It’s the week before spring break at Loyola University Chicago and students are excited, despite the lack of spring weather, and how cold it is outside.
However, a student’s finances have made it difficult for students to travel during this 10 day vacation. So some students will end up spending their spring break on campus with friends.
It’s not a bad thing though, considering Chicago is our backyard. We can grab a group of friends, jump on the el, and there’s always something for us around the corner. But Chicago can prove to be an expensive city, particularly in the Loop.
There’s a lot to do and see in the city, and there’s also a way to ensure you won’t break the bank by enjoying it.
Here are five ways to enjoy the spring break in Chicago on a budget:
1. Enjoy Chicago’s free attractions.
Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier, and Millenium Park (all three famous tourist attractions) have free admission. The Shedd Aquarium and Art Institute of Chicago also offer “free admission days” every month.
You can also take a walk around the Buckingham Fountain (not in season) and Grant Park. Walking around Chicago’s neighborhoods doesn’t cost any money either.
You can even walk up and down the Magnificent Mile and window shop as much as you’d like. It won’t cost you a penny.
2. If you live on-campus, be sure to use your meal plan.
The Loyola meal plans can be used at several campus dining establishments over the break. For students with a declining balance plan, they can use their plan to purchase food for their non-Loyola student friends. For a list of dining hall spring break hours, visit the Loyola Dining website.
Students can also use their declining balance plan to purchase groceries from Southside Market or in the Terry Food Court. Both markets also sell various toiletries and snack food items.
3. Create a “spring break money management plan” ahead of time.
Two weeks before spring break begins, sit down and create a plan for the things you will be spending money on during the break. This list could include food expenses, attractions, or other things like laundry.
Making this list will allow you to stick to a more concrete budget. It will also allow you to make plans to spend the money accordingly.
4. Enjoy a night -or several- in.
Although it is spring break, there is a lack of spring weather outside. This calls for a night (or several nights) in.
This is a cozy alternative. You and a group of friends could plop on the couch, order takeout, and pull up Netflix.
5. Look up deals for food and attractions on websites.
LivingSocial and Groupon are popular websites offering deals for Chicago attractions. GrubHub and Seamless, both food delivery services, also offer online promotional offers.
Being a student has its perks. There are many student discounts in the city. If you’re at an establishment, it won’t hurt to pull out your student ID and ask if a discount is available.