In case you aren’t counting down the days until Spring Break like I am, the highly anticipated vacation is right at four weeks away. For some people, who either procrastinated on planning and/or don’t want to dish out the $1,000 it costs to go on a booze cruise, there is still hope! Don’t think that it is too late to plan a trip that is not only affordable, but fun as well. I have compiled a list of places that cost $500 or less for a full-week, both travel and lodging included, so that you can make the most of your 2016 Spring Break:
**Vacation dates searched: Friday, March 11-Friday, March 18**
**For all intents and purposes, I assumed that a friend will be with you on the trip, dividing the cost of lodging and gas in half**
**All searches done on AirBNB, Skyscanner and HostelBookers**
1. New York City
This is a must-visit destination for every person who has ever watched “Sex and the City.” Spring Break is your chance to be Carrie Bradshaw…and who doesn’t want to be Carrie Bradshaw? While you may not be able to get Upper East Side on a budget, staying in a Manhattan hostel or a Brooklyn AirBNB is a great budget-friendly option). If you split a Brooklyn AirBNB with one friend, you’re looking at around $70/night, or $35 per person.
Flight: $177, Brooklyn AirBNB: $35 per person x 7 nights=$245, Total: $422
What better place to enjoy a cahhh-feee in Hah-vad ya-d? From the harbor to the university, there is a plethora of things to do in this beautiful city. But make sure to bring your coat, since it’s significantly colder up there than we North Carolinians are used to. The price is almost the exact same as New York City, with AirBNBs available for around $70/night, split between two people.
Flight: $178, AirBNB: $35 per person x 7 nights=$245, Total: $423
Rainbow Row, horse carriage rides around cobblestone streets, sprawling plantations…need I say more? For all of you history buffs, Charleston is packed with history and is downright one of the most beautiful towns on the East Coast. Not to mention, it’s only about 4.5 hours away, so no costly plane ride needed! The price of gas is estimated to be around $36, and you can rent an AirBNB for about $65, both split between two people.
Gas: $18 per person, AirBNB: $33 per person x 7 nights=$231, Total: $249
4. St. Augustine
If you have never gotten to know this Floridian town, you are seriously depriving yourself. It has all of the appeal of Charleston, just a bit hotter, which is perfect for lukewarm March weather. It was the first European settlement in America, making it packed with history; and the city does a great job at preserving the downtown-area to its original colonial appearance. I promise that the 9 hour drive is worth it! The price of gas is estimated to be around $62, and you can rent an AirBNB right on the beach for around $100, both split between two people.
Gas: $31 per person, AirBNB: $50 per person x 7 nights=$350, Total: $381
Filled with great nightlife and an amazing art scene, the Windy City will literally and figuratively blow you away! Plus, you could totally meet your own Channing Tatum (referencing the Nicholas Sparks movie, “The Vow,” circa 2012) and get married under the Bean sculpture. There are AirBNBs available right near the heart of the city for around $60 per night.
Flight: $292, AirBNB: $30 per person x 7 nights=$210, Total: $502
If none of these places appeal to you, don’t settle for hanging with the ‘rents all week! Get online and search Skyscanner and Kayak (My personal favorite airline search engines) for cheap last-minute flights, and search HostelBooker and AirBNB for cheap places to crash (Don’t rule out the “private rooms” option. I have met some awesome people who have hosted me in their homes.). Here at UNC, we work our tails off all year and deserve a fun vacation. So get to planning and take advantage of the week-long break from school that you desperately need!