The finances of last-minute spring break destinations

Itching to get away but missed out on making plans? Check out these getaway possibilities.


While many students make plans months ahead of time for spring break, sometimes your plans can fall between the cracks. If you haven’t booked anything but still want to get out of town this month, consider these six destinations: All offer good deals, new experiences, and enough availability that even the worst procrastinators should still be able to take a well-deserved break from hitting the books.

1) Tijuana, Mexico

With the Mexican peso at an all-time low, no spring beak destination is more of a bargain right now than Mexico. Cancun is a traditional favorite, but there are other great spots much closer to the west coast. Tijuana, long known for its entertainment scene, is just over the border from San Diego, and it has a host of new attractions, including the Telefónica Gastro Park, home to fabulous food trucks during the day and events like a hip craft market, Night Market 2419, after dark. Looking for a beach getaway? Drive 30 minutes farther south to Rosarito, which has its own fair share of nightlife plus access to a beautiful beach.

2) Lake Tahoe, Nevada and California

It’s still ski season in Tahoe, so if your winter break didn’t include snow, now is the time to hit the slopes. Tahoe has one of the liveliest atmospheres of any ski town in the world. It boasts more resorts than anywhere else in North America, so you’re guaranteed to find something affordable. Insider tip: The north shore is quieter and more expensive; the south shore is busier and has more activity. Lake Tahoe straddles the California/Nevada border, so you can pick whichever side is closest or best fits your budget, then grab your snowboard and go.

3) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The beaches in “the DR” are so fabulous that it’s worth hopping on a plane to get there. Plus, things are cheaper there than in the U.S., so you can offset the cost of your flight by spending less on lodging and food. Punta Cana is the most obvious choice for spring-breakers: It’s got tons of resorts that offer all-inclusive rates and all the white sand, turquoise waters, and palm trees you could want. Insider tip: Spend a couple of days in the capital, Santo Domingo, before hitting the beaches. This is one of the most fun cities in the Caribbean, with music blasting from every corner store and a slew of entertainment options along the one avenue — La Venezuela.

4) Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Looking for a way to make your vacation productive? Consider heading to Quetzaltenango (known as “Xela”) to study Spanish. Not only does the town have dozens of Spanish schools offering daily lessons (at bargain rates) in the morning and afternoon, but it has a vibrant art and music scene that you can explore after class. And the town is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and great hiking, including up the Tajumulco volcano, the highest mountain in Central America.

5) Banff, Canada

2017 is Canada’s 150th anniversary, and the country is celebrating by giving visitors free access to its national parks all year long (Get your free “Discovery Pass.”) Banff, in the Canadian Rockies, is one of the nation’s most beautiful parks, and while it gets crowded in the summer, spring is the perfect time to visit. Check out stunning, bright turquoise Lake Louise, drive the Icefields Parkway through mountains and valleys, gaze at glaciers and then return to class feeling refreshed and with an Instagram feed that’ll be the envy of all your followers.

6) Austin, Texas

Austin has plenty of action year-round, including one of the country’s best live music and food scenes. Spring (before the sweltering heat hits) is one of the most pleasant times to visit. Plus, the SXSW festival, March 10–17, is the ideal place to check out some entertaining-yet-educational panels on the latest ideas in tech, design, and music — but staying in the city during SXSW won’t come cheap. There are benefits, however: You can network with the tech influencers hanging out at the city’s cafes and events.