I live in Illinois, and I HATE Midwest winters. So come Springtime, I’m ready for some sunshine! But traveling can be very expensive (especially when you’re a family of five or larger). Those infant lap seats are nice while they last, but they are definitely short-lived. Many people think they can’t enjoy Spring Break on a budget, but it can be done! Here’s how to love your time off:
Spring Break on a Budget
- Google Flights-If you plan on flying, my favorite website to search fares is Google Flights. You can adjust your dates and destinations and even explore different places. So if you’re looking for beaches to visit on a budget, you can click “Discover Destinations” and there are several options to choose from, including: adventure travel, beaches, culture, honeymoon, islands, outdoor recreation, and more! Make sure you enter your departure airport so the correct round trip prices will pop up. This is, by far, my favorite tool when searching for Spring Break on a budget or really any other vacation possible. Another cool feature is that when you click on the date field, Google Flights shows prices for every day of the month. You can also track prices and have Google email you when they go up or down! Love love love Google Flight
- Plan on Driving-If you can’t afford flights, plan on driving. Before you say your car is a total POS, you can rent a car for around $250 for the entire week. We use Enterprise and actually love their customer service and availability of vehicles. They currently have weekend getaway rates starting at $9.99 per day, including up to 100 miles per day. Not a bad price, and it saves you from putting a bunch of miles on your car. If you’re going with friends, you can all split the cost of driving…(Car Rental + Gasoline) / Friends = Budget-Friendly Spring Break!
- Forgo the Touristy Beach Towns-Panama City Beach and Destin, Florida are amazing but expensive accommodations during Spring Break…especially if you want a beachfront condo or beach house. In my best Robert DeNiro voice, “Forget about it!”. If you want to save money, you’re going to have to get creative. In this case, if you’re looking to stay somewhere on the Gulf of Mexico, consider the less-traveled (but equally beautiful) Mexico Beach, Florida, Cape San Blas, Florida, or Gulf Shores, Alabama. My favorite website for searching for homes/condos for my family is VRBO aka Homeaway. You can likely save hundreds of dollars by staying in one of these smaller beach towns. Then you can take a day and drive up to Destin or Panama City Beach for the day. It’s not a sacrifice! It’s a smart choice when you’re trying to do Spring Break on a budget.
- Book at the Right Time-You’ll usually get the best rates on flights about eight weeks out (or so they say). Pay attention to prices, starting months before travel, if you can. Then you can pay attention to trends, and as I said above, Google Flights can help with that. If you see prices drop significantly lower than you’ve seen, book it! Same goes for hotels, condos, or beach houses. The closer you get to the date of travel, the more expensive it is likely to cost. My husband and I just booked a trip to Jamaica (cash-flowed, btw), and it was literally $1000 less than usual for the Honeymoon Beachfront Walkout Room at Sandals South Coast. It’s our 7 year Anniversary, so we splurged since we had the cash and just paid off seven credit cards!
- Non-Beachy Destinations-When we lived in Georgia, we used to visit Lake Sinclair for Holiday weekends. We’d rent a small cabin on the lake and take our old 1986 Ozark fishing boat so that we could enjoy some quality family time. Some of the best vacations were had at that lake. My oldest daughter’s Dad still lives in Georgia, and since she will be spending 2 weeks with him this summer, we’ve decided to drive down to Lake Sinclair for 5 nights and stay at Jereshai Lakeside’s cabin and rent a boat from the owner, Chris. He’s taking excellent care of us and has even included a tube, skis, wakeboard, and kneeboard (built into our price, of course). We are saving at least $1000 on lodging alone, not including the boat and the activities we’re going to be doing. The cabin features a full kitchen, and the grocery store is just up the road, so we’ll eat in most days, saving even more money. Another option for a non-beachy vacation is to go camping! You can often camp for less than $40 per day, and you’ll make incredible memories in the meantime!
You don’t have to sacrifice having an incredible vacation. You can find affordable ways to enjoy Spring Break on a budget! You just have to get creative, and always pay cash! No vacation is worth going into debt over. Trust me! I hope these ideas shed some light on how to save money on Spring Break or any other vacation! Let me know your favorite money-saving tips on how to LOVE your Spring Break on a budget!