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Cheap Spring Break Ideas

Posted on 2/14/2013 11:07 EST

Wintery weather may linger for a while in many parts of the country but spring is just around the corner. Now's the perfect moment to look for spring break deals. Fox News notes that "smartcations" are more in vogue this year than "staycations," the epitome of cheap spring breaks. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

Photo by sxc.hu/willsun

Home in on Package Deals.

What exactly is a smartcation? A string of deals patched together that dramatically cut the overall cost. Spring break deals apply to a variety of locales and come in an array of durations, opening up the possibility for creative and cheap spring break plans. Deal sites such as Groupon and Living Social offer an abundance of every type of vacation scenario imaginable, from Caribbean island getaway packages and wellness and weight-loss spas to fun-filled family vacation deals, to name a few. Pick a trip location and grab additional discounts on hotels, restaurants, and excursions. For more inspiration, consumer advisor Clark Howard posts a page of daily travel deals for domestic and international trips.

It Pays To Be Out of Sync.

Schedule flexibility goes far when planning cheap spring breaks. If you're not hemmed in by mandatory school or work schedules, consider planning your vacation a few weeks before or after spring break, which typically falls during the first half of March. Prices invariably rise during break season, so take the time to research spring break dates in your area and where you aim to go.

Visit One Big City.

The best spring break deals can be had by visiting one major city. Rates are generally lower when you stay longer, plus you'll save on transit costs between locations. Additionally, many large cities serve as hubs for particular airlines, which also helps to keep costs down. And as an added bonus, major cities often offer discounted city passes for top tourist spots. Check out Woman's Day for a list of the best population-dense cities in the country.

Vacation Home Trade or Rent.

Lodging is a large chunk of a vacation budget, but there are ways to minimize the hit for a cheap spring break. Websites such as Airbnb, Home Away, and VRBO help arrange room or home rentals by owners or property managers. Love Home Swap and Home Exchange help arrange home swaps that match your desired locale and other specifications. Craigslist also maintains sections for rentals or swaps.

Simple, Cheap Spring Breaks.

Taking a short jaunt close to home might seem unappealing at first but not once you consider the price. If weather permits, plan a road or camping trip with the family or a group of friends. Choosing a stay-home staycation is a prime opportunity to tune out the world while tuning into yourself and others close to you. Use some of the money you would have spent on vacation expenses and sign up for a massage or yoga class. And stay on top of the spring break deals that pop up all over the Internet -- you never know when the urge to travel will strike.

by Teal Malia (Google+ Profile)

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