spring break on a budget

How to Enjoy Spring Break on a Budget {The Ultimate Guide}

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Looking for ways to do Spring Break on a Budget? 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 save money on your Spring Break vacation so you can love your time off work.

This post contains affiliate links. You can find my full disclosure here.

spring break on a budget

Spring Break on a Budget

  1. 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 that the correct round-trip prices will pop up. This is, by far, my favorite tool when searching for affordable Spring Break vacation ideas. 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 Flights!
  2. Cheapoair also has some incredible deals on round-trip flights. Some of their specials currently include flights for less than $199 round-trip!
  3. 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!
  4. 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 websites for searching for homes/condos for my family are VRBO or 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 save money on Spring Break travel.
  5. 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! You can also check out Sandals’ sister site that is family-friendly! Beaches Turks & Caicos is a dream vacation of mine with the kids but definitely a splurge, so that’s one to save up for! Beaches Ocho Rios is much more affordable. Beaches resorts feature some of the largest waterparks in the Caribbean!
  6. 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. I’ve written about some tips to save money on groceries here that might be helpful. 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!

How to Enjoy Spring Break on a Budget {The Ultimate Guide} 3

You don’t have to sacrifice a whole lot to have an incredible vacation. You can find affordable ways to enjoy Spring Break on a budget! You just have to get creative! 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! Just set a budget and stick to it. If your goal is to be able to afford a nice vacation, but you’re just not quite there yet (maybe you’re living paycheck to paycheck), be sure to download my SMART goals worksheet printable. What’s the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Drop a comment below!

9 thoughts on “How to Enjoy Spring Break on a Budget {The Ultimate Guide}”

    1. Thanks, Christie! You’re so right! With the money you can save, you’ll be able to actually do some fun activities and avoid coming home with the vacation hangover (broke and counting the days until the next paycheck)

  1. The Spring Break destination in Europe are quite cheap as the weather is usually hard to predict. I did booked flights and trips few times especially forvthe Easter break and it was raining. Great tips though. I never looked for flight on Google. Will try.

  2. As a travel blogger, I’m obviously travelling a lot and do always look for good deals.
    I especially agree to your tip to stay at a bit less popular destinations and go to the more expensive places on a daytrip. That’s what I’m doing quite often, even in cities: I stay for less in less popular and animated areas and just spend the day at the hotspots. This way you can spend a lot on hotels.

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