Poor college student seeks advice
March 2, 2012
I am a poor college student looking for a good time during spring break. However, I want them to be cheap but also a lot of fun. I was thinking of going to a big city in the Midwest such as Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis or Madison. Do you have any ideas on what activities people could do over spring break so they aren’t just sitting around playing video games all week?
Great question, Broke! Just because your dough is limited doesn’t mean your adventure needs to be. Spring break doesn’t just have to be a time to play video games without homework interruption. And for those of you who gave up COD, Skyrim, Reach, Battlefield 3 or Mario Bros for Lent, you may already be looking for other options.
Having a small budget means you are probably not travel- ing off to Cozumel for a week of debauchery. However, fun, friends, sleeping in and vodka all taste the same no matter where it’s had. From a few hundred dollars to a few pennies there are options for everyone.
If your budget is $500 or more then you can easily book a hotel for four to six nights with friends and split the cost of gas to get there. Hotels can seem pricey if you’re the only one paying but splitting the cost two, three or four ways can make a nice hotel affordable. Consult your favorite booking site for a hotel that fits your needs and book straight from the site. I always find great deals on Orbitz.com.
You can book a four star hotel in the heart of Chicago for $130 to $250 per night on Orbitz. Bring more friends to lessen the cost and have extra fun. When night-life turns daylight, head out and see more of Chicago. Visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Zoo, Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain for free. Check out other fun and free attractions like these at gochicago.about.com.
Indianapolis is less expensive than Chicago with rooms starting around $100 per night yet still within a mile or two from the center of Indianapolis. Be sure to get a taste of the city by visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum as well as the NCAA Hall of Champions. And for a taste of something old try strolling down cobblestone streets in the Lockerbie Square District where you can view 19th century buildings.
If you’re looking to keep the mileage to a minimum, there are plenty of places to stay here in the Twin Cities. You won’t have to go far to get wet and wild. Visit the Water Park of America and purchase a day pass for $29.95 Sundays through Thursdays or on Fridays and Saturdays for just $5 more. You and three friends can stay at the Radisson for four nights with day passes to the water park for $249 each. Check out other combination specials at radisson52.reachlocal.net. Then head next door to the Mall of America to get your shopping on.
Remember that there’s more to a vacation then just the walls of your hotel, pool and continental breakfast -- even if it includes hot waffles. Be sure to get out, explore and see what makes the city you’re staying in unique.
If all the above ideas don’t strike your fancy then maybe hotels just aren’t your style. That’s OK, perhaps a classy camping affair would be. Visit midwestweekends.com to find inexpensive spring break trips with access to modern cabins, state parks and reserves in the Twin Cities, Midwest, Wisconsin and Iowa.
If you’re a student on a mission and would like an opportunity to do something more robust with the extra time you’ll have away consider giving back to the community. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and still have an unforgettable experience.
Although this year is booked, next year is open to look into the Destination program here on campus. With this program you can travel domestic or abroad and volunteer to work with refugees, rebuild communities, protect the environment or aid in disaster relief. If a year away is too far away then look locally for a way to get involved. Visit handsontwincities.org to find a stream of volunteer opportunities every day and sign up for what interests you.
No matter where you go research the area before you get there so your dining decisions don’t end in a dining disaster. When last minute choices arise download Urban Spoon to your smart phone so that you can toggle through local cui- sines and budget and find real reviews by other Urban Spoon users. This app has never failed to give me tons of options, contact information and an accurate assessment of what to expect.
No matter what you decide to do with your week away from campus remember to have fun and be safe. Travel with a friend and never alone. Traveling to a new place shows your love of adventure but don’t be so adventurous you can’t find your way back.
Thanks for the question, Broke. Anyone may submit questions, concerns or quandaries to questionsforrachel@ live.com. Please send them right away if you’d like to see them in the next Student Voice. Don’t forget to like “Rachel Responds” on Facebook and follow “RachelResponds” on Twitter.
Rachel Woodman is a senior majoring in marketing communications and minoring in journalism. She loves to work hard, play hard, and use clichés! Look for her Facebook page “Rachel Responds” and email her your questions or topic ideas to QuestionsForRachel@live.com.