Spring Break for Cheap
By Leah Westfall
March 04, 2010
So you’re working to pay for college but all your mind seems to focus on is sun, beaches and well, babes? Of course your body has taken a mental vacation, you’ve just suffered through four months of winter hibernation and every inch of you is screaming “enough already!”
It’s finally here, the unofficial spring break season has begun. Below are a few ideas on how to get away without blowing a big chunk of your college savings.
Don’t Sweat it if You’re at Home
If you just can’t swing the tropical getaway this year, don’t sweat it. There are other things you can do to enjoy your time off.
- Visit a friend or relative. Get in touch with someone you haven’t seen in awhile and ask if you can come out for a visit. It’ll be like a mini vacation, breaking routine and getting away without the cost of a hotel. Look into alternative travel options to a car to save on gas money such as Amtrack or Megabus. If you are driving, bring a friend along and make a road trip out of it.
- Discover a new place. Find a new or old theatre, book store or café and spend some time there, it may just become your favorite spot. When under a set schedule you may not have time to wander and come across hidden gems so take advantage of the time off and get lost for awhile.
- Join a gym and start a routine. Or if your school has a gym use it (your tuition dollars are most likely paying for it!) Take a class that you’ve wanted to try but just couldn’t squeeze in because of your test/midterm/final or work.
- Watch a show. Been hearing all about “Lost” but haven’t seen a single episode? Now’s your time. If you get bored with it turn it off, just because you start season one through five doesn’t mean you have to finish it.
- Stay at home. So some of your friends are off doing whatever it is they do on spring break, that doesn’t mean you have to go into seclusion. Spend time with whoever is around mom, dad, sister, brother even grandma. When you‘re away at school you may miss these people more than that guy or girl from the beach.
If You Have to Get Away
If you crave a standard spring break experience, look into student travel websites.
Travel sites focused on students often offer discounts to the top places students want to go to most. For example STATravel.com is offering flight and hotel packages for under $500. Cancun anyone? Six days and five nights at the notorious hot spot will run you $459 according to the website but after going through the booking process and including taxes and fees, no trip (hotel and flight) came out under $800.
Shop around; doing the leg work now may save you money in the end. Some other student travel web sites include efcollegebreak.com, studentuniverse.com and springbreaktravel.com. Be aware of cancelation policies, insurance and other extra charges like airline baggage fees. Know exactly what you are getting before you book anything.
Make the “Most” of Spring Break: Add These to Your To-Do Listr to-do list:
- Catch up on your scholarship applications! Deadlines creep up fast so use your time off to get those last minute applications in, or get started on a few with distant deadlines to get them out of the way.
- Start searching for a summer job/internship. Many companies and organizations have deadlines for summer job/internships as early as February. Start searching and submitting applications now to ensure you won’t be shut out.
- Work-to save cash for the rest of the semester. With coworkers taking time off to go away, you may be able to pick up some extra hours at work, save up and put it toward your tuition.
- Get a jump start on your school work for the rest of the semester. Although you should enjoy the time away from class, take some time to get ahead on school work. Without the added stress of deadlines and class you’ll be able to knock out some reading or a paper and will feel ahead of the game when classes resume.
By not blowing your hard-earned cash on a tropical vacation, you can stay focused on what really matters to you, college. Try to remember that getting into or staying at one of your top picks will be much more worth it than a few days away at party central.