According to every cliché teen movie out there, spring break is meant to be all about teeny bikinis, booze and a wild trip to Panama City Beach. Although that may be the grand plan for some of your friends, your wallet probably says otherwise. Don’t be too bummed! Contrary to popular belief, spring break can be just as fun at home as it is on a trip (and think of all the money you won’t have to spend!). We spoke to a few collegiettes who are taking a hard pass on the sprang break festivities in favor of a relaxing, budget-friendly spring vacation. Here are seven ways you can enjoy one of your own!
1. Take a hike (literally)
Spring break is the perfect time to get reacquainted with the great outdoors after spending week after week in the classroom. Kaylee Sye, a sophomore at Augustana College, wants you to channel your inner nature-lover this spring break.
“If you are on a budget for spring break, I would recommend spending as much time outdoors as possible,” she says. “After being crammed in your dorm and library studying all the time, it’s relaxing to get some fresh air.”
Luckily, fresh air is free, so take some time to hop on a bike, explore your surroundings and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer. “Something fun to do would be to visit a nearby state park where you can hike or simply go to a forest preserve near your house to walk or ride a bike,” Kaylee says. If you can, make it your goal to spend more time outdoors than indoors this spring break!
2. Work work work work work work (out)
Let’s be real. When is the last time you were able to get a good workout in? If it seems like literally forever ago, then take advantage of your break and get to work! Walk, run, bike, swim or play a game—there are so many inexpensive ways to get your heart rate going and the sweat flowing. If something fast-paced is totally not your speed, then take a yoga mat outside and do some pilates or downward dogs and chaturangas. Find your inner Zen!
Don’t forget to get creative and fun with your workout—it is spring break, after all! Dust off your old rollerblades or jump rope if you’re looking to switch things up a bit. You’ll be releasing so many feel-good endorphins that it won’t matter that you’re not partying it up in a hotel.
3. Get some much-needed “me time”
Between going from classes to work, athletics, the library, etc., the amount of spare time you have for luxuries such as shaving your legs or reading a book for fun is next to none. Norris Goldflies, a junior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, wants you to get in some valuable “me time.”
“Where do I start? Hibernate. Catch up on self-care. Finally tackle that to-do list (don’t act like you don’t have one). Revisit that hobby you had to say goodbye to after winter break. Binge-watch as much stuff as you can!” Norris says. “Most of all, just focus on yourself instead of your classes.”
It’s your spring break, so take some time for you. Listen to music, pick up a journal, paint your nails and go ahead, open up Netflix—there are tons of inexpensive ways out there to treat yo’ self.
4. Unleash your inner photographer
You don't need a fancy spring break trip to take Instagram-worthy pics! Explore different areas of your town and take pictures of anything that speaks to you, whether it be a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a collection of flowers beginning to bloom or a painted mural. Bring a few friends along and tell them to put on their best spring outfits—let them be your muses!
If photography isn't really your thing, then take the opportunity to get creative in other ways! Pick up a canvas, some paint and brushes, and paint something that would make Bob Ross proud. Browse Pinterest and find some fun DIY projects that you wouldn't have time to do otherwise.
Related: Spring Break FOMO: How to Deal
5. Eat like a queen
Are you sick of grody caf food and attempting to make meals in your dorm? Take full advantage of your kitchen at home and get cooking! Spring break is the perfect opportunity to eat a good home-cooked meal. If you’re a fan of cooking or baking, then you know that opportunities to cook for yourself can often be hard to come by at school, depending on what resources your school has. Look up some inexpensive meals and maybe even try making something new!
If making your own meals is not your strong suit, then bat your eyelashes at mom or dad, and they’ll be sure to make you something special. Skip the take-out and fancy restaurants and enjoy a meal you can’t get anywhere else!
6. Get your darty on
Although spring break isn't just about partying, it's still nice to let loose and have fun! Embrace the springtime weather and host a day party with your friends who are also back at home. Find a fun place for you all to gather, such as the beach or a backyard, and pool together some funds to buy some food (or better yet, everyone can make something to bring). Grill burgers, soak up some sun and do it all to a killer playlist—who cares about Panama City?
7. Save up some green for next year
If you’re still absolutely bummed about not being able to go on a trip, then have no fear—there are fun ways out there to earn some cash for next year’s trip! Scoop up a babysitting job, de-clutter your closet and sell to a local thrift store or even have a garage sale. Get together with a friend from home and make the most out of the experience, and treat yourself to a mani-pedi or a movie at the end of the week. Spring break can provide more ways to make money than you may think.
FOMO aside, spring break is totally what you make of it. At the end of the day, beach parties, hotels and bikinis aren’t what make it fun—spring break is all about finding some relaxation and enjoying a memorable experience.