It's that time of year again: Spring break is approaching, but you still don’t have a clue what your plans are. All you know is that you want to have the break of a lifetime with all your closest friends, and your bank account is probably not going to be very happy.
But what if I told you that you could have an affordable spring break that's still a blast? Follow these tips for saving on spring break, and you might just find yourself sipping a mimosa on a beach for cheap:
- Plan in advance
- Drive (don't fly)
- Travel together
1. Plan in Advance
One of the best tips for saving on spring break? Don’t wait until the last minute to start booking hotels or flights. You should try to book at least two months in advance.
The longer you wait, the more expensive your trip will be.
Remember, almost every college in America has the same spring break week as you do. That means that thousands of college students are trying to book the same flight and hotel as you. And what does that mean for those businesses? They're going to jack the prices up because, well . . . because they can.
Besides, everything gets sold out in a heartbeat. If you see a great deal one day, it might not be there the next day — or even the next hour.
Further Reading: “Foolproof Yourself Against an Unpleasant Vacation Surprise”
Flying is typically way more expensive than driving. Between flight expenses, checking a bag, and parking your car at the airport, things add up quickly. I know driving isn’t for everybody, but it’s very cost-efficient. If you’re going on the trip with friends, take turns driving every few hours and split gas expenses.
However, if you do choose to fly, check out Frontier or Southwest airlines. Sometimes you can get flights for as little as $65! Online travel agencies like Travelocity, Expedia, and Orbitz are another great resource that you can use. These websites are offering deals right now that allow you to get 100 percent off your flight if you book it with a hotel – that’s a free flight!
Another way to get a cheaper flight is with Expedia Bargain Fare. You book your trip based on the days you're available to fly. After you make your purchase, Expedia provides you the flight time. This only works if you have a flexible schedule. So if you can only make it to the airport during a certain part of the day, then don’t try this!
If you have great credit, you can also try to score a free deal by using travel rewards credit cards. But you need to be careful with this. Sometimes the bonus requirements will blow your budget, and you'll end up spending more on interest than you earn in rewards.
Travel Tip: The cheapest flights are usually either very early in the morning or mid-week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays!
Further Reading: “Anatomy of an Airfare: What Determines Your Price?”
3. Travel Together
One of my favorite tips for saving on spring break? Think of it like buying things in bulk at warehouse club stores like Costco. Yes, it’s a weird analogy, but in a way, both are very similar. At Costco, the more of something you have, the cheaper it is for each individual item. It's the exact same thing for spring break planning — the more friends you have going, the less each person pays!
Aside from flight expenses, you'll split everything else pay for on spring break. So instead of splitting everything just between three people, try splitting it between 12 people! This includes gas money, hotel or house rental money, food and drink costs — you name it.
You might be thinking, “But if we rent a house with only three beds, how will we fit everyone?” That is a valid question. But as innovative and creative millennials, that question can be answered quickly:
You're going to have to get very cozy with everyone this spring break. So squeeze as many people as you can onto every bed, put one person on each couch, and bring your own air mattresses. These are all your best friends, after all, so it shouldn’t be a problem, anyway.
Hopefully these tips for saving on spring break will help you take an affordable trip and still have an awesome time. Stay safe this spring break, and have fun!
Further Reading: “5 Cheap Spring Break Destinations You'll Love”