COLLEGE SPRING BREAK | Traveling to Florence, Italy! ✨
How to Enjoy Spring Break on a Budget
Spring break is a time to get away from the stress of normal life. If you're on a tight budget, you can still have plenty of fun during your time off. For instance, you can take a "staycation" right in your own town, where you try new restaurants and activities for a fun-filled spring break. If you want to get out of town, try finding an affordable destination, then taking steps to keep it cheap once you get there.
Enjoying a Staycation
Visit new areas.If you're like most people, you likely have fallen into a rut about the places in your city you visit. If you live in a large city, you probably have plenty of districts you haven't visited, that include shopping and local sights. In a smaller area, you may need to visit a nearby town instead, but either way, exploring those areas can make your staycation more interesting. Just make sure to set a budget for how much you're allowed to spend when you're out.
Check out the local museums.Unless you're a museum aficionado, you'll likely find there are museums in your area that you haven't visited yet. Take a day or two and visit a couple of those museums. Each one is probably good for a couple of hours at least. Some museums even offer student and senior discounts for those on a tight budget.
Do something touristy.If you've lived in an area for a while, you may not have done some of the touristy stuff, such as visiting local landmarks, taking a dinner cruise, or taking pictures at that one picturesque spot. Being a tourist in your own city can make it feel like you're on vacation, even when you're not.
Plan a picnic.Another fun "getaway" is a taking a picnic to a nice spot in-town or a a little bit out of town. Pick a park with pretty gardens, or head to the lake or beach if you have one nearby. Treating your town like you would a vacation spot can help you have a fun vacation without going hundreds of miles away.
Make time to visit people.Life gets busy, and sometimes people you care about get pushed to the side because you don't have enough time. A spring break staycation is a perfect time to make time to see friends and family you might not normally get to see. Throw a party and invite people over, or plan a dinner out with friends or family.
Have a night (or two) on the town.Of course, even a staycation can get expensive if you're doing something every day. However, you could stick to free or cheap activities except for one or two big nights out. See a movie with your family, or go to a play or musical. Make a night of it and have a nice dinner out.
- For cheaper show options, look at matinee showings at nearby colleges, which will likely have more affordable ticket prices. You could also go to the matinee at the movies to make it cheaper.
Check your local event calendar.If it's spring break across the city, other people are likely in the same boat. That means that you'll probably be able to find plenty of free or cheap events to attend during the week, such as craft shows, music festivals, or events at your local library.
Pamper yourself.Pampering is a mainstay of many people's vacations, and you can do that just as well at home. For instance, you could throw a spa day at your house. Invite your friends to bring their favorite nail polishes, and buy a few things like facial masks, foot soaks, and nice lotion to pamper each other. If that sounds like too much work, just pick up stuff to pamper yourself, and stay in.
Get outside.In many areas, spring break is a great time of year to be outside. Go play a game of basketball in the park, or go on a hike in a nearby area. Enjoy the great outdoors while you have the time. Best of all, it's free.
Try a new restaurant.One way to make your own city feel more exotic and special is to try out a new restaurant or two. In fact, you could make a week of it and try a new restaurant each day, focusing on a different type of cuisine each day. It will make where you live seem like a whole new city.
- If you stick to hole-in-the-wall places, you can keep your costs down. Also, look for things like coupons to help cut costs.
- Check local restaurants for daily deals and happy hours, which you can take advantage of to save money. You could also split meals with a friend or family member to cut costs.
- Food trucks can be cheaper, too, because they have less overhead. In addition, some ethnic grocery stores have in-house cafes that sell food for cheap.
Take a short class.Vacation is all about new experiences, and one way you can have new experiences where you are is to try your hand at a new skill. You could take a woodblock printing class, painting class, or cooking class, for instance. Check at your local community colleges, museums, libraries, and art galleries for classes. Your parks and recreation department may have options, too.
Finding Affordable Destinations
Visit a national or state park.If you are just wanting to get out of town, visiting the great outdoors may be the perfect way to do it. Many state and national parks have camping areas, and some even have cabins and lodges to stay in, all at a reasonable price. Plus, you'll have access to all that natural beauty.
Try Las Vegas.Las Vegas can actually be a fairly affordable destination, as long as you don't gamble all your money away. Many hotels offer great deals on rates because they want you to stay and gamble at their hotel. Plus, you'll find plenty of cheap and free entertainment, along with deals on food (such as buffets).
Take a tour of Washington DC.While DC may not sound cheap, one thing it does offer is plenty of free attractions once you get there. You can visit places like the Smithsonian Museums, the National Mall, and the National Zoo for free. You can also see places like the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. If you employ other tricks to keep costs down, DC can be a fairly affordable vacation.
Go to a musical or artistic town.One way to get free entertainment is to pick a town that specializes in it. That is, cities like Memphis, Nashville, and Austin all have up and coming musicians that offer free shows. You'll be able to hear a different musician every night. Similarly, artistic towns like Santa Fe will likely have free exhibitions you can visit while there.
Check for last-minute deals.You've probably heard it's best to plan ahead if you want to save money when it comes to vacations. That is true if you're committed to one place and you're not willing to be flexible. However, if you can wait until the last minute, you may find a great deal on a flight, hotel, or cruise to somewhere interesting over spring break. You just have to be willing to take what comes.
- Look for last-minute deals on travel sites.
Making Vacation More Affordable
Use a date range when searching for flights.If possible, be flexible about when you leave and come back. Just changing by a day or two can make a big difference in the price of the ticket. Most airlines let you search by date range now, so you can find the best deal.
Try other forms of transportation to get there.Of course, a flight will get you to your destination faster, but other options may be cheaper. Depending on where you're going, driving may be cheaper. If that's not your style, you could also take a train or a bus to get there. You'll get to see a lot more of the countryside and save a good amount of money, too.
Rely on public transportation while there.If possible, skip the car rental and take public transportation instead. Most cities offer bus routes, and others also offer subway systems and ferries, depending on where you are. Public transportation will be much cheaper than a rental, and you'll get to see more of the city.
- Check to see if the city offers any kind of weekly pass for public transportation if you're going to be using it the whole time.
Consider alternative housing.When you go on vacation, your first thought for housing is likely a hotel or motel. However, you may find other options are cheaper (and sometimes better), if you expand your horizons a bit. For instance, you can rent rooms in people's houses (or whole houses and apartments) through services like VRBO or Airbnb. Hostels can also provide cheaper options, particularly if you're young. In some places, you may be able to camp out for much cheaper than you could stay in a hotel.
- In addition, having a kitchen available can save you money on food.
Visit someone you know in a fun city.One way to get away cheaply is to call up old friends. Most of the time, they'll be happy to have you come stay with them for a couple of days. That way, you get to visit a friend and gain free accommodations in the process.
Video: How to Pack for Vacation - What to Pack for Spring Break
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