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College students save on spring break.

Dust off your comically oversized sombrero and load up on your favorite sunscreen; it is time for spring break. While the ideal destination of this vacation usually involves soaking up sun on the beach, coming up with the money to make such a trip possible is a serious challenge for the average college student.

Begging mom and dad and scraping couch cushions for change always are options for assembling the necessary funding, but they only will get you so far. If you are dead-set on doing something special this spring break without spending a small fortune, try a few of these cost-cutting measures from Brandon Farestad-Rittel of Kinoli Inc., an Internet marketing company

Use your ID. There is no harm in asking a hotel or rental car company if they offer an additional student discount.

Shorten your stay. Instead of booking from Saturday to Saturday, schedule your spring fling between Tuesday and Thursday. This means less spending on airfare (midweek fares are lower) and accommodations and still allows a few days of free time to tackle homework assigned by unsympathetic educators.

The new plastic. While your parents may have used coupons to cut their costs, the new generation is all about gift cards. Discount travel gift cards save on such expenses as airfare, hotels, and gas.

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Stay in hostels. They bring to mind the image of a socks-with-sandals European backpacker but, believe it or not, there are plenty of locations in the U.S.

Find friendly faces. If Quentin Tarantino scared you away from hostels forever with his 2005 movie by the same name, seek spring break refuge with family and friends instead. Relatives usually provide a place to stay for free.

Economical eating. Hard Rock Cafe makes a fine T-shirt, but one of their burgers can cost a whole day's travel budget. Stocking up on sandwich-making materials and a few breakfast foods at a local grocery store will reduce your overall eating expenses drastically. This does not mean you cannot sample a few local restaurants; you just have to be more selective.

Live large. "Go big or go home" is an expression you would expect to hear when dropping into a half-pipe, but it makes an awfully good slogan for the travel industry. Usually, resorts and even soma airlines are willing to offer a group discount if you book in advance. Ten people seems to be the magic number where the savings start.

A stranger at home. Sometimes, getting out of town is not an option. When you wind up stuck at home for spring break, take the opportunity to explore some aspects of your city you never have seen before.

Nine-to-five vacation. With an entire week open, you can work 40 hours without a problem. Knowing you are saving the money you earn for next year's spring break might lessen the blow of a buzzing alarm early in the morning.

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Title Annotation:Vacations
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2012
Words:484
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