Who doesn’t love Spring Break? A week off from responsibilities and stresses to spend time doing what you enjoy most. It definitely doesn’t hurt that for most of America, the weather is heating up and those brutal winter days are almost behind you. This sacred holiday is based around the academic calendar, so it’s a great excuse to plan a family trip since the kids will be out of school. If you’re in college, this is an even better time to take advantage of the break from your studies. If you’re looking to have an unforgettable Spring Break without breaking the bank, have no fear! There are many affordable options out there that are plenty exciting and rewarding. We’ve done the research and compiled the best Spring Break trips and tips when you’re on a budget.

Daytona, Florida

Known for its beautiful beaches and epic partying scene, Daytona is a great fit for an affordable getaway. Compared to Miami or Mexico, this warm-weather escape is extremely budget conscious. There are student-friendly hotels that are priced great and very conducive to making friends. Based on their website, their bars and clubs are extremely reasonable as well. Book a trip to Daytona and you’ll be able to spend more time tanning and less time worrying about your diminishing funds!

Cancun, Mexico

You can’t mention “Spring Break” without immediately thinking of “Cancun.” While it may not be the most affordable option, there are definitely ways to make it work! The pros: many companies offer all-inclusive packages that include everything you need for a guaranteed good time. With meals, drinks, lodging and entertainment included, you can secure a reasonable price at a great value. Not to mention, you don’t need to worry about splitting checks with friends or getting stuck with a huge bill after only ordering an iced tea. Since you’re going to spend a significant portion of your budget on accommodation, you’ll want to try to cut costs when it comes to booking your flight. As always, the earlier you start planning the better. Depending on how flexible you are, it may make sense to book a flight with multiple layovers. While this isn’t the most glamorous option, you can save some serious cash and make your Cancun dreams a reality.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

If you’re looking for the ultimate Spring Break, look no further than Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This YouTube video alone will inspire you to book your ticket. Don’t be fooled by the bikinis and red solo cups, this destination is also extremely family-friendly. Spend your days relaxing on the beach and your nights at fun restaurants with live music and arcade games. Best of all, there are countless packages and deals to ensure you get the most bang for your buck. This website has all sorts of offers that will make your trip unforgettable and affordable! If you’re looking for coastline and good times at an extremely reasonable price, Myrtle Beach is for you!

Orlando, Florida

Florida tops our list again. Let’s face it, nothing beats the guaranteed sunshine and warm weather that Florida has to offer. While many think that theme parks and lodging can add up to a pretty expensive trip, there are plenty of ways to cut costs. Thankfully, the laws of supply and demand have benefited the Orlando traveler in many ways. With a surplus of hotels, restaurants and activities to chose from, you can definitely find a competitive price out there. If you’re looking for a fun family trip, nothing compares to the magic and excitement of visiting a Disney theme park. If your kids are a little bit older, you can spend your time in Universal, which has more roller coasters and thrilling rides. If you’re looking to plan a date night, Downtown Disney has some of the best eateries and shopping. Some tips for cutting costs: don’t waste your money on souvenirs at the theme park. There are plenty of gift stores in Orlando that offer the same products at a much more reasonable cost.

Joshua Tree National Park, California

If you’re really looking to cut costs this Spring Break, you might want to consider a camping experience. Without lodging to worry about, you’ll be able to spend your money on making your campground the “hot spot” of the park. Located in In Southern California, just outside of Palm Springs, this iconic park is home to a variety of plants and animals. With an abundance of trails at varying degrees of difficulty, there is a hike for everyone. Nature lovers will go crazy for the panoramic views and rock climbing options while newcomers will appreciate the star-filled skies and the photo opportunities with the Rock at White Tank (shaped like a heart). Don’t forget to make a reservation here as the campgrounds tend to fill up quickly on weekends. If you’re seeking an authentic experience without breaking the bank, Joshua Tree is a great fit for you. The views (and not the bills) will be sure to take your breath away!

​Washington D.C.

Our nation’s capital is one of the most fascinating and affordable destinations. Not to mention, the iconic cherry blossoms make Spring time one of the absolute best times to visit. According to this tourism website there are more than 100 free things to do in the city. Between museums, monuments, and memorials, there is no shortage of activities for the entire family. Flights to and from D.C. are extremely reasonable, so you can save your funds for a “monumental” night on the town – see what I did there? The city is so rich in history and culture that sight-seeing and people-watching will keep you plenty occupied, and at no cost!

Now that we’ve explored some of the most affordable places to visit, let’s talk tips to plan a budget-friendly vacation:

1) Unless it’s absolutely necessary, avoid getting a rental car. Splitting an uber with your friends will end up being cheaper and easier. In your planning phase, consider a city that’s walk-able or has great public transportation.

2) Look into vacation home rentals, like Airbnb and VRBO. These can be much more affordable and often a much more authentic experience. Cons: your room won’t be cleaned daily but if you’re vacationing the right way, you won’t be spending too much time in the room.

3) Try to book your flights for midweek travel, if possible. This will save you some serious cash. Sign up for as many newsletters/alerts as you can to ensure you have access to the best flight prices. Your inbox may hate you for it but your wallet will thank you later!

4) Use your student I.D., while you still can. Many companies offer student discounts so don’t be shy about asking.

5) Pack and plan ahead! If you take the time to make a list prior to heading on your trip, you’ll be way less likely to forget your travel essentials (hats, sunglasses, sunscreen) and have to buy them at your destination.

6) Take advantage of hotel freebies. Make sure you hit up the continental breakfast when you can! Don’t make the mistake of exploring the minibar.

7) Stock up on groceries and drinks. Buying snacks and even fresh ingredients will help you cut costs on going to restaurants and spending money on overpriced drinks at bars.

8) Make friends! Getting to know the locals will likely result in great recommendations and cost-friendly experiences. They’ll be able to steer you away from expensive tourist traps.

9) When booking a hotel, check the offers page. Almost all hotels have great deals as it relates to WiFi, parking, and breakfast.

10) Avoid baggage fees, if possible! Do your best to familiarize yourself with your airline’s policy and try to take advantage of the complementary options.

11.) Reserve your airport parking ahead of time online through Park ‘N Fly.  Make sure to enroll in the loyalty program so you are earning free parking while you’re on your vacation too!

As you can see, there are plenty of affordable locations to visit if you’re trying to plan a memorable Spring Break trip on a budget. Even if you don’t wind up at one of these destinations, you can still apply some of these tips for cutting costs and getting the most bang for your buck. Whether you’ve been studying hard at school or working nonstop at your job, you’ve earned some time to yourself to relax and enjoy the finer things. Escape from your everyday responsibilities, without the stress of having to budget and plan for every single expense. Spring Break represents just that – a break! So put down those books and start planning your next great vacation!