Too Frugal for Spring Break: 8 Tips for the Super Thrifty Vacation


Amelia Hobbins shares 8 tips for a frugal yet fun spring or summer vacation.

When I was asked to write about spring break vacation ideas, I laughed a little to myself and thought, “I am way too cheap for spring break vacations.”  I was raised in a household that never took “real” vacations, where you got a on a plane and took off to some warm, exotic location.

My dad’s idea of a vacation was either a) visiting relatives (close enough to drive to, so anywhere in the U.S.), b) camping, or c) camping outside a relative’s house.  Now trust me, I’m not complaining.  I don’t feel cheated; in fact, I have embraced my dad’s thrifty attitude toward vacations but with my own twist.  For starters, my idea of a vacation is NOT sleeping in a tent with a two and a four year old.

I believe that great vacations shouldn’t take you a year to save for or a year to pay off on a credit card. You can have a great time and get out of town for only a few hundred dollars, that’s right, I said a few HUNDRED dollars.  Just follow my eight tips for a super thrifty vacation:

Travel in a group:  Going on group vacations definitely has its perks, especially financial perks. Here are a few reasons why you should talk your friends and family into taking off this spring with you:

  • Condo, cabins and villas: You can save big money by rooming together in a condo vs. renting individual hotel rooms.  These larger rooms will also typically have a kitchen which means you can cook your meals instead of eating out all the time.
  • Meal plan and divide the cost:  Assign meals to each family to provide for the entire group.  This keeps meal planning simple and less expensive.  Consider really easy dishes that you can cook and keep warm in a crockpot; spaghetti, chili and homemade mac-n-cheese are always a hit in our family!  Also, make sure you are packing snacks and drinks to avoid those impulse gas station stops.

Carpool: Have room in your car for a single or couple? If driving to your vacation location, make sure to carpool if you are able.  Not only can you share the cost of gas, but it’s the green thing to do.

Timing Matters:  I think it goes without saying that you will pay more for your vacation if you travel during a peak season such as spring break, 4th of July or pretty much around any holiday.  Avoiding these timeframes will not only save you money, but also help you avoid the crowds.

Any indoor/outdoor waterpark resort: I have been to the Dells in Wisconsin a few times and have found the key to saving money is to go in the spring time right before the outdoor parks open.  This is an off-season time for the resorts, so not only do you tend to get cheaper rates but you also don't have to deal with as many crowds.

Pick a direction and drive:  My husband grew up in a modest household that didn’t have a lot of money for fancy vacations.  But every year around spring break time they always went somewhere.  Each year they would save up as much money as they could, pick a direction and drive (usually south since they lived in Minnesota).  A few ways they saved money was by packing a cooler of food instead of eating out for every meal.  They also slept in the car some nights or stayed in cheap roadside hotels.  His family would drive until they had spent half their money and then turn around and head home; pretty adventurist if you ask me.

Go to a cabin: I live in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, where it is virtually impossible to not know someone who has a cabin.  Drive to the lake, divide up who is buying food for meals and the accommodations are free.  Here’s a tip on how to get yourself invited up to the lake this spring: just offer to help put in the dock or do a little yard work.  A few hours of work followed by lakeside relaxation, of course.

Written by Amelia Hobbins

This blog post is from the Author's perspective and doesn't speak for brightpeak financial. Contact brightpeak if you want to know more about brightpeak products, and keep in mind that they are not available in all states and there are some limitations (some exclusions and restrictions may apply).

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