Pack Your Suitcase
Planning Tips for Your Spring Break Trips
The weeks after Winter Break can drag on and on, especially during an exceptionally cold and dreary winter. A little Spring Break planning can be just the thing to get you out of the winter doldrums and looking forward to some time away. Whether you stay close or travel far, here are some tips for planning your Spring Break trip.
1. Book Early
Lots of people travel during Spring Break so booking early assures you can get better flights, hotel rooms and attraction tickets. Schools typically release their yearly calendars at the beginning of the school year, giving you plenty of heads up to book Spring Break early.
When you book early, you have a better chance of getting a better deal and making sure you book just the right flight or hotel for your family. The longer you wait to book flights, for example, the less likely you are to get seats together or even be on the same flight.
2. Set a Budget
Lay out a travel budget for your Spring Break trip and stick to it. Making family memories on a vacation may be priceless, but taking a trip you can’t afford isn’t worth going into debt. Just like it’s beneficial to book early, it also helps to save early for your Spring Break trip.
Spring Break doesn’t fall too far after Christmas, another expensive time for your family budget, so planning ahead allows you to spend money on both. Use a budget management tool like Mint to help you plan and save.
3. Dial into Deals
Travel deals abound, you just have to do a little digging to find them. Not just for massages and Thai food deals, Groupon and LivingSocial both have travel sections full of deals. Groupon has a special Spring Break page that offers lots of great ideas and travel deals including Smoky Mountain cabins, indoor water parks and beach getaways.
Online travel agencies like Expedia, Travelocity and Kayak allow you to search for travel deals all around the world. Many even have special Spring Break pages, providing trip suggestions for flights, hotels and activities.
If you’ll be traveling by air, some travel experts suggest the best time to purchase airline tickets is on a Tuesday, as prices tend to drop that day each week. Sign up for airline and hotel emails to unlock other deals.
4. Utilize Apps
Tons of apps exist to help take the stress out of Spring Break travel planning. Hopper is an excellent tool for finding the best flights, as the app lets you set up alerts for different itineraries and even allows you to book right from your phone. TripIt helps you keep all your reservations and itineraries organized, putting everything (flights, hotel reservations, car rentals, etc.) right at your fingertips.
If you’ll be traveling by car, Roadtrippers takes the hassle out of mapping your route, giving you suggestions for stops along the way and up-to-date road conditions.
5. Think Outside the Box
Florida, Mexico, Disney. These might be great Spring Break destinations, but they’re also some of the most popular and most crowded and most expensive. Avoid the crowds and consider an alternative Spring Break destination.
Washington D.C. is affordable and offers something for the whole family, from museums to monuments. Sedona, Arizona offers an escape from the cold and amazing outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking.
If your passport is up-to-date, consider running for the Northern border and visiting one of Canada’s great cities. Montreal is an eclectic mix of French colonial architecture, Bohemian attitude and modern-day sites. Calgary’s natural beauty and small-town feel makes it a great choice for the outdoorsy type and Niagara Falls has fun for the whole family.
6. Look Local
Don’t overlook a Spring Break trip to a local destination or a staycation in your own city. Staying local helps cut down on travel costs and gives you an opportunity to see your town through different eyes. Visit that local museum you’ve never been to, try a new restaurant or cheer on the hometown sports team. Book a local hotel or bed and breakfast, or even find an Airbnb in a different part of town.
Just like out-of-town visitors, locals can take advantage of special deals and discounts through organizations like the visitor’s bureau. They often have coupons on their websites and at their offices for attractions, restaurants and hotels.
Regardless of where you go or how you get there, with a little planning you can have the Spring Break trip your family will remember for years. Happy planning!