If you live in the midwest like me or anywhere that winter is guest that outstays his welcome, spring cannot come soon enough. Winter may be fun at first, but by the end of March, it has sucked the life out of us who need the suns rays to live.
Spring Break is a time to get away from the bleak, drerry weather and soak up some sun. It cannot come soon enough and because of my state of mind after 3 months of the cold winter, it is one of my favorite times of the year. That said, planning a trip for the last few weeks of March and the first few weeks of April is really hard!
The options for Spring Break can be limited if you want to ensure the sun is shining down. Many of the standard places you might go for vacation will not have the weather needed to enjoy them. And even places like northern Florida or the southeast coast could be just as cold and damp as where you are leaving.
In addition, flights are super expensive, especially to places where it’s warm, and room rates are at their peak price point. This makes finding an affordable Spring Break vacation quite the adventure.
Flights are Expensive. Use the Best Tools to Find Flight Deals.
This was eluded to earlier, but flights are out of control. I am looking in mid-January for a flight from IND-MIA and it’s $670. With a layover. And not on my preferred airline (which is $780). We found a steller deal on a cruise from URComped (comped interior room, upgraded to a Oceanview for around $300 total), but the flight is ruining the deal!
If you aren’t using Google Flights when starting your vacation planning, you are missing out. You can put your home airline and then a state (Florida), country (Europe), or trip type (beach) in the search box to get results from all over. You can move around the map and see the cheapest flight to cities around the country. And you can filter by airline programs, stops, prices, and more. There’s no tool that I’ve found that helps me get an idea of price up-front like Google Flights. I may use other tools once I have a destination, but if you’re looking for where you can fly for the best deal, it’s my tool of choice.
Some of My Favorite Spots are Not Warm Enough. Check the Weather.
If you’ve learned anything from this blog, it’s that it’s always a good time for a Vegas trip. And I will be spending a long weekend in Vegas for the first round of March Madness, so it’s still a viable option. But Vegas in March scratches the Vegas bug, not the sun bug. Last year, it was in the 50s all week and while comfortable, was definitely not pool weather.
Other places we love like New York City , Chicago, Nashville , San Fransisco, and even beach towns like Gulf Shores or Myrtle Beach are very hit and miss in March. I’ve seen way too many pictures of Spring Breakers on the beach in sweatshirts and covered in towels to the chance. And while I could visit those major cities anytime and have a good time, it’s not what I’m looking for to escape Old Man Winter.
Plan Early. Make a Decision. Don’t Wait to Buy.
This is a word of warning because I’m currently living it: The prices will go up as you get closer. We have 3 budget airlines from Indianapolis including Frontier, Allegiant, & Spirit comes to Indy in March. These carriers only release a few good deals and the prices go up as tickets are sold. If you aren’t watching and waiting for them to go on sale, you won’t get another choice.
Same deal with airlines like Southwest. There are good deals to be had, but you have to plan and be on the lookout. It’s much less likely you are going to throw a cheap spring break get-away together at the last minute than say in a random week in September or November.
Don’t Overlook Mexico & Other Exotic Locations.
South Florida, south Texas, and the west coast might be the first places you think for Spring Break, but Mexico can offer some amazing deals, especially if you miss out on the good domestic pricing.
Take a look and see how somewhere like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and Cabo compares with what you were planning! You can find some great deals on these type of vacations and they can save you money in the long run! You don’t have to spend anything extra on food, drinks, entertainment, etc. I’ve found that I spend less on All-Inclusive resorts then about any other vacation type since it takes the majority of the variability out of it.
Here’s some pricing for Puerto Vallarta, but check all around Mexico, Central America, and even the Caribbean!
Europe is Also an Option.
One of the most interesting things I found when looking to book my Spring Break vacation was the flights to Europe were relatively affordable. You won’t get beach weather, but you will get smaller crowds and mild weather to explore.
If it’s been awhile since your last Europe vacation or if you’ve never taken the plunge, this could be a good time to do it. Groupon and LivingSocial have some great package deals or you can grab a low-fare flight and do Europe on a budget.
All-Inclusive Resorts are Your Friend if You Don’t Have Kids.
Whether you’re hitting the beach, hopping on a cruise, or visiting Disney, kids are going to be a huge part of your vacation whether you want them to be or not. If you don’t have kids, consider All-Inclusive resorts that ensure that your resort won’t be overrun with kids! If you’re looking for a romantic get-away, these can be a great option.
Flights to Cancun, Puerta Vallerta, and Cabo are actually cheaper than flights to Miami. And if you aren’t set on a particular location or resort, you can find great deals on places like Cheap Caribean, Resort Vactions to Go, or even Groupon.
Be sure your dates are covered and if you’re booking your hotel different from your flight, ensure your flight is one you actually want to be on and not a 24-hour, 2 stop beater that shows up as the cheapest option. Also, be aware of overnight flights that will lower your all-around price because you’ll be in the airport or on the airplane rather than drinking Mojitos by the pool!
Consider a Shorter Trip or Midweek to Midweek if You Can
If you are trying to fly on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday during Spring Break, you will be paying top dollar. This is because for the vast majority of the country, kids only get one week off.
If you don’t have kids or if your kids have two weeks off, consider doing a midweek trip. For example, those same $750/person flights from Miami can be had for half that if we could do Wednesday to Wednesday. In addition, all-inclusive vacations and other hotels are often cheaper because you miss extra days during the weekend that can be costly.
Also consider leaving on a Monday or coming home on a Friday. These may not give you quite as much of a savings, but it can add up.
Have you learned something from planning your Spring Break trip? Tell us in the comments below and let us know!