How to plan a spring break trip on a college-student budget


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Planning a spring break trip on a budget may seem intimidating, but with a solid plan you’ll be ready to have fun. 

Haley Thams

With spring break just around the corner, learn how to save and plan for a successful trip. Iowa State’s spring break is March 14-18, 2022. 

Deciding where to go:

This can sometimes be the hardest part. Do you want to go somewhere warm or cold? With a beach or with the mountains? 

Take transportation into consideration. Do you want to spend money on driving or flying?

Websites can compare the prices of locations to help you find what you’re looking for. 

Student Packages:

Some websites provide student packages. 

STSTravel shows the top destinations for your school and the amenities they offer. It allows you to pick your desired destination, the flight and the rooming. If traveling with a large group, it will say the price per person and total. 

StudentEscape shows the number one party destinations for college students. It compares prices per week, per person. You can then purchase the rooming options on their website but not your flight. 

Looking for the flight:

Platforms to help you find flights are Google Flights, Kayak, Priceline and Momondo

Google Flights shows you traveling options for every flight. It then directs you to the airline’s website to book. Google Flights displays a graph of prices for flights and when they will be the cheapest. 

Kayak will also direct you to the airline’s website after a price comparison. It will compare flights, hotels, cars, trains and cruises. It also will show you prices of things to do in the area, with packages for travel and stay. 

Priceline has the option to look for hotels, cars, cruises and flights. It has a price match guarantee along with express flights. Express deal flights are non-refundable on Priceline. Other flights have free cancellation 24 hours from booking. 

Momondo compares prices similar to Google. It shows a graph of when prices are higher/lower. There is an option to put in “anywhere” to see comparative prices. Momondo will also show you the cheapest time to buy a flight before departure. 

Travel expenses also include your stay while on spring break. 

Your stay:

Make sure you’re safe during your stay. Use reliable websites to book your hotel or Airbnb., Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia and are dependable for finding a place to stay on vacation. 

Airbnb and VRBO platforms compare listings from hosts in the area. It is not always a large hotel or company. Be aware and cautious when looking for the right one. Tips for finding the right one include:

  • Book in advance

  • Decide what amenities are most important to your stay

  • Read the reviews 

  • Connect and message with the hosts about the property

  • Be aware of additional fees not included in the nightly rate

  • Take a look at the availability calendar to see how competitive the listing is and how urgent it is to book 

Dining on vacation:

Most of the cost during your stay will be on food and drink. 

Prices are different depending on location, so be aware of how much it will cost to go out each night. 

Staying in a place with a kitchen can save you a few meals. The average cost of restaurants each day for an adult is around $60 (BankRate). 

Tips to save money on food:

  • Pack food in a cooler to bring on the trip.

  • Do most of the cooking at home in your hotel/Airbnb.

  • Budget for each night you plan to go out.

Planning a short trip does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Have fun on spring break, and be prepared!