University offers altruistic Spring Break options


Information provided by Kent State University Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement. 

Mikala Lugen

As spring break approaches, Kent State students may be deciding on their plans for the week-long break from classes. But while taking a trip with friends might seem like a fun idea, it can also be expensive.

In 2014, approximately 1.7 million full-time college students traveled during spring break. The average student spent $914, totaling $1.6 billion spent on spring break in the United States, according to the Miami Herald.

Freshman business management major Reilly Berk said she is excited for her annual trip for break: the Bahamas.

Berk travels every year with her family during spring break. In previous years, she spent spring break in Turks and Caicos, Mexico, Jamaica and Punta Cana.

“It’s a nice break from the stresses of school,” she said. “It’s a great time to spend with family in paradise doing nothing.”

Berk and her family of nine plan to spend about $16,000 for an all-inclusive, five-night trip in tropical paradise, which averages to about $1,778 each person for flights, food and lodging.

Approximately 55 percent of college students decide to travel during the break, according to Orbitz Worldwide. Although some students may get excited to visit some new scenery over the break, a few students are using the break to make some extra money.

David McCall, a sophomore communication studies major, is heading back home to New York City to work in his dad’s restaurant.

“I’m so swamped with classes this semester that I can only work part-time hours at my job in Ravenna,” McCall said. “My break is going to consist of 12-hour work days, and I’ll head back to Kent with a hefty paycheck.”

If a student’s budget can’t manage a full-blown tropical trip during break, and they don’t have plans to work, students at Kent State have the opportunity to take part in various Alternative Spring Break trips that won’t break their bank.

Each year, Kent State offers several spring break destinations where students can give back to communities and learn about social and cultural injustice through community service and various activities.

Marisa Stephens, a senior managerial marketing major, is planning on going on this year’s Alternative Spring Break trip to New Orleans.

As the trip’s student service leader, Stephens helped plan the trip and will help lead other students during the week. While there, the group will be working with the St. Bernard Project, which originally began in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, in 2006 in response to Hurricane Katrina.

“I believe that a week off school is worth so much. Alternative Spring Break provides college students with an opportunity to give back to the world,” Stephens said. “It is so eye opening and impactful, and anyone who attends is bound to learn something that will shape them.”

The New Orleans trip costs Kent State students $725, which includes transportation, lodging and meals. Students may also pick trips to Buffalo for $250, Detroit for $250, New York City for $450, Washington for $430 and Youngstown for $130.

For students interested in planning a trip outside of Ohio, Las Vegas, Cancun and Punta Cana are the top three most affordable destinations for a college student’s budget, according to Orbitz Worldwide.

Hudson Travel Agency offers student packages to various spring break destinations, such as Cancun and Punta Cana.

“We see a lot of Kent State students going through us to help plan their trips,” Lorie Jerele, owner of Hudson Travel Agency, said. “Students usually spend between $1,200 to $2,000 on their spring break trips.”

To save money, Jerele recommended students opt for an all-inclusive trip package and to stay on the resort property. She also urged to plan trips months in advance to search for cheaper airline tickets.

For students planning on traveling within the U.S., driving may end up saving them cash. Opting for a road trip in lieu of a flight may also allow students to bring their own food and drinks.

“It is smart for students traveling less than 1,000 miles to drive. It can save them up to around $300,” Jerele said.

When staying at resorts and hotels, students can save money by sharing rooms with friends.

“My eight friends and I all paid our share of a double room in Daytona Beach,” said Elena Dyke, a freshman fashion major. “We took turns over the week on who got to sleep on the beds. It’s a great memory, and it saved us tons of money by sharing that one room.”

Additionally, students should remember to bring their student ID while on vacation. Many restaurants offer discounts for college students, such as Hard Rock Café, Subway, Chipotle and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Students can also receive discounts through several travel companies, including STA Travel, Student Universe and HolidayCars. Students should check with their hotel for student discount offers as well.

Mikala Lugen is the student finance reporter, contact her at [email protected].