Spring break has been glorified and bathed in debauchery since a similar practice in the time of the Greeks and signals, for many, the coming of summer. Begging forth thoughts (and for a large population of college students, memories or lack thereof) of party-filled days and nights, week-long Cancun trips, and hits on Barstool, spring break is a tradition long-revered.
With people all over the country flocking to warm white-sand beaches and seeking oasis under palm trees, now is the time to start planning your trip. But when flights to Miami start at $417* and foreign destinations have only a slightly higher asking price (some are lower!), looking for different experiences is worth considering for worldwide travel-addicts like me, especially since prices are only going to rise from now until break. Keep reading for 9 destinations with round-trip flights under $550 to head to for spring break - experiences and Airbnb recommendations included!
(*all flight comparisons are out of Newark Liberty International Airport - EWR and are listed in USD)
1. Lisbon, Portugal ($528)
Morgan Van Rhee
I visited my best friend in Lisbon this past June and had an amazing time exploring the coastal city. Its transportation system is insanely easy to navigate and the cost for a metro day pass is under $8. If you get lost, not to worry as the people are wonderfully friendly. As such a colorful and instagrammable city famed for mosaics, you will certainly want to explore as much as you can! My personal favorite spots in the city include old town Alfama, Mini Bar Teatro (get the chef's tasting menu!), and LX-factory with its artistic feel and unique restaurants including a rooftop bar. Make a trip to Cascais if you get the chance!
2. Madrid, Spain ($526)
As the capital of Spain, Madrid houses some of the richest history in all of Europe. Be prepared that the Spanish you are used to learning here in the states will sound very different in Spain! At Sobrino de Botin, you can get a tour at the oldest-running restaurant in the world (it opened in 1725!) followed by lunch or dinner. Other options include taking the Teleferico de Madrid which is a gondola stretching over some of the most stunning parts of the city. No venture would be complete, however, without a trip to a tapas restaurant such as the famed Bodega de la Ardosa!
There is no better spot to cozy up after a long day with friends than at this stunning (and inexpensive) abode!
3. Rome, Italy ($469 or $350 out of JFK)
There are so many activities to do in Rome including obvious visits to the Colosseum, Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, Trevi fountain, and St. Peter's Basilica. Moreover, however, are shopping trips to the Piazza di Spagna and recommended trips to Campo de' Fiori where you can delight yourself with the balsamic vinegars and olive oils at the market. If you get the chance, make the trip to Acquapendente where murals from artists all over the world dot the townscape or to Lake Como with its breathtaking scenery.
If you are searching for a classic Italian style place, look no further than the "Colosseum Dream Casa" in the city center!
4. Brussels, Belgium ($432)
At only $432, Brussels should be on your list for sure! It's unique mashup of architectural styles make the city photo-friendly and explorable, not to mention picture-friendly, jazzed-up classic street food disguised as plain fries and waffles! Be sure to try the 70's-esque vol-au-vents stuffed with fillings ranging from mushrooms and chicken to gooey cheese or apples!
With space for three guests and a great view, this penthouse is perfect!
5. Amsterdam, the Netherlands ($427)
My family wishes I would stop telling them about how much I loved Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. . . and that's just the airport! What can I say? I am 50% Dutch! While certainly known for their loose drug regulations and marijuana museum, there is so much more to the city. Visiting the Xtracold Icebar is a must with its interior including both a warm bar and one made entirely of ice, but don't worry, the bar provides a coat and gloves for you to go inside!
In a nation known for its innovative waterways, take it to the next level by staying on a houseboat!
6. Dublin, Ireland ($414)
Where better to spend St. Patrick's day than in Ireland itself? Grab brunch at Hatch and Sons for a real treat then take time to explore local cathedrals and castles. After exploring, take in a Guinness in a cozy and friendly pub with dinner. If you are feeling up for it, head down to the Vintage Cocktail Club for a tasty and boozy sip followed by a night of dancing at Club M. Even so, becoming friends with a local is the best route to take.
This colorful and cheery studio apartment is enough to brighten up any rainy day Dublin might send your way!
7. San Jose, Costa Rica ($399)
Morgan Van Rhee
The warmest destination on the list, San Jose is a great place to head for spring break. I personally loved my experiences in Costa Rica especially since the food was absolutely delicious! If you are looking for a spa retreat, the springs at the Volcano Arenal are beyond relaxing. Even so, adventure is out there! Do not miss out on ziplining in the lush forests or exploring the stunning landscape. When I returned home, I was so in awe I recounted to my mother that even the slums were beautiful.
Want stellar views at an awesome price? Well, here you go!
8. Paris, France ($371)
Morgan Van Rhee
During spring break of 2018, I hopped on a flight to Paris for the first time and fell in love with everything about the city immediately. Truly, I have never felt more at home in a city than I have in Paris and I hope to continue my culinary studies there soon. You cannot view the Eiffel tower without feeling completely drowned in glory. While the city is easy to navigate, take the time to learn a bit of French etiquette and never enter a store without greeting the shopkeepers with a quick "bonjour" before browsing. My favorite chef Jean Francois Piege operates his restaurant, "Le Grand Restaurant," out of the first arrondissement if you are looking for a luxe treat. Other delights include necessary visits to the historically aristocratic Le Marais, brunch at Eggs and Co., and the intimate 8-table French-Iranian fusion restaurant "Libra" (the ~singular~ chef operates in an open-view kitchen smaller than your average American queen or King-sized bed!). I've made an effort to get to Libra as often as I can during my travels. At night, go out for a bit of fun at the nightclub Palais Maillot.
As a modern take on classic Parisian apartment style, this place is a dream.
9. Montreal, Canada ($192)
If you have never tried poutine, you are truly missing out on all that is its squeaky cheese curd, warm gravy, and greasy thick-cut french fry glory. Poutine is a French-Canadian masterpiece of pride that you cannot miss out on. It would also be a shame if you never made it to St. Viateur Bagels or the Basilique Notre-Dame. While a chilly spot for spring break, don't be deterred by the weather for there is plenty of indoor shopping to be done in Mile-End.
For the adventurous minimalist, this loft is a coo!