You’re almost penniless. Exhausted. You despise your dorm room, the lousy food and campus life. Even your roomies annoy you.
Time for a spring break and Spring Break Deals!
You’ve got to go! Even if it means asking the parentals for a loan—which should be no sweat when you show them how responsible you are by undertaking research on cheap destinations.
Crash at hostels to save a bundle. Or, investigate AirBnB.com and CouchSurfing.com to bunk at private homes and enjoy homemade meals. If you go this route, remember: It’s not your home, so no wet towels on beds, please.
1. Gadsden, Alabama
Spend your spring break getting up close and personal with your camera or smart phone by grabbing a bus ticket that takes you to Chattanooga, TN or Gadsden, AL. These two cities bracket the 93-mile long Lookout Mountain Parkway.
Hike or bike the distance for an active vacation and if you can get your hands on a tent, this area of the country is beloved by campers. Snack on nuts, fruit and pack peanut butter for sandwiches so you only need eat out once a day.
2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
This destination has been called a beach house Mecca because so many are available for rental and some can sleep a gaggle of spring breakers. Contribute to a communal pot to underwrite the house rental and food, then split the meal prep duties.
You can parasail, surf, sail, kayak or just stroll the beach and pick up shells. Avoid luxe neighborhoods, home to fancy golf clubs, and you could come back with a few bucks left over.
3. New York’s Adirondack Mountains
These mountains make a great spring break get-away for college students in the Northeast. Stop at little towns in this Alpine region to ski, hike or bike. Schlep a kayak and you can explore the St. Regis Canoe Area with pals, but prepare for critters and cold, so no tents.
Use your backpack to store energy bars and save your food budget for one big meal a day. Oh, and taking a selfie at Lake Placid, the former Winter Olympics Game area, is mandatory.
4. South Padre Island, Texas
A list of spring break destinations wouldn’t be complete without this traditional spring break Valhalla. Things usually morph into a gigantic free-for-all, so if you don’t mind being a lemming, join the fray.
Here’s the rub: Texas commerce loves student visitors but prices aren’t always cheap if you’re watching your pennies. Instead, save Benjamins by headquartering as far from the epicenter as possible. Go in for the parties and return “home” for the night.
5. Mt. Hood, Oregon
Nobody can promise you that Mt. Hood won’t erupt during your spring break, but the odds are so slim, don’t use this as an excuse for not traveling to this part of Oregon. Temperatures get chilly the higher up you climb, but that’s countered by constant sunshine.
Known as “First Timers Heaven,” Mt. Hood has lots of ski and snowboard schools, but if you want to sip coffee at a cozy lodge, you’ll have no trouble finding a fire. Snag an accommodation with a homeowner via AirBnB and you won’t have to worry about starving.
6. Vail, Colorado
Hop in the car and drive with a couple of buddies to experience spring in the Rockies. There are affordable outdoor experiences throughout the region; hike or bike the Continental Divide to work out your angst over that C in statistics.
Drop by outlet shopping mall Silverthorne to check out bargains. If Easter is lurking, it’s Vail’s annual closing weekend featuring live concerts and plenty of partying. If you run out of cash, rely upon the quintessential Ramen noodle selection to tide you over.
7. Winslow, Arizona
Hate crowds? Come here.
It’s off the beaten track unless you buy an AMTRAK ticket, so train here for some down time in the quirky place the Eagles memorialized in their song. Visit historic sites and B&Bs that welcome students, but if you really want to show your frugal side, bring camping gear and a tent.
Play trivia on the train and under the stars for cost-free fun. If you love campfires, roast wieners on a tree branch followed by toasted marshmallows at least once.
8. Daytona Beach, Florida
Frequently called the “alternative” spring break headquarters by those who wouldn’t dream of going to Texas, Daytona Beach is in close proximity to lots of big attractions like the ubiquitous Disney World in Orlando.
If you’ve been there and done that, 80-degree spring temperatures mean you never have to move your bum off the beach. Bring sunglasses, a steamy book that has no relevance to learning and a bag of local fruit to get you through the day. Dine al fresco at little joints located far from the big hotels.
9. Washington D.C.
Missed your senior high school trip to the nation’s capital? Time to rectify that. You really, really must see this city before you find yourself admonishing your kids because they aren’t interested in seeing cherry blossoms, either.
There are lots of attractions that can cost you big time, but why not contact your home senator or representative and ask for a personal tour? Staffers do it all the time.
Food? The thriving food truck circuit in DC has got to be tasted to be believed.
10. The Pacific Highway, California
The West Coast is a veritable paradise of hostels, so if you stick to a walking or driving trip up California 101, you’ll discover plenty of places around Santa Cruz, San Diego and San Francisco to hang out and relax. Some are located steps from sand and surf.
Whether you’ve never before seen the Pacific Ocean or just want to bum around and feel the West Coast vibe, you can exist on fish taco stand fare indefinitely if you’re sick of peanut butter sandwiches.
11. Vegas, Baby!
Put this neon paradise atop your spring break destination list! The city is no stranger to folks who rent a room for two and wind up sleeping a small crowd, so use a hotel aggregator to book a cheap room and invite the world to crash.
The buffet is your lifesaver in Vegas. Look for Elvis wannabes handing out discount coupons on the strip for additional buffet savings. You might not win big, but playing penny slots can satisfy your gambling craving while making sure you don’t have to get a wire transfer to return to campus.
Have more recommendations on great Spring Break deals? Please post a comment!
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