5 Tips for Spring Break on a Budget

Spring Break doesn't have to break the bank, there are actually several little tips that, when practiced together, can save you tons of green! These great money-saving travel tips are also good for planning a summer vacation, winter getaway, or just a weekend on the road!

  • group of teens on beach summer vacation or spring break


    Buy Groceries - Our number one tip for saving money on spring break: buy your own groceries! This is a really simple way to save major bucks as an average weekend in any major city typically costing a traveler anywhere from $100 to $350. However, if you are able, that is if you have a hotel/cabin/lodge with a refrigerator or cooler, you can spend between $50 to $100 on your entire visit's meals! This is an excellent option if you are staying in a particular place for 3-5 days, or if you are camping and/or on a long road trip. Many people are reluctant to go through with this option because they feel that they will miss out on local cuisine, which is why we also suggest buying a good portion of those groceries at the local farmer's market or street market. This is an easy way to eat local, taste the culture, and still save tons of money (maybe even more than at a grocery store)! Also, if you have your heart set on a particular place to eat while in an iconic city, say for instance the pizza in Chicago or fresh seafood in Florida, just plan on splurging for one good dinner or lunch while there!

  • Road Trip - We agree, flying would be so much quicker to get you to your dream spring break destination, but we think there are so many more opportunities for sightseeing, culture observation, and memory-making if you opt for a road trip instead. With this transportation option, you will save up to half of your transportation budget (depending on your location and travel distance) versus flying. This is especially true with larger groups. For instance, if you wanted to fly from St. Louis to Orlando it would cost you roughly $450 one way per person, versus about $350 total driving both ways. (Use this handy website to calculate your trip’s drive vs fly difference). The only downfall that many groups run into with this option is time. If you only have three days total to vacation and you spend half of those days traveling, the more expensive option might be better suited for your group.
  • Last-Minute Deals - If you do choose to fly or take a train you should be well aware of last-minute deals for your tickets, not reliable but very budget-friendly options for traveling. If you book your flight within a week of departure you are more than likely to receive a last-minute deal, as with most hotels, conferences, vacation packages, and major attractions. On most occasions if you go through a third party site you can find deals from one week to one day before the flight or event for 65% to 80% off the original price, the travel company typically desperate to sell out of a particular option.
  • Discount Cards + Student ID - Many different places, especially in common spring break locations, offer different vacation package discount cards, be it from the city tourism board or a particular attraction. You can find so many online deals before visiting a city, just check out their official tourism site, city site, and then check out each individual attraction you plan to attend. If you can find a card with free transportation, comped meals, or multiple attractions for the price of one, you will be that much farther ahead of the curve budget-wise! Many places also offer special discounts if you bring in your student ID, so try your best to remember to bring it!
  • Budget = Save - This one may seem like a no-brainer, but we think it’s important to reiterate: the best way to budget a big trip, vacation, or weekend away is simply to save. Start a change jar to save slowly, have a yard sale and put the proceeds toward the trip, or simply set back a certain amount of money each paycheck. You could even skip out on that daily latte or lunch in the town and put that money back for your trip! Before you know it you will have a substantial amount of money set back ready to use on your grand adventure!

Our Budget Destination Suggestions:

  • Sanibel Island, FL - All the great Sunshine State spring break fun without all the crowds! Enjoy a tropical island oasis with palms and clear waters with tons of options for eating and entertainment on a budget.
  • Point Pleasant, NJ - Point Pleasant, New Jersey, is a borough of Ocean County that will provide your group with family-friendly clean beaches, boardwalk budget attractions, and endless ocean vistas to admire!

    Beachside Pixabay Public Domain

  • Myrtle Beach, SC - Another spring break state classic, but without so many crowds! Enjoy the Atlantic Coast’s best beaches boardwalk, golf, arcades, and carnivals, all aspects making this Grand Strand destination one of our favorites on a budget.
  • New Orleans, LA - New Orleans is always a great option for a budget spring break, not so crowded during late Spring after Mardi Gras but still offering all the classic Big Easy attractions, such as budget-able food, nightlife, and culture!