For many college students across the U.S., the spring semester is in full swing. Many have had midterm exams already and are furiously looking for a summer job or internship in their respective degrees.
Universities that operate on a semester schedule generally work with similar timelines. For example, during the fall, most schools have a break for Thanksgiving and a few weeks later, the semester is over as everyone heads home for the holidays.
During the spring semester, the big break is a notorious one: spring break. This is the time students look to take a week off from their studies to relax and have fun someplace warm.
But without saving money and strict planning, students can quickly find themselves unable to enjoy spring break with their friends.
A majority of college students find money difficult to come by, but lucky for them, it is still possible for them to afford a spring break trip with proper budgeting and research.
"Students may actually find it better to go places that don't attract as many other spring breakers."
The first phase of saving money for a spring break trip is to get a reliable group together. By reliable, this means your travel companions are dedicated to going on the trip. This is important because by getting anywhere from five to 10 friends, you can drastically lower the costs of traveling, from gas to paying for hotel rooms.
Once you get a group together, you'll want to settle on a destination for your trip. According to U.S. News & World Report, the top spring break destinations include:
- Cancun, Mexico
- South Padre Island, Texas
- Puerto Rico
- San Diego
- Miami Beach, Florida
Other popular areas include beach resorts in Florida and Alabama. Trips that involve airfare and possible baggage fees will undoubtedly be more expensive than those where you can get a car and go on a road trip. With a full car, everyone can pitch in for gas. Road trips are even more enticing currently, because gas prices are well below $3 per gallon in most of the country.
Save money on traveling
While the above list contains some of the popular spring break destinations, students may actually find it better to go places that don't attract as many other springer breakers. As Money Under 30 put it, popular destinations will increase their prices on amenities, food, drinks and lodging.
Where you decide to spend spring break depends on what type of vacation you're looking for. If you and your friends are looking to just relax, choose an unorthodox location.
If, however you do decide to book a flight, scour the Internet for the best deals. Check out websites such as TravelZoo, Expedia, Delta Vacations and Travelocity to find cheap flights and bundles. Look at these websites and set up alerts so you can always have the latest information when it comes to deals.
When it comes to getting a hotel room, you will likely end up sharing it with a few others, and in most instances, more people will rest up then there will be beds. Four to six people can get one room together, and this includes some of you and your friends sleeping on the floor. Before you book the room, make sure your friends are committed because now the room's cost can be evenly split.
Likewise, ensure the room is comfortable enough for those who will be sleeping on the floor. Some hotels even offer to put a cot in the room.
Travel with the necessities
To further cut down on costs, bring as much as you can comfortably can for the vacation, including food. Consider heading to a store that sells in bulk so you don't have to spend too much on groceries or eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Since this is spring break and you're in college, you should also bring your own beverages, provided you and your travel companions are over 21 years old.
Keep in mind that bringing your own food is easier if you're doing a road trip.
Saving for spring break
After all the planning and finalizing of prices, now comes the most difficult part: paying for everything. Avoid charging all of your expenses to a credit card because if you can't afford the vacation right now, you will end up paying interest on it.
"Do not dip into your student loan funds to cover the expenses."
Furthermore, do not dip into your student loan funds to cover the expenses. That money is for your education.
If you already have a job, whether on campus or someplace else, ask your boss if you can pick up extra shifts in advance of your trip. You will likely have to change your spending habits in order to make it easier to save money. Cut out unnecessary expenses, such as a daily cup of coffee when you can easily brew a pot in your apartment.
The same also applies if you find yourself stopping for lunch in between class. Instead, head to the grocery store at the beginning of the week and buy food that you can eat throughout the week.
If you haven't discovered already, eating out while in college is one of the biggest expenses because seemingly everyone wants to always go out to grab a meal. Commit yourself to saving for spring break by staying in and cooking your own meals. You will not only save money, but you can also eat healthier.
Utilize savings tools
Finally, you want to make sure your money works for you. By opening a savings account, you will have a place to put your money and watch it grow over time.
For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.
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