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6 Tips for Spring Break on a Limited Budget

Looking to take a vacation from reality this spring? If you aren’t already planning a trip home, taking a spring break vacation with friends is the best way to unwind for a couple of days. One of the main reasons many of us don’t take a vacation is the cost involved.

Vacation finances shouldn’t keep you up at night. It isn’t much of a vacation if you are stressing out about how to pay for it. There are many ways to help curb your spending while still having a great time.

Budget and Save for Spring Break in Advance

If you have been dreaming of a beach week with friends since last spring, make sure to set aside money incrementally. It is much easier to set aside a couple 20’s each month, vs trying to find a pile of cash days before you have to book everything.

It is also important not to use funds you have earmarked for necessary expenses towards discretionary spending.

Read more: Budgeting for Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Road Trip to Your Spring Break Destination

Road trips are a stable of budget travel and help you divide the cost of transportation over a group. If you aren’t sure about the economics of flying vs driving, consider using a site like GasBuddy to help estimate how much you will spend on fuel. You can also skip waiting around for TSA or paying airport food court prices.

If you have picked a driveable destination, why not make the journey a part of the trip? Pick a couple stops along the way to keep energy high and avoid driver fatigue. Plus, roadside attractions make for great Instagram moments.

Search for Alternative and More Affordable Accommodations

The cost of a hotel can often be the largest expense of a trip. Finding ways to trim these expenses back will leave you more wiggle room in your budget. Airbnb has become a popular option for budget travel and is a great way to embed yourself in a neighborhood. 

If you haven’t already picked a destination, start the list with where you have friends or family. Not only will you have a local guide to show you around, but you might be able to stay with them, rather than paying for a hotel.

Camping can also be a great way to unwind and unplug for a while. If you already own a tent and sleeping bag you can avoid the cost of a roof over your head, opting for the night sky. 

Read more: Summer Vacations You Can Take for Less Than $1,500

Bring Your Own Beverages and Food

Rather than paying for a hotel buffet in the morning, stay somewhere with a kitchen or kitchenette, and splurge on fewer meals during the trip. Especially if the destination has similar breakfast and lunch food to what you could get at home, cutting these costs can be an easy way to save.

Buy your water and snacks from a grocery store so you aren’t tempted to impulse buy something at a markup when you are hungry later.

Search for Discount-Friendly Trips and Hot Spots

If you are a current student, bring your ID everywhere and take advantage of the discounts you can get. Do some research before you arrive to see if any places you are excited about offer a discount during certain times of day as well. Not all establishments will advertise this discount, so check out webpages and reviews to get the inside scoop. 

See if there are discounted rates for your travel options as well. Sign up for airfare sale email alerts and act fast when you see the right deal for you. Some buses and trains will offer student discounts, so you can start saving before you even arrive.

Book Directly

Cut out the middle man expense for hotels, airlines, attractions, etc. Booking in advance could also help you get a discount, as prices tend to go up when there is scarcity. Early booking will also give you time to research your options and get the best deal. Sign up for promotional emails to watch for a sale, and then unsubscribe when you have everything booked and ready for your vacation. 

This article was written by Carolyn Pairitz Morris, Senior Editor at Earnest.

Disclaimer: This blog post provides personal finance educational information, and it is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice.