Planning the perfect vacation seems expensive, but may cost less than you think
For many college students, spring break is one of the most highly anticipated breaks of the school year – but planning the perfect trip can be hard based on personal preferences and finances. The first challenge is finding the perfect place to go. Since college is very expensive, for some students an inexpensive trip is the goal. For those who have saved up, they can splurge on a great vacation to a spring break-friendly location.
According to U.S. News Travel’s rankings, the top 11 most popular spring break locations are Miami Beach at number one, followed by South Padre Island, Texas; Cancun, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; the Bahamas; Puerto Rico; Jamaica; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Playa Del Carmen, Mexico; Sanibel Island, Fla.; and Daytona, Fla.
For many students in the Chicago area, this is the perfect time to enjoy Chicago in the spring, but for others, it is more of a time to get away from Chicago’s unpredictable weather.
“I want to plan a last-minute trip to a random place,” said Sylvia Leak, a Columbia College student and resident of Chicago.
Leak isn’t the only one. A lot of students try to plan last-minute trips to places that meet their criteria. There are a few locations perfect for the last-minute planner that can easily fit a low budget.
There are numerous places in the United States to spend spring break, which are affordable and also pretty popular. According to lifestyle website Living On the Cheap, the cheapest recommended places are Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Las Vegas; or even taking a Caribbean cruise.
Myrtle Beach, S.C. is a popular destination that is a less expensive option for a spring break trip. The average high temperature in March is 68 degrees. If you’re looking for a place not too hot but not too cold either, Myrtle Beach is perfect. The oceanfront bars and restaurants along the beach are open during spring break, which also offer many spring break specials. Its popular nightclubs offer discounts as well. Through travel sites like Priceline, Travelocity and Expedia, there were oceanfront rooms for as little as $52 per night in March.
Corpus Christi, Texas has an average high temperature of 76 degrees in March. This is a great time to visit the beach and get some sun exposure. The attractions here include parasailing, fishing, kayaking, sailing and more. In the downtown area, you can party at numerous nightclubs as well as experience live music, karaoke and dancing. The average low price of a room here is as low as $114 per night.
Las Vegas is a very popular spring break location and has an average temperature of 69 degrees in March. Finding something to do in Las Vegas may be the easiest thing to figure out. There are options such as the Las Vegas strip, gambling, Broadway and comedy shows, zip lining, shopping and numerous other attractions as well. The cheapest room in the Sin City is $72 per night.
If a road trip is more of your speed, there are many fun places you can get to by car.
Rockford, Ill. is about two hours outside of Chicago. This place has sports arenas for games, water parks, Rockford’s Burpee Museum of Natural History and the Midway Village Museum, not to mention Swedish pancakes. It is also popular to get a hockey game ticket to see the Rockford IceHogs. The recommended place to stay is the Clock Tower Resort, which has rooms as low as $93 per night.
Memphis, Tenn. is about 533 miles from Chicago. The most popular thing to do is visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion, which offers vacation packages as well as other tour packages, including the legendary Sun Records Studio. There’s also the Memphis Zoo, Botanical Gardens and the Mississippi River Park located on Mud Island to name a few things. The lowest price for a hotel in Memphis is $60 per night.
However, if staying in Chicago is more your speed, there is plenty to do here. The benefits of staying in Chicago over spring break can outweigh the reason why you may be choosing to go away. There is always something to do in Chicago – there will be fewer crowds because of the temperatures or people going away for break, and you will be able to see more in less time.
“I wouldn’t mind staying in Chicago for break,” said Indigo Donnelly, a student and Chicago resident.
A short list of the things you can enjoy in Chicago during the average 45 degree temperature during this time of the year are visiting the Willis Tower (also known as the Sears Tower), Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, visiting Hyde Park to see the Obama family’s residence, as well as other activities in the neighborhood such as eating at the Valois Diner, which is rumored to be President Barack Obama’s favorite breakfast spot. Try the many restaurants in the downtown Chicago area – a few recommended ones are Grand Lux Caf’ÛÎ© or the Cheesecake Factory. Attend a theater show or production, as well as a blues show at the famous Buddy Guy Legends nightclub.
If you’re having a hard time finding discounts, Groupon offers a number of great deals on popular restaurants in Chicago’s many neighborhoods and spa session deals.
Whatever you choose to do, spring break is the only time before summer vacation to go on a trip without having to worry about homework, big projects or finals, so make your trip one to remember.
Spending Spring Break in Chicago?
We all have one friend who gloats about their awesome, warm location they get to go on over spring break. The “typical” college vacation involves consuming large amounts of alcohol and lounging by the beach. For some DePaul students, this cannot be a reality because of busy work schedules and lack of funds.
Although Chicago is not going to be the most ideal place this spring break, considering all of this snow that has been dumped on us, you can still pretend that you’re somewhere warm and tropical.
21 and over? Spend the night under the stars March 21 for $9 at the Adler Planetarium. A full bar and caf’ÛÎ© are available until 10 PM. Bring a date and take in the beauty of the city.
Spend the rest of the night at Ray’s Tiki Bar on 1233 N. Hoyne Ave. in Wicker Park. This affordable bar encourages beach wear and guarantees a spring break good time. By affordable, I’m talking nickel beers. That’s a deal that cannot be beat.
If you’re an Illinois resident, take a trip to the Shedd Aquarium for free on March 25 & 26. Enter a new world as you explore the marine life of more than 50 species. Once you see the giant beluga whale gliding past you, you’ll realize that there’s more to life than these Chicago sidewalks.
Towards the end of break, catch Best Coast opening for Green Day at Allstate arena March 28. This surf rock band is guaranteed to help you put your winter blues behind you. Although going to a Green Day concert might seem middle school, the nostalgia will bring in a wave of good feelings.
If you have a tight budget, visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory or the Garfield Park Conservatory off of the Green line. Both are free and open to the public. The smell of plant life and the sight of beautiful flowers will awake you from winter hibernation.
Getting caught up in an ordinary routine is necessary when school is in session, but make sure that you break out of your mold over spring break. Get out and explore somewhere new. There are ways to get away without having to travel 500 miles. Make your city-cation memorable this year.
If going away to the suburbs or other places across the country, make sure to have the same mentality while planning your spring break activities. Go to a restaurant you’ve never tried before, catch a concert, and spend a night under the stars. Get yourself in the spring spirit and revitalize before coming back for spring quarter. Come back to school with a few awesome stories under your belt. Before you know it, summer will be here!