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Spring break is right around the corner, and thousands of warm-weather lovers are already daydreaming about the perfect getaway.
But let’s face it: planning a fun spring break trip on a budget can be a bit of a challenge. This year’s continued inflation and rising gas prices make dream vacays more expensive than ever.
Luckily, the travel experts at Wanderu have your back. You can hit up Wanderu year-round to find the best deals on bus and train travel. And in preparation for spring break, we’ve scoped out the top 500 hottest destinations for spring breakers, crunched the numbers, and found the spots with inflation-resistant travel options. Plus, we spill the tea on the cheapest days to travel for spring break 2023.
So don’t waste your cash on overpriced tickets when you could use that dough to sip on a Mai Tai or snorkel with sharks. Get the biggest bang for your buck by planning your spring break adventure on the cheapest days of the season.
Travel Prices for Popular Spring Break 2023 Destinations
Digging into the data from hundreds of thousands of Wanderu searches, we wanted to see which destinations are the most commonly-booked for spring break among bus and train travelers.
Unlike other holidays, spring break dates vary across the country. We examined the period from March 11th to the 26th, when most colleges and schools have their time off, and found similar weekly patterns throughout the month. Here are the 20 most popular spots to travel during Spring Break 2023, and pricing trends compared to last year.
As airline prices skyrocket and demand for train travel increases, so does train fare. Train ticket prices to the top 20 spring break destinations have increased by at least 15%; and in the case of Fort Lauderdale, train tickets cost 63% more than they did in 2022!
Bus fares, on the other hand, have largely resisted inflation for the weeks of spring break travel. Taking the bus to popular destinations is cheaper on average in 2023 than it was in 2022, which means buses are a surefire bet for the best bargain.
As an added bonus, bus carriers are expanding their routes across the country; which means more options and more competitive (read: cheap) rates for travelers.
The Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Spring Break 2023 Destinations
If you want to know that you’re getting a fantastic bargain, look no further. For each of the listed destinations, bus ticket prices have gone down over 30% in the past year! And no, they’re not unpopular routes hoping for more traffic — unless you consider L.A. off the beaten path.
With stunning natural beauty, a world-class food scene, and an endless array of activities, there’s never a dull moment in Seattle. And if you’re a student at one of these PNW colleges, it’s much cheaper to head into the city for spring break than booking a flight to the tropics.
This Pennsylvania destination is an unsung hero for spring break; after all, it’s in the top 10 most-booked places to travel during spring break season! Discover Pittsburgh’s industrial heritage, stunning geography, and legendary sports teams with cheap travel from these campuses.
Los Angeles, CA
Fort Lauderdale, FL
While Miami may be the more famous South Florida city, bus tickets to Fort Lauderdale are much cheaper on average. And Fort Lauderdale’s stunning beaches, excellent shopping, and world-class restaurants make for a dreamy spring break vacay! Of course, Miami is just a 40-minute bus ride away, if you want to take a cheap day trip and still avoid bloated Miami hotel prices.
San Diego, CA
This year, spring break coincides with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, so you can nab a cheap bus ticket and enjoy fried food, carnival games, rodeo competitions, and of course plenty of live music.
The Cheapest Travel Days During Spring Break 2023
Picking a destination where you can stretch your dollars is only the first step. Next up, you’ll have to decide when you’re traveling.
Spring break is one of the most popular travel seasons, and ticket prices are often much pricier on popular travel dates. That’s why we analyzed pricing data for hundreds of top bus and train routes to see which days have the cheapest average travel costs.
Regardless of how you travel, you’ll save the most money by traveling on Sundays or Mondays this month.
Most and Least Expensive Days to Travel by Bus and Train
Bus tickets are cheapest on Sundays and Mondays during spring break season, while Saturdays tend to be more expensive. Luckily, this works out perfectly for a week-long trip from Monday to the following Sunday, or Sunday to Sunday. Since the majority of crowds either leave or arrive on Saturday, prices skew upwards and roads get far more crowded.
While traffic won’t affect the price of your ticket or your ability to sit back and relax, it can extend the length of your bus trip. And let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun to take a nap by the beach than on a highway.
Train prices line up pretty similarly to bus prices, with the best deals typically happening on Sunday and Monday. If your break is in the latter half of March, you get a little more wiggle room on which days have the best deals. But, just like bus travel, it’s a good idea to avoid Saturdays if you want the lowest price.
When to Book
Both bus and train prices are dynamic, which means they continuously fluctuate and typically get higher the closer you get to the day of travel. Train prices in particular can skyrocket the closer you get to the date of departure, so aim to book at least two or three weeks in advance to get a better deal.
To get this juicy info, we looked at a few different things. First, we filtered out the top 500 destinations for spring break based on Wanderu bookings from the past few years. Next, we found the average price of one-way bus and train trips for each of those destinations. Then it was a matter of crunching the numbers to find out how prices changed year over year based on the destination, date of travel, and mode of transportation. A little data analysis later, we’ve got useful insights for planning your spring break adventure.
Planning Spring Break Travel with Wanderu
Still feeling lost on what to do for spring break? Fear not, indecisive wanderer! We’ve got more resources to help you plan any kind of epic escape.
Maybe you want more insights on the cheapest places to enjoy the week off, or maybe you want to skip the crowds and discover an underrated spring break destination. Gather your gal pals for a spring break girls’ trip, or bring your fur baby to one of these dog-friendly destinations.
No matter where your spring break takes you, you can always find the cheapest available deals on bus and train travel on Wanderu. Use the website or the Wanderu app to book your trip, and get ready for the best spring break yet.
You are welcome to use the information on this page, crediting Wanderu. If you do so, please link back to this page, so that wanderers around the world can see how we did this study.