Five Tips for a Frugal Spring Break

It’s almost March. Spring Break is almost here. Hang in there for a few more assignments and exams, and then yooohooo, its party time. And to make sure that the yooohooo doesn’t break your bank, here are a few tips -

  1. Avoid overspending on last minute plans.
    If you have planned well ahead of time and already your whole trip is paid for, kudos to you. But I could never do that. There was always some sadistic professor or the other who would organize exams or project due dates to be right after spring break. And I would not feel comfortable booking tickets in advance. But come spring break, I wouldn’t feel like sticking the nose in the grindstone either, and that meant last minute scrambling. Make sure that whatever your last minute plans are, they are within your budget.
    • For last minute airline tickets, hotels and car rentals check out Site 59. I personally don’t have experience with them, but a friend visited me once using flight tickets purchased through them for a killer deal!

    • If you are flexible with your plans, look for bargains on hotwire or priceline. (Remember to use aggregators like mobissimo or kayak to estimate the going price before bidding on priceline).

    • Look for student travel deals on student travel sites such as STA Travel or Student Universe or Student City.

    • If you just cant find a good fare, why not go on a road trip this year? It’s not just about where you go for spring break, it’s also about who you go with. So gather together a bunch of folks who are good fun to hang out with, and go on a road trip to your closest spring break destination. Since you can share the gas price and the car rental price, you can probably save quite a bit too.

    • If it is too expensive to fly and too far to drive, look for deals on train tickets, or take a bus. If there is a big bunch of you, it doesn’t matter whether you are in a bus or a flight, you will still enjoy it!

  2. Use Only Cash
    Once the party starts, it’s easy to forget all financial resolutions. Who cares about APRs and interest rates when you are barely sober enough to remember your own name. So, plan ahead. Determine now how much you can afford to spend and take that much in cash. Leave your credit and ATM cards at home.

  3. Save on Accomodation

    • Avoid the cost of hotel rooms by staying with friends if possible.

    • If staying in a hotel, the best advice probably is "book ahead of time", but it is likely too late for that now. So, let’s skip to the next one.

    • Share a room with some friends. Many hotels allow upto 4 or 5 adults in a room.

    • Look for youth hostels, which are significantly less expensive than hotels.

    • If you have a sufficiently big group of friends, rent a condo and take your sleeping bags with you! (At least one of you may need to be above 21 to be able to rent a condo though!)

    • If it is possible, check if you can do an apartment swap with a friend in some other city who might be interested in traveling to your city, and you to his.

  4. Look for "pile-on" savings

  5. If you plan on staying at a hotel, look for hotels that
    • offer free breakfast, so you can save on the cost of a meal.

    • have a free shuttle service, so you can avoid the cost of a cab. If you are really having fun, you will likely be in no shape to drive :)

    • have a swimming pool. If you need to return back to your hotel because you ran out of cash, you might just get lucky and find a free party right at your hotel.

    Other ways to save would be
    • get the entertainment book for the city you are traveling to, for around $10-$20. These have tons of buy-one-get-one-free dinner/lunch coupons.

    • look for clubs that offer free cover charge.

  6. Consider the "alternate" spring break

    Spring break does not necessarily have to mean drinking and partying all night long! That’s the MTV version of it. You can choose an "alternate" spring break instead! There seems to be an increasing trend where many students choose to spend the spring break week by lending a helping hand such as rebuilding New Orleans! Check these out for more info
  7. A simple google search for "alternate spring break" returned programs within several different universities such as UPenn, UIUC, Stanford, UMich etc. Check if your university has any programs for your local community.

    Now go out there and have some fun!

    Note: This post has been submitted to the "5 things" contest at //engtech.

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    contacto said...

    Take also a look to a air fare travel search engine called Trabber. Here is the address:

    ispf said...

    Contacto: Thanks for sharing the link!

    Everyone: I recently found this site (through GRS) which lists several websites for getting great deals on airfare!

    (at the end of the page are links to good hotel deals, and on the end of that page are links for road trip ideas and so on.... its a great site for "frugal travel" fanatics!)

    Kyle Patrick said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.