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Students prepare for Spring break trips

Laura Vilim | Tuesday, March 2, 2004

After months of freezing temperatures and long hours studying, most students who have chosen to travel over Spring Break are turning south for an escape through warm weather and relaxation.

However, when compared to previous years, fewer students are using Notre Dame’s Anthony Travel to make their plans, and an unusually small number of these students are using South Bend Regional Airport.

Assistant Manager of Anthony Travel Kayleen Carr said that although there are fewer students using the travel agency, and that between 500 and 600 students have booked travel packages through the agency. This year, the most popular travel package has been for a week vacation in Acapulco, Mexico.

“Acapulco is popular because it is relatively inexpensive and [offers] guaranteed warm weather,” Carr said. “It is the least expensive [package] in Mexico.”

Sophomore Meghan Winger and her friends chose to use Anthony Travel to plan their last minute trip to another Mexican destination, Puerto Vallarta.

“We made our plans through Anthony Travel after other plans fell through,” Winger said. “[Puerto Vallarta] was the nicest place we could go for the most reasonable price.”

One of the greatest draws of Puerto Vallarta, besides its warm weather, is the fact that several other groups of Notre Dame students will also be vacationing there, Winger said.

Senior Eric Bilinski is also traveling south with friends to Costa Rica for spring break. However, his group chose not to make its plans through Anthony Travel.

“We wanted an unconventional spring break trip, something out of the ordinary. It is our senior year, and we wanted a vacation we would remember for a lifetime,” Bilinski said.

He and his friends started planning their trip during the middle of fall semester, but Carr says that students who have not yet made plans to get away can still book packages with Anthony Travel. The generally smaller number of people traveling this year forces airlines and hotels to discount their fares, even for week long trips to hotels on the beach.

“There are always last-minute deals,” Carr said.

While students have countless options for where to travel, the majority of them will fly out of one of the two Chicago airports instead of South Bend Regional Airport.

Representatives from South Bend Airport’s travel agency Travelmore said they have booked reservations for fewer college students than usual this year.

Part of the reason why so few students are making plans to travel through South Bend Airport may be because the majority of travel packages utilize charter planes that only fly between major airports such as Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway. Carr said all Anthony Travel trips to Acapulco fly out of O’Hare because it is much less expensive than flying out of South Bend.

Bilinski said that while it may be somewhat more complicated to fly from Chicago, a few more hours of traveling did not discourage any members of his group from going to Costa Rica.

“We’re driving to Chicago and then flying to San Jose. I don’t think it discouraged anyone [because] we’re going to have a good time no matter how we get there,” Bilinski said.