You’ve been working so hard in school — studying, attending classes, holding down a job. It’s finally time for spring break, and you have one week (two, if you’re lucky) to go big. You might be tempted to just stay home this year, considering you have already promised tens of thousands of dollars to your university, but you can enjoy an extravagant, blissful spring break in even on a student budget. Try these tips to travel in luxury without draining your bank.

Find Cheaper Flights

Instead of picking out your destination and then scrambling to find tickets that don’t cost an arm and a leg and a day wasted in airports, choose where you’ll go by looking at flight prices. Tools like KAYAK and Google Flights let you choose the type of destination you’re looking for (such as “beach”), and then see varying airports and their prices, as well as a span of dates that might offer better deals. Or, you can try a service like ScottsCheapFlights.com or Skyscanner and jump on a tantlyzing opportunity. The less you spend on your fight, the more you can put toward the best food, hotels, and experiences you can find.

Consider Shorter Stays

If you have a limited budget, try making your spring break last just four or five days instead of seven. Instead of staying in discounted hotels and stretching every dollar, you can do more with your money for fewer days. Just think: Do you want to stay in that oceanside villa for three fantastic days, or that Motel 6 without a view for six?

Try a Boutique Hotel or B&B

Without all the branding of a national chain, local boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts can offer more personal experiences with a higher level of service than most hotels. They might take a little more digging to find, but it could be worth it.

Or Skip Hotels Altogether

This secret it already out of the bag: You can get more bang from your buck by renting a space from a private party than from a hotel. Airbnb is the most popular method of finding a short-term rental, but there are several other options to find what you’re looking for, such as VacationRentals.com, VRBO.com, or Tripping.com. These local homes also offer something hotels cannot: a realistic experience of how locals live. They’re often spacious and private, and can be found outside of the “downtown” area, where most hotels are concentrated.

“Do keep in mind, however, that there are certain risks to choosing this type of accommodation. Before you go ahead and book a stay in someone’s spare room on Airbnb, make sure to check the reviews and do your research. If you’re feeling particularly conscientious, consider pulling up a background report on your host. After all, your safety is the number one priority, right?”

Spread Out the Cost

Shelling out a lump sum is more than most can swallow, but if you start tucking money away each month with your vacation in mind, you have a guilt-free pile of cash to treat yourself with. Even if your vacation sneaks up on you, a low-interest or rewards-heavy credit card can help you have the vacation of your dreams one week while paying it off over the course of several months. If your card gives you airline miles, you’re that much closer to your next luxurious destination.

In the words of Danny Kaye, “To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” So how can you skimp on that? By making smart choices and planning ahead, you can go big for spring break without going broke.

Note: This is a guest post by Sam Radbil a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.

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34 Comments

  1. Punita Malhotra

    Considering that accommodation is such a big chunk of travel, its so great that options like Airbnb are flourishing. Wonderful suggestions in your post, all.

  2. Carmen Edelson

    I know! Airbnb is such a good option. Thank you 🙂

  3. Skye Gilkeson

    Such great, simple tips for the budget traveller. I hadn’t heard of a couple of these booking site. Thanks

  4. Carmen Edelson

    Glad to hear it, Skye!

  5. I second AirBnb even with the 1 or 2 not so pleasant experiences it’s usually better value for money. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive!

  6. Carmen Edelson

    I totally agree! It’s great value, especially if you’re traveling with more than just two people.

  7. Lynne Sarao

    Great article and some really solid tips in here! I always use Airbnb when I can. It’s usually so much cheaper and the accommodations are so unique you can choose one that really suits who you are!Lynne Sarao recently posted…Sicilian Cuisine: Must try foods of Sicily, Italy

  8. Carmen Edelson

    Definitely! I also like the extra amenities you usually get like a kitchen and washer/dryer.

  9. Fantastic post with some great tips. Shame we don’t get Spring Break here over in the UK 🙁

  10. Carmen Edelson

    Do they call it half term over there?! 😉

  11. travelwithtarah

    I definitely think AirBNB is the way to go when trying to find a nice place to stay but also trying to stay budget friendly! Makes me want to go on a spring break trip right now!

  12. Carmen Edelson

    Ha, right? It’s easy to dream about lovely beaches in the middle of winter.

  13. Perfect tips and great for ANY budget traveler 😀 Great idea to go with a group and spread out the cost – that’s probably the best way to save money annnnd have quite a bit more fun!

  14. Carmen Edelson

    Thank you! Yes, more fun indeed!

  15. Vicki Louise

    Great tips to make the most of Spring Break. I think at high season avoiding hotels would be a great money saver – and even better if you can find a good airbnb!Vicki Louise recently posted…48 Hours on the Sunshine Coast: Things To Do, Where to Stay & Where To Eat

  16. Carmen Edelson

    Yes, even better! Thanks for reading, Vicki.

  17. Great tips! I love using Airbnb when I travel. I’m actually moving into one tomorrow. Great photos!Nathan recently posted…Ultimate Guide to Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

  18. Carmen Edelson

    Oh that’s great! Where are you traveling?

  19. I also love the tip of traveling with other people to spread out the cost among friends. Home rentals in particular are a GREAT way to get more for your money, the more people are there. Plus home rentals usually have 2+ bedrooms, so it can be easy to find something comfortable for everyone. Cheers!Julie recently posted…The Best Things To Do In Bloomington, Indiana

  20. Carmen Edelson

    Yes, I love using Airbnb or other home rentals when traveling in a bigger group! Great for families.

  21. Nilabh Ranjan

    Great tips for budget travel, I li look out for the sites mentioned in your content to book out while undertaking air travel. Good post

  22. Carmen Edelson

    Great! Thanks, Nilabh.

  23. These are great tips especially for someone still on a college budget or really anyone on a tight budget, great tips

  24. Carmen Edelson

    Thank you! I’m happy to share.

  25. One of my favourite ways to save money on vacation is travel with a large group so we can rent a whole house instead of just a tiny room!Tamara recently posted…This is what a $25,000 New York City hotel room looks like

  26. Carmen Edelson

    Oh, mine too! Great minds, Tamara 🙂

  27. Jen Joslin

    Great tips and a good mentality for anyone looking to travel on a limited budget. I didn’t do any big, exciting trips during spring break in university, but making up for that now! Will have to look more into Abodo!

  28. Carmen Edelson

    Great! Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  29. melody pittman

    As much as I love hotels and being pampered, I am enjoying some of the other options for staying cheaper such as Air b&b and renting apartments. Having fun trying out all of the options, too.melody pittman recently posted…The Best Things To Do In Frisco, Texas

  30. Carmen Edelson

    Being pampered is always nice, Melody! But yes, sometime the value of these places is just so much higher… especially if you’re traveling with a bigger group.

  31. Great tips. Who doesn’t love saving money? As great as an expensive trip is, sometimes “roughing it” a bit can be just as fun.

  32. Carmen Edelson

    Absolutely! Thanks, Mags.

  33. Some fantastic tips here! Always wish I had made more of a habit to travel on my college breaks!

  34. Carmen Edelson

    Thanks, Cameron! Spring break is always pretty fun 🙂

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