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Edition:  ž FLORIDA   o  METRO (DC-MD-VA-NY)


For a Real Spring Break, College Kids Get Creative

(ARA) – Spring break season is here. Millions of college students will let off steam surrounded by surf, sand and sun, or by racing down the ski run for one last pass at the slopes. But many penny-pinching students are starting to look beyond the same old, same old for their next getaway.

Volunteer vacations, for example, have gained popularity, perfect for those looking to get off-the-beaten-path. The Travel Industry Association of America noted in Nov. of 2006 that 24 percent of travelers said they were currently interested in taking a volunteer or service-based vacation. In addition, 11 percent said they were more interested now than five years earlier in this type of travel.  

The following are tips for cost-conscious college students looking to take the road less traveled this spring break:

1. Consider veering from the usual warm-weather hot spots and explore Costa Rica. The beach scene is huge, 755 miles of coastline to be exact, with world-renowned surfing conditions. And eco-inspired students will love the country’s abundant rainforests and canopy tours that take them high above the jungle floor. Best of all, on you can find a 3-star hotel room for around $81, a rate significantly lower than comparable accommodations in traditional spring break destinations.

2. Skip the beach entirely and hit the mountain slopes instead. Great ski areas like Lake Tahoe offer true bargains in March. And with those magnificent lake views, a newly revitalized downtown and a great gaming scene, college students won’t feel like they’re missing out on the action.

3. Explore spring break destinations that are traditional, warm-weather getaways, but perhaps lesser-known or less expensive. Try Panama City or  Daytona Beach, both in Florida, or a true undiscovered gem, South Padre Island, Texas. A favorite Gulf of Mexico reprieve amongst Texas co-eds, South Padre Island is starting to gain national appeal. Better yet, hotel room rates haven’t risen as fast as this location’s popularity, making this a great choice for students planning spring travel. On, 3-star hotel rooms were going for around $111 during the spring break season.  

4. While college students may still be attracted to the sun and sand of a traditional holiday, alternative vacation options are becoming more readily available during their stay. Sites such as the United Way’s help students identify volunteer opportunities, even if only donating a few hours or days of their total vacation time.

The hippest, trendiest Spring Break destinations continue to evolve in popularity. From volunteering with a not-for-profit in Mexico to windsurfing in the Bahamas, there is something for every interest and every budget. (ARA)


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