Spring break travel could end up costly

David Yochum

Airfare to vacation spots hovering at $300

Students looking for a spring break getaway might want to check their bank accounts before ordering any plane tickets.

According to representatives at AAA Travel in Ravenna and Coleman Travel Services in Kent, round-trip airfare to hotspots such as Mexico and Florida will be pricey all month due to cold Ohio weather and high ticket demand.

“If you haven’t booked anything, you’re lucky to find a flight under $300 right now,” said Alison O’Neil, district office supervisor at AAA Travel in Ravenna.

Illustrating ticket demand at Coleman Travel, consultant Mary Fitzpatrick showed March 26 airline rates from Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., available for $468. Flights from nearby Akron-Canton to Fort Lauderdale were $275 and flights departing from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale were $273.

“But we can only price things for the moment,” Fitzpatrick pointed out. “In five minutes the airlines can change (the prices).”

Internet travel sites such as Orbitz.com and Travelocity.com also showed similar airfare prices for Fort Lauderdale; however, Fitzpatrick said there can be many different prices for the same airline seat.

“Once the lowest priced seats are gone, the cost to fly moves up,” Fitzpatrick said. “Airlines can always decide to add another flight whenever they want, creating a completely different set of ticket prices.”

For students who can’t afford to fly to spring break, AAA Travel has driving vacation packages available for destinations such as Panama City, Fla., and Daytona Beach, Fla.

While driving to any southern beach would probably take more time than flying, it may also eliminate any frustrating experiences students could have when trying to rent a vehicle.

O’Neil said most car rental companies require drivers to be older than 25 to rent, and drivers younger than 25 will have to pay a daily surcharge to use a vehicle.

For drivers ages 21-24, Hertz car rental policy adds a minimum additional charge of $27 per day. For an additional $25 per day, Avis also rents cars to drivers ages 21-24.

But O’Neil has some advice for students who want lower prices everywhere on their next spring break.

“Usually we’d recommend you start thinking about the vacation around Thanksgiving,” O’Neil said. “The only reason some people know how to plan for spring break is because they’ve done it before.”

Contact public affairs reporter David Yochum at [email protected].