Spring break will be here before you know it. If you have some savings set aside and some time off work, you could easily join the tens of thousands of people who head to the beach. Or maybe you want to take a trip, such as a hike up into the mountains to get away from it all.
Whatever your fancy, spring break is your chance to get away, so you might as well make it count. Here are nine money-saving tips that can help you get the most bang for your buck:
1. Drive, don’t fly
You can save a bundle on domestic airfare by skipping flights and driving to your destination instead. Even if you have to rent a car, that can be a lot cheaper than forking over hundreds of dollars to fly the whole family.
Driving may limit your travel options, but there are still great spring break destinations within driving distance. And you can save even more money by taking the bus.
2. Cash out credit card rewards
Travel credit cards offer a smart way to get hotel stays and flights for free. Many even offer a signup bonus worth hundreds of dollars in travel.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, for example, doles out a signup bonus of 50,000 points, worth approximately $625 when redeemed for travel, after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening.
3. Skip the hottest destinations
Hot destinations like Miami Beach and Las Vegas tend to attract more the largest hordes of spring breakers every year, which is why you could save a bundle by going off the beaten path.
Consider staying a few towns away from the most popular resort destinations and you’ll save on lodging, food, and attractions.
You can save a bundle by bringing some bringing a bag of snacks and basic meal ingredients if your accommodations have a kitchen. Depending on the rules and regulations of your resort, you might even be able to bring your own adult beverages.
5. Take a cheap cruise
Another way to go all-inclusive without flying outside the U.S. is booking a budget cruise. If you can drive to a cruise port, it’s possible to score an all-inclusive cruise that includes your lodging, meals, and port stops for an average price of just $50 per person per day.
6. Go with friends
Want to spread the costs of spring break around some? If so, planning a trip with friends is a great way to lower costs for everyone involved. With enough people, you may be able to book a large beach home or mountain lodge at a discounted rate.
7. Fly a discount airline
Discount airlines like Southwest, Spirit, and Allegiant let you fly to certain destinations for a lot less than you think. Southwest frequently offers sales with destinations starting at $49 per leg, and the same can be said for the other discount carriers.
Just make sure to check for added fees. With Allegiant, for example, you have to pay extra to select your seat or even bring a carry-on bag.
8. Book a travel package
Websites like Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, and CheapCaribbean.com offer discounted rates if you book your hotel and airfare in a single package. CheapCaribbean.com promises package discounts of up to 65 percent off.
9. Stay local
If you’re hoping to keep out-of-pocket costs to a minimum this spring break, taking a trip closer to home.
No matter where you live, there’s always something to see, from Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to Legoland in San Diego, California. There are also a ton of indoor water parks all over the country in destinations you might not expect.
Look around for cheaper things to do in your area if you want to have fun with your kids without breaking the bank. Your kids won’t know how much you spent, but the memories you make will be priceless.