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Budgeting early helps pay for vacation

Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 11:02

Vacations taken in college, such as spring break or spontaneous weekend trips friends throw together, come as a rite of passage. As a student however, budgeting is always a concern.

It is something assumed to be done by all. We budget our time, money and even food in order to get by. Yet nobody wants to sit in their dorm room every single weekend, watching reruns on cable and eating a never-ending bowl of Ramen. With spring break quickly approaching students are gearing up to budget even harder in order to get out of the college town and onto a vacation.  
During March and April spring break hot spots like Panama City Beach hand out discounts left and right. The key to taking advantages of offers like “50 percent off each hotel room” or “Buy one get one free” is to plan ahead. Now is the time to be cutting back on things you want but don’t need. The new video game can wait and that tube of lipstick will be there when you get back. Take a step back to look realistically at finances and be practical when deciding how much you can afford to spend without coming home broke.  
Choosing a destination can be tricky. Should it be a small road trip, or week long expenditure?  You must decide if you want to go out and enter a party atmosphere or relax somewhere quiet. According to travelchannel.com, popular party places this time of year include Las Vegas, Miami or South Padre Island. The wild atmosphere comes with a price tag, though.

“I am taking half of my paycheck every week and putting it away in a jar until I have enough money for the trip. The cost is what concerns me the most,” Haley Townsend, a junior communication disorders major of Greenwood, said. This type of savings adds up quickly if you’re a little late on starting a budget or need quite a lot to get where you’re going.  
Not everyone travelling this time of year is going on vacation. Devlin Deveney, a freshman music education major of Jonesboro, plans on taking a road trip with friends to Pensacola Beach to visit another companion going through job training for the marines.  
“I’m most concerned about the drive to Florida. None of us have driven there before so I hope we don’t have too many problems,” Deveney said.    
One of the most underestimated aspects of multi-day or weekend trips is food. Eating out every night at overpriced restaurants instead of buying groceries can really cut into the bulk of a budget. Yet it helps to keep a lookout for restaurants with certain deals for students with campus IDs. For meals like breakfast, many hotels supply a continental breakfast that can be taken advantage of.  
If your budget doesn’t allow for much travelling, there are many budget-friendly options close to ASU. Saving money on travel and rooms allows for more spending elsewhere such as food and souvenirs. Chandler Weber, a sophomore music education major of Sherwood, took a weekend trip to Memphis to see a Grizzly’s game.

“We only spent about $20-$25 each for tickets, food, gas and parking,” Weber said. “The tickets were eight bucks, so we figured why not?”

Another overlooked element of taking trips is buying supplies. When travelling to a common vacation destination the prices of common items will rise.  It isn’t unusual that stores near water will charge twice as much for sunscreen than the Wal-Mart back home. Try buying the things like sunglasses, sandals and towels before leaving.

When planning to travel, whether for spring break or a simple road trip, being conscious about your finances can save money and stress.  Vacationing in college doesn’t have to break the bank.

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