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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Budget Spring Break Ideas

Spring Break is almost here and that means you have a whole week to think of how to entertain your children (if you have them) or worry about your college student (if you have one) or figure out how to fit your travel plans into your budget (if you have one). Spring is a great time to travel; however, it can get a bit dicey during the month of March, because Spring Break varies across the country, making it impossible to know when you will have to share your space with a bajillion hard-partying college kids – and sometimes those well out of their college days – or have to pay twice as much for hotels and airfare. Luckily, with the economy still kinda sucky, deals are easier than ever to find. You just have to pick one, pay for it and go. But where?

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Don't you wish, as an adult, that you din't have to pay holiday rates just because you wanted to travel during Spring Break? Yeah. Me too, but until someone figures out how that works, we will have to continue to avoid the crowds and search for discounts. I suppose if anyone shouldn’t have to pay holiday prices, it’s the poor parents that have just come off of Christmas and already dreading planning how to keep their kids out of trouble and entertained for the three months of summer that’s right around the corner, but I digress.

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What else is out there? Well, you can always do the old standby and plan a frugal trip to Vegas.  Southwest, JetBlue and many other airlines are offering deals to Sin City and BookIt has rooms from as low as $22 per night. If staying on the Strip, skip the car rental and book an airport shuttle instead. You could save $100+ on a week stay and can take the free tram from one end of the strip to the other instead. Your trip can be super budget if you need it to be. Here are some free and cheap Vegas activities to do while you’re there.

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Lake Tahoe - If you were thinking of maybe taking a trip to Vegas, consider a trip to Lake Tahoe instead. With the high stakes of Vegas, but with the added bonus of lakeside activities, hiking trails and skiing. Depending on where you stay around the actual lake, you can have totally different experiences. New and interesting shopping and dining, as well as the option of a fantastic day drive around Lake Tahoe. 

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New Orleans, LA - Here's another destination that no one really thinks about outside of Mardi Gras. With so much interesting history, architecture, music and delicious food, New Orleans should be a must for any culture junkie. For those that don't care about culture, take a walk on the dark side with ghost tours. Save on your trip to New Orleans with the Power Pass. Starting as low as $28 per day, gain entry to the must-see attractions of the city. Choose from places like the Musee Conti Wax Museum, Audubon Zoo, Cajun Pride Swamp Tour and much more! Available in 1- to 5-day durations. Add a 1-3 day MealTicket to eat at awesome restaurants for one low price.

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Visit State and National Parks. Hiking, running, jumping and climbing are great ways to entertain (and tire out) your kids for a very nominal cost. Sometimes it’s free and sometimes you pay per carload. You get to enjoy some nature and wildlife and your kids get fresh air and exercise. Turn it into a bit of an educational trip by giving them cameras and having them take pictures of the different things they see along the way (i.e. trees, flowers, animals) and then print them out later for identification. Many parks have education centers where they do talks and have exhibits that explain about the plants and animals of the region. Make time to stop in and have your kids ask the rangers questions about their visit.

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South America is always a great Spring Break destination, because not only is it not a destination college kids look at to par-tay, but it's also budget-friendly. If you are looking to spend about half the price for a vacation, then South America (and even Central America) is where you should look. You'll have a less traditional Spring Break, save some money and help a struggling economy. Brush up on your Spanish and pack your warm weather clothes!

Are you traveling for Spring Break? Where are you going?
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