Spring break means a chance for
students to flee to more appealing climes
By Paul Garrett
March 5, 2006 | With the number of days until spring
break almost in single digits, many Utah State University
students are eager to escape the harsh Cache Valley
winter during spring break in search of warmer climates
and an adventure with friends.
"Spring break offers the opportunity to make that
once in a lifetime trip with our college friends to
places we might not be able to go back to for a long
time," said Amanda Petersen, who traveled with her now-husband,
Mike, and two other friends to England, Spain, and France
for spring break last year. They planned the trip by
themselves saying it gave them greater travel freedom.
"Doing our own planning was fun since we got to investigate
and choose exactly what we wanted when we wanted it,"
For many students the hardest part of planning a trip
is deciding where to go and getting people to commit.
"Everyone seems so excited about it at first and then
never follows through," Michelle Anderson said, who
went to St. George.
The issue of money can be daunting; however, many
companies offer deals exclusively to college students.
One particular Web site, on which many students have
found great savings, is Student
Universe, a company that offers discounts to major
airlines, hotels, and rail passes. Students are only
required to provide their university e-mail address
to verify enrollment in order to have access to the
"I couldn't believe we were able to fly round trip
from Salt Lake to London for $450," Petersen said.
Most students interviewed who traveled out of the
country said to plan on spending between $1,000 and
$1,500, an interesting amount considering the average
annual income for a college-aged student is approximately
According to Travelocity, the top spring break destination
for college students last year was Mexico (23.2 percent),
followed by Europe (15.9 percent) and the Caribbean
Adventure is what most students interviewed were seeking.
To able to experience an entirely different culture
gives many a greater appreciation of various races and
ethnicities, Megan Chamberlin said, who explored the
Yucatan peninsula for her trip.
"We were able to do so many cool things in Mexico,"
Chamberlin said. "We visited ancient ruins on various
islands, watched sharks, and played with baby sea turtles,"
All students interviewed advise others to plan on
spending more money than planned. Unexpected costs frequent
most trips. For Petersen and her group problems struck
the first day. Weather delays in Chicago ultimately
caused her group to miss a connecting flight to Spain.
"We fought weather conditions, sprinted through two
of the biggest airports in the world, transferred to
a different airport in London, only to miss our flight
by five minutes," Petersen said. When returning home,
they were evacuated from the London subway due to a
bomb threat. The only way to get to the airport in time
was to purchase an expensive above ground train ticket.
While some students meticulously plan each day, others
approach their trip with a more carefree plan. Merrill
Tingey and two others explored five European countries
and Morocco pitching a tent wherever they found themselves
each night. After the airline lost the tent on one of
their flights, the threesome found themselves seeking
shelter wherever they could.
"We slept on a park bench in Paris for a bit and hung
out at a store with the owner for the rest of the night,"
Acting as their own travel agents, students often
turn to the Internet and travel books for necessary
info. Many prefer books from Rick
Steves as a source to find phone numbers and maps
to inexpensive hotels and hostels, places to eat, and
must see sights. Online groups, such as those available
give students the opportunity to interact with people
very willing to share tips and lessons learned from
their own experiences.
Hostels are also an excellent option for travelers
to save additional money. Travelers can often get a
place to stay for about $15-30 a night. Often times
family owned, they offer the opportunity to interact
with locals and find out places to visit that are away
from the normal tourist areas. Many students have found
using Web sites in advance, such as Hostels of Europe,
is easier than trying to find a place to stay once there.
Despite the extra money spent, stress from planning,
and other unexpected problems, all said the unforgettable
experiences they had were well worth it.
"How many people can say they've hung out in a pub
with the Irish in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day?" Tingey