With Spring Break fast approaching, a lot of people are planning on having days upon days of fun. If you’re on a tight budget, though, you might be wondering how to have the vacation you want. Fortunately, you can still have a fun time without tearing your budget to shreds.
Here are 10 of the top expert-recommended tips that can help.
Scope out the less popular places
Places like Cancun, Daytona Beach, Cabo, or The Bahamas immediately come to mind when you hear “Spring Break.” The popular destinations are likely to be the most expensive but they’re not the only places you can have fun. Think about finding sites with similar features like Hollywood, Florida or Samana Bay in the Dominican Republic.
Get some professional advice
It’s tempting to do all the research and book the trip yourself. Working with a travel agent, however, can give you some insight into some good deals. Agents can get better hotel rates as well as tell you about impressive packages that include free drinks or discounted meals. They can also tell you about free upgrades that will make your trip even more special.
Be picky about where you stay
Depending on where you choose to visit, you could choose among hotels, condos and resorts. It’s a good idea to check which one will give you the best rates and perks. In some cases, you may be able to bundle your stay and your flight to save more money. If you can get some reward points during your stay that would be great too.
Avoid traveling on Saturdays
Prices for travel and hotel stays can vary depending on if you’re traveling on weekdays or weekends. Check the prices to see how much lower the cost would be if you avoided Saturdays. If possible, leave on Friday evening or choose Sunday travel. A shorter Spring Break is also an option if you’d prefer to travel during the week.
When you’re moving around, your options will likely be renting a car or taking public transportation. It’s a good idea to weigh the costs of taking a Lyft or Uber everywhere or renting a car. If you decide to rent a car, make sure to shop around. Websites like Priceline and Expedia can be very helpful for that. To save a little more, you can also reserve your rental car for the trip. Experts say that you can save money this way instead of paying upfront.
Be wary of extra fees
While doing research, it can be easy to miss the fine print and think you’re getting a great deal. Take your time and watch out for extra fees that are associated with booking, checking luggage, cleaning, or taxes. These little fees can really add up over time and make it harder to maintain your budget.
Consider group travel
One major benefit of traveling in a group is being able to split the cost of transportation, accommodation and entertainment. If you have friends or acquaintances who are looking for a deal, consider synching up everyone’s trip. It might be more fun to stay in a rental with everyone instead of paying for separate hotel rooms too.
Look for free activities
You might need to do a little digging for this one. While some information might be online, it helps to talk to the locals. Find out what’s happening in the area that will cost little or nothing. You can get to know the destination better than other tourists. It’s also a great way to find more affordable places to eat.
Do a little cooking
Even the most meticulous planner can forget how much food costs on a vacation. You can get a handle on this by cooking some of your meals. If this appeals to you, make sure to find accommodations that have a kitchenette. You can save a lot of money just by getting some basic groceries as soon as you arrive.
Prepare a daily budget
Since you’re on vacation, you might want to get a few souvenirs. If you’re not careful, things can get out of control quickly. You can keep this in check by setting a daily budget then being picky about what’s worth it.
Of course, there might be more ways for you to save money on your Spring Break trip when you think about it some more. The important takeaway is that you need to control your spending before and during the vacation. By doing that, you’ll only have happy memories of the trip when you get home.