We’ve all been waiting for a break from this cold, dreary winter. 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 things to do for spring break.
Best things to do 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, Florida, 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 I was with. 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.
Worst things to do 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, 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. I put together a Vacation Budget Worksheet to help you make a plan for your money so you can focus on enjoying your trip. This worksheet can also help you determine if 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!
Rachel Cruze is New York Times best-selling author, and host of ‘The Rachel Cruze Show’ and ‘The Rachel Cruze Show Podcast.” She helps people learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at www.rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.