Before Instagram became the place to go to prove that your spring break was lit, college kids spent the week off from classes at home catching up with family and friends. The spring break vacation trend didn’t become a standard until the late 1930’s when a coach dragged his reluctant swim team to train in Ft. Lauderdale, FL at the only olympic sized pool at the time. The city smelled a marketing and business opportunity and over the following 20 years, they spent their time creating the spring break tradition that college kids love today. Fast forward to now and college kids all over the country are ditching their textbooks for the comforts of all day drinking and sun bathing. The Instagram worthy vacations put the humble Ft. Lauderdale roots to shame.
Like many great things in life, lavish beach vacations far away from home on a college student’s budget can seem like an oxymoron. Even if you commit to only going out 1 night a week and eating hot dogs for 3 months, saving up enough to go to some far away, exotic vacation is not feasible. While vacations are not typically budget friendly, there are some spring break destinations that can promise a memorable experience without needing to rent out your dorm room for a semester to pay for it. This month we are taking you to the Big Easy, New Orleans.
If you want to break out your finest two-step while indulging in southern cuisine that will make you wonder if your grandma really is the best cook you know; then it is time you consider New Orleans as a destination spot for your spring break. While NOLA is not exactly your quintessential sand filled getaway, it is a place that you will not regret visiting. The culture is rich, the food is otherworldly, and the streets vibrate with jazz, blues, and rock n roll music.
When it comes to saving on any spring break getaway, it is ideal to travel with a group. While traveling with a large group of 6+ people can be a headache, grab 3 other people to make a group of 4 to cut costs while avoiding unnecessary travel drama. Here’s the breakdown on how you can live your best spring break life on the low.
Choosing Travel Dates
Spring break is different depending on what school you go to but for the most part, but even if your spring break hasn’t officially started, you can choose earlier dates to avoid peak season costs. Finesse the time around finals where classes end on different schedules to kick off your spring break right. The ideal time to travel to NOLA is around February 19th to February 23rd which would make your trip a 5 day, 4 night adventure. Choosing travel dates just outside of spring break really saves on the cost of your flight. For this February NOLA spring break, your flight can be as little as $337. Throw in an extra $50, split between the group of course, for airport travel and you are looking at $349.50.
Hotel vs Airbnb?
It’s 2018! No one is staying in hotels anymore when they can get the home away from home experience in an Airbnb for a much more reasonable price. Skip the pricey French Quarter hotels that will eat up your traveling budget in the name of scenery to spring for an Airbnb. The cost may seem like a lot at first but remember you are splitting it between all 4 people on the trip, yourself included. If booked ahead of time, you can snag an Airbnb for as little as $130 a night (like this one). While hotels that are steps away from the action can run you a pretty penny, renting out an Airbnb can save you money without robbing you of ambiance and proximity. An Airbnb that is around $130 a night would cost about $849, including taxes and fees, for the entire trip. Split between 4 people, your accommodations would run you about $212.50 for your entire stay!
Best, Affordable Eats
Some people would say that the best part of spring break vacations is sightseeing or indulging in an over the top nightlife. When you go to New Orleans, the star of the show is most definitely the one of a kind cuisine. From mouth watering crawfish boils to beignets with coffee for breakfast, you will fall in love with the food at the first bite. While it makes sense to use blow a chunk of your travel budget on food, it’s not practical. Before heading to NOLA, research places to eat using services like Yelp. You can check and see what other people think about the food and save yourself wasting time and money trying out mediocre food. Decide on a food budget before going on your trip to keep your spending in check. You can find delicious food outside of tourist trap locations. Check out sites like 2 Food Trippers for the low down on the best budget friendly eats. For a generous yet reasonable food and drink budget, put aside around $200.
Nightlife & Sightseeing
New Orleans is overflowing with history, culture, and out of this world sightseeing. The city has buildings that have been around since the birth of this nation and are definitely a must see during your time there. Instead of shelling out money for expensive walking tours with a group of strangers, look up historical places (use this list) that you want to check out and explore on your own. Actually be a tourist. Don’t waste money on Ubers back and forth. Jump on public transportation, with a map of course, and spend $2 each way. When it comes to NOLA nightlife, you will want to, at the very least, reserve a night or 2 out of your vacation to indulge. This can mean hitting up iconic bars like Tropical Aisle which is known for it’s wrap around balcony and Hand Grenade mix drink (one is plenty!) or walking Bourbon Street and finding what you discover. Keep the drinking costs low, because that can definitely spiral, by pre-gaming at the Airbnb and taking it easy while you are out. Most bars don’t charge for entry so you can enjoy the strip without overspending.
Let’s total the cost of your NOLA spring break budget vacation:
Flight: NYC to MSY $337
Airport Transportation: $50 split between 4 people
Airbnb: As low as $212.50 for your portion ($849 in total)
Eating & Drinking: $200
General Transportation: About $20
While these are estimates, they reflect the costs at the rates as of today. Going on an epic spring break NOLA trip is totally possible. You deserve to hop on a plane to a destination where you can unwind, party, and create memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. You don’t have to break the bank to do it.