Sand, surf, and stunningly beautiful people in bathing suits. Yes, these three S’s could only mean one thing: it’s college spring break 2013! So, how do you plan to spend your time away from classes and all night cram sessions? Travel can be expensive, especially when your budget is scarce. But that doesn’t mean that you have to totally forgo vacation, sit in your dorm and only eat at the dining hall for the next week. In fact, there are a number of excellent options for spring breakers. From the best beach getaways to the off-the-beaten path locales, here is a list of places where you can enjoy your time off — regardless of your budget!
It’s time to get away…
If you Google “Spring Break Packages,” you will soon be overwhelmed by the number of “good deals” you find on the Internet. Word of caution: any deal that seems too good to be true IS too good to be true!
An article posted to DailyFinance on March 27, 2011, by Rita R. Robison, “Spring Break Travel? Do Your Homework First to Avoid Travel Scams” explains how to get a great deal without getting ripped off. According to Robison and the Better Business Bureau (BBB), “Avoid companies that force you to pay by cash, check or wire transfer. If you don’t pay with a credit card, you lose your best avenue for getting a refund if the company doesn’t carry out its obligations.” Another way to spot a surefire scam? The “one call, one chance” high-pressure sales pitch.
Now, this doesn’t mean that all travel agents are evil. It just means that some companies do try to take advantage — especially during peak vacation times like spring break. So, do some homework and ensure that all of your reservations are actually booked before travel.
Another option is to simply book the trip yourself. Use an online booking engine like Expedia or Travelocity. Better yet, call the hotels and airlines directly and inquire about best possible fares — and be sure to mention that you are a student or if you are traveling in a group. You may be surprised at the deals you can get!
And don’t overlook the option of renting a home or condo. Many people are happy to rent their places during this peak season, and for a fraction of what chain hotels charge.
For those of you intent on traveling during break, consider opting for a less glamorous destination. True, Aruba would be amazing — but it also comes with a hefty price tag (the flight alone will cost upwards of $500, and that’s if you’re traveling from Miami). Instead, check out the “Best Cheap Spring Break Destinations” from U.S. News & World Report‘s Travel section. Here are a few places that made the list:
- South Padre Island
- Puerto Plata
- Ocean City
These more affordable, but still trendy, choices will help you have a spring break filled with sun, sand and memories!
Perhaps you aren’t looking for the trendy party scenes during your spring break. If that’s the case, imagine yourself at one of CNN Travel‘s “7 great alternative Spring Break destinations,” posted on March 20, 2012, by Jordan Rane:
- Grand Canyon
- Bridger Bowl, Montana
- The Olympic Peninsula
…but I need a budget!
Okay, before you decide to jet off to Jamaica, you still need to have a set budget in hand. This is imperative for spring breakers! Here are a few things to include on your budget checklist:
- Cost of travel: Via air, bus, car or train, this will be second only to room and board — in some cases, it may even be higher.
- Room and Board: Be sure to ask what is included with the room category you purchase, like Internet access, which could cost upwards of $10 per day. And don’t forget the incidentals like tips for housekeeping and bellhops.
- Food and Drink: Consider, on average, what you spend daily on food. Now, double that because you are on vacay where everything costs twice as much.
- Extra expenses: From batteries to spa appointments, always have a little extra cash on hand.
Need more advice about budget-conscious travel? Then check out Spring Break Guide‘s “Spring Breaking on a Budget” for tips on how to save money after you arrive at your destination. One piece of great advice offered here is that “carrying your student ID can actually be very advantageous. A lot of clubs, restaurants and attractions will give discounts to students as they recognize you’re probably traveling on a budget.”
Well, there you have it — some hot spots that won’t make you forego next month’s rent. All you need to do now is remember to pack the sunscreen. Bon voyage!
Let us know in the comments below, where are you headed for Spring Break this year?