Nature comes alive in springtime and we all want to take advantage of the warmer weather. However, some of our finances may still be recovering from our holiday spending, making a spring break seem like a pipe dream. Here are five ways to take a vacation without breaking the bank.
1. Take a road trip. Find a vacation destination that's within driving distance to slash the costs of airfare, which can be expensive for college kids or larger families.
Although fuel is still pricey, you can find the cheapest gas stations along your route by using the GasBuddy app. Pack your own snacks and water to save even more.
2. Think beyond hotels for accommodation. A little creativity can go a long way when it comes to saving money. For instance, you can rent a room or two from a local via Airbnb.
Consider couch surfing for a free stay if you're traveling solo, or purchase another traveler's non-refundable room reservation at a discount via RoomerTravel.com or Cancelon.com. Other options include searching for cheaper rates at hostels, where you can find private rooms for groups/families, or you can find inexpensive camping sites through ReserveAmerica.com.
3. Plan for unexpected costs. Budgeting for airfare and lodging are no-brainers when it comes to your spring break trip, but don't forget to factor in smaller expenses such as tolls and dining. Avoid pricey fees for checked bags and in-flight entertainment by packing a smaller carry-on and bringing plenty of books to stay busy during long flights. If you have a credit card with travel rewards, check which services you can get at a discount. Make sure you use the correct airline, hotel and car rental chain if your card has brand-specific benefits. Don't have a travel card? Check out our list of travel credit card offers.
Don't forget about furbabies! If you can't bring your pet on your trip, look for a safer, lower-cost option over a kennel. At sites like Rover.com, you can find affordable care with trusted pet-sitters in your area. The site provides user ratings so you can read reviews and meet the sitter before your trip to feel even more confident that your dog or cat is in good hands.
4. Save on attractions. You can often score a deal on tickets for theme parks, aquariums and zoos by pre-booking online in advance. For example, Six Flags Theme Parks offer up to $25 off to those who buy their tickets online. Remember to check warehouse store offerings on entertainment for big discounts.
5. Be your own guide. Guided tours are a great way to explore new cities, but they can get costly. Instead, download a self-guided tour app to do it yourself on the cheap. For instance, the AnyTour app allows users to listen to a guided tour narrated by locals. The app offers GPS-enabled maps, guidebook and descriptions that can be read while the audio plays.
The Field Trip app uses your location to find historic sites, shops and even offers a "special deals nearby" feature. Meanwhile, Historypin identifies local landmarks wherever you are, providing historic and design details for you to take in.
Follow these five tips to take a break this spring and stay within your budget.
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