Tag Archives: vacation

5 Affordable Spring Break Ideas

Filed under: College Life, Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations, Travel & Abroad, Volunteering and Giving Back - Angelina
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Spring Break is coming up fast – do YOU have plans? Spring Break is usually hyped up to make you think you have to go somewhere fancy and exotic, but since most of us are frugal college students living on budgets, sometimes that trip to Cancun just isn’t feasible. Don’t fret! Here are five affordable options that will provide you some fun, and save you some money.

1. Beach House

Spend a few days lying in the sun, hitting the waves, and hosting delicious barbecues. Spend a day or two checking out the shops in town, or even rent a boat to go whale watching.

2. Road Trip

Break out the map and see if there are any cities nearby you’re interested in checking out. Take a dip in a hot spring, learn to ski or snowboard, or take a wild lesson in skydiving, glassblowing, or some other funky hobby. There are bound to be a few inexpensive hotels, or you can couch-surf with family and friends; just think of the stories you’ll return home with.

3. City Tour

How many of the restaurants and recreational sites have you actually been to in your own town? Take this break as an opportunity to tour your own city, making it a rule to only eat, shop, and hang out at those places you haven’t been to.

4. Camping

Another affordable option, all you have to do is grab your gear, pick a location, and head out! By the beach, by the lake, in the middle of nowhere in the woods – wherever you go, it’ll be nice to just relax with friends and goof off. Don’t want to sleep in a tent? See if a log cabin is available!

5. Volunteer (ASB)

Do something different this year and plan an alternative Spring Break! Place like the American Hiking Society, Habitat for Humanity, and United Way are accepting volunteers for different projects over Spring Break. Not only will you see a new place, but you’ll get some great experience, and you’ll have something to list on your resume.

Planning on flying somewhere for vacation? Check out StudentUniverse for some great student discounts on flights! And check out this Spring Break Travel Guide for more advice and tips.

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Making the Most of Student Jobs

Filed under: College Life, Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations - Angelina
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Being a college student means wracking up a pretty big education bill. With the costs of tuition, housing, food, and school books – students usually find that they cannot break out of the “broke college student” stereotype. For some college students the amount of time outside of class required for a major can make having a job during the school year impossible. School break is a great time for this because students can work 40-hour weeks at internships or minimum wage jobs.

I know that I have spent time between jobs and internships during college breaks to gain experience and extra cash. Below are some of the best types of jobs I’ve held as a college student that I would recommend for other college students looking for ways to get extra cash.


Although any customer service job is good, being a server means raking in tips that you may miss as a busser or host. Serving is a hard job but it is well worth it if you can handle staying polite with even the rudest customers. If you live in a popular vacation town or talk to a potential employer then it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a seasonal serving job in a restaurant.


If you can handle children and possibly over-protective parents then being a nanny is a great way to earn some money over the break. Working as a nanny means that you can sometimes choose your own hours and almost always set your own price per hour or child. If you want a position outside of your hometown, a lot of websites offer nanny programs in other countries or states that will provide a place to live as well.


If you are having trouble finding a job or a company that is willing to hire someone for a seasonal position, you can always find odd jobs in the town instead of a normal minimum wage job. Mowing lawns, walking dogs, raking leaves, and painting houses are all jobs that will give you a paycheck and allow you to be outdoors!

It takes a little time to research for potential job opportunities but with enough digging, I have always been able to find something. If you are returning home from college, then plan ahead and try to go home for a weekend to scout out potential employers. Even to just get your name out there a month or two in advance could secure a good seasonal summer job.


Happy Hunting!

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4 Tips for Summer Travel on the Cheap

Filed under: Travel & Abroad - Social Community Manager
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photo of girlBy guest blogger Sophie Howe

Sophie is a freshman at Des Moines Area Community College, currently majoring in Liberal Arts, and then transferring to a four year school to get a degree in Environmental Studies. Guerilla environmentalist, blogger and avid reader. In her free time she enjoys working out, finding ways to put a healthy twist on foods she loves, and going on adventures. She hopes to travel the world and experience as many cultures and traditions as possible.

After a long year of school, who doesn’t want a bit of a vacation? Of course everyone loves to travel, but between summer jobs that pay minimum wage and paying off student loans, most of us students don’t really have the money to take a trip. I’ve combined four of my most pocket-friendly vacation tips that will give you the trip you want, without breaking into your “for college” reserves.

1. Visit family and friends

Families are a lot more spread out than they used to be. Use this to your advantage, and enjoy it too. Most of the time, family and close friends are happy to accommodate guests (and they generally feed you a few meals too!). Now, I’m not saying you should overstay your welcome or run them dry, but in my experience they love having the chance to spend some time with you. You’re in college, you’ve changed, and more likely than not, family members and friends don’t all live near you. Visiting them can be fun because you get to meet their friends, explore their town, and meet extended family you’ve heard so much about during the school year.

2. Group trips

It’s true: the more the merrier. Pooling money for food, gas, and lodging is another great way to go on vacation while saving some money. You can road trip, rent a cabin at a lake, or even just go to a nearby city and explore it for a few days. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll end up making some great memories with friends. Websites like Student Universe and Airbnb make group (and student) travel much more affordable.

3. Camping

I was always that outdoorsy kid that was getting in the dirt, and finding some sort of trouble to get into. When I was growing up, my family would have campfires, make s’mores, and go hiking. Who says that you can’t do it now when you’re all grown up? Getting a group of friends, a fairly large tent and reserving a campsite is tons cheaper than renting a hotel, and you get to experience the great outdoors!

4. Staycation

Last, but definitely not least, is a staycation. Honestly, as well as you may know your hometown, things are constantly changing! You never know what great things you will find when you pick a weekend, set a budget, and just have some fun. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit touristy in your own town sometimes. A staycation could be as simple as trying some type of food you’ve never heard of, or going on a relaxing walk to take in the sights from a different perspective. And if done right, it is just as much fun as going on a traditional vacation.

Now I know this isn’t the Ritz, and it may not be that destination vacation you’ve always dreamed of, but they’re definitely getaways worth pursuing.

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Our Summer Snap-off Winner: Natalie Pena!

Filed under: Contests and Promotions - BookRenter Team
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Congratulations to Natalie Pena, the winner of our Summer Snap-off! From the University of Texas at San Antonio, Natalie rallied her friends to win over 500 votes in two weeks. She will be rewarded with a $1,000 gift card to make the most of the end of her summer vacation.

Check out her beautiful photos below, and congratulations again, Natalie! Thank you to everyone who participated in the Snap-off.

Fishing as the sun sets

Sitting pretty and ready for a picnic

The end of another short summer day

We wish we had her summer vacation.

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We Woke In a Bedouin Tent as the Sun Rose Over the Dead Sea…

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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My own life-changing trip – and some journeys that might turn out to be yours.

By Guest Blogger Rachel Freeman I SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY Undergrad degree – cum laude – in communications. Currently pursuing a master’s in broadcast and electronic communication arts. Not-so-secret passion: Baseball (go, San Francisco Giants!).

So I just got back from the trip of a lifetime – a free 10-day trip organized by Birthright Israel for Jewish students and young adults between the ages of 18–26. It was a life-changing experience, and one of the greatest aspects of the trip was participating with 44 complete strangers.

We met with musicians and other important Israelis. We went wine tasting. We floated down the Jordan River, visited the holy sites of Jerusalem, and rode camels (you know I wouldn’t skip the camels). We slept in a Bedouin tent, waking at 3 a.m. to hike Masada — the ancient desert fortress that today is one of the Jewish people’s greatest symbols – to watch the sun rise over the Dead Sea. And these were just the highlights of my experience in Israel.

The trip got me thinking: What other summer travel opportunities are out there for people my age? For Birthright Israel, being Jewish is a requirement. But I knew there must be other awesome trips that were open to anyone.

Here are some trip organizers whose offerings sound like an epic way to spend summer break or gap year abroad:

1. EF College Break has trips of different lengths to many different parts of the world. You can sign on for a 7–10 day journey or travel for 35 days. The company offers a menu of great destinations like Australia, Turkey, Africa, and Spain, with well-planned itineraries that have plenty of free time built in so that you can explore the local scene on your own. Trip prices include airfare.

2. Projects Abroad provides internship and volunteer opportunities for university students, recent grads, and anyone else who is interested. Whether you’re planning a summer break or taking a gap year to explore the world, the organization offers you the chance to be part of a wide range of international service projects in fields as diverse as law & humans rights, performing arts, archaeology, and journalism. Great in-country support from an international staff.

3. Ever wanted to visit the Incas? Or explore Vietnam? Gap Adventures, another student travel organization, has these trips and others. The company’s slogan is We Love Changing People’s Lives, and they do. With these folks you can tour the catacombs of Paris, ride a yak in Sikkim, or – right here at home – mountain bike the Grand Staircase of Bryce Canyon. If festivals are your thing, Gap Adventures can get you there: Think Germany and Oktoberfest, Rio for Carnival, and the Zanzibar International Music Festival.

4. The last place I checked out is Contiki, an outfit that will take you to six of the seven continents (who wants to go to the Arctic anyway; it’s cold!). Contiki offers trips every month of the year. Trip lengths range from 4–45 days, so even if you work or go to school full-time, there’s a trip for you. The company says its mission is to “create hassle-free vacations with an unbeatable mix of sightseeing, culture, people your own age, and free time” – not a bad combo.

Through a trip organizers or on your own, where would you go if you could pick anywhere in the world?

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