Ballin' On a Budget: How to Have a Great Spring Break without Killing your Bank Account

Spring Break…a rite of passage for the college student. The broke college student.  Many think of spring break as something you have to save for.  Something you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on- thousands that can go towards you tuition and fees, room and board, or books.  But I am here to tell you, you can have a great spring break without going broke!


Hotels are usually the first thing people worry about when they are planning a vacation- and possibly the most expensive part of a trip (besides food).  But don’t worry, there are cheaper alternatives.

  • Airbnb- this is the best website I have ever used!  You start by choosing a location, dates, and how many guests will be in attendance.  You can opt to have an entire home, a private room, or share a room with other travelers.  Depending on how long you are staying, most hosts will give a discount.  Speaking of hosts, be mindful you are staying in someone else’s home.  While most host will not bother you, do not disregard them.  They are a good resource for finding fun spots wherever you are staying.

Tip: If you go with a larger group of people, you all can split the cost of a place.

  • Groupon- The best website to find deals on all types of things, including hotels!  Groupon tends to have higher end hotels, so they are a little pricier.  The only downside to using Groupon is the reviews are from people who have bought the tickets from the site.  You may have to do a slight more research on the hotel before booking your stay.
  • Trivago- We have all seen the commercials, but how many have actually visited the site?  Trivago is a great source for comparing hotel prices and their ratings.  You will get honest reviews from people who have stayed in these hotels.  The website is user friendly and it is quick and easy to book a stay.


Food is the second most expensive expense accumulated on a trip.  Here are some things you can do to save on the cost of food:

  • Eat at Mom and Pop Restaurants- Not only will you be supporting the local small businesses, but you will also get some great food that you cannot get anywhere else.  Most Mom and Pop shops are cheaper to go to then chain restaurants.
  • Consider what your Hotel Has to Offer- Many hotels have free breakfast for guests.  The breakfast menu usually consists of bagels, cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, assorted fruits, waffles, teas, and coffees.  Most hotels will keep the coffee and tea available all day.  You may also consider booking a place with a kitchen and bringing your own groceries if you do not want to eat out often.  Many restaurants also offer award programs and coupons so you can save a couple dollars on meals.


Entertainment will rack up the least expenses, but will be the most important part of making memories.

  • RetailMeNot- This is an app that can be used for the fashionista in all of us.  The app uses your location to find deals at local stores around you.  Notice: Some stores will not accept the apps coupons, but all you can do is try J
  • Groupon- Groupon can be used to find deals from facials to concerts to escape rooms.  Deals on things to do are usually super discounted.  It is smart to follow up with the company you bought a Groupon for in case there are special requirements and stipulations to make the trip run smooth.
  • 1iota- This only works for certain cities- Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and sometimes a select few other cities.  Basically, you get free tickets for celebrity meet ups, concerts, and TV shows.  Notice: This website does oversell tickets so be sure to arrive early in order to assure you are let inJ
  • City Pass- Many cities have something called a city pass.  This city pass can be used to get into various attractions around the city for one flat price.  Some websites will let you build your own city pass so you only pay for the things you want to see.
  • Check the Cities Page- Many cities have websites with up to date free events.  Check the page and plan ahead!