Money Matters: Spring break without breaking the bank

Education Resources, Finance 411,

It’s still pretty chilly in many parts of the country, but as March marches on, spring is in the air, if not in the weather, certainly in the atmosphere. What do we mean? Spring break!

A long-held traditionally week off from school in brings thoughts of warm beach getaways or family road trips to Disney – and story ideas for consumer finance reporters to help penny-pinching families make the most of their vacations.

Spring break is the beginning of the popular summer travel season. Use these travel story ideas to help your audience make the most of their vacation budgets.

  • Spring break often brings thoughts of cruises or tropical destinations.  Are there better deals for less common destinations? What about on end-of-season skiing? Trips to the city?
  • Where can families look for last-minute travel deals if they’ve left their plans to the last minute?
  • Families may want to take full advantage of spring break week by taking off first thing Saturday morning and not returning until the following Sunday. But weekend travel can be pricier. How can families take better advantage of their budgets? Compare the costs of waiting to travel on a weekday.
  • A perennial spring-break question is whether to drive or fly to a vacation destination. What are the budget pros and cons of each option?
  • Look into the budget pitfalls and hidden costs – or benefits – of travelling with children.

Staying Put

  • Parents on a budget or who don’t have ability to take time off with their children will be looking for local options and could need day-time child care. Are there free or low-cost options? Talk to your local district’s after school programs.
  • For older children, are community day camps or volunteer trips an option?
  • Help stay-cationers explore your city by looking into free or low-cost activities families who aren’t travelling during spring break can try together.

No kids?
What about people who do not have children? Cabin fever may mean the urge to get away this time of year. Are travel deals better during spring break season or will adult travelers find higher costs when schools are out?

Don’t forget local businesses
How local businesses are faring can affect your audience’s wallets too. Look into how spring break affects your area. Is your city or town a destination for spring breakers? What is the outlook for visitors this year? Talk to your local visitor bureau.

Weekly Money Matters personal finance content for your newsroom is sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial EducationSubmit your story idea.