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Budgeting for Spring Break

Who is ready for a vacation? For many families with young children, March means a full week off school and a family trip. Big or small, travel takes planning and budgeting; without these two essential ingredients, that week away can leave you more stressed and in debt than refreshed.

These tips will help you prepare for a fun-filled break.

1. Book activities in advance

Museums, ski lift passes, tours, tastings, shows, campsites, rental cars, flights, dolphin watching and anything else that comes with a price tag is likely to be less expensive if booked in advance. Especially during peak travel times like spring break, activities are likely to book up. This often means that as fewer seats are available, they become more expensive.

Bonus tip: look for bundles and group passes to main attractions like museums, zoos, aquariums and planetariums. Many major cities offer discounted admission for bundling up and purchasing entrance tickets to two, three or four attractions at once. These often allow visitors to enter each location one time over a period of a few days or even a full week.

2. Enjoy midday meals out

Restaurant dining is a highlight for many travelers but be warned: even a few days of this can add up quickly. To stretch your dollars further, consider one planned meal each day in a restaurant, preferably lunch. Restaurants often charge less for the same food at lunchtime which means you can still enjoy a lovely meal without the clean-up and stick to your budget.

3. Make hotel amenities a priority

You may also consider skipping the hotel and renting a home or condo through a service like Airbnb. Either way, be thoughtful about amenities. A state-of-the-art gym sounds great, but a kitchenette will allow you to prepare much less expensive meals and coffee for yourself. If you’re a water sports enthusiast, look around for places to stay that either include or offer a discount to rent things like surfboards, paddleboards and kayaks. Most of all, be mindful of your travel priorities and ensure your accommodation is equipped to truly enhance your time.

4. Consider some alternatives

Destinations like Hawaii and Tokyo may be on your bucket list; however, spring break is likely not the best time to check a big trip off the list. Because March is such a popular time for travel, costs often skyrocket and crowds can be enormous.

It may not sound as initially exciting as a far-flung destination, but enjoying sites within a few hours’ drive from home can still bring great joy and create lasting memories. Staycations are growing increasingly popular, particularly during peak travel times, as there are often many great attractions overlooked in our own backyards.

For families with smaller children, these home-town attractions are equally as exciting for kids and parents avoid potentially stressful travel. We are especially lucky in Houston to have things like Space Center Houston (home to NASA’s mission control), Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, Kemah Boardwalk and many more right around the corner.

Above all, we at Allegiance Bank hope you enjoy a fun and safe spring break.

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