Spring Break on a budget
Tuesday, 5 April 2016
With spring break coming, many people are excited to take time off and relax.
While your dream of hopping a flight to Paris or relaxing on the beaches of Hawaii may be a little too much for your budget, we've put together a helpful list of tips for how to make a trip easy on your wallet. Take note and start packing your bags!
Get creative with accommodations
Say no to hotels. There are plenty of low-cost options for spring-breakers, including couchsurfing, booking a “shared room" on Airbnb, hostels, and free campsites. It also pays to ask friends in other cities if you can stay with them, but be sure to treat your hosts to dinner
Prepare your own meals
Grocery shopping is your friend on spring break. If you're traveling with a group, plan in advance who can cook breakfast and dinner each night. You can also find cheap deals for lunch when you're out and about. Preparing your own meals and sharing with others can help save you money that can be put to better use elsewhere during your travels.
Schedule a clothing exchange
Pre-trip shopping can quickly get out of hand. If you're in need of new garments, many of your friends probably are, too. Schedule a party before your trip and invite everyone to bring the clothes they'd like to get rid of, then swap! You'll come away with a lot of new (to you) clothes in no time, including things you need for your trip.
Research free activities
With a little online searching, you can find tons of free things to do, wherever you choose to travel. Visit festivals, museums, and street fairs, and go on free walking tours. Be sure to check out sites like Groupon and LivingSocial for discounts on local activities.
Voluntourism—which combines volunteering with tourism—is a great way to travel on the cheap. There are hundreds of organizations that provide opportunities to help build houses and teach classes in exchange to help offset the costs of traveling. Look for nonprofits over for-profit companies.
Pick a budget-friendly location
Plenty of great cities all over America—like San Diego, Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, Daytona Beach, and Washington D.C.—off lots of free activities and can be easy to travel to on a budget. Depending on how you well you plan, even more expensive cities like Boston and New York can be doable.
Bring your student ID
You may be surprised how many discounts you can get by simply flashing a student ID. Give it a try at museums, movie theaters, attractions, and live concerts. Don't leave home without your student ID. It could save you plenty of money on the road.
Try leaving for spring break on a Tuesday and coming back in the middle of the following week. Traveling midweek can bring excellent deals, so be sure to do your research to maximize savings. Find other creative ways to stretch your schedule by taking advantage of multiple days off.
If planes are too much for your budget, just get in the car and drive. The road trip alone could be a great spring break experience. And if you do fly, consider using public transit when you're traveling around your destination city. Weigh the costs and time of driving versus flying, and see what's more efficient for your plans.
Spring break staycations can also be fun! Schedule your week to include movie nights with friends and trips to visit museums and see plays in your own hometown. Even dining at a local restaurant that gets rave reviews can be exciting. Get creative, and you can feel just like a tourist right at home.
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