A spring break trip out of town is the ultimate getaway for most college students. Summer has its perks, as does Christmas vacation, but nothing screams fun like the madness that goes on on spring break. The beaches and clubs are packed and you can count on Saint Patty celebrations to boost spirits.
But when you’re tackling high college rent and tuition, taking a trip for spring break can seem too expensive. The cost of hotels is high enough already, and they double and triple around holiday seasons. Sometimes even food and admission costs to the best attractions go up around that time.
Before long, a spring break trip begins to look like an impossible expense. However, if you’re willing to give up a few luxuries temporarily, you could have the experience of a lifetime without breaking the bank.
Check out these five tips you can use to make the best of your spring break vacation on a shoe-string budget.
1. Drive There
Flying to your spring break location and then renting a car has its perks. It saves your personal vehicle from hundreds and maybe thousands of miles being added on, along with the wear and tear that comes from that. It also means getting to your new vacation spot much faster.
However, if driving is an option it’s one you should consider. Going by bus or car may take longer but it costs much less. Besides, why buy a car if you don’t plan to use it for it’s intended purpose?
Go ahead and tack on those miles. College is for exploring places and your machine on wheels should be the vehicle that takes you there – literally.
2. Go in Groups
Even if you have less friends than fingers on one hand, this is an easy way to lower the cost of the trip per person. By carpooling you can split the cost of gas and by sharing a suite or cabin you can split the cost of accommodations.
Keep in mind that this might mean crashing on the floor or couch a few times, but that’s fine. People don’t go on spring break to sleep but to be out and about having fun.
3. Use Your Gym Membership
Not just any gym membership, but the kind that gives you access to multiple locations. This equals access to a free shower at least once per day. And if like us, you have a membership with Planet Fitness or other larger franchises, it can also mean free massages and other spa like treatments to help you relax.
If you don’t mind sleeping in your car or pitching a tent, then having a gym membership can also spare you hundreds of dollars that would have otherwise gone to cover accommodations.
4. Ditch the Hotel
Sleeping in a car or tent isn’t ideal for everyone, but there are still ways to ditch the high cost of hotel rooms.
Some students take the option of couch surfing when they travel, which is a great way to bond with locals and really immerse yourself in the culture of wherever you’ve gone to. However, this can be dangerous, especially for females, so do your research before testing out this method.
For our trip, we booked a room in a house via Airbnb. It cost us a fraction of the cost of booking a hotel, allowed us to learn more about the area from a real local host, and gave us access to more home-like facilities that you wouldn’t have in a hotel room.
We had a whole yard, a large wrap-around porch on the second floor, canoes and kayaks, a fully equipped kitchen, and the peace and quiet of a nice upscale neighborhood. We were also a short walk away from a river and a hiking trail.
5. Eat Out Less
As most college students learn over time, eating out is far more expensive than eating in. Instead of blowing money on fast food and fine dining, consider using that money to buy groceries and whip up some home-cooked meals.
We spent a good deal of our trip hiking, sight-seeing and canoeing. To cut down on the cost of eating out, we made breakfast at home and packed fruits and snacks for our daily excursions. We still had the occasional meal out, but saved a lot from opting for fruits and home-cooked meals every chance we got.
Spring break is a great time to meet new people, see new places, and try things you’ve never done before. But if you’re not careful it can also be a really expensive trip. Try the tips we’ve mentioned to ensure you stay under budget and save a few pennies where you can. Even better, let us book your trip for you!
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.