Being flexible with your travel dates can help save money on spring break.
After the long winter months, it seems like spring can’t get here soon enough.
But if you think that being on a budget will put a damper on your travel plans, not to worry. Get out of your apartment and away from the books for spring break by following these easy tips to let loose on the cheap.
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Visit a big city
There are plenty of cities with tons to offer that aren’t popular spring break hangouts. For the budget-conscious, that means great rates on hotel rooms and less crowds. Check out sites like Priceline for cheap hotel rates, and find out about city passes that let you pay one low price for several attractions.
Check resorts for special offers
If you start early and look for bargains on resort special offer pages, you can get a great spring break deal at popular destinations like Orlando and Disney World.
Track your airfare online
Once you have your flight booked, that’s no reason to not be on the lookout for a cheaper rate. You might be in for a better deal if the price drops. Use an online tracking system like Yapta to keep track of your flight for you. If the rate drops, Yapta helps you get a refund for the difference, meaning you may be able to lock in the better deal before you fly.
Become a voluntourist
Voluntourism is a new trend increasing in popularity, where people — usually civic-minded college students — combine their vacation with helping others in need. One popular voluntourist destination is New Orleans, where you can soak up the ambiance of this popular destination while helping those still affected by storm damage. Doing an Internet search on the word voluntourism will pull up tons of opportunities from all over the world, and in many locations grateful locals are happy to offer discounts on accommodations.
Visit a national park
National parks in the U.S. and Canada fill up in summer, making campsites hard to come by and costly, but during spring break they are less crowded and not as expensive. Take a canoe trip through the longest mangrove forest on Florida’s East coast at Biscayne National Park, or compete in a scavenger hunt at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And, best of all, if you visit during National Park Week, which runs from April 22 – 26, 2013, you can experience the beauty of a national park without paying an entrance fee.
Take a trip to Europe
Like national parks, Europe doesn’t hit its peak tourist season until summer, which makes spring break a great time to go for a visit. It might mean starting your spring break a little early or ending it a little late, but the lower cost and sheer cultural value more than makes up for it.
Be flexible about when you go
If you aren’t in college, have young kids and hate noise and crowds, define your own spring break. Arriving three or four days before spring break typically starts, or one or two days after it ends, can mean big savings on rooms and attractions, not to mention less noise and crowding at your favorite tourist spots. Spring break dates usually vary anyway depending on the college, so check with lodgings at your destination to find out when that area’s local schools let the kids out to party.
Photo credit: iStockphoto/PeskyMonkey