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Make Spring Break Unforgettable On a Budget

Spring Break is notorious among college students as not only being a great time, but for being wildly expensive. It doesn't always have to be this way! Here are some easy tricks to save you money on your dream vacation!

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Heading out on spring break comes with good news and bad news. The good news: You’re young, you don’t have many responsibilities yet, and spring break means you don’t have to attend classes. The bad news: You’re likely paying for it.

According to Travel Agent Central, most millennials will attend spring break in some fashion or another this year, with 53% of the generation set to cut loose. But between the travel and expenses, how can those with limited incomes swing an unforgettable vacation? Here are some ideas:

Make Full Use of Credit Cards

You might be tempted to read that headline and think that we’re giving you permission to put spring break on a credit card and worry about the debt later. But this isn’t ideal. Instead, make sure you use credit cards wisely with the following tips:

  • Start saving up travel rewards as soon as possible. If you have travel rewards available on your card, you’re already a step ahead of the game. Make sure you check out your credit card’s rewards to get a sense of what you might be able to redeem as you’re on vacation. Even something as simple as cash back can help offset the cost of airfare and food.
  • Use credit card limits to stick to a budget. Low credit card limit? No problem. A low credit card limit can be a great way to stick to a budget because it will force you to stay within your means. Planning your purchases in advance to make sure you stay within your credit card budget is one thing; having a hard “budget deadline” is even more powerful.

Preparing for Spring Break in Advance

Whether you have only a few weeks until your spring break vacation or you have a full year before the next one, there are some things you can do to prepare yourself for a better vacation on a budget:

  • Create a unique savings account specific to spring break. Many online savings accounts allow you to create new ones—with specific labels—at the drop of a hat. If you have the income for a vacation but not the savings, putting aside regular money can help you fill that gap.
  • Pool your money. Most people go on spring break with friends, so it’s important that you plan to pool your money together when possible. Can you secure group discounts on entertainment and specific venues? Put in some online research time or even call the locations of your planned events to see if there are group discounts that might apply.

You’d be surprised at how much your time and research in advance of spring break can accomplish. One of the primary mistakes most students make when going over budget for their spring break is to take on every purchase as it comes. This can lead to going over budget in a hurry.

Tips for Making the Most of your Travels

What are some other money-saving habits you can utilize without sacrificing the quality of your vacation?

  • Find a roommate. Although you may not have a hotel credit card, you can still afford higher-quality hotels than you might imagine if you split the costs between “roommates.” Because you’ll be spending so much time outdoors, you don’t necessarily need a lot of space—just a place to lay your head at the end of the night. Consider rooming with as many as three other people you know well while you attend spring break
  •  Bring your student ID. You’d be surprised at how many discounts you can fetch with a student ID. Clubs, restaurants, music venues and other attractions may have special student promotions for spring break because they want your business.
  • Go on a grocery trip. One of the fastest ways to burn through your food budget is to eat every meal at a restaurant on spring break. If, however, you have access to a kitchen (through an Airbnb rental, for example), you can make much more affordable meals throughout the break, giving you more money for car rentals, entertainment and lodging. Going on a grocery trip at the outset of the break is a great way to kick it off on a budget.

When you plan your spring break in advance, you can “have your cake and eat it, too.” That means you can stick within a budget but still experience everything spring break has to offer—the music, the live events, plus the camaraderie with friends. There’s no reason to go into debt over one vacation. Plan your trip right and enjoy an unforgettable—and on-budget—spring break.

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