more for last-minute decisions. Read reviews of the activities or venues you want to include to see if they're worth the cost. Also, pack everything you're likely to need to avoid tourist prices on sunscreen, sunglasses, raingear, chargers and attire.
2. Take a cheaper flight.
Airfare is expensive, especially during high traffic times like spring break. But you can save some money by flying discount airlines, at off-peak times and days, non-direct and through alternate airports. In addition, check to see whether you can save by sitting separately from your companions and avoiding baggage fees.
3. Drive or ride instead of flying.
Buses and trains may get you where you want to go at a big savings. Or, get together with friends to share a road trip to your destination. These may take longer than flying but can be as much fun as the destination.
4. Take the road less traveled.
The beaches of the eastern seaboard are often less crowded than those of Florida, Mexico or Texas during spring break and can offer savings. Maybe this is the ideal time for you to explore the mountains or the desert and avoid the party scene.
5. Stay for less.
Apps and sites like Airbnb, VRBO and hostels.com can point you to less expensive lodging wherever you decide to go. Consider camping if you're driving—government-owned sites are often least expensive, and you can even rent camping gear. To spend even less, stay with someone you know. Check out options for your final destination and lodging along the way.
6. Save on activities.
Look for discounts before you go through memberships like Costco and AAA, as well as apps like RoadTrippers, Groupon and Living Social. Also, an Internet search may turn up promotional codes you can use when you book. Once you arrive, some places may offer a discount if you show your student ID, and look for coupon books in the lobbies of hotels.
7. Save on food.
Depending on how you're traveling, it may make sense to stock up on food for meals and snacks as well as beverages before you leave. If you're flying, look for discount chains once you arrive. Preparing your own food will save on high restaurant and venue costs. See more tips for budget dining on spring break.
8. Avoid impulse buying.
It's tempting to pick up a memento of your trip or to indulge yourself. Think about whether that coconut mug or t-shirt will get any use when you get back, or if the signature drink is worth the cost. Set a budget for each day and stick to it. You could even only bring the amount of cash you want to spend with you, leaving your credit card and extra cash in the hotel safe.
9. Use your legs.
Instead of renting a car, taking cabs or using Uber, consider renting a bike or simply walking where you need to go at your destination.
10. Stay out of trouble.
Avoid large fines and penalties by knowing and abiding by the laws at your destination, including those for driving, consuming alcoholic beverages and noise.