Try these tips for having fun on a limited budget.
Everybody in the North can use a break from the cold winter, and even residents in the South need to chill somewhere away from school. Well, for students (and their families) across the country, it’s finally here: spring break! But as much as you’ve been pining for sunshine and a beach, spring break isn’t an excuse to bust the budget, or worse, go into debt.
Your money goals shouldn’t change based on the time of year. So, to help you save money, here’s my list of best and worst plans for spring break.
Stay stateside. Driving is pretty much always the cheapest way to travel, so check out a destination within five or six hours of where you live. If you have to fly, you’ll save money if you stay within the United States versus going to an overseas destination.
Visit Southern beaches. I’m not just saying this because I’m from the South. Destinations like Daytona Beach, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, are absolutely gorgeous. You can find hotel deals in both cities for around $75 per night.
Stay with friends. When I look back on my spring breaks, it’s not the places I remember as much as the people. Do you have a friend you haven’t seen in a while who lives in a cool city that would be fun to visit? You’ll both save money and make the most of your time off by staying at the each other’s places for spring break.
Get a timeshare. Timeshares are one of the top sellers in the travel industry, but they’re also one of the biggest scams on the market today. Think about it. Why spend thousands of dollars on a place you might get to enjoy one week a year? Oh, and you never have any equity in the place. If you’re already stuck with one, it is possible to get out from under it. Timeshare Exit Team is dedicated to helping timeshare owners dissolve their unwanted timeshare contracts, legally and forever.
Go to Disney World. Listen, I love me some Disney. I am totally convinced it’s the happiest place on earth—except during spring break. Why spend all that money to go during the time of year when everyone else has the exact same idea? If you go just before or after spring break, you’ll find shorter lines, happier kids and possibly a better deal.
Use a credit card. Seventy-four percent of Americans have gone into debt for a vacation, so when the Fourth of July rolls around, they’re probably still paying off spring break. Like my dad, financial guru Dave Ramsey, always says, “The best vacations are the ones that don’t follow you home.” Putting a vacation on a credit card isn’t a good option. Don’t let our culture tell you that just because everyone else is doing it, you should, too.
If you’re planning to travel over spring break, there are plenty of ways to do it on a budget. Use a budget worksheet of all expenses to help you plan so you can focus on enjoying your trip. This worksheet also can help you determine whether taking a vacation really is within your budget. If you can’t afford it this year, start saving up the cash and go on an amazing spring break next year. The beach will always be there.
About the writer → As a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, host of “The Rachel Cruze Show” and “The Rachel Cruze Show Podcast,” Rachel helps people learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @RachelCruze and online at rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.