Spring break on a budget

Pack your bags, we’re outta here! It’s Spring Break ’05, and for Northern Kentucky University students, it means the party starts March 6. Students have a lot of studying to do before then, so this is going to make it easier by giving the basics (for any budget) to make this spring break the one to remember.

While most of a your money is going to be budgeted in recreation, sleeping where you pass out is not a qualification for “where to stay.”

There are many Web sites that offer cheap deals on airfare, hotels, vacation packages and transportation, but some of the sites are catered specifically to college students, two particular favorites being: www.studentcity.com and www.studentuniverse.com. Through Student Universe, round trip airfare is severely discounted: Las Vegas $280, Miami $218, New Orleans $201, London (UK) $312, Honolulu, $665.

The Web site also introduces the reader to the efficient idea of hostels. Hostels are great places to crash for a mere $16 a night. Student City provides not only hotel discounts for students, but complete travel packages to over 20 cities. Whether you want to hit the beach or the slopes, Student City will get you there cost-effectively.

Top ten college vacation spots
1. Daytona Beach 2. Cancun, Mexico 3. Carribean 4. South Padre Island, Texas 5. New Orleans 6. New York City 7. South Beach 8. San Francisco, California 9. Las Vegas, Nevada 10. Hawaii

Hey, I’m broke Have no fear; there are plenty of ways to enjoy the break while avoiding going home. Though it can add up, casinos provide great opportunities to experience a local vacation. Three resorts are within a 45-minute drive from NKU and all offer distinct features.

*Argosy has live entertainment every Friday and Saturday plus special events in their Airwaves and LYD venues. The boat itself has over 2,300 slots and 80 tables, with a 300-room deluxe hotel. Located in Lawrenceburg, Ind., Argosy has discounted packages available for under $100.

*Grand Victoria is a step above Argosy with its own golf course, plus a 200-room Hyatt hotel attached to the casino. The hotel has a pool plus a health club, if you don’t mind spending $175 a night. However, there’s a house restaurant, Wellington’s Steakhouse, serving all day for under $20 a meal. You can log on to Grand Victoria’s Web site for specials and promotions for your designated dates.

*Belterra Casino offers the most to its patrons for incredible deals. Not only does Belterra have 1,500 slots, 39 tables, a golf course and a multitude of places to dine, but the casino also has a full service salon and spa to relax those college stresses away. For entertainment, you can find yourself in the midst of an 1,800-seat showroom. With so much to do at Belterra, your night will not fall short when you stay at the casino’s hotel for a mere $69 a night.

If casinos aren’t up your alley, get some friends together and check out area Kentucky lakes. For under $1,000, you can rent a houseboat for up to a week. Tour the lake, lounge in the hot tub or simply relax and take in the scenery.

If you enjoy road trips over waterways, check out www.cruiseamerica.com. The possibilities are endless for less than $50 a day, and camping can be found in any city, nationwide.

My part time job is paying off

For those with a slightly larger expenditure, a cruise may be just what you need. Discounts can be found online or through travel agencies where you can go virtually anywhere starting at $199. A great place to start is www.cruzshare.com. There are over 25 destinations and departure ports for any duration of time. Cruises can be themed or standard, but include shopping, prestigious dining, live entertainment and all-night clubs plus spa, salons, pools, hot tubs, golf and so much more.

Also, a trip to Chicago can be an adventure for only a couple hundred dollars. With a variety of shopping options from “just looking” to “do you have a bigger cart”, you’ll wish spring break lasted longer. Two things to keep in mind while in “The Windy City,” parking at most hotels costs $15 a day (carpool with friends, take a train from Cincinnati to Chicago or venture to take the 45-minute flight for less than $150); hotels can get expensive when paying at the door, so make arrangements of prepaying over the internet, or call and ask for specials. Your wallet will thank you.

Cancun, Mexico rounds off the moderate spending list. A three-night stay on the beach will run about $650-700, but includes airfare, hotel, meals and motor sports such as parasailing or wave-running. (Fore warning: as with all popular college spring break beach spots, beware of running into Carson Daly and MTV’s pre-pubescent following.)

I got my tax refund back and am loving life

So, you’re the one with the rolling suitcase and digital camera. If you have the money, go all out!

Vacations to Europe are the epitome of getaways. London has a night-life that never ends. When you’re there, venture out to Piccadilly Circus – the “Times Square” of London. If a hostel doesn’t fit your lifestyle, check out any of the five star deluxe hotels starting at $160 a night. Don’t forget to try the infamous fish-and-chips and wander into a few pubs to take in the true Brit ambiance. Theatre, hole-in-the-wall diners and boutiques compliment a week in London. A nice add-on is a Euro-pass to tour neighboring cities, even countries, via train.

Whether you speak a foreign language or are planning a romantic, weeklong getaway, try Paris, France or Vienna, Italy.

A luxury hotel in either city can be as inexpensive as $90 to 120 a night. Dining is a pocket saver due to the exchange rate with exquisite gourmet meals as low as $9 a person. While there are many areas to shop, both Paris and Vienna are filled with second hand stores and catered boutiques. It’s also recommended to purchase a public transportation pass, as it is much more cost and time efficient than taxis or buses.

Now what do I pack

Well, that’s up to you, but to make the most out of Spring Break ’05, do your homework. It will pay off big time while you’re there and will guarantee a better feeling than your hang over. So, get your clean underwear and get set to go. You deserve it, after all.

Yevonne Hale
Yevonne Hale
Yevonne Hale