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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spring For a Budget Break 2.22.12

All the kids are counting down to it and so are you, but probably for very different reasons. 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?

Somehow, I feel that now that I’m an adult and I want to travel during Spring Break, because I’m not actually getting a forced vacation, like so many school kids and their parents, I shouldn’t have to pay “holiday” rates, because it doesn’t affect me. Too bad that’s now how it actually works: You don’t get Spring Break, so you don’t have to pay Spring Break prices…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.

Where to go that’s family-friendly – or at least less likely to get you crushed by drunken 20-somethings – for your free week? One of the best deals I’ve found is for last-minute cruises from Expedia. Last-minute includes next week, next month or two months from now. If you have the desire to cruise and want to visit the Caribbean or Mexico (despite the Spring Breakers), then this is a great time to book one. Rates start at just $219 per person for an inside cabin. Obviously, rates vary by cabin and length of cruise, but if you book by February 29, you are likely to snatch up great sailings, like a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral for just $449pp or an 8-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Miami for only $499pp. Got more time (and money) on your hands? Check out a 17-night transatlantic cruise from Fort Lauderdale for $799pp or a 21-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Southern Caribbean (ports include Aruba, St. Thomas, Curacao and Half Moon Cay) from $1449pp.

What else is out there? Well, you can always do the old standby and plan a frugal trip to Vegas. I’ll be flying into Las Vegas for my next trip, though I’ll be driving to St. George, Utah to meet up with friends where we will go hiking, visit a ghost town, get pedicures and do family cookouts. I found a great deal on airfare and also a rental car for my trip and so can you. Southwest, JetBlue and many other airlines are offering deals to Sin City. 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.

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!

Need a hotel or even a whole package? The CheapTickets Winter Hotel Sale is on through February 29. Save on your hotel or flight & hotel package with big discounts, free nights, resort credits and more. Enjoy some of the lowest rates of the season and also read up on tips that can help save you even more.

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

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