According to research by Skyscanner, the average college student spends between $220 and $600 per night on their spring break trip. Considering most college students are also thousands of dollars in debt, this spending, for little more than a few days with friends on the beach, can be seen as vastly unnecessary. That being said, here are some money-saving and budget friendly spring break ideas for you and your friends can utilize.


  • Use Groupon. Groupon is a coupon website that can save you money on everything from a night on the town to a hotel stay. The website has discounted restaurant gift cards, concert tickets, hotel rooms and even some pre-planned vacations to places as close as New York and as far as Australia.
  • Turn your “vacation” into a “staycation”. There are plenty of things to do in New England when the weather gets warmer. Stay at home and make a different set of plans with friends every day. Do everything from mall trips to local beach hangouts. You can even check out small businesses in your local city or town.
  • Check out your local library (no I’m not telling you to read). Many libraries give out free passes and coupons to museums and other amusements to their patrons. For example, if you have a Rhode Island state library card, you can go to any of the Providence branches to get $10 admission to the Boston Museum of Science or the New England Aquarium. You can only use one pass at a time, but saving money somewhere allows use of the money saved for another activity.
  • Take a class. Another cheap or last minute alternative to going down the East Coast this spring is to take a class. No, not a college class. Get some friends together and take a cooking class or even a pottery or yoga class. No one said learning something new couldn’t be fun.
  • Visit family or friends. If you are insistent on traveling, see if you can visit some relatives or friends who live out of state. They’ll probably let you stay with them which saves the cost of a hotel. All you’ll have to pay is for food and other various necessities.
  • See a play or movie. Plays and movies occur year round and are ever-changing. Check out your local theatre district or movie theatre for ideas on what to watch.
  • Check out Airbnb. Save money on accommodations by staying in an AirBNB instead of a chain hotel. AirBNB’s typically have good ratings and are privately rented out for less money by their owners.
  • Take a day trip. Anything within a four hour drive of your location can be considered a day trip. Explore somewhere out of state, try a new restaurant and then return home at the end of the day. Day trips can be spontaneous as well and require little planning. Just pick a day, a place, and go!


Two University of Rhode Island juniors, Tom and Krista, shared their spring break plans to demonstrate that it is possible to spend little money and still have a good time. Coincidentally, they’re both going to Montreal, just not together. When asked about her budget, Krista replied that she spent less than $500 for everything she’s already paid for by planning to drive up there and splitting the cost of her $100 per night Airbnb with the friend she is going with. Tom stated that while he was staying in a hotel, he is saving money by “driving [his] car up there and having friends split the hotel cost”.

Another junior, Sam, a philosophy major, is spending part of his spring break in Utah on a University paid for trip to share a paper he wrote with the philosophy community at a major convention. That just goes to show that if you can’t afford to travel somewhere for spring break, just do something smart or crazy enough for someone to offer you an exciting trip.

Of course there’s far more than just eight ways to spend your beach vacation or hometown staycation. Most city newspapers keep a public events calendar on their website that is updated weekly to ensure everyone knows what there is to do. Whether you’re flying down the East Coast for a warm-weather getaway or you’re crashing on your parents’ couch with your friends, these eight tips will help you save money and plan fun activities for your enjoyment.