This post goes out to our student (and teacher) readers and our own nostalgic selves. Who hasn’t wished for a Spring Break vacation or watched the parties on MTV from back in the day? Some of us may even have our own stories and memories from Mexico, the Bahamas, or Florida! But, if the parents aren’t paying the bills, planning a big Spring Break holiday can be very expensive.
Spring Break Planning – On a Budget
However, with some Internet research and wisely planning a budget, your dream Spring Break can become a reality. Here are some useful ideas, destinations, and tips to help you and your friends create the experience of a lifetime.
1. Pick your dates carefully
If you can be flexible and avoid travelling during the most popular time (March 16-23, 2014), you can likely save yourself a good amount of money. According to research by Hopper, fares during this popular period can be about 30% higher than other days!
Do not fly out on Friday as this can add an average of 22% to the fare. Experts say Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are the best days for departing. According to the NYT, leaving on Sunday can help you score a better deal on flights.
For teachers, you may be thinking ahead to Easter Break, (April 11 – 22nd, 2014). Although prices are likely already high for Easter Break, it is still best to book your flights as far in advance as possible Good luck!
2. Choose your location wisely
Choosing your destination is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle, for many reasons. However, if you are restricted by budget, there are some tweaks you can make in terms of destination in order to still achieve your dream Spring Break vacation.
A perfect example is comparing the flights. If the Florida beaches are calling to you, instead of flying direct to Daytona Beach, consider taking a cheaper flight to Orlando. It’s just an hour away and can save you at least $100 on air fare. If you were planning on renting a car anyway, flying to Orlando makes much more sense on the wallet. The rental car rates are likely less expensive in Orlando as well!
3. Look for Packages & All-Inclusive Resorts
If you are planning on drinking (and eating) to your heart’s content, all-inclusive packages are oftentimes the best way to go. You can rest easy knowing regardless of how many mojitos you consumed, your bill won’t exceed the booking price. If you have decided on the Caribbean or Mexico, http://www.cheapcaribbean.com/ is a great site for comparing packages, resorts, (and even cruises). Signing up for alerts will keep you up to date on the latest offerings without having to search them out yourself. For hotel and flight included, you can spend 4 nights in the Riviera Maya for $849! For dates beyond Spring Break, the prices are of course even lower.
4. Try something different, entirely
Have you heard of “voluntourism“? I think this could actually appeal to students and teachers alike. If you are looking for a unique experience, there are travel companies specifically dedicated to connecting people with programs and opportunities with a “volunteer vacation” vibe. While there are fees associated with the program, they frequently cover the housing and food for participants and the cost is much lower than your typical Spring Break package.
Think about it, you can work with animals at the Sea Turtle Conservation Project in Costa Rica, head to Brazil and assist in building houses, or even stay closer to home and go to New Orleans to help areas still recovering after Hurricane Katrina. You can enjoy the scenes, culture, and sightseeing – all while also making a difference on your Spring Break.
No matter what you end up doing, it’s most important that you enjoy yourself with your friends (or family). As a friendly reminder, watch your spending and don’t exceed your limits!