For most students, spring break is a time of relaxation, celebration and fun. Though going to spring break hot spots can result in huge expenditures of money – something many students don't have a wealth of. How can you still have fun on spring break, but avoid going broke?
Having a staycation essentially means being a tourist in your own city. There are probably many fun things to do in your city that you've rarely or never done. What do visitors to your city do when they come to visit? Visit the local art galleries, museums and tourist attractions. To make it like a true vacation, go to some nice restaurants, have a spa day and make sure to spend lots of time relaxing. To get the very most out of of your staycation, try to avoid answering emails and phone calls that are work or school related. Remember, you might be at home but you are still on vacation!
A road trip is almost certainly going to be cheaper than going on a trip where you'll need to pay airfare. Gather a few friends together and share costs. Be sure to come up with some kind of agreement before leaving about how the costs will be broken up with regards to hotels, fuel for the vehicle and rental costs if you have to rent a vehicle for your journey. Try to stay in hotels that have kitchens so that you can bring food items from home and prepare your own meals. If the weather is favorable and you're feeling adventurous, you could even try camping. (To learn more, read Globetrotting On A Budget.)
Use the Resources of Family and Friends
Do you have family members who work in the tourism industry? Or know someone with a big van you can borrow for that road trip you're planning? Don't be too shy to ask your friends and family for help.
If you have a friend or a family member who lives somewhere exciting or if you have any contacts with access to a timeshare or holiday property, this can help to eliminate the costs of accommodations, which will definitely help to reduce your costs overall. Though staying with relatives might not seem exciting, it could be a great opportunity to sneak in a visit with your family while still having a nice break.
Visit a Cheap Holiday Destination
There are many holiday destinations where you can enjoy an inexpensive holiday. Many of the all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean also offer great packages, so talk to a travel agent and check out what's on sale or browse some travel websites. If you're looking for a beach holiday without leaving the country, try one of the many tourist havens in Florida, California or Ocean City, Md.
Alternatively, if you live near the mountains or in a colder climate, you could always opt for a ski trip. Las Vegas is another great option. You can often get great airfares to Vegas, and the hotels usually offer great weekday rates if you can avoid staying over the weekends. If you are going to visit a holiday destination over spring break, be sure to start planning as far in advance as you can. Airfares and hotels often get more expensive the closer it gets to spring break, especially in locations that are frequented by students.
Visit Your Campus-Based Travel Agency
Many campus-based travel agencies specialize in budget travel. These agents often have access to deals that are targeted specifically toward students. They might be able to hook you up with a student tour group, or perhaps a cheap flight on a chartered aircraft. Chances are these travel agents also know the spring break hotspots, so regardless of whether they'll be booking your trip, it's probably a good idea to at least talk to one of your campus' travel agents to find out what's available and how much a holiday is likely to cost you. (For more, read How Students Can Save When Traveling.)
Get a Last-Minute Deal
If the destination isn't a big deal to you, why not have your passport ready and be prepared to go wherever the sales take you? Sometimes it can be difficult to find a great last-minute deal, especially during times like spring break, but it's not impossible. Just try to keep an open mind, and you should have a back-up plan just in case you can't find anything.
Though this isn't exactly a fun option, it is a practical one. You're sure to have lots of assignments and work that need to get done, and getting ahead of the game now will only make your life easier later on in the term. This option also allows you to save your money now and go on a holiday when the term is over. You might even be able to get a really good deal on a vacation package later on, when there aren't so many students competing for air fares and hotel rooms.
The Bottom Line
A great holiday isn't necessarily about where you go. Remember that you might have just as much fun on a staycation or a road trip as you would on an elaborate (and expensive) vacation in an exotic destination. Look into what your budget will allow before making any holiday commitments.
If you've already got your heart set on your dream vacation over spring break, do your best to start budgeting for it as far in advance as you can. Travel is fun and will definitely add to the overall college or university experience, but it's not worth going broke over. (To help you find a deal this spring break, see Best Places And Sites For Online Travel Deals.)