Three mini-vacations for less than $200

Alyssa Morlacci

A weekend getaway sounds like a great cure for students who feel burned out from midterm projects and exams. But as college students, who can afford a trip? Using these three budget-conscious getaway plans, Kent State students took weekends to recharge without breaking the bank.

HalloWeekends: $115

Getting lost in a creepy maze or coming face-to-face with a limping clown is one way to forget about midterms.

Sean Hiemstra, sophomore criminal justice major, used to work at Cedar Point in Sandusky during the amusement park’s HalloWeekends events.

“HalloWeekends are legit,” Hiemstra said. “It’s way better than just going in regular season. There is way more stuff going on.”

Hiemstra said students can call hotels ahead of time to try to get a good deal. AAA members receive a discount, and places that sponsor Cedar Point — like Giant Eagle — offer a percentage off tickets.

If two students stay at the park’s Breakers Express hotel, they’ll pay $115 each for all-day passes to the park and one night in the hotel. They’ll also get one-hour early entry into the park.

Camping: $20

Cool temperatures may be creeping into Ohio, but it isn’t too late to fit in a camping trip.

Christopher McCleary, freshman computer science major, said he drove about two hours with a group of friends to East Harbor State Park in Marblehead, Ohio during Labor Day weekend. They stayed in tents, and their only expenses were gas and a campsite. Each spent about $15 to $20.

“Sleeping outside is always a blast,” McCleary said. “It’s really uncomfortable, but it’s fun to be outdoors. We sit around a campfire, play songs on a guitar, hang out, have a good time.”

If sleeping in a tent is too uncomfortable, students can try Mohican State Park in Ashland County, Ohio. The park, which is about an hour and a half away, rents cottages with two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom and living room with a maximum capacity of six guests for $110 a night — which is less than $20 per person.

New York City: $190

A weekend trip to the big apple might seem out of reach, but it’s possible if hotel prices are cut out completely.

Liam Rogers, sophomore geography major, said he stayed in New York City for a week in July for about $190. He paid for his travel and avoided all other expenses by staying with a man he’d met on the website CouchSurfing.

Rogers went to the website and created a profile that is “similar to one you make on Facebook,” he said. Then, he started searching for a host.

“I mean New York has, like, thousands of people who were on CouchSurfing because it’s just such a major city, there’s so many people willing to host,” he said.

Rogers said a man named Rob who rents a condo in Greenwich Village offered to host him.

“He said his rent was close to six grand a month, and it was a one-bedroom apartment,” Rogers said. “His building was gorgeous though. He had doormen, room service. I felt like I was in ‘Sex and the City’. It was insane.”

Rogers said he “couldn’t have had a better first CouchSurfing experience,” and he recommends CouchSurfing to anyone who wants to see the ins and outs of a city.

“One of the best things about CouchSurfing is that your host obviously has a bunch of knowledge about the city you’re going to stay in,” Rogers said. “So instead of being a typical tourist that is just going to New York — not really knowing what you’re doing … — you can kind of bypass all of that and just see New York City from a local’s perspective.”

Rogers said he spent about $190 traveling by plane, but students who are looking to cut expenses even more can search for cheaper roundtrip bus tickets.

Contact Alyssa Morlacci at [email protected].