By Candice Cerro • February 04, 2014
School days are long gone for me so I no longer get to enjoy a week off in the spring, yet I’m not a parent yet to enjoy the extra time with my kids. I do, however, still get the itch to have a “spring break.” Each year I try to plan a mini getaway between March and May to enjoy the warmer weather and recharge. Since budget is, first and foremost, a major concern when booking travel, I wanted to share my inexpensive Spring Break travel ideas. Though it may seem early to be thinking about it, now is the time to start planning. It will give you something to look forward to on a cold winter’s day.
Getting Mobile with Travel – Mobile apps are a great resource when booking travel these days. For instance, the free app from Hotels.com helps travelers find last-minute accommodations with the “Tonight’s Local Deals.” This is a great option for the spontaneous spring breaker who wants to find something to do, that can be easily traveled to in a short amount of time, on a wild whim. For those who plan a little farther in advance, they can still use the Expedia app to save up to 40% off hotels with exclusive deals only available on the app. Once you leave for you trip, make sure to use GateGuru if traveling by plane. Gate Guru keeps users posted in real-time on any updates to itineraries such as security wait times, flight delays, gate changes or layover time adjustments. For those flying through an unfamiliar airport, GateGuru provides a wealth of airport information while immediately showing a signature visual representation of the airport.
The Whole Enchilada – If you do want that typical, lying on a beach, margarita in hand experience, then go for it! Just make sure you travel in smart ways to maximize savings. Try to book a month in a half in advance for U.S. travel as the flights will be cheapest then. If you are going internationally, flight prices should be about their lowest three months in advance. Likewise, try to travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays to get the best deals on airfare and hotel rooms. If you fly in on a Tuesday and leave on Saturday, you’re going to get a great deal! Also, google when the peak travel season is for the destination you’re hoping to go to. If you aren’t tied to the actual week of spring break, maybe try to go just before or just after to find the cheapest rates.
A Train to Anywhere – Since I live on the California coast, this might be more exciting based on my location, but one of my favorite things to do is hop on an Amtrak train and travel either a little over an hour North to Santa Barbara, or go South to Orange County or San Diego. My friends and I have used this to go wine tasting for the day or to go to the horse races near San Diego. We love to kick back, let someone else drive (conduct?), have a cocktail and enjoy the view of the ocean. If you want to turn it into an overnight trip, no problem! It’s still an affordable way to get away to some place close, but not too close, and enjoy the mode of transportation. Maybe it’s just me, but I really do think the train is a blast.
Being informed – Comparison shop for bundled deals, try using the frequent flier and points programs. What better way to reward yourself for accruing all those points with your work travel, then going on a vacation at a discounted price, or even for free! When it does come time to book, if you have a AAA card, find out if the hotel you want to stay at offers a discount. Also use providers that offer payback like CheapAir.com for airline tickets and Tingo.com for hotel rooms. Then if you book your trip and the prices end up going down, you will get paid back the difference. If gives you the peace of mind if you do like to book early.
I hope your spring break if off the charts! Now I’m trying to decide if I want to go to Las Vegas, or do a train destination getaway, either way, I’m following these guidelines!
Candice Cerro Candice Cerro is passionate about never paying full price for anything and wants to help as many people as possible achieve the same goal. When she's not not searching for the best deals online, she can found running in half marathons, reading, and spending time with her family.