After a long period of cold weather, rain, and staying indoors, the times begin to change. The weather gets nicer, the sun comes out, and that can only mean that one thing is approaching: Spring Break, which is almost synonymous with traveling.
For seniors, their senior spring break is a big tradition, go big or go home, however cost can be a factor.
Destin, FL is a very popular destination for Webster students. Gulf Shores, AL is another good, close beach spot. A good destination for seniors looking to go all out is Miami, one of the clubbing capitals of the world. MTV, which holds annual spring break specials, will host the 2012 edition in Las Vegas, which shouldn’t be too fun for people under 21 years old.
While partying with friends and having a good time in the sun sounds amazing, one negative side is the cost. Transportation, lodging, food, drinks, and extra spending money when there all cost money; all the fun you’re going to have isn’t going to be free. Students can try though to minimize costs.
One of the biggest things comes right at the start of a trip- Getting there. The two main options are flying or driving. Plane tickets and gas money are the two biggest factors in each. There’s always the free method of transportation, walking, but in that case more time might be spent healing friend’s leg cramps in Tennessee than partying on the beach in Panama City.
When it comes to buying plane tickets for spring break, the earlier they are purchased the better. The average round trip tickets to Florida this time of year are about $600-700. Since so many people travel during spring break, ticket prices skyrocket around March. Along with that, packing light and stuffing luggage is important as well, bag fees can range from $25 to $50 at first, and can get even higher the more bags there are.
The biggest advantage to flying is the short amount of time it takes to get there, which only maximizes vacation time.
While plane tickets aren’t cheap, road trips can add up as well, especially if staying at a hotel on the way to the destination. Driving a straight shot while only stopping at rest stops and for food breaks is the way to go.
Cars with good gas mileage are a must. The extra space in a Suburban might sound like an amenity, but the 15 miles/gallon would be much worse than going in a friend’s Honda or Toyota sedan.
Avoiding toll roads is a good idea too. Google Maps can give directions to destinations, along with an option to go around any toll roads. Also, websites and apps for phones, like Gas Buddy, show the lowest gas prices at a given area. Driving is a fun experience though, and the car can be packed with way more luggage and could possibly be more comfortable as compared to flying.
Hotels can be a bit complicated. There is a wide range of prices, depending on things such as location, how nice the hotel is, how booked it is, etc. Expect average hotel prices in Florida to be around $100 to $200 a night. Motels, such as Super 8 Motel, can be found cheaper but renters shouldn’t expect more than a bed and bathroom. The best thing to do is to have as many people in a room as possible, in order to only have to split the cost for one room. People can take turns sleeping on the floor, and besides, a lot of time most likely won’t be spent in the hotel anyways.
When it comes to spending money on things to do at your destination, it shouldn’t be much of a problem at all. If there’s a beach in the area, the vacation is pretty much set. A swimsuit, ball, towel and Frisbee are the perfect items to have. When not at the beach, some options can include walking around town, going out to eat or even hanging out at the hotel. Things like shopping or activities like scuba diving or jet skiing would be on the more expensive side, and prices wildly vary with different destinations and options.
Food can hit wallets hard. If a meal plan includes Starbucks every morning and steak dinners every night, a second job might be required to pay off those food bills, but there are ways to minimize food spending. If it’s a road trip, pack the car with easy on the go foods that won’t go bad. A few cheap boxes of cereal bars, a cooler with drinks and sandwiches and a couple of other foods that won’t go bad will save a ton of money compared to eating out. Finding a local supermarket can provide low cost meals too. When going out to eat, McDonalds and TGIF are some examples of cheap places to eat out.
Spring break definitely isn’t cheap but doing some of the things above along with getting a good number of friends to go with where everyone pitches in can help a lot. Spring break is meant to be fun, not a headache-giving money eating experience.