Spring Break Guide: 5 Ways to Cheaper Trips + 20 Fun Destinations

Spring Break used to be just for college kids. Nowadays, it’s for families, couples, seniors, solo travelers – and yes, young people.

This Spring Break Guide is divided into two parts: Shopping tips to help you find cheaper trips and destination ideas for a perfect getaway. Have fun.

LISTEN: Rick loves spring travel, loves saving money.

5 Ways to Cheaper Trips

1. Fly on Tuesday

Given a week off, most of us would choose to fly weekend-to-weekend to make every minute of a seven day-vacation count. Do not do this! Instead, try this:

  • Depart on Tuesday, return on Saturday.

These Dallas-Orlando fares were found in February. See what a difference a few days makes.

  • Travel Sunday to Sunday,  $479
  • Travel Tuesday to Saturday,  $353

2. Avoid Non-stop Flights

If possible, avoid the convenience of a non-stop in favor of a connecting flight. A recent example for a Dallas-Aspen trip:

  • Non-stop flight: $1,283
  • Connecting flight: $581

3. Look for Cheap Destinations

NOTE: See 20 great Spring Break destinations at the end.

  • Ski trips: Boston and Denver offer lots of competitive airline service and all those flights keeps prices low.
  • Beaches: In the U.S., check out fares to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami and Los Angeles or San Diego. In the Caribbean, take a look at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

4. Make Disney Trips Cheaper

Disney theme park tips: Save money, time and stress

You can often save by flying into a cheaper airport.

  • Disneyland (Anaheim, Calif.): The closest airport is Orange County, also known as John Wayne in Santa Ana, Calif. but Los Angeles’ big hub LAX is a mere 34 miles up the road and often has cheaper flights. Another option is Long Beach, just 24 miles away and a JetBlue focus city.
  • Disney World (Orlando, Fl.): Compare fares to Orlando with those of Tampa; the driving distance between the two is 84 miles which may be hard on little ones but could save patient travelers real money.

For Disney discounts and travel tips, check with Disney Parks, the Orlando Visitors Center or MouseSavers.

5. Shop Now

You usually get the best prices if you buy your ticket 30 days before a trip (and begin shopping no earlier than about three months before departure). As always, compare fares to get the best deal possible.

Fun Destinations for Spring Break

The following list in no particular order is based on recommendations from friends, enthusiastic responses from travelers and personal experience. We’d love to spread the word about your favorites, too.

NOTE: An asterisk ( * ) means a city is a relatively good airfare deal though not all will benefit due to variables like departure city, flight route and other factors.

  • Click the city name to find airfare deals from your town.

Charming Cities

  • Charleston, S.C. Walk along the Battery in this lovely coastal town and ooh and ah at the historic mansions – or take a pirate tour. Lovely hotels, B&Bs and Lowcountry cooking. More visitor info here.
  • Savannah, Ga. This southern city is filled with stirring architecture, historic squares and gracious mansions; take a tour, enjoy one of the numerous festivals and enjoy the excellent restaurants. More visitor info here.

Charleston and Savannah are both served by JetBlue which frequently offers deals from New York.

Ski Cities

  • *Boston. This vibrant, historic city offers many attractions but is also the gateway to skiing and snowboarding in New England. Visitor info on Boston here.
  • *Denver. There is nothing quite like skiing in the Rockies and Denver is the doorway to world-class resorts offering the most challenging black diamond runs to slopes for beginnings. More visitor info here.

Fun for All

  • South Padre Island, Texas. If you can’t find fun here, you’re still in your hotel room sleeping. From raucous parties to amusement parks, skydiving or splashing in the Gulf of Mexico, there are plenty of opportunities for Instagram photos that’ll entertain (or embarrass) you for years to come. More visitor info here.
  • Orlando. Home of Disney World, Universal Studio Tours, Sea World and so much more. See these tips for visiting Disney parks, and learn more about the area here.

Glitz & Nightlife

  • *Austin. If you like music – especially live music – this is the place. The home to the University of Texas (and the state’s capital), Austin’s music scene takes place almost everywhere but especially in the clubs along 6th Street; it’s also home to the famed music/film/interactive extravaganza South by Soutwest (SXSW). More visitor info here.
  • *Las Vegas. Yes, there is gambling here and yes, people have been known to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two here. Not 21 yet? There are pool parties, amusement rides, golf, hiking in gorgeous scenery plus boutiques and dining that ranges from fast-food to four star. More visitor info here.
  • *Los Angeles. A great club scene plus fun schlock (Hollywood Walk of Fame) and world renowned art (The Getty). What more do you want? Oh, right – the beach. Venice and its boardwalk is always fun. More visitor info here.
  • *Miami and *Ft. Lauderdale. Spring Break in Florida: What could go wrong? The airports for these cities are just 26 miles apart so fly into whichever is cheaper, then see what’s happening in South Beach. More visitor info here.

Great Outdoors

  • Grand Canyon. Fly to Phoenix or Las Vegas and spend time there if you want before pushing on to the canyon. This is one of those rare natural wonders that must be seen to be appreciated. Do not miss it. More visitor info here.
  • Yosemite. Fly to Sacramento or San Francisco (but you’ll have a long drive after that). This national park has been delighting visitors for more than 120 years with its waterfalls, ancient giant sequoias and the favorites of rock climbers, Half Dome and El Capitan. Camp, stay in a lodge or get a motel room. More visitors info here.


  • Aruba. This island with its glorious northwest coastal beaches also boasts some of the best windsurfing in the world. It’s pretty great for scuba diving too, and shopping is said to be a “major diversion”. More visitor info here.
  • *San Juan. Puerto Rico has the advantage of being a Caribbean bargain. Other advantages include its beautiful beaches, 16th-century cathedral, a rain forest and superb Puerto Rican cuisine. More visitors info here.

International Cities

  • *Dublin and Galway. If your idea of Spring Break lends itself to more traditional pursuits, check out the lively pub scene in these cities. Then get out and look around; from the Cliffs of Moher to Connemara ponies to gorgeous old castles and ruins amidst all that deep, deep green – why, it’s beautiful enough to break your heart. More visitor info here.
  • *Oslo: Norway’s beautiful capital is a great deal right now as are other Scandinavian cites (thanks in part to Norwegian Air Shuttle, one of the 500 + airlines featured on FareCompare). More visitor info here.
  • Florence and Venice. These two gems of Italy do not need our seal of approval. Take Michelangelo’s or Leonardo’s word for it. More visitor info about Florence here and Venice here.



Updated: February 11, 2015