10 things under $25 to make spring break more fun

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How to Spring Break Without Going Broke

Many people look forward to spring break, but perhaps no one relishes the time off more than college students escaping the library stacks. If a sunny destination beckons this year, set yourself up for a fun trip -- and head off mishaps that could ruin your break -- by packing these 10 things under $25.


For a warm-weather vacation, sunscreen should always be at the top of the packing list. To shield the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays and painful burns, sunscreen should be applied liberally at least once every two hours. Many skincare experts recommend a bare minimum of SPF 15, and the American Academy of Dermatology suggests an SPF of 30 or higher. No-Ad SPF 45 ($8.50 from Walmart) is a top pick from Cheapism.com.

Aloe Vera Sunburn Gel.

Even if sunscreen is applied judiciously, long hours spent outdoors can inflict damage that may go unnoticed until long after the sun sets. For pain relief, return moisture to inflamed skin with fast-absorbing, natural aloe vera. In online reviews, consumers have high praise for Fruit of the Earth 100 percent aloe vera gel (about $9 on Amazon). Australian Gold, Tropical Seas' Reef Safe, Solarcaine, and Sun Bum also make highly rated, low-cost options.

View the top 10 destinations for spring break this year:

Top 10 destinations for spring break 2016
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10 things under $25 to make spring break more fun

10. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: San Francisco is a foodie haven, with more restaurants and farmers' markets per capita than anywhere else in North America. With mild spring temperatures, you can explore the city's historic quarters before indulging in incredible food. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

9. SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: With impeccable beaches ideal for both surfers and swimmers, San Diego is a paradise for sun-seeking spring breakers. 

(Photo via Getty Images)

8. LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: Pool parties start back up in March, which means you can get your fix of casinos, clubs, and day parties in Sin City in the spring. 

(Photo by Hisham Ibrahim via Getty Images)

7. FORT MYERS, FLORIDA: You can visit the homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, enjoy salsa and margaritas in the sunshine, or venture to the famous white sand beaches that line the Gulf Coast. 

(Photo by Philip Lange via Getty Images)

6. TAMPA, FLORIDA: The Tampa area has some of the country's best beaches and is becoming a hotspot for younger travelers. Relax on the beach before checking out its boutique districts, which are lined with shops and sidewalk cafes. 

(Photo by Alex Baxter via Getty Images)

5. PHOENIX, ARIZONA: Embark on an exhilarating hike before heading to the city's many artsy bars, lounges, and restaurants to unwind. 

(Photo via Shutterstock)

4. FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA: Besides its famous beaches, Fort Lauderdale offers prime shopping on Las Olas Boulevard, historical districts to wander through, and plenty of mansions and yachts to admire. 

(Photo via Shutterstock)

3. MIAMI, FLORIDA: Spring brings plenty of sunshine to South Beach, making it ideal for enjoying the city's beaches and parties, like the Ultra Music Festival that takes place in March. 

(Photo by Sean Pavone Photo via Getty Images)

2. ORLANDO, FLORIDA: Besides hosting more than a dozen theme parks, Orlando is home to tree-lined neighborhoods, stunning gardens, and plenty of nature preserves to explore. 

(Photo by Ilene MacDonald via Alamy)

1. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Head to Los Angeles for urban adventures and incredible hikes across places like Griffith Park, where you'll get some of the best views of the city. 

(Photo by Andrew Zarivny via Shutterstock)


Bluetooth Speaker.

Music makes everything better, whether it's poolside lounging or solo shower karaoke. Inexpensive waterproof speakers can play songs wirelessly from a device connected through Bluetooth. The Boom Swimmer Bluetooth speaker from Polk Audio (available on Amazon for less than $25) is built to withstand shallow water for up to a half-hour and is resistant to shock and dust. Other speaker brands with well-reviewed models under $25 include Mpow and Seedforce.

SEE ALSO: 28 affordable spring break destinations


A chilled drink is incomparably refreshing in hot weather. Keep sodas, water, and beers in a dependable cooler that can be transported easily and stowed in a car trunk. For a few hours at the pool or beach, try the Coleman 9-Can Soft Cooler (starting at $13 on Amazon, where more than 1,200 reviewers give it an average of 4.5 stars). For larger groups, the Coleman 16-Quart Wheeled Cooler (about $17 at Walmart, where nearly three-quarters of reviewers give it 5 stars) holds 22 cans and is tall enough to let 2-liter bottles ride upright.


Skip the cheapest flip-flops, because the low price won't make up for the pain and hassle when a strap snaps or detaches from a flimsy sole. Instead, spring for Reef Ginger Drift flip-flops for women (starting at $11 on Amazon) or Teva Classic Flip sandals for men (starting at $9 on Amazon). In online reviews, consumers praise the arch support of the Reef flip-flops, cloth straps that don't chafe, and a foam sole that conforms to the foot and holds up well on rocks. Buyers of the Teva flip-flops like the thick sole, all-day wearability, and quick-drying material, according to reviews. Both footbeds are made of EVA, which is flexible, soft, and tough.

Bluetooth Locator.

It's easy to misplace keys and wallets amid crowds at the pool or in the mess of a motel room. A small Bluetooth-powered tag such as StickNFind, Protag Duet, or Trackr, to name a few, attaches to an item (or a car) so it can be tracked with a phone or tablet. It comes in handy for locating valuables such as a camera bag and should last long after spring break is over. Bluetooth trackers vary in size, range, alert capabilities, and price. Tile, for example, starts at $25 on Amazon, but the price drops when purchasing packs of four, eight, or 12.

Sports for the Pool.

If poolside tanning and floating around becomes mundane after a few hours, break out a volleyball net or basketball hoop. Inflatable game sets make a day at the pool more fun for everyone, and they're inexpensive at big-box retailers as well as online. Intex makes colorful, inexpensive sets available on Amazon for volleyball ($10) or basketball ($11).

Drinking Game Set.

Walk into any spring break beach party or bar and there is likely to be a beer pong match in progress. Bring the classic drinking game to the pool with a 5-foot inflatable "table" from Pool Party Pong ($20 at Walmart) or a set of two floating GoPong Pool Pong Racks ($17 on Amazon) with room for six cups each.

Recovery Drinks.

For hydration and refreshment during the day -- and, according to some, help with hangovers -- stock up on drinks with electrolytes. Sports drinks and coconut water can cost $2 to $3 each at a local deli or mini-mart, but spring breakers who drive to their destinations can beat that price by buying beforehand at bulk retailers or online. A variety pack of 28 12-ounce bottles of Gatorade is a little more than $14 at Jet, bringing the cost to about 50 cents a bottle.


You never know when attraction might spark on spring break. Think ahead to avoid a last-minute scramble or exposure to STDs and unwanted pregnancy. There are plenty of places to pick up free condoms before hitting the road, and Amazon sells 36-packs of Trojans for less than $15.

RELATED: 5 items to always buy in bulk

5 items to always buy in bulk
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10 things under $25 to make spring break more fun

Paper towels, $23.99 (12 rolls)

Photo via Getty

Dishwasher detergent, $12.82

Photo via Getty

Tooth paste, $7.44 (2 boxes)

Photo via Getty

Oatmeal, $9.96 (4 boxes)

Photo via Getty

Pasta, $10.44 (4 boxes)

Photo via Getty


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