U.S. Markets closed

Last-minute spring break getaways for every budget

Between nor’easters and sub-zero temps, Americans are desperately searching for any sign of spring. Luckily, the end of February marks the beginning of spring break — that magical time of year where school is put on pause, and it's socially acceptable to consume alcoholic drinks at any time of the day.

The cost of air travel is lower than ever, with the average domestic ticket costing $372, according to the Department of Transportation. Similarly, the AAA reports that the average price of gas is steady at $1.70 a gallon — a smidge lower than last spring. So your tropical vacation will not only offer an escape from the cold, it will likely be more affordable.

Now the question is, where should you go? Here are a few options:

Luxurious Retreat — Maui, Hawaii

Warm tropical sunset on Kaanapali Beach in Maui Hawaii

While the younger crowd might prefer beer bongs and dance contests, those in search of a truly decadent spring break will head to Maui. Hawaii’s second-largest island has more than 30 miles of beach, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Where to stay:

The Four Seasons Resort Maui is an idyllic destination for winter-weary travelers. Nestled on the island’s southwest coast, visitors can enjoy the tropical atmosphere of Wailea Beach with the majestic Haleakala as their backdrop. If your spring break falls later in the season, the resort's “Grown–Up” spring break package offers a pretty great option. From April 13 to June 19, guests can enjoy no resort fee, a daily resort credit of $100, and added complimentary activities including SUP yoga, beer tasting, and cooking classes. Rooms start at $689 a night.

Don’t want to spend a half a month’s rent on your hotel? Check in to the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, named the #1 Best Budget Hotel in 2015 by Hawaii Magazine. As a hotspot for Hawaiian culture, the property offers hula lessons, ukulele classes, and walks through 11 acres of tropical gardens. During the third week of March, we found rooms for as low as $258 a night.

How to get there:

When it comes to a trip to Hawaii, the West Coast is the best coast. Flights from California can actually be affordable if you time it right. Hawaiian Airlines has a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Maui for $621 during the second and third weeks of March.

If you can get to San Francisco, tickets are even cheaper. Virgin America flies to Maui for just $488 round-trip.

Family Getaway — Ocho Rios, Jamaica

If lying on a beach with a rum-infused drink sounds like the perfect spring break, look no further than Jamaica. Ocho Rios is home to miles of beautiful beaches, and manages to be a serene retreat even during the heavy tourist season. Explore the Dunn’s River falls, or fist pump to Jamaica’s first-ever EDM festival from March 10-12.

Where to stay:

There’s a hotel for every budget in Ocho Rios. A splurge-worthy option is Sandals Royal Plantation, where visitors can experience a worry-free vacation thanks to the resort’s staff of butlers. Thanks to its private beach and jam-packed activity menu, the resort was named one of the Top 25 All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor. Rooms start at $311 per night, but quickly jump up to $1,058 if you’re looking at a villa or suite.

Staying at Sandcastles Jamaica will be kinder to your wallet while still offering a quintessential Jamaican experience. Located just steps away from nightlife and shopping, this budget-friendly hotel has rooms starting at $130 per night.

How to get there:

Jamaica is a pretty quick trip from most places in the U.S. Affordable flights can be found to Montego Bay or Kingston, which are both about an hour away from Ocho Rios. From Miami, a direct flight to Montego Bay will take less than two hours and cost around $260. A four-hour direct flight from New York to Montego Bay will cost around $400.

Nonstop Party — Daytona Beach, Fla.

Drinking on spring break. (Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images)

If your spring break fantasies consist of kegs and coeds, Daytona Beach won't disappoint. Located about 1.5 hours from Gainesville, this classic party destination served as the backdrop for the movie "Dirty Grandpa," and is a hotbed of spring break debauchery.

Where to stay:

The Residence Inn provides an affordable hotel stay just steps away from the beach. For $209 a night, you can fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the ocean from your hotel room.

One of the best parts of spring break is cramming all of your friends into a house on the beach, right? Airbnb has some great options for those wanting to save money and bring the party home. This rental is just $300 a night, sleeps 8, and is steps away from the ocean.

How to get there:

Daytona Beach is a quick and affordable flight from most cities on the East Coast. Flights from Baltimore to the Daytona Beach airport start at just $220 for a round-trip ticket. Similarly, flights from Cleveland are currently as low as $289.

Fun and Culture — Tulum, Mexico

When you say the words "spring break," many people think Cancun. But Mexico’s real spring break gem is the ancient city of Tulum. Located in the Riviera Maya, Tulum offers a more relaxed atmosphere with cultural attractions like Mayan ruins.

Where to stay:

If infinity pools, ocean views, and crystal blue waters are your thing, the Mi Amor Boutique Hotel can’t be beat. Starting at $375 a night, this luxurious getaway features a 24-hour concierge, and is ranked as the third best hotel in Tulum by TripAdvisor.

For a more affordable stay, try the simple accommodations at Villas Geminis Boutique hotel. The 10 units can be rented individually or as a group, making it a great option for a spring break getaway with friends. It’s a short drive from the beach, but with rooms starting at $145 a night, you won’t mind the commute.

How to get there:

To get to Tulum, fly into the Cancun International Airport, and then drive two hours.

As one would imagine, flying into Cancun can be expensive during this time of year. With that said, the first week of March is still pretty affordable, with flights from New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit averaging $330.

A Skier's Paradise —Vail, Colo.

Young woman skiing in powder snow, Colorado, USA.

Not all spring breakers are in search of a beach. Skiing in the spring has a few benefits — it's warmer (around 50-60 degrees), and it’s often more affordable due to smaller crowds.

Where to stay:

Antlers at Vail is the perfect destination for a family ski getaway. If you book anytime from now until March 18, you'll get a 15% discount on a stay of five nights or more. Additionally, “The Winter Camp” family ski special runs from March 5 to April 3, where kids stay free and get free ski rentals. For the first week of March, one-bedroom units start at $527 a night.

How to get there:

Vail has an airport, but there are only a few flights per day, and it's far more expensive. The cheaper option is to fly into Denver before embarking on the two-hour scenic drive to Vail.

For travelers in the Midwest, you can get to Denver in the blink of an eye. A 2.5-hour round-trip flight from St. Louis will cost roughly $286, and a ticket from Chicago costs just $208.