Spring Break on a Budget Published: March 7, 2016 By: Melissa Hellmann Mount Diablo State Park. Photo by Melissa Hellmann. Spring Break begins Monday, March 21! You don’t need to spend a lot or hop on a plane to take advantage of well-deserved time off. Whether you’re on a budget or want to stay local, we offer the following guide to help you plan your spring break. Bay Area Museums UC Berkeley Botanical free admission for students — a great place for a hike and to smell the flowers, literally. Oakland Museum of California students $10.95 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts students $8 California Academy of Sciences students receive a $5 discount Tech Museum of Innovation students receive a $5 discount for the museum galleries De Young Museum students receive a discount for admission Asian Art Museum students $10 Bay Area Discovery Museum Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Museum is free for Berkeley students, Theater admission $7 Viticulture UC Berkeley is just an hour’s drive from Wine Country, making day trips to Napa Valley, Sonoma or Calistoga, easy and affordable. Surf, Sea and Sand Pfeiffer Beach State Park. Photo by Melissa Hellmann. The Monterey Aquarium offers a student discount for admission: $34.95. Two hours south of San Francisco are some of the state’s most beautiful sunsets and ocean front views of the Pacific in Big Sur. Take a picnic in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park or hike among redwoods in Coast Ridge Road. Four hours inland from the city is one of the greatest national parks, Yosemite. Spring is the best time to see Yosemite Waterfalls, when the waterfalls are at their peak flow and make for an incredible show. Walk Mist Trail, spend lunchtime in front of Lost Arrow Spire, and sit among breathtaking stars. Out-of-State Vacations If you’re itching to get out of California, there are plenty of options for world-travelers on a budget. Megabus offers bus tickets as low as $1 to more than 120 destinations throughout North America. If you’re traveling from Oakland, make a stop at Anaheim, Burbank, or Los Angeles. Green Tortoise Adventure Travel has reasonably priced trips to Death Valley, Yosemite, Baja, Alaska, and more. On the travel service site Kayak, the explore option displays the cheapest flights that are available during the spring. Catch a flight to Las Vegas for less than $100! If you want to leave the country during spring break, it’s not too late to book a ticket. If you’re looking for a beach vacation but can’t afford resort prices, Playa del Carmen, Mexico is a more affordable area near Cancun and is one of the top five destinations in the world. It is also now cheaper than ever to travel to Europe because the U.S. Dollar is almost at par with the Euro. Book a ticket to Portugal, Spain, Amsterdam, Rome, Paris or London for a week of cultural tourism. The changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. Photo by Melissa Hellmann. Booking Tips Book with hotels directly, cutting out middleman fees Share a ride with others going to the same destination. The Ridejoy app enables passengers to search for rides. Or go online to Bla Bla Car Bring your student ID for discounts Go places that are off-season Helpful Booking Sites Find discounted hotels and activities through Groupon. Student Universe is a travel booking website that offers cheap flights for students. Find affordable or free lodging through VRBO, Airbnb and Couchsurfing. Get inspiration for trips and share your experiences through blogs like Travelettes and Backpacks and Bunkbeds. Use Skyscanner, Kayak, Priceline and Travelocity for deals on flights, cars and hotels. Whether you’re leaving town or exploring the Bay Area, you shouldn’t have to break the bank during vacation. Have a joyful and safe spring break!