Three unexpected spring break destinations on a budget

Media Credit: Keegan Mullen | Staff Photographer

With spring break about a month away, it’s time to plan before prices change. Consider these low-cost weekend trips away from the District.

As spring break approaches, flights to faraway places might be calling your name. But traveling on a student budget isn’t easy.

If crashing at a childhood friend’s dorm or jetting off to an expensive all-inclusive resort is out of the question, then consider a low-cost weekend trip away from the District. For travel and lodging, you can easily keep a trip within the three figure range and still have cash left over for affordable food and other activities.

With spring break about a month away, it’s time to plan before prices change.

Here are a few vacations to fit every price point:

For about $250:
If the ocean air, salt water taffy and abundance of shopping sounds like the ideal trip, then a budget-friendly trip to Atlantic City, N.J. is for you.

Atlantic City is filled with unique shops, eateries and amusements, making it perfect for a weekend getaway. The famous boardwalk – right on the beach – offers rides ranging from $3 to $10 for every type of thrillseeker. If the souvenir shops and boardwalk start to bore you, head over to the Absecon Lighthouse to check out the ocean views and get a haunted history lesson at the same time for just $7. If you have more money to blow, you can grab a seat at one of the seven casinos in the city.

Chances are you already know a student heading home to New Jersey for break, so for just a handful of bills to chip in on gas, you could tag along on the three-hour drive. If you can’t find anyone, then a $90 round-trip Amtrak train can bring you to Philadelphia, and you can take New Jersey Transit to Atlantic City.

Airbnb offers a variety of rooms and houses starting as low as $27 a night, splitting with two people. If you book closer to the boardwalk, you’ll have easy access to various museums filled with art, history and Ripley’s Believe It or Not world records.

This jam-packed weekend vacation is all yours for under $250 – or a bit more if you really fall for the salt water taffy.

For about $450:
If you were hoping for an adventurous weekend getaway with your friends, head to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Minutes from Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the town has plenty of opportunities for hiking, photography and relaxing in nature, which are all free and will help you stick to your budget. Nature lovers can ride a sky lift over the top of Crockett Mountain for a bird’s-eye view of the town for $16. If visitors grow tired of physical activity, then they can stop by the town center for dinner at old-fashioned restaurants or to see oddities like museums on the movie “Titanic” or the TV show “Dukes of Hazard.” There is also an entire amusement park dedicated to country singer Dolly Parton for $69 per ticket.

After grabbing a flight to nearby Knoxville, Tenn. for about $239 round trip, you can take a transportation service to the town for $55. Four people can rent an entire cabin from Alpine Mountain Chalets for three nights at a discounted Groupon price of $295 for the entire stay. Many cabins come with hot tubs, outdoor fire pits, mountain views, wifi and cable access.

Between two people, this escape from city life can cost about $450 per person.

For about $700:
If this cold winter wasn’t enough for you, take a fun-filled ski trip to Colorado this break.

Breckenridge, Colo. is the go-to town for everyone from first timers to self-proclaimed professionals. Skiers can score discounted lift tickets for about $60 with coupons provided by Liftopia, a discount site with ski lift tickets to various mountains around Breckenridge.

Since this trip is further away, you’ll grab a flight to Denver and take a Summit Shuttle car to Breckenridge for $35 per person. Although flying is a little pricier, Southwest Airlines can get you there and back for about $270 round trip.

With the help of Groupon, a suite located at the base of a mountain at The Village at Breckenridge is about $224 a night – or only $56 a night if split between four people. Each suite has its own kitchen, so consider grabbing cheap groceries to save money on pricey food in the lodge. The resort also offers wifi, hot tubs, indoor and outdoor pools and balconies to enjoy the winter views.

Bringing friends along on this winter wonderland trip can lower the price to about $700 each for a three-night stay, which is all you need after a tiring trip to the slopes.

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