Spring Break Without Breaking the Bank: Travel Deals for Families

By on March 23, 2015 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 1 Comment

The month of March heralds spring, which means spring break will be upon us sooner than we think. Many families want spring break to be a time of bonding and creating unique memories. The problem is that spring break is such a popular vacation time that many destinations are expensive and overcrowded. Furthermore, some adults, like federal government workers, doctors, and emergency personnel, often have a more difficult time getting off work. Once they’re granted time off, several of the best deals may already be gone.

If you are a federal government worker or another employee struggling to find spring break deals, you can some of the resources listed that follow for some of the best spring break bargains and vacation destinations for adults and families seeking a memorable trip.

Bargains for Federal Government Workers

Thanks to sites like gettravelop.com, government employees can find bargains on trips to almost any state. Places with large national parks or well-known government sites such as Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Pennsylvania are all popular.

Williamsburg, VA, offers several resort options during March, April, and May.  Popular resorts include Wyndham Patriots’ Place and the Historic Powhatan Resort, where families can rent well-appointed 1-2 bedroom accommodations for a week, at prices as low as $50 per night during sale times. Wyndham Patriots’ Place is located a mile from historic Williamsburg, while the Powhatan Resort is self-contained, including five lakes, plenty of forest acreage, a pool and playground, a general store, and two restaurants.

Winter-lovers who find it difficult to bid farewell to snow can enjoy their spring break at winter resorts like the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, CO. Beaver Run is famous for its skiing and snowboarding opportunities for guests of all skill levels. Guests can also take advantage of great spring break weather and enjoy biking, hiking, fishing, and even dog-sledding. Beaver Run offers carriage and sleigh rides through Breckenridge year-round, perfect for newlyweds, anniversary celebrations, or unique family outings.

Discounts at Beaver Run include a manager’s special of lodging in a studio or one-bedroom room with two free breakfasts per reservation, a free full day of lodging, and skiing when available. They offer special government and military rates, which require guests to show military or government ID upon check-in. This year, Beaver Run also offers special discounts to first responders. With proper identification, medical personnel, police, and firefighters can receive 50% off their stay if they book before April 19, 2015. Personnel should use the promo code THX if booking online.

Spring break is a popular time for cruises, but federal government workers may worry that a cruise is too extravagant for their budgets or schedules. Don’t miss such opportunities; many cruise sites like Fedcruise offer discounts or special packages to federal government workers, including military personnel. Carnival Cruises and the Government and Armed Forces Travel Cooperative are two of the best options. Relevant packages offer early admission to attractions like Sea World Orlando and Aquatica, as well as up to two free days at Walt Disney World when you book a combination package.

If you’re interested in exotic locations, cruise lines can make your dream trip a reality this spring. Expose your family to the rich history and culture, beautiful views, and delicious food of Europe with cruise destinations including Greece, Italy, Turkey, and the Scandinavian region. The Cruise One service offers bargains on journeys through the Western Mediterranean and the Adriatic for seven nights, where you’ll sail from or stop off in cities including Venice and Rome.

Alaska is another great cruise destination government workers can enjoy at significant discounts.  Both northbound and southbound cruises are available with varying mixes of physical activities and time to take in the sights, history, and culture. Many Alaskan cruises include glacier tours and tundra wilderness tours. Military, federal government employee, and first responder discounts are available through lines including Carnival Cruise and Alaska Cruises.

Deals and Activities for All Families

Private sector vacationers search for bargains as much as if not more than their federal government counterparts, especially as the economy continues its struggle to recover. In fact, many private sector families must now work 2-3 jobs or non-traditional employment hours. If this describes you, a memorable spring break is still possible. We’re going to highlight a few common family destinations and show you how to enjoy them without breaking the bank.

Disney World

Disney World is a dream destination for kids and the adults in their lives who grew up with Mickey and friends, and now want to share memories. Unfortunately, a normal Disney vacation can cost thousands of dollars, not including the cost of food, drinks, and souvenirs. If you’re planning a spring trip, try to go during the first three weeks of May. If your trip will straddle spring break and a school week, talk to your children’s teachers about taking extra days off. Most teachers will be flexible if your trip includes educational elements, such as time at Epcot Center or a detailed trip journal in which the child answers prompts from the teacher.

Once you’ve picked a time frame, decide how long to stay. There are four major theme parks, so it’s probably not possible to do everything you’d like. Hold a family meeting and let everyone pick 1-2 key attractions. Get information on ticket discounts as soon as possible. International visitors, military personnel, and Florida residents can all get special discounts. Always photograph or photocopy the reverse sides of your tickets, and never buy tickets or passes on sites like Craigslist. Ask about Park Hopper Passes and Premier Passports, which can help lower your prices and wait times for rides and attractions.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is a great destination even if you aren’t a government worker. You and your family can learn about U.S. history and visit a plethora of important places like the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Smithsonian, which contains several museums on its campus. If you want to visit D.C. on a budget, there are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If planning a White House tour, call your local Congressman’s office anywhere from 6 months to 21 days in advance for tickets.
  • Look for cheap or free activities such as baseball games at Nationals Park; tickets start at $5.
  • Time your trip for when Congress is in recess and hotel prices plummet. April – prime spring break month – is one such time.
  • Choose small restaurants or picnics over large, fancy locations to save money.

Arizona and the Southwest

The Southwest has plenty of less common spring break options for families, including Rancho de los Caballeros in Arizona, La Luz Trail in New Mexico, and more. Rancho de los Caballeros offers a children’s club with activities like sports and scavenger hunts, leaving parents free to pursue adult-friendly activities like long foot tours. If you’re planning to visit traditional destinations like the Grand Canyon, follow these tips:

  • Look for resorts like Bright Angel Lodge where kids 16 and under can room for free.
  • Take your own driving tour or book a spot at a campground to save money on lodging.

Whatever destination you choose, this spring break is sure to be full of memorable activities.

© 2016 Jason Kay. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Jason Kay.

About the Author

Jason Kay is a professional resume writer and regular contributor to KSADoctor.com, a professional federal resume service and repository of sample KSA statements.