If you’re an international student studying in the US, you’ve probably picked up on the Spring break hype by now.
For many American students, it’s typically the tradition to spend Spring break somewhere warm like a beach or island with a bunch of friends, relax and party til the break of dawn, and repeat that process until it’s time to return to campus.
If you’ve got the chance to do Spring break like the Americans, that’s great! However, not all international students have the chance or luxury to spend a big chunk of money on a luxurious beach vacation.
Plus, some might have just joined the university in January and didn’t have the time to book trips in advance for the break, which is usually around mid-March. But it’s not too late!
If you’re looking for a way to spend the time off while sticking to your college budget, here’s some ideas.
Be flexible in travel dates and locations
According to TribLive, the “hot” spring break destinations for 2019 might be filled to the brim, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the ones that were hot in the past.
Several hotels and areas that were hit by last year’s hurricanes are anxious to prove that the worst is over and they are back in business, offering competitively-priced rates, packages, and promotions to lure travelers back there.
While hot destinations as well as popular ski resorts are the preferred choice for many students, you can still have a fun holiday elsewhere.
Kurt Stahura, the dean of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Niagara University, said, “If you don’t want to be bothered by the noise and loud music that might very well accompany college students traveling in groups, it would certainly be best to research family oriented destinations that are less likely to have spring breakers, or those that have vast areas where you know you’ll be able to find a secluded spot to enjoy the sun, read a book or enjoy a meal.”
Daniel Marmontello, a senior product manager at CheapCaribbean, a travel site for Caribbean vacations advises students to be flexible in their travel dates, and they might be able to score cheaper deals.
“Look for departures a day before or after your desired dates. Airfare pricing can vary by departure date, and savings can be found by being flexible.”
Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, also gave similar advice to students planning a last-minute Spring break.
“If you can adjust which days you fly, you’ll be even better off. The highest fares typically fall on Fridays, Sundays and Mondays, so consider mixing it up and traveling on Saturdays when airfare is often lower and airports not as crowded. Using Google Flights’ calendar search is always a prime place to start when researching the cheapest days to fly.”
Visit friends or family
If you’ve got friends or relatives living at other parts of the US, use the break to visit them. You might need to spend on flight tickets, but chances are they’ll let you stay for free!
You’ll get to reconnect with old friends or family, plus gain the chance to potentially check out a new city or area, which beats spending the break alone.
Take a road trip
Renting a car and buying gas still costs money, but it could still work out cheaper, especially if you split the cost with a few friends.
You can set your road trip destination to somewhere that doesn’t cost too much on Spring Break (rates at the usual spots like Daytona Beach and Miami will usually be hiked up in anticipation of the popular holiday break), and break up the trip by visiting small towns along the way.
If you don’t go too far, it could be a cost-effective way to spend the break that still involves travelling and getting away from campus.
Look for last-minute deals
If you haven’t been able to plan ahead for Spring break but are still itching to travel, there may still be a way!
According to Forbes, there are still last-minute flights to popular Spring break destinations available, such as Cancun in Mexico or the Bahamas, depending where you fly from.
Check on travel websites such as Expedia, Offers.com or CheapOAir, where last-minute offers and discounts are still being offered to entice those who are late to the Spring Break party.
Can’t travel? Spring break is a great time to see the local sights! You’ll get more time to explore the town or city you live in, and check out some local attractions that you perhaps haven’t had the time to do so yet.
You’ll probably find there is plenty to do locally that doesn’t cost much or are free for students, such as visiting galleries and museums, catching a community theater show, or going camping and/or stargazing.
Rather than take a vacation, these amazing @UWindsor students spent their spring break helping a small community in Costa Rica address their emerging water crisis through education and much needed maintenance of the water line and water board facility. #windsorproud pic.twitter.com/EgWooFKecj
— Chris Houser, Dean of Science, UWindsor (@houserchrisa1) February 24, 2019
Another great option for those who won’t be travelling this Spring Break – volunteering!
Find a cause you’re passionate about and it won’t seem like work, plus you’ll get to round out your resume, meet new friends, and get some networking experience.
There’s so many ways you can give back to the community, whether it’s tutoring English to refugee children, cleaning up a river, or helping an NGO with marketing campaigns.