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10 Ways to Save Money on Spring Break

SmarterTravel

The holidays are over, the days are getting longer, and everyone can feel the warm weather just around the corner. With students across the country eager to seek out some sun during their spring break, it’s no surprise that travel in March and April can get pricey quickly. Whether you’re a student on a budget, a family looking to save some cash, or just a savvy solo traveler, here are the best ways to save money on spring break travel.

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Book Off Peak Travel Dates

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This year is seeing higher than usual prices for spring break travel. To avoid overspending on airfare, book flights on off peak dates. According to Expedia, the most expensive times to fly are late March to early April, so booking a trip at the beginning or tail end of spring break season could save you some cash. They also recommend avoiding travel on Saturdays, particularly March 25th and April 1st. As always, traveling on a weekday will get you cheaper fares than arriving or departing on a weekend.

Be Flexible With Your Destination

If you don’t have a destination in mind, do some comparative research. Use the Explore feature on Google Flights or the Search Everywhere function on Skyscanner to see where flights are cheapest. If you are open-minded about your destination and even your travel dates, you can book the trip of a lifetime at a fraction of the price.

Take Advantage of Your Credit Card

If you already have a travel rewards credit card, chances are you know that taking advantage of your miles can save you big on flights. For others, however, you still may be able to use your card to lower the cost of your travels. Using cash back to pay for part of your flight or purchases at your destination can offset travel costs. Credit card company Capital One offers Capital One Shopping, a browser extension that automatically applies discounts codes at checkout for everything from concert tickets to flights, free of charge to everyone regardless of whether they have a Capital One card.

Opt for Opaque Rates to Rent a Car

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Renting a car is a great option for those who prefer driving to flying or families who don’t want to corral young children on public transportation, but it can get expensive. Luckily, many of the best car rental booking sites, including big names like Priceline and Hotwire, offer something called opaque deals. Opaque deals require customers to book without knowing the rental company or the exact type of car they’re committing to, but these deals often offer cheaper rates than standard booking options.

*Rental car companies differ in the minimum age requirement to rent and drive a rental car. Make sure you meet these requirements before booking.

Get a Groupon

Don’t underestimate the power of the Groupon. With categories like sightseeing and tours, tickets and events, and nightlife, you’ll be able to find discounts for any activity you’ve been planning and maybe even some itinerary inspiration! For families, check out their kids activities sections.

Take a Free Walking Tour

Get outside and see the sights on foot! Many destinations offer free walking tours of major landmarks, history, or local legends. A quick google of your destination’s name plus “free walking tour” will turn up dozens of options, but Free Tours by Foot is a good place to start.  Traveler reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor can also help travelers vet different tour experiences.

Research Student Discounts

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Your student ID holds more power than just swiping you into the dining hall. Qualifying students can get discounts on:

Flights

Many airlines, including United, American Airlines, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic, have been known to offer discounted flights to students. Flight search engine Kayak partners with FLYLA, ScholarTrip, and StudentUniverse to provide cheaper rates for qualifying students.

Train Tickets

If you’re planning a European adventure this spring, train travel will be your best friend. Eurorail offers a Youth Pass for passengers between 12 and 27 years old.

Rental Cars

Booking through Hertz Students can save you 15% to 20% on rental cars. Car rental company Sixt offers up to 5% off their premium fleet for students.

*Rental car companies differ in the minimum age requirement to rent and drive a rental car. Make sure you meet these requirements before booking.

Events

Many events offer student discounts through Ticketmaster, just check the dropdown menu of ticket types. Frequently, venues will offer discounts to students who contact them directly, so check in with the box office if there is no student ticket option online.

Make sure to ask around at your destination as well. Local businesses and events may offer student discounts you won’t find online.

Purchase a GoCity Pass

GoCity Pass is the traveler’s one-stop shop for major attractions in cities around the world. Rather than pay individual admission prices, which can add up over the course of a trip, GoCity pass holders can visit multiple attractions in a city for just the price of their chosen pass.

The All-Inclusive Pass is priced daily ($99/day for adults and $76/day for children) for unlimited access to attractions across the city while the Explorer’s Pass is priced per attraction ($83-$163 for adults or $73-$119 for children) and is good for 60 days from purchase. GoCity offers passes for popular spring break destinations like Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, and Cancún.

Go All-Inclusive

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All-Inclusive resorts sound like the height of luxury, but they can actually be one of the more affordable ways to experience a destination. Many packages include a number of prepaid meals, free airport transfers, and access to resort amenities and activities along with your room rate, so you know exactly how much you’re spending when you book.

Book with the Right Hotel Site

Whether you’re planning on relaxing at an all-inclusive or just using your hotel as a place to crash at the end of the day, where you stay can make or break your trip (and your budget). SmarterTravel’s sister site, SmarterTravel Hotels, offers wholesale deals you won’t find anywhere else. And February 8th through March 15th, save even more during their Spring Break Sale. With thousands of discounted properties, you’re sure to find your perfect stay.

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