Spring break is right around the corner and, as a college student, I understand that it might seem hard to make travel plans while on a tight budget — especially when the internet bombards you with unlimited options and information that add to the stress of planning your trip. However, in all my years of traveling, I have discovered some tips and tricks that have proved to be extremely effective. Listed below are some ideas to consider.
Hopper app for flights and hotels
This is, by far, the best app I have come across to book the cheapest flights and hotels. It saves you a lot of time by collecting different price listings from hundreds of websites in one organized list. It will also “watch” flights and hotels for you, as well as give you notifications when the price goes down. It is free and very easy to navigate
Tips for booking flights
If you are not using Hopper, make sure to search for flights in incognito mode as websites will show you higher prices if they know you are looking to book flights. Expedia and Spirit are great websites to consider when booking flights. Flights from big cities like Raleigh and Charlotte tend to be cheaper than flights from Greensboro, so if you can get a ride to either of those airports, the price difference is worth the trek. Carpooling or splitting a cab with friends is probably the cheapest option. The university also has reservable airport shuttles to and from Greensboro and Charlotte airport that cost $30 and $60 one way, respectively.
“Staycations” and visiting neighboring cities
If, for some reason, you can’t travel elsewhere, don’t be afraid to stay on campus (you won’t be the only one). When else are you going to explore your temporary home state of North Carolina? Downtown Winston-Salem has great restaurants, galleries and shopping centers that you can go to. A day trip to Greensboro, Charlotte or Raleigh can be exciting, too. Charlotte Center City Carriage Tours offers a horse-drawn carriage to explore the city and neighboring districts and Charlotte NC Tours offers segway or bike tours. Charlotte’s rooftop restaurants and bars like Fahrenheit, City Lights Rooftop and Nuvole Rooftop TwentyTwo are absolutely gorgeous and definitely worth a visit. The Neuse River trail in the Raleigh area is great for a hiking or biking day. Similarly, the town of Boone in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains can make for an exciting day trip. Lastly, the Campus Recreation Center will be open during break so you can have almost the whole gym to yourself, or simply relax in the pool and hot tub. You can also check the Wake Forest Athletic Calendar to see what tournaments they are playing in the Winston-Salem area, and go support the Deacs.
Where to travel
It can be hard to pick a specific place to travel to, especially if you are planning a group trip. I suggest having everyone write down the type of place they want to go visit (ie. the mountains, the beach, an island or a big city, etc.). Once you have narrowed it down to the type of terrain, you can repeat the process to select the specific town or city based on majority vote. If the decision isn’t in your favor, I suggest stepping out of your comfort zone to explore a place you wouldn’t otherwise see. After all, the whole point of traveling is to create new experiences and memories.
Where to Stay
Booking an Airbnb with a group of friends is far cheaper than staying in a hotel. Again, it is a good idea to look up Airbnb options in incognito mode. If you have friends from different places, why not go home with them for spring break? You and your group could probably go to one another’s hometown during breaks. This way everyone gets to explore a new town or city without having to pay for accommodation. It is also a wonderful bonding experience. Getting to play with your friends’ dogs is an added advantage.