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Spring break plans already in the making

Rohan Anand | Friday, February 2, 2007

There seems to be one adage Notre Dame students follow in planning their spring break vacations: haste makes waste. That is, those traveling worldwide for the nine days of respite this March haven’t dawdled in making their final arrangements.

Avoiding procrastination has certainly been economical for sophomore Brandon Doyle and his fellow quad members from Siegfried Hall, who are traveling to Orlando. Three of them will fly down and one will drive so they have access to a car once they arrive.

“We booked our tickets in December and got great airfares,” Doyle said. “And with a car, we can easily get around Orlando – see the Disney parks, Epcot Center and Universal Studios, and visit beaches within an hour’s drive easily.”

Whether spring break travel plans are voyaging to domestic beaches or hopping across borders to hit up international hot spots or heading home, the majority of the student body simply wants to escape the wintry climate of Northern Indiana.

Such is the case for junior Angel Leal of Howard Hall and her friends from California and Texas. Naturally, their main priority in choosing a vacation was to land somewhere sunny.

“We felt that we had to get out of the Midwest for break this year,” Leal said. “So, we began searching for places on Travelocity.com, and we got a package deal to Mazatlan [Mexico] that ended up being cheaper than Cancun or other popular sites.”

While students like Leal may have struck gold relying solely on Internet deals, on-campus resources such as Anthony Travel also organized some vacations that many students found attractive, said Kayleen Carr, leisure manager for the company.

“The two biggest destinations this year include a cruise on the Carnival Glory, which roughly 100 Notre Dame students have booked cabins on,” she said. “The second largest destination, Costa Rica, will be hailing about fifty students.”

Carr also noted that most students traveling on the Carnival Glory cruise will be seniors, as they are required to be 21 years of age to book a cabin. Most Notre Dame students paid roughly $600 apiece to go on this cruise.

In addition, students who opted to travel on the cruise – a seven-day passage through Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; the Bahamas and Belize – are mainly seniors looking to commemorate their final spring break doing something unique.

“It was the most convenient and affordable trip for us,” said senior Christa Laneri, who will be going with her roommates. “We wanted to do something special like a cruise through the Western Caribbean, and a group of girls going on a cruise will be much safer than going to a foreign country.”

Junior Ted Buch found a unique way to escape the frigid weather: flying to Egypt to visit a fellow Notre Dame friend who is studying abroad at the American University of Cairo.

“I want to make a point of going somewhere for break,” he said, “and I’m tired of the same old, same old. I’ve always been fascinated by pyramids, hieroglyphics, and now that I have a friend there, it makes sense to visit.”

Many students seeking last-minute deals can use STA Travel, the world’s leading student travel organization with 400 worldwide branches as a resource. Carrie Moffatt, the branch manager at the Purdue University location, said there has definitely been a major increase in college students traveling this spring break.

“Students seem to be picking up on the great deals offered in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome,” she said, “and even more expensive vacations to places like Costa Rica and the Caribbean have been hot this year.”

Buch’s preparation for his journey will certainly require more cash than a trip to Central America, but for him, months of personal savings plus a job waiting tables will help fund his endeavor. Besides that, there’s little to worry about, he said.

“The flight and the hotel accommodations will take up most of my costs, but I think it’s all worth it,” Buch said. “I imagine I’ll do all the sightseeing and enjoy the nightlife in Cairo. My only hope is that I don’t run into trouble anywhere.”