Are you wondering how to travel cheaply this spring break? Travel is fun but it often isn’t cheap. So how do you go about planning an inexpensive trip when you really want to get away but you have a limited budget? And, where can you go for cheap spring break trips? That’s what you’ll hopefully learn here!
We love to travel with our kids and experience new places, different food, and just cool things to see that don’t exist where we live (even though Greenville, SC is awesome). But traveling, especially with a family, gets expensive fast. Spring break is the perfect time for a family-friendly adventure. So, we asked our readers for their best tips on planning a Spring Break trip on the cheap, plus added in some of our own tips based on experience.
No matter where you live, you can use these tips for an awesome spring break on a budget and keep costs down on your next travel adventure with your family. We hope they save you a lot of money and bring some fun adventures to your family!
How to travel cheap
You can travel cheap for spring break or any time of the year! Here are several ways to keep costs down while planning a fun trip with your family and save you money.
Google free things to do in the area you’re traveling
This is one I often do but not until the last minute when I’m searching for cheap stuff to do in a place I already decided to go. So why not do this before you shell out all the cash and find places that have less expensive or free attractions?
Look for things like free walking tours where you might learn about some history or nature.
Many areas have amazing parks with fun amenities for very cheap. For example Village Park in Kannapolis, NC has a beautiful old carousel and a miniature train to ride. You may even find parks with free live music or movies in the evenings.
One place we found that has lots of cheap things to do nearby is Athens, GA. They’ve got amazing botanical gardens, super cool playgrounds, and art museums, all for free.
Stay with family or friends
If you have family where you will be traveling and they are open to you staying with them, this is a great way to save tons of money on lodging costs, which are usually a pretty significant part of any travel budget.
Or, choose your destination based on where you have friends or family who’d love to see you for a visit.
Do a Staycation
Of course, we are going to endorse a staycation because of how cool Greenville is. There are lots of free things to do here plus you can take time to maybe try new things that you have been putting off.
Use your Reciprocal Membership Benefits
I have a Roper Mountain Science Center membership and using it when I travel to get in free at other science centers and museums around the country has saved me a ton of money. RMSC is a member of the ASTC (Association of Science and Technology Centers) Passport Program, which has more than 300 science and tech centers around the country. So before you travel, check the list out and see what you can save with your membership.
Do the same with your zoo memberships. It’s always fun to explore a new zoo or aquarium and even better when you can do so for free or with a hefty discount.
Consider a Parks Pass
Get a National (America the Beautiful) or State Parks Pass if you’re going to the parks. If you have a 4th grader, you can get an America the Beautiful pass for free, which gets your family into any National Park or Monument. I have a SC State Parks Pass and I’ve used it all over the state when I’ve traveled, especially to the more pricey State Parks on the coast. Another big win for saving money with traveling.
While camping isn’t for everyone, it’s a great way to save money while traveling. I tent camp and it’s allowed me to go to more places that I could have if I didn’t want to take an air mattress, sleeping bag, and tent with me. If you have a camper, this is a great way to save money on hotel costs.
Look for hotels with meals included
Many hotels offer complimentary breakfasts and a few even offer an evening meal with salads, chicken fingers, and other appetizer-style types of food. When you’re traveling with kids, these can be a great way to keep costs down.
We have a whole article on road trips with kids that includes more tips for inexpensive road trips!
Do the Jr. Ranger Programs
Do the (mostly) free Junior Ranger Programs at national and state parks to learn about the area. It’s cheaper than a paid tour!
Sign up for Email Lists
Get on the email lists of your favorite places to stay because you can get great deals. The ones that I’ve signed up for are: Wilderness at the Smokies, Dollywood, Great Wolf Lodge, and Getaway. Follow them on social media also for last-minute cancellation deals.
Save Gas & Stay Nearby
Stay close to Greenville to save on gas if you’re trying to cut out that cost. We have a list of great Spring Break trips less than 90 minutes away.
Cheap Spring Break Trips: Destinations Near Upstate, SC
So, you have the tips on how to travel cheap, but you still need some ideas about where to actually go. We have some cheap spring break trip ideas, too! There are so many wonderful places near Greenville to enjoy a few nights away while saving money. Here are a few ideas:
Flat Rock and Hendersonville, NC
Flat Rock has an awesome playground at The Park at Flat Rock. You can also hike around the Carl Sandburg home and play with the goats. For food, grab pizza and a local salad at the Village Bakery.
In Hendersonville, you can visit the free Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County, which is small in size but packs a punch in things they have to see. Nearby is the Tryon International Equestrian Center, which hosts a free Saturday Night Lights event most Saturday nights during the summer and fall. See this list for tons of other free things to do in Hendersonville.
Chimney Rock, NC
We love visiting Chimney Rock to walk around the downtown village, maybe get a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, or sit down by the river. The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is beautiful and free to walk through. And Bearwallow Mountain is an awesome trail near there with 360 degree views of the mountains.
See Looking Glass Rock (roadside waterfall), do the short hike to Moore’s Cove Falls, check out the original O.P. Taylors and get lunch at Rocky’s Soda Shop.
Lake Hartwell, SC
Stay at the Getaway outpost there or a tiny house at Big Water Marina, hike for free (Yellow Branch Falls, Riley Moore Falls, Brasstown, Rabun Bald), go antiquing in North Georgia, see the amazing waterfall at Toccoa Falls College (you pay a small fee here), visit Split Creek Farm and do the free self-guided tour, walk around historic Seneca.
What other ideas do you have for doing a Spring Break trip on the cheap?