Monday, September 30, 2013

How to Afford Spring Break in South Padre

                                    How to Afford Spring Break in South Padre

This feature is going to offer up some suggestions about how as a “sometimes” broke college student you can budget & pay for one of our awesome spring break trips — we understand it might be on your mind as you browse our site — “hey, these trips looks great, but I mean…I can’t afford it!!”

I’m going to list what we’ll discuss — remember, this list is not exhaustive, and you might add your own creative thoughts to make a trip work for you….one important point to remember is, you only live once — saying you’ll “stay home” for spring break is really missing out on part of your right as a college student to have a good time.

Once you are out of school, married with kids, and have an office space job, you won’t be able to take a “wild” party trip like this. You have your whole life to save money, be serious, etc. Live a little!

*Do a monthly budget with all your expected “income” and your expected expenses
*Plan on asking for the trip for a Christmas or Birthday Gift
*Book Early & make payments as you go
*Select a trip in a price that makes sense for your budget
*Student Loan money
*Obtain new employment during the semester

Monthly Budgeting

For all of you finance or accounting majors, this will seem like Mr. Simpleton to you…but for our liberal arts majors, this is a very simple way to calculate what you can afford & have for spending money.

The make a budget, grab a piece of paper, a pen, and a calculator. Make a column to the left of your paper of all your expected income from now until March. Include your part time job, your student loan money, your family/parents/grandparents, and anything you might be selling off (like an old car, etc.).

Make a notation about the available credit you have on all your credit cards as well. (don’t include this as income, cuz it’s not!)
Next, in the column to the right of that column, list all of your expenses for this time period, including ANYTHING you pay for (not your parents, etc) as this is not outgoing money in that case:

-Books & supplies
-Insurance (health or car)
-Rent for housing
-Car Payment
-Cell Phone Payment
-Any utilities you have to pay
-Credit card payments you’d like to pay if you have a balance
-Food (groceries, eating at your place)
-Food (eating out money, we all do it)
-Beer / going out money for the weekends, etc
-Personal expenses like haircuts, tanning, manicures, whatever
-Gas for your car if you have one/bus fare if you don’t
-Misc. expenses like software, online porn (just kidding   hahaha! whatever else

For all of these..make sure you are using an approximate “range” — high end and low end — you never know EXACTLY what monthly bills will be after all.

Now add up each column. This will let you know what is coming in, and what is going out.
Don’t worry….don’t go cry in your room — the number that comes out will probably make
your financial situation seem worse than it is.

You’ll now see if your incoming is more than your outgoing. If your incoming is more, you have some discretionary income left. Either way, your next step is to highlight which expenses are “set in stone” ( for your place).

Use like a green highlighter for that. Then, use a pink highlighter to indicate which expenses you have some flexibility in reducing.

Take a separate sheet of paper, and look at all the pinks…indicate by each “pink” item how much you believe you can reduce it (for example, if you spend $50/month on tanning, maybe you won’t tan until your trip is paid off). Add up these amounts. This will give you an estimate of what you will have for extra money WITHOUT resorting to financing / paying for your trip from an outside source.
If you aren’t good at estimating what you are spending, it’s simple. KEEP EVERY RECEIPT FOR 10 STRAIGHT DAYS…we mean 100% of them. At the end of the 10 days, categorize your receipts as bills (simple accounting). Now you can accurately estimate your incoming/outgoing amounts.
This is a good number to know, whether you actually take a trip or not. You might discover that you are spending an awful lot on fast food, the bars, or even might have a bill you don’t need (a car payment on a car you don’t drive, for example).

*Plan on asking for the trip for a Christmas or Birthday Gift

Another great way to book & pay for one of our spring break vacations is to ask for it as a gift, or even a portion of it. If your budgeted number shows that you have $200 you can spend on the trip yourself, but you see an Inertia Spring Break trip to South Padre Island is $450 with the meals, party package, nice condo, etc., you could ask that your parents (brother, uncle, grandma) pay for $100, $200, or the balance of the trip as your Christmas present. I used this a ton when I was in school, as my parents would rather I travel than they just buying me like a computer or a snowboard — traveling is part of a rounded education, after all. (funny sell to your parents when they say that spring break is all about drinking….educate yourself…travel is travel, and what you make of it after all).

This is a great way to get some help on your trip, particularly if you can demonstrate that you have saved up a portion of the money yourself — most family do not mind helping out some, if you are making a good effort on your own, right?
*Book Early & make payments as you go

I hate doing a “salesy” pitch in a blog posting…but Inertia does have a great travel product that you should consider at least looking into…our EZ Autopay trips are mostly under $500, and still represent a fun spring break trip. These trips are also available under our Low Cash Trips section of our website. The jist of the program is this…you pay a low initial downpayment, and then your credit card is automatically drafted each month for the payment until you are paid off for the trip. It’s a great way to “budget” for a trip.

You can also hybrid this offer and have your parents sign up for it on your behalf (ie…their credit card is charged the payments each month, they will probably hardly notice such a small amount) and in this way, your trip is not only cheaply financed, they might be able to finance your christmas or birthday present, right?

All of our trips you can reserve just by making a low initial downpayment of as low as $69 down (with the autopay feature) or $100 without — this money comes off of your trip price. The balance is either auto drafted from your credit card account, OR the balance is due 60 days before the trip takes place. This is one of the real reasons to book with Inertia Tours vs. just “buying a trip” online based on price. Those trips usually you have to pay in full at the time of booking — that can be tough as a student.

*Select a trip in a price that makes sense for your budget

We understand that the all inclusive, “balls out awesome” trip at the Oasis Cancun looks incredible…but you don’t see how a $1300 trip is going to be affordable. Well, look at something else. We do this as consumers all the time — if we need a new car, we might want a Ferrari, but we buy a Chevrolet. It’s still a functional car, and quite useful. Same goes with vacations….Inertia offers super fun trips under $500. Yeah, where!?!?!?!?!!!

Well, you can go to South Padre Island, Texas on a road trip, you can go skiing in Colorado, or you can take a party bus trip to Mazatlan, Mexico. While these trips might not be as posh as a flight inclusive trip to an exotic Caribbean destination, they are still a complete blast! A $400 trip with $50 for gas, and $250 in spending money looks much more do-able than $1300 for just the trip, plus $500 in spending money once you get there.

You aren’t downgrading really, you are just “saving” that “all out” trip potentially. Plus, the less expensive of the trip planned, the more of your friends that can go. We have found what makes the trips is the people you go with, more so than the destination selection overall. Keep this important point in mind.

*Student Loan money

Right, pile up more loan debt to take a vacation? Well, look at it this way — you only live once. All of us make decisions that aren’t fool-proof financially. For example, most of your parents have purchased a new car, when they depreciate 35-65% the second you drive them off the lot. (loss = $10-$30,0000!!!!) vs. you taking $400 out for a vacation to keep your sanity.

If your parents squawk, remind them about their own personal spending habits. Are they drinking coffee from Starbucks at $5/cup and putting it on their Visa? Hummm…that’s not too smart, either. Life is about choices, and once you graduate, you’ll be working full time. If you have $20,000 in student loans, having $20,400 is hardly going to make or break you, right?
Student loan money can come at the most opportune moment to pay for a trip like this. It can at least be used as a consideration to finance our spring break packages.

*Obtain new employment during the semester
For a sense of balance, we follow up the “finance” option with the old school traditional way to get what you want – earn it.
If you aren’t working a part time job in college, how come? “Concentrating on your studies!” Yeah, right you are. A part time job not only will give you real world experience that will help you get your first “real” out of school job, sometimes these lead to full time offers of work after graduation. A side bonus is that you have your own money in your pocket besides your parents.

If you have the mindset of “we have money” (as in you thinking your parents money and shit is “yours”) — think again. I doubt they share this viewpoint with you. As an adult with a soon-to-be college education, you need to be able to stand on your own two feet and earn a living someday on your own. If you are thinking that a would-be interviewer that has worked their way through college is going to hire you when you have not, you are DEFINITELY mistaken! They will think you are lazy, and probably right.

Get a part time job doing SOMETHING. Whether it be as a student worker for the university , washing cars, waiting tables, working at The Gap….you’ll earn money you can spend on things like our spring break trips.


There are many ways to “afford” a spring break, and a million different combinations of what we have listed above to finance your wanted vacation.
The key is planning, and having the fortitude to come up with a plan & have the time of your life on an Inertia Tours Spring Break Trip!
Inertia Chad

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