Students weigh spring break options (1)

by Mike Mook

It goes without saying that Baghdad, Iraq and Pyongyang, North Korea are not going to make the top 10 locations visited by students during spring break 2003.

With the pending war in the Middle East some have questioned whether spring break travel will be ill affected. Most students, however, feel these concerns are more relatable to their parents. It is the majority consensus among college students and travel agents that while the war in Iraq and threat of terrorism may adversely affect spring break travel, it will only represent a slight decrease in the normal travel patterns of college students.

Simpson travelers will take advantage of the many options involved in this year’s spring break March 8 through March 16.

According to travel agents, the annual hot spots such as, Cancun, Las Vegas and South Florida should be hopping again this year. Warm temperatures, active nightlife and wild coeds draw millions of students to these areas each year.

The drawback to vacationing at these locations is the price. The average college student can expect to shell out anywhere from $500 to a couple of thousand dollars to enjoy spring break in such a tropical location.

Some of the best ways to find the hidden deals for spring break hot spots are by contacting travel agents and checking deals on Internet sites, including student discount Web sites. Something important to remember is that you are more likely to get a better deal if you get a larger number of students together.

For some of the more academically minded upperclassmen spring break offers an opportunity to investigate their futures. For these students, a week off for spring break offers a great opportunity to check out graduate schools or possible career opportunities. If it so happens that your academic or professional endeavor brings you to a warm or tropical area, it’s an extra bonus.

For the “financially-impaired” student, to plan the ultimate spring break trip may take a little more creativity this semester.

A common approach is known as the mooch off your relative plan. Almost everyone has that crazy aunt, uncle or grandparent who lives in Florida or California and would be more then happy to host you and your closest 48 friends for the week. It is often the case that Aunt Bobita will not only house you, but she will also spoil you by cooking tons of food and maybe even loan you a vehicle. It is amazing that around spring break your craziest relatives often become your favorite.

Another alternative approach is known as the “local tour approach”. Iowa is actually well-known for many of its historical and world class destinations. The only thing required for this trip is a full tank of gas and money for soda and snacks along the way. Some ‘interesting’ destinations include Sioux City, Iowa, also known as the Popcorn Capital of the World. Another is the small town of Audubon, located just off Interstate 80 about 70 miles west of Des Moines and is home to the world’s largest bull. LeMars, Iowa, is the home of Wells Blue Bunny and subsequently is the Ice Cream capitol of the world. If none of these “extremely exciting” locations interest you, South Ridge Mall has a Merry-Go-Round that you can ride for a couple of bucks.

If in the end you must simply go home for spring break the fake-em-out approach could come in handy. While at home, cash in all the quarters you’ll save by having your parents do your laundry and buy some minutes at the local tanning salon. Then while you are sitting on your couch watching MTV spring break you’ll have plenty of time to come up with an exciting story to tell your friends once you get back to school.