By Danielle Columbo and Kelsey Tatge
The holidays are right around the corner, and as joy and happiness that ensue, so does unpleasant weather. Some stay inside to avoid the bitter cold, and others go on vacation to a tropical hot spot to work on their tans. As students it may be hard to afford a vacation, and decide where the best places to travel to are, let alone know where to search to find the best deals.
For Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania students, this Winter vacation is extraordinarily long. Finals end Dec. 14, and student’s classes do not resume until Jan. 28, giving students about six long weeks to plan for the perfect holiday getaway.
Of course the question is now: Where to start? Talk to your fellow peers. Speaking with other students who have traveled helps to give you an idea of where the nicest and cheapest places to travel to will be.
Paul Rosa, BU senior, has traveled countless times during winter break. He’s been to Albuquerque, Nm., Orlando, Fl., and Vail, Co. Rosa proves that, as a student, you can travel to an awesome location without even having to leave the states.
“I would suggest spending at least one Christmas in Disney World (Fl.). There is just something about Disney during the holidays that is magical,” said Rosa.
Though Rosa feels staying within the states is a perfectly decent vacation, others would much rather travel outside of the U.S.
Alaina Christensen, a junior at BU, says she would travel down under to Australia if she had the choice. Though Christensen has yet to make it to Australia, she has done her fair share of traveling in the states.
Having a relative or friend, that lives in a location that you plan on traveling to can have its perks. Give them a call and ask if you can crash on their couch for a few days, this way you avoid lodging expenses.
If all else fails, staying in a hotel is your next option. Of course, hotels can be expensive but if you check the proper sites, such as KAYAK and Expedia, it is possible to find killer deals. Traveling with friends will also help to reduce expenses because you can split the cost of a hotel room.
The next thing you need to be concerned with are plane tickets. Let’s face it, plane tickets aren’t the cheapest things to purchase, and you sure aren’t going to swim to Punta Cana. With the holidays around the corner, ask your parents for cold hard cash for Christmas to put towards a plane ticket.
Christensen lucks out every time when it comes to purchasing plane tickets, “My dad buys my tickets, but the most he’s probably spent, I would say, is $350. He travels a lot because of his job so he always gets really good deals.”
As said above, visiting traveling sites will allow you the option to look for great deals on plane tickets. Sites like KAYAK allow you to find the cheapest offered tickets by comparing many different travel sites all at once. Kelsey Tatge, a junior at BU, plans on traveling to California over Winter Break. Tatge suggests, “ The best day to buy plane tickets is on a Tuesday or Wednesday, so I always buy my tickets Tuesday morning.” KAYAK also offers a free smartphone application which allows you to constantly check for the best prices.
If you’ve never used a travel site before, below is a tutorial on how to use the free KAYAK app for iPhone. Check it out:
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To save yourself the stress while traveling, planning properly is the key. Having a plan will cut back on any surprises that might surface while on your trip. “My trip has been planned since October,” says Tatge. Planning ahead will also help to keep spending under control, and ensure that you bring enough money while traveling. We all know, as college students, we don’t have extra money to spare so there is no room for mistake.
So, if you are one of the lucky ones able to travel over winter break this year, be sure to look for the best deals possible, and don’t forget your sunblock. For the rest of us toughing it out in the cold, here’s to staying warm.