It may only be February, but spring break will be here before we know it. I know that my kids always look forward to doing something, anything, during this week off. It can get pretty expensive if you wait until the last minute. There are a few ways I have found to help minimize the overall costs of spring break.
Obviously, staying home, and not traveling for spring break at all, would be the cheapest option. If you choose to stay local and not travel, then there are quite a few budget-friendly options to choose from. Throughout the years, we have tried many different things to help cut costs by staying local during spring break.
In our area, there are a plethora of free museums. I don’t know about you, but I am a HUGE fan of FREE!
Two of the museums near us also happen to participate in the ASTC passport program. If you haven’t heard of this program before, you should definitely familiarize yourself with it.
If you belong to one of the participating museums, then you automatically gain FREE entry to any other museum on the list, nationwide. The best way to utilize this passport program is to find the current participating list and hit up as many within driving distance as you can.
Getting Creative in the Kitchen
Our kids like to get as creative in the kitchen as we do. Sometimes, even more so! Therefore, we like to entertain their culinary dreams, even if their idea’s sound pretty odd sometimes. Even if this doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to you, kids really love to experiment with food. So why not incorporate it into their spring break?
If you have more than one child, this option can be even more fun because they should work together to come up with recipes and create them. Next, they can work on the best way to present their dish to you, which can be a whole lot of fun. Let them get creative with making placemats or plating the food on the plates in an artistic manner. Plus, it will help reinforce teamwork and they get to clean the dishes. Bonus!
Putting on a Show
One great way to keep the kids entertained during spring break is to have them put on a show. Pick one of their favorite books, or movies, and have them work as a team to create a live show of it.
Since we have five kids, we usually make one the director and the other four are the actors. They all work together on costumes and set design. Just this one activity can keep them busy all day until it is show time.
When that time comes, having them make popcorn or some other budget-friendly snacks for all of us to enjoy just adds to the magic. This is even better than going to a movie because they get to put on their creative hats and it is a day full of play. Plus, sometimes we end up with some yummy kitchen creations also.
Perambulating (aimless wandering) is one of our favorite things to do when we have a free day, or a free week. This option is a really simple way to incorporate some adventure in the area you live in.
Pack a backpack full of healthy snacks and water bottles and hit the road. Try to pick some place that isn’t too far away and let the kids voice which area they might want to head.
Once you arrive, park and start walking. These adventures are really cool because you just never know what you are going to find, in your own backyard, nonetheless. Plus, it doesn’t cost more than the gas it took you to drive there.
Traveling on a Budget
If you do choose to travel, instead of staying local though, there are some great ways to make sure you don’t blow your budget.
If flying is your preference, then starting to look for airfare deals now can really help you save some money. Try searching many different destination options first, before you narrow it down, so that you get an idea of what the price range is. Then, look for tickets on Tuesday’s, as that is when the prices are lower, typically.
Some great sites to search on are:
- Matrix Airfare Search (This one is my FAVORITE!)
- AirFare Watchdog
- Fare Compare
If you want to save even more money, then pick someplace that is within driving distance. Now, this can mean many different things depending upon where you live and how old your children are. But, for us, this means anywhere within ten or so hours away.
The further away, the more we will have to break up the trip. But, sometimes that is part of the whole spring break magic. You never know what you will run across, or what you might find on the side of the road, when you are traveling by car. Sometimes, just the trip to your ultimate destination can be a whole trip in and of itself.
This part can end up being the most expensive part of traveling. So finding the best, most budget-friendly, lodging options can really make or break your spring break budget. There are quite a few sites that have great lodging deals, such as:
But my new found favorite love is actually getting lodging for FREE! You may be asking how in the world you can get free lodging. Well, it’s actually pretty easy if you decide to house sit. There are a few websites that specialize in this all over the world, but my favorite one is TrustedHousesitters.com.
There is an annual fee to be a member, but the general way it works is this:
- You decide what area of the world you are interested in visiting
- Put in your date range, if you know it
- Once you find a few options that fit your parameters, then apply to house sit
- If the owner chooses you, you get to stay at their house for free!
- Sometimes they have pets or plants that you will need to take care of, so make sure that you will be capable and willing to do so, prior to confirming the stay.
Pretty awesome, right?
Spring Break Win
Overall, there are a lot of different options to keep your kids spring break extremely budget friendly and save you some serious money. Now the biggest question, is which one of these great options will you include this year to make this the best spring break ever?
When do you normally start planning your spring break plans to save yourself the most money? What have been your most budget-friendly, yet most exciting, spring breaks?