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5 Offbeat Spring Break Destinations That Won’t Break Your Budget

Luke Armstrong | Dec 21, 2020

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Like the first flower of a new year, spring break arrives just in time to remind students that life is more than a never-ending cycle of studying.

The lucky ones will be hitting the road and boarding planes for an unforgettable vacation.

In my undergraduate days my bank account  never seemed to grow no matter how much I fed it. But there’s no need to let finances prevent you from taking your dream trip. If you choose an affordable location, such as the ones listed here, you will find a little bit goes a long way. With some advanced planning and saving, you’ll be writing postcards home from somewhere incredible. 

1. Mazunte and Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico 

Oaxaca (pronounced Woe-haca) is a state in Southern, Mexico with a healthy share of Pacific coastline — this and its affordability make it a great spring break destination. Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca has some of the best surfing in this part of the world. From Mexico City you can fly in under $100. 

La Punta is the stretch of beach where all the travelers and tourists in Puerto enjoy affordable accommodations, a great selection of food, and an amazing  coast complete with plenty of places offering boat tours and surfing lessons. For a more quaint experience, check out Mazunte, a one-hour, $20 taxi cab away. Mazunte enjoys a chiller vibe and is known for Hridaya Yoga — some of the most highly regarded trainings in the yoga world. So, if your dream Spring Break trip involves you listening to rhythmic waves on a scenic shore, these two places in Oaxaca, Mexico are hard to beat! 

2. Antigua, Guatemala, a Colonial Gem  Bursting with Culture and Cuisine

Guatemala is a favorite country of many Central American travelers. Tickets into its major airport in Guatemala City are usually quite affordable from major U.S. airports. 

A trip to Antigua is a trip to a gem of a colonial city with some of the best preserved 16th Century Spanish-Baroque architecture you’ll find anywhere. It’s a melting pot of culture, traditions, and a cross-roads of travelers. If you’re studying Spanish in college, there’s no better place to get an edge than spending a week of language immersion in Antigua, Guatemala. Plenty of places like the Zamora Spanish Academy offer affordable accommodations and one-on-one language lessons. You’ll be learning in a town vibrantly alive with live music, cuisine, art, and history. 

3. Spring Break in Barcelona, Spain 

If you have your heart set on Europe but your wallet says no, see if Barcelona, Spain might fit your dreams and budget. This beach city is relatively affordable compared to much of Europe and Norwegian Air offers affordable (sometimes ridiculously affordable tickets) from many major U.S. airports. This modern city has kept its Latin flare and somehow manages to be busy, yet relaxed, vibrant but peaceful. 

4. Zadar. Croatia

Zadar has history, beauty, and affordability. It’s the  oldest continuously inhabited Croatian City (travel there and you’ll understand why no one wants to leave!)

If its Byzantine treasures and architecture don’t get you, there also surfing, vibrant nightlife, and sail boat tours to outlying islands at a fraction of the cost to comparable destinations elsewhere. 

5. Be a Tourist in Your Own Town! 

Maybe it’s just not in the cards and budget this year to take a trip outside your college town. No matter, you can still be a tourist in your own town with a “staycation.” 

A staycation is when you bring the vacation mindset to to where you live. It means taking time off work, keeping chores minimal, and finally exploring the sights and restaurants you always have in the back of your mind as places to check out but never find the time.

The fact is, many of us leave our hometowns to attend university and get so caught up in the work-school-study grind that we never find the time to fully explore our new city  with the ease we explore places on trips. If that’s your case, consider this spring break your time to be a tourist in your own town. 


Whatever you do with your spring break time, be safe, travel smart, have fun, and enjoy the much deserved break from your studies.

About the Author

luke armstrong

Luke Maguire Armstrong is the author of "The Nomad's Nomad." He has spent the last decade traveling, writing and designing, and funding philanthropic programs around the world.

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