By Selina Iglesias
Spring Break is one of the most anticipated happenings of the spring semester. While it can be tempting to splurge on food, fashion and fun during Spring Break, whether you’re kicking it back at the beach or taking a road trip with friends or family, your wallet and conscience will thank you for spending money wisely. Below are the top four tips and tricks for celebrating Spring Break on a budget.
- Look for deals. Comparing rental car prices or airfare, hotel rates, gas prices and other essentials for your trip can be very useful. There are many sites like Kayak.com and Hotwire that compare rental car prices. Student Universe also provides airfare exclusively to college students. Signing up is free and is required to use this airfare finder. Student Universe verifies students status through their campus via email. Hotels also offer group rates and student rates, especially during Spring Break season. Some bus programs also give discounts to students.There are many apps, like Gasbuddy, that allow you to find gas price comparisons, too. Be sure to also bring along your student ID, as some main attractions or restaurants will discount students.
- Split the expenses. Dividing up the gas money, hotel rates and other expenses between your group can make everyone’s lives a little easier. As mentioned before, if you start saving early, it will make your Spring Break more enjoyable. Sit down with your travel posse and make estimations for all of the expenses for Spring Break. This means calculating food costs for road trips or the hotel, gas costs for the whole trip and back, airfare (if any), emergency funds and souvenir money. Everyone in the group should also have their own cash to have for their own individual use. Working as a team will allow everyone to feel less pressure about affording the trip. Agree to have responsibility beforehand and start saving up together.
- Look for alternatives when possible. Short on cash? Don’t stress. There are many traveling options that are on the cheap side besides driving and flying. Check the Greyhound station and see if there are any rides available. If this is still expensive, there is a cheaper option called Mega Bus. Mega Bus provides its services at a low cost and even has Wifi on their vehicles. For example, a round-trip for two people from Mobile, AL to Orlando, FL is a total of 48 dollars from March 28 to April 5. Avoiding fast food can also give you more bang for your buck. Student Lydia Nelson finds that buying individual bags of nuts, dried fruit, and pretzels can be a good, healthy snack. “In my everyday life, I like to buy small baggies of cashews, cranberries, raisins and other seeds or fruits to make my very own trail mix,” Nelson said. “Dollar General offers bags [of them] for a dollar. Making my own trail mix saves me a lot of money, and it also helps me keep mindful of my eating habits, even on vacation.” Pack a cooler to store healthy fruits, sandwiches made from home and other food items to help avoid stuffing your face with fries and Big Macs.
- Use cash instead of card. As easy as it is to swipe that plastic card, it is a better idea to use cash. When the bills begin to disappear from your wallet, it can make you aware of how much left you have to spend. A card seems unlimited. “I always feel safer using the physical thing,” said FSU student Miriah Jones. “I don’t always have time to check my bank account when I’m on the move, and using cash helps me budget.”
10 Things to do in Pensacola for Spring Break:
- Take advantage of the Sunshine State and hit up the beach.
- Road trip to surrounding areas such as Alabama, Destin or Ft. Walton.
- Get your swimming gear and go water-rafting.
- Explore all of the wonders of downtown.
- Take a leisure class at Ever’man Health and Foods.
- Do good during your break and volunteer at soup kitchens or shelters for both humans and animals.
- Visit museums and other historic attractions. Learning can be fun!
- Grab a group of friends and go geocaching.
- Rent a kayak, paddle board or canoe and take it out to Bayview Park.
- Find some simple solace in a book, movie or other everyday activity with some friends or by yourself.