As winter finally draws to a close, travelers are making plans and packing their bags for spring break. If your funds are tight, you might (mistakenly) believe that a weeklong getaway is unaffordable and out of the question. Luckily, there are plenty of inexpensive locations worth visiting in March or April, so we’ve put together a guide for spring breakers on a budget. No matter what kind of traveler you are, read on to find your ideal budget destination!
For Beach Bums: Belize
With places like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta becoming overpriced and overcrowded during spring break season, Belize is the perfect alternative for travelers seeking an affordable oceanside getaway. Located on the Caribbean Sea, this Central American gem is only a short flight from most major U.S. cities, making it ideal for a short jaunt. Discover the country’s 240 miles of coastline and 400-plus islands ― called cayes ― where you can swim, snorkel, sunbathe, and scuba dive. Or, visit the Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize to experience the country’s vibrant Creole community and pristine beaches. What’s more: you can get a meal for as little as 12 BZ (about $6 USD), and even find affordable accommodation right on the beach! All you need to do is pack your swimsuit.
For City Breakers: New Orleans, U.S.A
Mardi Gras may be over, but NOLA’s vibrance never fades ― even after the floats have passed. (If you don’t believe us, just look at the beads that are still dangling from the city’s streetlights and tree boughs!) For travelers looking for a city break with delicious food, great music, and spirited nightlife on the cheap, New Orleans is an ideal choice.
Though flights can sometimes be pricey in the spring, you’ll find affordable meals, accommodation, and transportation once you arrive — you can even navigate the city via rental bike!. Grab a po’boy for a cheap bite anywhere in the city, or pop into a café serving breakfast and lunch for $5-10 (USD), even in one of the NOLA’s more expensive (and most exciting) neighborhoods: the Garden District. And if you’re a night owl, be sure to check out Frenchman Street, where you can find plenty of bars and venues offering inexpensive drinks and shows, such as the Spotted Cat or Blue Nile.
For Winter-Lovers: Vermont
If you’re hoping spring comes late this year, then a tropical escape probably isn’t on your mind. Instead, head north to Vermont where winter hangs on until March or even April. Just a few hours drive from other northeastern states, and a short flight from other regions of the U.S., Vermont offers affordable skiing and winter activities for travelers wanting to avoid the expense of a week in Vail. Hit the slopes at Sugarbush or the Middlebury Snow Bowl, which both offer lift passes for under $100 (USD), or hike for free on the state’s iconic Long Trail. But if New England hygge is what you’re after, get cozy in Vermont’s small towns or grab a beer at one of the state’s many craft breweries.
For Foodies: Montreal, Canada
Hoping to spend your spring break eating delicious food? Look no further than Montreal, where the cold spring weather is more than made up for by its dynamic culinary scene. Heavily influenced by its French colonial history and its modern status as an international hub, Montreal’s cuisine is rich and diverse, and it packs a punch, too. Luckily for budget travelers, the city’s delicacies don’t have to break the bank, though. Experience Montreal’s Asian fusion at Vua, try Middle Eastern delights at KazaMaza, or snag some poutine for a cheap and indulgent snack anywhere in the city. And after you’ve eaten your weight in delicious new foods, pop into a bar for a winter warmer that’s within your budget — you can grab a pint for under $5 (USD) at Winnie’s or Le Sainte-Elizabeth. No matter what you’re craving, Montreal has you covered.
For Backpackers: The Azores
An autonomous region of Portugal, the Azores is a nine-island archipelago in the mid-Atlantic. Despite its perennially mild climate and sweeping landscapes, the Azores remains a relatively undiscovered tourist destination, meaning that a spring break visit is much less expensive than it would be in hotspots in mainland Europe. And because of its location in the Atlantic, flights from the eastern U.S. only take four to five hours.
So, if you’re looking to escape for an outdoorsy trip, look no further than these picturesque islands. Hike the archipelago’s many trails to discover wonders such as the Caldeira das Sete Cidades or the Lagoa do Fogo ― breathtaking crater lakes on the largest island of São Miguel. And, if your backpacking budget is tight, don’t panic: camping is allowed and even encouraged, and it will leave you with unforgettable experiences in the stunning scenery of the Azores.
Need more inspiration for traveling on the cheap? Check out our budget travel series!