By now, winter break is probably a fond memory you wish you could return to…back to relaxing nights with family, grandma’s famous pies, and mornings spent in your pajamas. Well, fear not hardworking men and women of the world. Spring break is almost here to give you the rest and relaxation you desperately need, and Direct Auto Insurance is here to help you plan an awesome spring break trip—but for less! Follow along as we detail our top tips and tricks to help you save money on your dream spring break vacation.
Make a plan…to not plan. When it comes to planning vacations, procrastinating isn’t always a bad thing. Turns out, it could actually save you money! Sometimes the best deals can be found at the last minute. Often, an airline may offer a late-notice discount when seats aren’t full on a plane, or a hotel may offer a same-day discount on rooms that haven’t been filled. (Psst! Hotel Tonight is a great app for finding last-minute deals on top hotels in major cities!) Another great tip? Take a staycation and spend a few days and nights away from home in your own town. Book an awesome Airbnb in a neighborhood you’ve never been to (with a great price, hopefully) and see your city with fresh eyes!
Learn to bargain your Airbnb price. Speaking of Airbnb’s…while it’s not customary to haggle on Airbnb, there are situations where a price may be lowered. According to Mashable, the quickest way to get a discount is to ask, but do so “delicately.” A host may be willing to offer a discount if they have a last-minute vacancy or you’re looking to stay for a longer period of time. However, be careful not to offend them. If you ask nicely and they politely decline, move on to another listing. It’s not worth getting a bad review over! Even if you can’t secure a lower rate, look for a host that offers perks that could save you money in other ways, like a host that offers snacks, laundry supplies, or bicycles for getting around town.
Get your most important meal of the day for free! If you end up booking a hotel room, find one that comes with a free breakfast. Some hotels only offer a continental breakfast (juice, cereal, bread, etc.) but others offer a full spread with everything from fluffy scrambled eggs to Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries. Save money by filling up your stomach early on and stashing non-perishable breakfast items (like granola bars) in your purse or backpack. You’ll need the energy to explore!
Be a student of life. Ready to get an A+ in saving money? If you’re a college or graduate student, chances are you have a student ID. Wherever your spring break adventure takes you, bring your ID with you and mention that you have one, especially when booking tours, tickets, and lodging. You may be surprised how many places offer student discounts, even some restaurants and bars. Thanks, education system!
The more, the merrier! Though a solo trip can be ultra-rewarding, spring break can be a lot more fun and cost-effective with a group of friends. Perks of vacationing with a large group of friends include: creating playlists together that you can jam to in the car, laughing at the friend who always snores, and splitting the costs of lodging, travel, and even food. A big group can make a big difference when it comes to paying for that dream vacay.
Release your inner chef. If you’re traveling with a group and have access to a kitchen, use it! Create a meal plan for each day, use locally sourced ingredients, and split the cost of groceries. (Remember: the more, the merrier!) If you’ve got a friend who likes to play “Top Chef,” even better. Instead of spending $15-$20 per meal, you could be spending closer to $5 per meal by splitting grocery costs with your friends. Short on recipe ideas? Start with these cheap dinner recipes you can make in less than 30 minutes!
Once you’re at your destination, be social. Talking to locals wherever you go will up your chances of finding better places to eat and drink. Although these places may be off the beaten path, they’re often cheaper than touristy restaurants and shops. And who doesn’t like making new friends? Go ahead, tell them about your plan to write the next great science fiction novel, travel the world, or invent something new. If you’re not sure where the locals like to hang, dig into free travel apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Time Out to find hidden restaurants, on-off happenings, popular concerts, and cools shops in your new city. You’ll be mingling like a local in no time!
With tips like these, you’re ready to pull together a cheap spring break trip that doesn’t disappoint. If you’re short on time but still want to get away, we can help there too! How about a short road trip that only requires one tank of gas? Check out our post on One Tank Destinations. All you need is a tank of gas, a bag full of snacks, and a car of friends!