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3 Cheap Ideas for Spring Break

Spring break is coming up. Whether you are a college student getting ready to head out for a little party fun, or a family trying to figure out what you can do while the kids are out of school, there are plenty of possibilities for spring break.

Unfortunately, some spring break ideas tend to be rather expensive. Do you really want to spend $1,000 on your spring break? Plus, air travel [3] is expensive during spring break season, and sometimes hotels charge more, too. If you take a few minutes to find your creativity and your inner frugality, though, you might find that spring break doesn’t have to be that expensive after all.

1. Plan a Staycation

Do you really have to go across the country to have a good spring break? Plan a staycation [4]. College students can look up the local attractions. Many college students don’t pay much attention to what is happening locally; their focus is often on university events. Widen your gaze a bit, and see what there is locally. I was surprised to find that my college town sported a variety of community events and local activities, as well as great history sites.

As a family, you can use this week to explore your local town. Plan a different activity for each day. Find out what events are happening nearby. Many cities have special museum days, as well as free history sites. You can go for a picnic in the park, or ride your bikes. There are plenty of things to do with a staycation.

If you are set on spending a night or two somewhere, there is no need to go very far. Pick a town that is only a few hours away, and book a hotel there for a night or two. Do some exploring of a location in not too far. It’ll save you on gas, while getting you out of town.

2. Camping

Spring break is a great time to go camping, especially if you live somewhere that is somewhat warm, or if you can drive to somewhere a little warmer in a day or so. When I lived in Southern Utah, spring break was a great time to go camping. Temperatures were comfortable for hiking and other outdoor activities, and the nights didn’t get too cold. A possibility in cold climes is camping in the snow. Make sure you know what you are doing, though.

Families can vary it up a bit by camping in the back yard, or even camping in the living room (if it’s too cold). The truly adventurous, with older kids, can actually go snow camping. Camping is relatively inexpensive, and provides a chance to enjoy nature.

3. Alternative Spring Break

If you like to help others, you can do what is known as an alternative spring break. You do have to pay for the experience, and sometimes it starts to get a little pricey, but many universities have alternative spring break clubs. You do fund raising throughout the year so that you don’t have to pay as much out of your own pocket, and then you travel somewhere to perform service. The alternative spring break club at my undergrad build a school in Mexico.

Even if you don’t do an “official” alternative spring break, it is possible to have a good service experience during this time. Get together with friends, and then find out about a need in your community. Help with Habitat for Humanity, the local women’s shelter, a food bank or soup kitchen, or find someone in your neighborhood who needs help with a project. Service is a great way to spend your spring break.