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For most college students, going away on spring break is a rite of passage, an item to check off of the “college experience” bucket list. While taking a trip with friends for spring break can be a blast, and you’ll make memories that you’ll talk about for years to come, a big trip can cause your bank account to take a major hit. However, there are ways that you can have your dream trip and still save a lot of money. If you can’t allocate a lot of money for this trip, here’s how you can save on your spring break trip.

Planning the trip

  • Get a travel rewards card. If you use a credit card for most of your purchases, and you responsibly pay your credit card bill in a timely matter, you should look into getting a travel rewards card to help pay for your trip. Most cards, such as the Chase Sapphire credit card or the BarclayCard Arrival will give you 20,000-60,000 bonus points just for signing up, and you can earn points for all of your purchases – even double points on food and travel related purchases. If you plan ahead and get a travel rewards card months before your trip, by the time you go to book your flight or hotel, you will have wracked up thousands of points to help you pay for it.
  • Use flight booking hacks. There are tons of hacks out there for the cheapest time to buy tickets. Some think that booking on a Tuesday morning will get you the best deal, because sales usually start on Monday nights. You can also wait to book a last minute flight, which could get you a better deal because the airline company will want to fill as many seats on the plane as possible. On the other hand, if you book far in advance, this might secure you a lower price. Do some research and figure out how to get the best deal for your flight, since the flight is generally the most expensive part of a trip. Sites such as Expedia, Kayak, Hotwire, and Priceline will compare prices for you and give you the best deals on flights and hotels. You can do some research and know you are getting the best price. Also keep in mind that prices might go up for the week you want to travel because other schools are also on spring break and there is competition for seats on flights. Booking ahead could minimize this issue.
  • Plan an all-inclusive trip. Headed to Cancun, the Bahamas, or some other popular spring break destination? You can stay at an all-inclusive resort and pay one price for your rooms, food, drinks, and excursions. Oftentimes these are the cheapest, safest options for spring breakers.

Saving money while traveling

  • Split hotel rooms. If you’re traveling with friends, you can fit 4-6 people in one room. This will greatly lower the cost you pay for accommodations.
  • Eat like a local. You don’t have to binge on Taco Bell and McDonalds in order to eat frugally. Ask for recommendations of hole-in-the-wall eateries or do some research to find some. You can experience amazing local cuisine without breaking the bank.
  • Designate your money, and set limits. It is always a good idea to set limits in different money categories when traveling. Allocate money for food, souvenirs, experiences, and set aside an emergency fund. Knowing your limits will help you spend consciously.

These are some of my top tips for doing spring break on a budget. If you do some research, plan ahead, and are conscious of your spending, you can make spring break not only fun but affordable too!