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5 Ways Students Can Budget for Spring Break… and Beyond

Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Managing money can feel challenging, especially in college, but a spring break trip is among the experiences many students consider a worthwhile investment in themselves. Making a spring break budget can help you understand how much you need to save or spend for your big adventure — leading to smarter money decisions down the road.  

If you’re planning a spring break trip, start with a wish list. Where would you like to go? How do you plan to get there? What accommodations will you need? After using those questions to map out your dream trip, get a general idea of how much it all will cost. Check airline ticket prices, estimate gas mileage, look up hotel rates and factor in expenses for meals, drinks, entrance fees at attractions and more.

Once you have a general price tag for your dream spring break trip, you might need to make some adjustments to fit your budget. Here are five tips to help make your spring break journey more affordable, wherever you choose to go:

Save, save, save 

This is solid advice for any major expense. Set up a spring break savings account as soon as you know you want to take a trip, and put money aside from summer jobs and internships, holiday gifts or birthday presents. If your schedule allows, take on a part-time job, pick up additional hours or find a temporary job to bring in some extra income.

Plan early

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As with many big purchases, you may find lower prices if you start researching early. Book airline tickets and hotel rooms if you haven’t already, and secure car rentals if you need ground transportation.

Go off the beaten path
Popular spring break hangouts like Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico are more expensive during peak spring break season in March and April, so if you haven’t already planned a trip, consider a lesser-known destination that might not have an annual spring break price hike. Driving to your destination (when possible) tends to be cheaper than flying if you’re going with a group. If you do travel by air, look into local public transportation options at your destination versus renting a car or always using a ride-sharing service.
Share a big house
If you’re traveling with a large group, a vacation home rental might be a better option than multiple hotel rooms. Pool your money to rent a large house in the destination of your choice – you’ll likely get a more luxurious and comfortable experience and save money in the process.

Limit food costs
If you’re renting a home, take advantage of a full kitchen, and buy groceries to cook. While you will want to eat at local restaurants sometimes – after all, food is an important part of the travel experience – it’s nice to save money you’d spend on a quick breakfast or a sandwich. If you’re staying at a hotel, look for a place with complimentary breakfast.

With spring break fast approaching, making a budget now can help you save money in advance of your trip and keep you on track when you arrive. If a trip isn’t in your spring break plans this year, these tips can help you get ahead on your budget plan for next year, or whenever you want to get away.

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