When you think of spring break, do you picture yourself on a beach, or inside a world-class art museum? Regardless of where you want to go, it’s a great idea to start planning now. With a little forethought and our simple tips, you’ll have a great spring break adventure without racking up debt.

“The sweet spot to purchase [airline] tickets is typically around eight weeks in advance for a domestic flight and about 11 weeks for an international flight,” says David Chait, founder of Travefy, a group travel planner in Boston. Keep track of frequent flyer miles and know your program if you’ve signed up for one in the past before booking.

Once you arrive at your destination, think about getting around without going broke. “Take public transport instead of cabs,” says Sarah Van Dyke, a small-business owner in Madison, Wis. “Many big cities now have phone apps to help you navigate public transport.”

Whether you’re booking a night in a hostel, buying a train ticket, or simply purchasing a museum admission, always ask about youth, student, and military discounts. “If you’re a student, make sure to always have your ID handy,” says Chait. “Spring break destinations, especially in the Caribbean or Mexico, know their clientele and restaurants and bars often offer 10% to 15% discounts.”

Before you take your trip, do some research online. “Register to Groupon, living social, Amazon deals, and other coupon offering websites for the area you are going to visit,” advises Lydie Thomas, San Francisco, author of “Your Guide to Visit Paris for Free.”

“The biggest expense outside of airlines tickets is lodging,” says Thomas. “One way to
defray this is to do a home exchange.” Indeed, nontraditional lodging options are exploding in popularity thanks to sites like Airbnb.com.

Food and drink can be a significant expense when you’re traveling as well, so don’t let this piece of the puzzle get away from you. “Grocery stores are great places to get delicious local fare at a very reasonable price, also it’s a good way to experience the local culture and get adventurous,” says Alisha Kirchoff, a university administrator in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. Another way to save money is to rely on food trucks and stands.

No matter your destination, Mid Oregon Credit Union can help you create a spending plan for your next trip or help with a personal loan. Stop by or call today at (541) 382-1795.