Spring Break for the stingy
Television has made it so that everybody is familiar with the “typical” spring break trip: Getting drunk in Daytona or Cancun or Jamaica. And now that everybody is making plans, you may be getting really sick of that one chick on your floor that somehow scored plane tickets to Scotland or the kid who’s traveling to Spain to see his brother. It may make you feel super lame if your spring break plans are to catch up on sleep and maybe see some friends from high school that you’re less and less interested in every time you go home. The truth is, whether or not you have a trust fund, you can find a way to have fun and do a little traveling this spring break. Here are some ideas for low-key trips that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, but will also give you something to talk about when people ask you the same infernal question: “What’d you do over break?”
Road trips are normally thought of as more of a summer thing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go during the spring, when attractions may be less busy. The great thing about a road trip is that you can personalize it. If you have 20 bucks and a backpack full of Slim Jims you can drive up to Northampton for the afternoon and check out the cool used bookstores and old-timey buildings. If you have a bunch of friends, a passport and a couple hundred odd dollars left over from Christmas, you can pile into a car and drive up to Canada for a day or two, or down to Virginia Beach for a less-than-hot but not-quite-cold beach trip. Plus, when you don’t have to worry about catching a flight, you have more than enough time to pull over at the World’s Largest Jack-in-the-Box Plus in Middleton or the MOBA (Museum of Bad Art) in Somerville, Massachusetts.
The Great Outdoors
Even though the trees won’t be green yet by the time we’re free for spring break, there are still plenty of outdoor trips you can go on to entertain yourself. Whether it’s just traveling to climb a mountain in New Hampshire or going on an early-season camping trip in Rhode Island, doing something active out in nature will be a nice way to break up the indoor monotony of school. It may not be the most stunning time of year to go hiking, but there are still lots of New England hikes with a nice lookout (http://www.newenglandwaterfalls.com/52withaview.php). Plus, since spring break is relatively early, you could still head northwards for some skiing or snowboarding.
Explore a City
Boston and New York may not seem as exciting as London or Paris or Amsterdam, but there’s still lots of culture and art to be explored in our own area. Taking the train can make things easier, and even just walking around a city, you might end up seeing something really cool. Plus, if museums are your thing, lots of them have student discounts or special deals. For example, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has free entry on Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m. If you’re a little more ambitious, you could take the train to Washington D.C., get out of New England and explore the 19 open-access Smithsonian museums.
Plan a Trip that Works for You
Ultimately, what’s most important is that you plan a trip that works for you. If you’re really into art and theater, maybe spend a little extra money and go into a city, find some cool museums and scrimp on food. If you’re feeling spontaneous and adventurous, maybe try a road trip. If you really just want to remember what it feels like to be warm, go south. If you wish we had more snow here in Storrs, head north. Don’t worry yourself with what other people are doing or who will come back with cooler pictures, just try to find something you’ll enjoy doing.
No matter what kind of trip you’re embarking on, there are also some general rules when it comes to traveling that can make the whole trip cheaper. Walk instead of using taxis and Ubers. This is also a good way to see more of the place you’re in. Make sure to check for student discounts, and keep your Husky OneCard on you. Look ahead of time for free walking tours or free admission museums. Bring your own food, unless you’re traveling for the foodie experience. Don’t bother buying expensive travel toiletries, just get refillable bottles you can use on future adventures or resign yourself to the raindrop sized amount of shampoo you’ll find in your complimentary hotel toiletries. And ultimately, don’t downplay the serious fun you could have on a nice chill staycation — just you, some take-out menus and a remote. That’s what I call cheap.
Alex Houdeshell is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.