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It’s 'too expensive': Many travelers are skipping spring break trips this year due to high prices

Feb. 09, 2023
4 min read
Family of five in living room at home
It’s 'too expensive': Many travelers are skipping spring break trips this year due to high prices
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With winter weather continuing to grip much of the country, it’s no surprise that, for many people, spring break getaways are top of mind.

Spring break typically falls in March or April for families with children in school and college students, though some students may have their spring break scheduled as early as February.

But many would-be travelers have already found their spring break trips affected by high costs more this year than in previous years. As a result, some have decided to skip a spring break getaway entirely, according to a survey conducted by YouGov (a market research and analytics firm) on behalf of TPG in late January.

Over half of American adults have changed their plans to travel over spring break in 2023. JOHNNYGREIG/GETTY IMAGES

Some 22% of U.S. adults plan to travel for spring break (likely adults with school-age children or college students). However, more than half — a staggering 66% — said they’d been priced out of at least one of their first choices for a spring break vacation.

For many, about 32%, that means their preferred hotel or accommodation was too expensive. Others said they were priced out of their preferred flight (29%) or even visiting their first-choice location (25%).

About 70% of travelers planning spring break trips this year are tweaking their travel plans to save money. People said they were changing their destination, the duration of the trip and how they’d get there (for example, flying instead of driving), changing or canceling excursions or activities, or altering their accommodations. Some may be doing more than one or all of these things to make their spring break trips happen without fully depleting their vacation savings.

Compared to previous years, travelers planning to hit the road are staying closer to home (35%), budgeting more for gas (33%) and driving instead of flying (32%). Others, about 22%, have opted for trains instead of planes to save money.

Related: Spring break travel is here: These 6 tips will help you survive it

Of course, the costs of a spring break trip this year are simply too prohibitive for some travelers. About 22% of adults surveyed said they were not planning to travel during spring break this year because “[it’s] too expensive.”

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If your dream spring break vacation seems out of reach, it’s not too late to take advantage of shoulder season deals in unexpected international destinations. Though you might be drawn to a resort in Mexico or the Caribbean, for example, you’ll find hotels in Europe and Asia are much cheaper this time of year. For a cheap international spring break trip, you might consider a city stay in Stockholm, where flight prices during the busy spring break period are down 25%, according to Expedia.

Consider a city stay in Stockholm over spring break this year. JOHNER IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

Or, instead of a beach in the Caribbean, consider a stay on the Greek island of Mykonos instead. With flight prices down 65% in March and April, according to Expedia, you might find a European beach trip is suddenly within reach. (You might not be roasting in the sun, but you’ll still enjoy beautiful coastal views.)

And if your idea of a spring break vacation includes sneaking in a few late-season turns on the ski slope, you might find an April mountain trip is far more affordable than what you’d find in February or March.

Travelers sitting on a stash of points and miles might also find them particularly helpful during the busy spring break period. Even if award nights and flights are priced higher than usual, you still won’t have to put cash on the line.

Related: How to book 5 spring break dream getaways with points and miles

Of course, flexibility can be key to unlocking savings — even at the last minute — particularly for travelers who aren’t bound to a specific set of dates set by a school system or university.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov PLC. The total sample size was 3,723 adults, of whom 777 plan to travel during a school spring break in 2023. Fieldwork was undertaken between Jan. 19 and 24. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults 18 and older.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.