Planning a spring break getaway on a student budget can be daunting, but it’s definitely doable if you choose your locale wisely. To help you save money on your getaway, GOBankingRates ranked the worst and best spring break destinations in the U.S. based on the average cost of hotels and flights.
Click through to see where you should travel to this spring break.
10 Worst Spring Destinations of 2018
Don’t add to student debt by taking a spring break vacation you can’t actually afford. GOBankingRates ranked these 10 destinations the worst for spring break travel due to expensive hotels and pricey flights. Click through to see the cities you should avoid if you’re trying to save.
10. Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Hilton Head Island is home to 12 miles of beautiful beaches, plus hundreds of tennis courts and golf courses. But getting there is an expensive endeavor. The average flight from LA costs $697, and from Atlanta the average flight costs $556.
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9. Fort Myers Beach, Fla.
Fort Myers Beach might be one of the least expensive travel spots throughout the year. But it’s a different story during spring break.
The average cost of a hotel for a March getaway to Fort Myers Beach is relatively high at $180 per night. And if you’re planning on flying from across the country, be prepared to spend about $500 for flights.
8. Point Pleasant, N.J.
If you want to head to the Jersey shore for spring break, you’ll have to spend about $218 per night for a hotel. Plus, flights are pricey, too. Flights from LA cost an estimated $353, and flights from Atlanta cost an estimated $196.
7. Daytona Beach, Fla.
Daytona Beach has beaches, a world-famous racetrack, festivals and tons of entertainment options. But it’s not the ideal spring break destination for travelers on tight budgets. Hotels cost an average of $173 per night, and flights from LA are a whopping $602.
6. South Padre Island, Texas
Flying to South Padre Island from either coast can cost over $400, with average flights from LA costing $422 and average flights from Atlanta costing $444. Hotels cost an average of $187 per night.
5. Palm Springs, Calif.
Among the popular spring break destinations included in this study, Palm Springs had the third most expensive hotel rates, with an average cost of $225 per night. It’s also one of the most expensive destinations to get to from Atlanta, with flights estimated to cost $366.
4. Charleston, S.C.
Charleston has the fourth most expensive hotel rates of the spring break destinations included in this study, with the average hotel costing $220 per night.
If you do visit Charleston, one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the U.S., you can take advantage of free or low-cost activities such as visiting the Charleston City Market or the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, a 28-acre rice and indigo plantation that dates back to the 18th century.
Honolulu is by far the most expensive spring break destination on this list to get to from Atlanta, with average flights costing $1,341. Flights are also relatively expensive from LA, with an estimated cost of $590. Your total spring break costs could be even higher, though — especially if you get hit with one of these hidden expenses.
2. Palm Beach, Fla.
With an average rate of $283 per night, Palm Beach has the most expensive hotels of all the spring break destinations included in this study. It’s also one of the most expensive destinations to get to from LA, with flights costing an average of $457.
1. Key West, Fla.
Key West is the worst spring break destination of 2018, as far as costs are concerned. The popular island destination has the second most expensive hotels of the destinations included in this study, with the average rate at $262 per night.
It’s also the fourth most expensive destination to get to from LA, with flights costing an average of $651. And, it’s the second most expensive destination to get to from Atlanta, with flights costing an average of $669.
Best Spring Break Destinations of 2018
From beach towns to gambling meccas, GOBankingRates ranked these 10 cities the best places to go for spring break based on their hotel and airfare rates. Click through to find out where you can travel without busting your budget.
10. Austin, Texas
Austin is one of the best places for spring break, especially if you’re traveling from LA, with flights costing an average of $228. Hotels are also relatively affordable, with the average rate of $122 per night.
9. San Francisco
Of the spring break destinations included in this study, San Francisco is the third least expensive place to fly to from LA, with flights costing an average of $108. Hotels in the Bay Area city cost an average of $129 per night.
If you want to spend even less on your trip to San Francisco, consider visiting in February instead — it’s the cheapest time to visit the popular U.S. tourist destination, a previous GOBankingRates study found.
8. San Diego
San Diego is one of the best spring break locations because it has some of the least expensive hotels of the places included in this study, with an average rate of $92 per night. It’s also inexpensive to get to from LA, with flights costing an average of $196.
7. Orlando, Fla.
Orlando is the most affordable spring break destination to get to from Atlanta, with average airfare at $156. The home of Disney World also has relatively affordable hotels, with the average rate at $104 per night.
If you really want to save money on your trip to one of the least expensive travel hot spots, skip Disney World and check out inexpensive attractions nearby.
6. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
With over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, Fort Lauderdale is one of the best spring break spots if you want to get in some beach or pool time. Fortunately, it’s also an affordable destination, with average hotel rates of $94 per night. The coastal city is also one of the least expensive destinations to get to from Atlanta, with flights costing an average of $203.
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5. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Myrtle Beach has the cheapest hotels of all the spring break destinations included in this study, with average rates of $49 per night. Unfortunately, flights are not as cheap, which prevents the city from ranking higher on this list. The average airfare from LA is $498, and the average airfare from Atlanta is $273.
4. New Orleans
With amazing restaurants and nightlife, the Big Easy makes for a fun spring break destination. New Orleans has the third cheapest hotels of all the places included in this study, with the average rate of $81 per night. It’s also the third cheapest spring break destination to get to from Atlanta, with an average airfare of $175. Bourbon Street is one of the most popular U.S. tourist attractions, and it’s totally free to walk around.
3. Portland, Ore.
Portland is full of natural beauty — as well as some of the least expensive hotel rates. At an average rate of $83 per night, Portland has the fifth cheapest hotels of any of the destinations included in this study. It’s also one of the cheapest destinations to get to from LA, with the average airfare at $152.
And you don’t have to spend a lot once you get there. If you want to travel to the city on a budget, take advantage of the wide variety of cheap food truck options in Portland, a.k.a Food Truck Heaven.
2. Galveston, Texas
Galveston is one of the least expensive destinations to get to from both LA and Atlanta, with the average flights from LA costing $242, and average flights from Atlanta costing $170. The island retreat also has inexpensive hotels, with the average rate at $88 per night.
1. Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas! The desert city full of entertainment, shopping, dining, nightlife, spa and golf options is the best spring break destination because of its inexpensive hotels — which cost an average of $58 per night — and affordable airfare.
Flights from LA cost an average of $92, the cheapest of any destination included in this study. Flights from Atlanta cost an average of $347.
A separate GOBankingRates study found that Las Vegas is the overall best U.S. vacation city for your wallet, so keep that in mind if you can’t make it there in March.
Worst and Best Spring Break Destinations in the U.S.
College can be stressful, and spring break is the perfect time to get away from the grind of exams and papers. If you know which destinations are affordable and which to avoid, you can take a fun trip that won’t cost you a fortune.
Methodology: GOBankingRates ranked 40 popular U.S. spring break destinations based on (1) average hotel rate calculated using the average of three- and four-star hotels for stays during March 10 to March 17, 2018, using data from Hotels.com and (2) average airfare based on the average of the three lowest round-trip flights from Los Angeles and Atlanta using data from Google Flights. The week of March 10 to March 17, 2018, was chosen because those are the most popular spring break dates, according to information from StudentCity.com.