Spring break is a truly iconic college experience, portrayed in movies and in television shows as that no-holds-bar, must-have young people's experience, usually featuring a warm, beach-y destination domestically, like Miami, Florida, or internationally, like Cancún, Mexico.
Yet as all college students on a budget know, travel is expensive—from airfare and hotel prices to food and drink budgets.
To help combat the funding issues students face, here are five different ideas for spring-breakers on a budget.
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1. Alternative Spring Break
Many colleges offer what is called an "alternative spring break," in which students, instead of lying on a beach somewhere, volunteer at different sites across the country, contributing to civic engagement projects such environmental protection, public health, hunger relief, education, housing, and more.
If you're interested in volunteer work, an alternative spring break
may be the perfect option for you.
With fundraising, your fee for the trip (including airfare, lodging, and food) may be less than the cost of a one-way plane ticket to warmer weather.
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I've heard about this one through friends who've studied abroad in Europe, but Airbnb
exists in the United States, too!
Airbnb, which is the name of the website
, is an alternative to hotel or motel lodging (which is expensive even when it's "cheap"), allowing travelers the opportunity to stay in the homes and apartments of others while they're away.
Listings start at a fraction of the price of the cheapest hotels, anywhere from $20 to $50 a night.
3. Local Summer Homes and Cabins
An alternative to hopping on a plane is hopping in a car, and an alternative to a hotel is a family summer home or cabin.
If you can afford groceries and splitting gas among friends, you can have the experience of "getting away"—plus hanging out in a cabin with a bunch of friends sounds like it would make for an unforgettable week.
It might sound boring to stay on-campus for the duration of spring break, but if you plan it out with a couple of friends—including sleepovers, brunches around town, and day trips to nearby attractions (parks, ice skating rinks, museums, etc.)—it can end up being a lot of fun.
If your school kicks you out of the dorms for the week, you can ask if any of your friends with apartments would be willing to host you for a couple of nights. Offer to pay them back in food, movie tickets, and chai tea lattés!
5. Working Break
If you're strapped for cash, maybe working over the break is the best choice for you.
If you already have a part-time or campus job, you might be able to pick up some extra hours over the break - especially if any college-aged co-workers are going away and need shift coverage.
Working may not sound like fun, but having a little extra cash in your pocket will allow you the freedom to treat yourself in other ways.
There are always alternative ways to spend your spring break if you're not into the typical "spring break." Get ideas of what you can do to make your spring break the most productive yet!