This year will be my first year going somewhere for our spring recess, and I am incredibly excited. My freshman year was still affected by the spread of COVID-19 and last year I didn’t take the initiative to look for anything until it was too late.
In these past couple of weeks, I have booked a nice five-day break with my roommate and friend in Florida. And while it feels very relieving that I am headed somewhere warm amidst a chaotic semester, it was honestly a little stressful when trying to figure out every detail. So, here are some tips I took into account when organizing my trip for a low cost while also maximizing our fun.
First thing’s first: getting there. Avelo is a charter airline which is located outside of New Haven–only 33 minutes away from campus–and is known for its low-cost flights. The catch is, there aren’t very many options. Right now, they only have flights going to Florida, South Carolina, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland. However, one flight for example is $87 from New Haven, Conn. to Fort Myers, Fla. on a Tuesday. If you scour through all of the locations and dates, you’re bound to find a roundtrip that is inexpensive and allows you a good amount of time to settle into your temporary stay.
Checking in luggage can often cost up to an additional $50 whereas you can bring a carry-on for free (depending on your airline). If you’re only going somewhere for five or six days, you can without a doubt stuff everything you need into a portable bag rather than having to go through baggage claim. Another problem that has been recently arising is luggage getting lost in transit (if you’re going to have a layover), so I would rather not take the risk and suggest having it with you at all times.
Depending on how many people you are traveling with and your location, an Airbnb might be a more cost-effective stay. Research the surrounding Airbnb’s in your area, look up the house rules and then past reviews from the previous renters. If you have a smaller group, you can also share a hotel room together, which is what I’m doing since one of us has hotel points that give us a discounted stay. Maybe one of your group members has this perk, too! Some additional benefits of a hotel are you don’t have to worry about doing chores before you leave and there is an extra layer of protection with staff security. In the end, decide what is best for you and your group.
Depending on where you’re staying, you have the potential to budget for food as well. In an Airbnb, you can buy lots for the week and split it among your group which may lead to a very small amount that you all pitch in. The hotel you choose might offer an unlimited buffet, cheap mini restaurants or include free breakfast. If you are like me and really enjoy eating out, you can split a bunch of appetizers with your friends which will inevitably fill you up and only take a little bit out of your wallets. Personally, I think you should pick one night to go to a very nice restaurant that you all find looks good and splurge there. There’s nothing better than indulging in a tasty meal and laughing with your friends over dinner!
If you’re going somewhere warm, chances are you don’t need to spend money on activities–you can just do them outside for free. Almost every day on my March vacation, I will be laying on the beach reading a book. I’ll have access to the water, shade, entertainment and more. My friends from home and I like playing card games which is another idea I think most people don’t associate with the beach but is really fun. Another suggestion is to research “free outdoor activities + your desired location”. I’m positive you’ll find something fun on a budget. But I personally believe a vacation is a time to do nothing but relax, so laying on the shore like a beached whale sounds like perfection to me.
Whatever you decide to do and wherever you decide to venture, I suggest starting to plan as soon as possible–like, now. The longer you wait, the more prices will increase, the more hotels will be harder to book and the more seats on flights will disappear. But as always, just be safe, be smart and have fun.
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