Here are 13 tried-and-true methods for trimming your spring break budget.
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Since most people are looking to leave town around the same time, spring break can be tough on the wallet. Many parents, students, and teachers have the same idea, whether they prefer to rent a car and drive somewhere new, take a plane to a tropical paradise, or stay in a quiet vacation rental.
Is there any way to reduce the cost of this urgent vacation? That is something you need to consider in relation to the type of vacation you are planning, the size of your group, and the degree of flexibility you are willing to exercise. Even though there are spring break travel deals available, there are still other ways to cut costs on your trip, whether you're just starting the planning process or already on the road.
Aiming for cost savings is a good first step when figuring out where to stay and how to get there. Booking as far in advance as possible is something that travel experts recommend, so you should be ready to do so soon.
If you're looking to save money on your spring break trip, consider the following options.
Author of the sustainable travel blog The Wanderful Me, Sophie Anderson, recommends that prospective spring break travelers first do some price research. Pick a place that is usually less expensive, she advises.
Anderson claims that "everyone in the United States seems to head to Daytona Beach, Cancun, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, or places in California" during spring break. However, if you're trying to save money on your spring break trip, I suggest you look outside of the country. ”
Try Samana Bay in the Dominican Republic instead of Punta Cana or Hollywood in Florida as an alternative to Daytona Beach. By being flexible with your destination and open to the possibility of visiting several places that are essentially the same, you may be able to save money on your trip.
Google Flights is a great tool for quickly comparing flight prices to multiple locations. Consider signing up for a service like Thrifty Traveler Premium, which will send you daily updates with the latest deals on airfare, if you're in search of low prices.
Anderson adds that you should try to avoid flying on weekdays and holidays when demand is high, such as during spring break. Consider changing your departure time from Saturday morning to Friday afternoon. You never know if prices will be lower if you fly on a Monday or Tuesday instead of a Saturday or Sunday unless you look.
Similar reasoning applies to hotel stays. When compared to weekend rates, those for a shorter spring break trip taken during the week may be more affordable.
The Trav Nav's resident travel aficionado, Michelle Steinhardt, insists that guests should take advantage of any hotel's best-rate guarantee offer. Check to see if making a reservation through a third-party site, like Expedia or Kayak, will save you money compared to making a reservation with the hotel directly. It's important to remember, though, that the reservation must be identical in every way. The dates, room type, and cancellation policies must all be the same.
Steinhardt advises that if you find a lower price on a third-party site, you should contact the hotel so that it can verify the lower price. If you find a lower price, the low-price guarantee might even give you a discount or bonus points. ”
You can save money on your trip by "bundling" your services. When you book your hotel and flights through an online travel agency, for instance, you may end up paying less overall.
Check your bookings for hidden fees to avoid spending more than necessary. The final cost of your reservation may include things like taxes, resort fees, and booking charges. Be sure to compare the total booking price, which includes owner fees, service fees, and cleaning fees, when comparing vacation homes or condos on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo.
Don't forget about extra costs, such as checked-baggage fees. Checked baggage fees can be avoided in a number of ways, and doing so can have a significant financial impact.
If you're in the market for a rental car, shop around and see what deals you can find. Expedia and Priceline are two examples of places to go to compare rental car prices; you can also do this directly with the rental car company.
You can then create a rental car profile on AutoSlash, which will monitor your rental period across the industry's leading rental car agencies for the best possible rate.
The CEO of the company, Jonathan Weinberg, says that if you don't pay for your rental car in full at the time of booking, you can save money. Instead, choose the "pay later" option when making your reservation.
After that, AutoSlash will keep checking rental prices and will notify you immediately if it locates a lower one. You can reschedule at a discount if that happens.
What Weinberg calls "a surefire way to avoid overpaying for your rental"
Bon Voyage With Kids creator Keri Baugh recommends prioritizing cost savings when selecting a hotel. For families, she suggests hotels or vacation rentals with kitchens, like the Marriott Residence Inn chain. That way, at the very least, you can save money by eating breakfast in your room.
Baugh assures his guests that they can eat other meals in their room if they bring their own road trip food. "Or use Instacart to have groceries brought to you." While eating at restaurants is an enjoyable part of vacation, this strategy can help save money. ”
Wishful Escapes's resident travel expert Courtney Jackson recommends all-inclusive resorts, which include lodging, meals, and drinks (often alcoholic ones) as part of a single price. The upfront cost of your vacation may be higher, but if you don't have to pay for food, drink, or activities, you'll end up saving a lot of money.
Use a travel agent to get the best deal and expert guidance on a cruise for spring break if that sounds like something you'd enjoy doing.
Plus, if you book through a travel agent, they may be able to get you freebies like onboard credits or cabin upgrades.
Specialist cruise travel agent Tina Robinson-Quirke of TRQ Travel recommends looking into cruise deals right now because of the abundance of enticing offers available.
Additionally, most cruise lines now provide flexible booking policies that are customer-friendly. For cruises departing from Port Canaveral and Miami, Florida on MSC Cruises between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2023, you can change your departure date up to 48 hours before your scheduled departure.
As Robinson-Quirke puts it, "these adaptable policies can make promotions with a non-refundable deposit an attractive option that can significantly reduce the total price of your cruise."
We're all aware that a trip to Disney can put a dent in your bank account, but there are ways to cut costs at the parks.
Leah Johnson, a specialist in Disney vacation packages, recommends that, before booking a stay at any park, you investigate all of Disney's resort options. There are budget hotels with family suites that can accommodate as many as six people. She adds that if you're willing to do some basic cooking during your stay at a Disney resort, you can save money on food.
Johnson claims that if you are willing to stay a short distance from the resorts, you can find many "Good Neighbor" hotels that are significantly less expensive than Disney resorts. She reassures me that these lodgings are up to Disney's high quality and service standards and are conveniently located near the theme parks. They even have shuttles to the parks and a concierge to help you figure out how to spend your day.
If you have any extra rewards you can use for flights, hotels, and more, travel expert Greg Johnson of Club Thrifty recommends checking them out. For instance, if you have a lot of unused airline miles, you could use them for flights or seat upgrades; if you have a lot of unused hotel points, you could use them for a few free nights at a nice hotel; and so on.
Vacation activities like snorkeling and sunset cruises can be reserved in advance with the use of a Chase credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It goes without saying that you can use these points to reserve a variety of travel options, including hotel stays, car rentals, flights, and even cruises, through a website. You can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for anything from car rental gas to groceries and restaurant meals during spring break thanks to the one cent per point redemption rate.
After making $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of opening your Chase Sapphire Preferred account, you will receive 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points as a sign-up bonus. For those who are just starting out in the credit card world and are looking for a solid option with valuable travel rewards, we highly recommend this card.
Although you can save a lot of money on your spring break trip by booking early, you still need a game plan for when you arrive at your destination. It's easy to have too much fun on vacation and then be hit with a massive charge when you get back. The following are some suggestions for minimizing post-arrival spring break expenses.
To avoid overspending on a trip, senior editorial director of TripSavvy, Laura Ratliff, recommends careful budgeting in advance. However, it's important to set reasonable spending limits for things like meals out and mementos at your destination.
She advises, "Don't forget to account for at least one little splurge," which could be anything from a treasured memento to a meal at a hip restaurant or a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You'll have an easier time sticking to your travel budget if you allow yourself to splurge at least once while you're there. ”
While some trips may make it easier to find free things to do than others, Ratliff recommends always keeping an eye out. When on a cruise, for instance, you should spend your time enjoying the ship's free entertainment and lounging by the pool rather than gambling. The resort's property calendar will likely list events that guests can attend for free. Free activities like movie nights by the pool, karaoke parties, and trivia nights are commonplace at spring break hotels.
The benefits of exploration are real, according to Ratliff. Explore the area by learning about the best hiking trails, the best farmers markets, and the best local produce. On the other hand, you could go to a park and watch or listen to a live performance.
When traveling, Steinhardt warns that food costs can quickly add up, especially if eating out is an integral part of the adventure.
On the other hand, you can pick and choose which meals you eat out for, or you can combine meals, to save money. Instead of having breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you could eat brunch and dinner. Lunchtime restaurants are typically much more affordable than their evening counterparts, so you may want to consider eating out only for lunch on some days.
For the time being, the best way to cut costs is to book a room at a hotel where breakfast is included in the room rate. Instead of spending money on three meals a day, you could save money by eating later in the day.
These views are those of the author alone and not of any financial institution, credit card company, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
The prices and promotions mentioned above were accurate at the time of writing, but they could have since changed or no longer be available.
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