Alternative Spring Break Ideas

By Contributing Author, Cheapism.com

It may seem as if everyone is jetting off to warm, far-off destinations for spring break: Cancun, Mazatlan, Hawaii, Disneyland, Ft. Lauderdale. But for those on a tight budget, there are alternative spring break options. We've put together a list for all sorts of spring breakers, from students to families to professionals.

Students: You're in college and money is scarce. Skip the tropical drunk-fest and take a road trip with friends. You'd be surprised how much ground you can cover in a week, and with everyone chipping in gas money, expenses will be minimal. Students in Washington State, for example, can make it to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and even Las Vegas in a day's drive. East Coasters can head south to New Orleans and Nashville, among other places. Stay in cheap hotels or motels along the way and consider this alternative spring break an adventure -- just make certain you're ready to spend a full week in a car with four other people

Take a road trip
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Families: Airfare costs and lodging can really add up for a family, so for this spring break consider a camping trip. Spring isn't too early to be sleeping outside, although you'll want to make sure you have gear for inclement weather; that means warm sleeping bags, a tent that stands up to rain and wind, and plenty of cozy clothing. Crisp mornings and sunny spring weather are good for the soul, as are s'mores cooked over a campfire. Check out campgrounds within a 200-mile radius of your home and pick the one that seems primed for the most adventure. Hiking trails, streams and rivers, beaches and/or mountains are all fodder for exploration. Many campgrounds have well-equipped bathrooms and convenience stores, so "roughing it" is relative.

Professionals: If you need a break from the daily grind but your budget won't allow a full-on spring break, consider dividing the week between a long weekend away and a "staycation." Spend the first half of your alternative spring break week unplugged at home and use the money saved by treating yourself to a midweek golf game, a massage, a facial, or a little shopping excursion. Dine out somewhere new. Go to the theatre or a movie. Once you've unwound from the stresses at work, finish up the week with a long weekend at a bed and breakfast, out of town, where you can recharge in a new environment.

For anyone: Volunteer for a week. Non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, Cross Cultural Solutions, and United Way offer week-long programs that cater to spring breakers. Many of these programs are targeted at college students, but that doesn't mean there isn't a place for others as well. So look around and find a program that works for you for an alternative spring break. Often housing and food are included, or you may pay a small fee. Either way, you can save a lot of money while still traveling to a new destination and feel good about it


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