Ah, spring semester. Most likely your lips are in a permanent state of chap, and your skin has reached a new level of paleness. The winter vortex is not letting you even think it’s possible that it can get warmer than 30 degrees again. Why exactly is it called “spring” semester, anyway? The only thing that you might be looking forward to other than the end of the semester is spring break.
Only there’s one catch: You haven’t really put in much monetary effort to make it more than 90 miles from campus. A few travel hacks might help you learn how to save for spring break this year. By pooling your resources and creating a plan specifically for spring break, you’ll be on your way to warmer weather shortly.
Create a vacation savings account
First things first, you’ll want to create a separate savings account for your vacation plans. This sounds a little weird, but it’s a good way to keep your spring break funds separate from your everyday spending. You also get a visual reminder of how much money is in your vacation fund every time you log into your bank account. The visual cue can encourage you to continue saving. Make sure you are getting a good interest rate by comparing your savings account.
Don’t have the time to open up a savings account? You could also keep a cash envelope of your funds at home. You won’t earn any interest like you would in a savings account, but if you work a job that typically pays out in cash (like a food server), a cash envelope might be easier to track.
Setting aside savings can help you avoid going into credit card debt for spring break. If you are going to use a credit card, be sure you consider a few credit card tips on how to maximize your savings and value.
Research the best spring break spots on a budget
Next, research the best spring break spots on a budget. Aside from Cancun, Daytona Beach and South Padre Island, there’s actually some really cool spring break spots that accommodate smaller budgets. Places like Nashville or New Orleans aren’t as crowded, and there’s plenty of action in these cities to make it worth your while.
Spend an afternoon with your spring break crew and estimate your spring break trip expenses. You’ll want to take a look at the cost of flying versus driving, accommodations, food, drinks and any fun activities you might want to do while you’re there. Planning ahead avoids wallet woes, and you won’t have to make up an excuse to dip out of that expensive restaurant while you’re on spring break because you already estimated the costs ahead of time.
Split the cost of the trip with friends
You might also want to pool your resources together with your friends by splitting hotel rooms and meals whenever possible. Sharing a bed and a breakfast scramble can help slash costs while giving you all the spring break feels.
Consider using student discounts and take your student ID with you! You never know which establishments offer a discount for college students. Entertainment venues can be known to offer student discounts, so call before you book any extra activities to see if you can knock off a few bucks on the ticket price.
Research whether you will fly or drive to your destination. If it’s less than a day’s drive, it might be cheaper to split the cost of gas and hop into one car with a few of your friends. For example, let’s say it’s a 12-hour drive to your spring break haven. If the national gas average is around $2.36, you may end up only spending roughly $60 one-way if you average 27 mpg on the highway. Whereas you might easily spend over $200 on a single airplane ticket.
Use money-saving apps
Another way to save for spring break is by taking advantage of money-saving apps. There are several apps that help you save automatically so you can save for spring break without manually moving money from your checking account. Apps like Acorns can help you save by rounding up your last transaction and depositing the difference into a separate account. Even just $20 per month could have a big impact on your spring break budget.
Apps like Yelp can help you quickly locate local food favorites at your destination, and you get a quick snapshot of prices. A great way to filter for cheap and delicious dives is to search for the least expensive option with the most reviews. More reviews is a good indication that the establishment is popular and probably worth the hype. You can use the app beforehand to bookmark places you want to visit, and you can use it during your trip to see where it is on the map.
Put your spring break plan into action
Now that you have a good idea of where you would like to go and how much it will cost, you can increase your momentum by cutting back on unnecessary expenses and picking up part-time work to hit your goal. While spending $4 on a specialty coffee on campus may be a nice treat on a wintry day, it takes away from your spring break goal. If you buy a coffee three days per week, that’s roughly $50 per month that you could earmark for your trip.
Pick up part-time work to supplement your spring break budget. Ask for additional hours over the next few weeks. You could also implement a side hustle for quick cash. Do you have any skills that you can monetize? Perhaps you’re great with dogs. You could solicit your services as a dog walker or offer to pet sit. Maybe you have skills as a photographer. Contact your campus marketing office or journalism school to see if they need student photographers. These are quick jobs that don’t require a lot of time, but it gets you paid.
Spend some time researching a budget-friendly destination with your friends. Determine how you will get there and what expenses you can equally share. Open up a separate savings account or use a cash envelope to keep your funds separate. Temporarily cut back on unnecessary spending and pick up a few more work hours. With these action steps, you are ready to hit spring break with confidence.