Ah, Spring Break. The phrase brings to mind thoughts of the beach, late nights, friends, and way too much sun exposure! The winters are long and cold in Upstate NY. We can't blame the local college students who are ready to cut loose after their last mid-term exam and find a week-long adventure somewhere fun (and possibly warm!). And it's not just the college students who need to get away for Spring Break. Families also choose this time to travel since their kids are out of school.
Unfortunately, a Spring Break trip can an expensive endeavor for both college students and families alike if they are not careful. That's why we've put together this fabulous guide to advise you on how to save for your trip, as well as during your vacation!
How to Save for a Spring Break Trip
Hunt for Deals
Scour the internet for discounts, incentives, and packages for big savings on travel to your ideal destination. With modern technology, deals await at the click of a mouse and the touch of a screen – you just have to look.
Travel with a Group
Traveling with a group of friends allows you to split the cost on expenses like accommodations, transportation, meals, etc. Look into vacation home rentals that sleep a lot of people as opposed to getting a bunch of separate hotel rooms. You'd be amazed how much money you can save and it'll allow you to all be together for the duration of your trip.
Get a Part-time Job or Side Hustle
This option doesn't work for everybody, but we figured we'd throw it in anyway. If you're a student and have some extra time on your hands, get a part-time job that will help you make some fast cash. Save as much of your paychecks or tips as you can so that you can splurge a bit on a fun Spring Break trip. And if you're already in the workforce, find a side hustle that can assist with bringing in some extra money. Put all of it towards your Spring Break trip funds, that way you don't have to dip into any other savings accounts that you may have.
Change Spending Habits
There are many ways to change your spending habits. Forgo your daily coffee shop run and make your caffeine fix drinks at home. Eat all of your meals at home, including making your own lunch to bring to work/school every day. Carpool with others to save on gas expenses. Find free activities to do with friends, family, or significant others. Cancel one monthly subscription that you don't use. All of these spending habits add up, so when you decide to change them, you'll begin to see your savings grow and you'll be able to put more towards your vacation.
Go Where Others Don't
Cancun, Daytona Beach, Myrtle Beach, the Bahamas. All of these places scream Spring Break. However, they also scream high hotel costs and airline prices. Try choosing places that others don't and discover some beautiful hidden gems that provide ample amounts of fun for way less money. You'll find that you can more easily relax during your trip when you get away from the hustle and bustle of the most popular Spring Break destinations.
Finally, a great way to save money for your Spring Break trip is to book early. Flights are going to be cheaper during the fall and early winter. Hotel prices will generally be lower the earlier you book, but always expect that hoteliers will jack up their prices during peak travel times, especially Spring Break time which can last from early March to the end of April. This tip does require some pre-planning and early commitment to where you'll be going, but if it saves you money in the long run, it's worth it!
How to Save Money on Spring Break
Set a Daily Spending Limit
Set a daily spending limit for yourself and/or your family. This takes some preparation and could be done before you even leave for your trip, however, it's important to stick to the plan once your vacation has begun. Make sure to account for any meals, souvenirs, activities, and transportation expenses that you anticipate needing to spend money on. Make it clear to everyone you're traveling with, whether it's your college roommates or your family, that you have a budget and you're going to stick to it. That way no one is super disappointed or upset when you have to say "no" to an unnecessary purchase. But be flexible when you're setting your budget. Account for at least one spontaneous activity so that you can have some unexpected fun during your trip. It is a vacation after all!
Use Cheaper Transportation
If you flew to your vacation destination, chances are you're either going to need to rent a car or use public transportation. Given that you need to be 25 years old to rent a car in most places, college students will likely opt for the latter. Use Uber or Lyft whenever possible, check the local bus routes to see what's nearby, or find a place to rent bikes from for the week if most places are within a few blocks radius of where you're staying. Always exercise precautions and keep your wits about you when relying on public transportation to get you from A to B. Try to stick with your group or family to make sure everyone stays safe and saves money with fewer fares needed to get everyone where they need to be.
Travel Like a Local
When you arrive at your destination, find out from some of the locals where the best-hidden gem spots are. Locals are the experts on their locations after all. Chat up your Uber/Lyft driver on where to get the best drinks or burgers because they'll likely tell you about the less expensive, less tourist-trap type of places around the area. If you're staying at a hotel, find out if they have a concierge who can point you in the direction of inexpensive activities. If you went the route of a vacation home and have direct contact with the homeowner or property manager, see if they can recommend any good places to hang out or get some food. If you travel like a local during your Spring Break trip, not only will you likely save money, but you'll probably also find some really extraordinary places and maybe make a few new friends along the way.
Make Your Own Meals
Believe us, we know that part of going on vacation is getting to eat out and have others cook for you. So we're not going to tell you to completely forgo discovering some amazing food during your trip. However, if you don't eat out during every meal, you'll save a lot of money. This tip works great if you're staying in a vacation home with a kitchen or a hotel room with a mini-fridge and a microwave. If you have the ability to get to a grocery store once you arrive, stock up on some basic food items that will allow you to make your own meals from the comfort of your rental or hotel. Some hotels may even serve free breakfast, so take advantage of those opportunities when you can. Instead of dropping $100 on one dinner, use that money to splurge on a fun excursion, like snorkeling or going to an amusement park.
Seek Out Free Entertainment/Activities
This may take a bit of effort, but can also be rather easy. Hit the beach where sand is free and the waters are cool. Find a free concert in a local park. Visit a farmers market and try all of the free samples. Go for a hike and discover some beautiful views or a hidden waterfall. Whatever activities or entertainment you are looking for, there are likely free options right around the corner and can make your Spring Break trip not only less expensive, but unforgettable too.
Spring Break trips can be some of the best times of your life during your college years or your kids' childhoods. By setting clear budgets, putting in extra effort to save money for and during the trip, and making sure that fun is a top priority, you can have a memorable Spring Break that won't break the bank! Want to open up a savings account specifically for a vacation? Visit your local North Country Savings Bank and speak to one of our personal bankers to get set up today!