Spring might seem like eons away in cold and dreary Davis, but it’s time to start your spring break travel plans.
Want to be part of MTV’s famous spring break festivities? Book your ticket for Panama City Beach, Fla. Other popular options include Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Hawaii or even Europe.
Leigh DePeters, the store manager at the UC Davis branch of STA travel said regardless of where students are going, they should start planning their trips now.
“The important thing for students to know is to book [their trip] soon,” she said. “The sooner they book, the better”
Susan Krempin, a travel agent at Davisville Travel with 30 years of experience in the industry, said that students should book flights and hotels as soon as they know the dates.
Besides the spring break staples of Florida and Mexico, DePeters said the most popular destination this year for spring break has been Europe, with Amsterdam as the top European destination.
“The popularity of Europe for a college student’s spring break destination is actually usually the case,” DePeters said.
Although STA has not had much demand for domestic trips this year, Miami has been popular, she said. She added that although faraway countries like Thailand can be off many students’ radars, they can make for a good spring break destination. However, spring break is a short one-week break and may not be enough time for students to experience all they want in a country.
DePeters said that despite the drug violence in Mexico, the country can still be a safe vacation destination if students stick to the resort towns.
If students are set on traveling to Mexico for the break, Krempin advised that they stay away from Mexican border towns by flying instead of driving. She also said that tourist areas of Mexico are still safe for travelers.
Disneyland is another popular destination, Krempin said. Wholesome family fun may not be everyone’s idea of a fun spring break, but if it is, two-night packages will cost around $500 for two people, she said.
However, that package does not include airfare. At the time of publication, airfare to Anaheim was $250 per person, while in contrast, flying to Cabo San Lucas is around $400
The all-inclusive Amsterdam trip with STA travel runs students about $1,350, which includes airfare, hotel, a concierge person on the ground, breakfast and bus tours for 6 days and 5 nights.
Cruises are another popular option, but age restrictions can prevent many college students from hopping aboard. Most cruise lines, while allowing students over the age of 21, require those students to stay with a person at least 25 years old in their cabin.
“Spring breakers ruined it for everyone about ten years ago” Krempin said. “It used to just be if you had a passport you could go [on a cruise].”
Outdoor Adventures (OA) will also be offering at least one outdoor expedition over spring break, although the details have not yet been finalized. Students and the public will be able to sign up for any OA spring break trips starting in February. They are also offering a full week of rafting guide school during break to learn to guide commercial white water rafting trips. No experience is required and applications, due Jan. 28, are open to anyone.
Both travel agents said it is better for students to book with travel agencies. DePeters said that STA is better than booking online because students will have someone to create the ideal trip for them and manage their travels. Krempin also said that booking through travel agents helps if and when something goes wrong before and during travels.
Passports are required for those going out of the country for spring break. Krempin, DePeters and the campus recreation passport office all recommend that spring break travelers apply for a passport as soon as possible.
“It can take about four to six weeks after you submit your passport application [to receive it],” said Addy Martinez, a cashier assistant at the passport center, located in the Campus Recreation Business Center at the ARC.
Martinez added that many students seem to be missing their original birth certificate, which can delay receiving a passport. Those applying for a passport must provide proof of citizenship (typically in the form of a birth certificate), identification (usually a drivers license), two passport pictures which can be taken at the Business Center, as well as the fee, which for adults is $110 plus an acceptance fee to the UC regents for $25.
KELLY KRAG-ARNOLD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.