Spring break may be full of fun, sun and adventure for students and families who plan ahead, budget wisely or just have travel as a priority when it comes to spending. Some make wise, thoughtful decisions on where to go, while others head out on the open road with no plans at all. Spring break can be a time of renewing, head-clearing goodness that resets brainpower, allowing a return to school or work refreshed and ready to go forward.
Unless you’re broke.
Without some money, a lot of Spring break ideas never happen. Here then, at the last minute, are some cheap spring break ideas for broke people.
Obviously, A Road Trip Works
Other than walking or going nowhere, Spring break via automobile is about as cheap as it gets so road trip options are for sure on the table. But instead of planning a trip half-way across the country, burning up time to get to the beach, national park, fabulous city or some other “main event,” why not look right in your own back yard?
I was surprised at the number of attractions, mostly free, that I found within 50 miles of our home, and we live in Orlando, the attraction capital of the world. You won’t have to search Gadling very far to find a plethora of posts with a travel-like-a-local flavor. Most commonly we use that information to get the most out of destinations not visited before. Turn that app around and see what may be hiding just down the street. The results may surprise you.Smartcations
Best understood as bundling applied to vacations, smartcations have travel service providers collaborating to put air, hotel, rental cars and more together. The result: lower overall cost than by booking each element separately. Nothing really new there; airlines have been suggesting, “would you like a hotel with that?” at online check-out for years.
What is new and applicable for broke people is widening the search to include deal sites like Groupon or Living Social. For our purposes here, those with limited travel funds often find that going the smartcations route can enable otherwise abandoned travel plans to happen. Better yet, some allow us to play the pied-piper role, encouraging others (broke) like us to take advantage of the offer.
Smartcation options are available for destinations around the world, including tropical islands.
Vacation Home Rentals
What was once the lifestyle of the nearly-rich and famous travel option, renting someone else’s fabulous vacation home while they are away at one of their other fabulous homes has come down considerably in price, across the board. Thank you Mr. Recent Recession.
In Florida, for example, bank-owned foreclosure homes are often rented for not much more that they cost in taxes. Banks figure something is better than nothing, which has opened up a whole new market of budget accommodations.
Especially attractive to larger groups of close friends in a “lets set up our own hostel” sort of way, vacation home properties number in the tens of thousands. Most come completely furnished and ready to use and may include the security of a gated community, preset services like cable TV and/or a pool. Homeaway is a good source to start with but renting vacation homes has become such a popular option that their Tripadvisor category numbers over 275,000 properties.
Vacation homes are available all over the United States, Canada and even safe places to visit in Mexico.
A Short Cruise With A Lot Of People
Three- or four-day cruise vacations (AKA Party Cruises), bought at the last minute (convenient for you since this is the last minute) can be a good option for those with limited travel funds. Sailing from Florida to the Bahamas, the domain of three-day cruises, prices might run about $200 per person, based on double occupancy (two people per stateroom), tax included.
But third and/or fourth people sharing the same room come in at a discounted rate. Add it all up and divide the total price by the number of people and that $200 per person charge could drop to nearly half that.
Mom, Dad and the kids? Beware of short cruises, especially the three-day booze cruises that run over a weekend. This might not be the wholesome family entertainment you had in mind. On the other hand, there’s no time like the present for teaching valuable life skills like how to avoid obnoxious drunks, even at an early age.
But which cruise to choose? Again looking for the best value, consider a tour operator that specializes in just this sort of travel, but includes more in the price. StudentCity is a huge student tour operator, specializing in Spring Break trips for high school and college students.
“Come party with us in the best tropical destinations and at the hottest nightclubs on the map, with world-class DJs and talent,” says StudentCity of this video:
[Photo credit - Flickr user Tostie14]