Contrary to popular belief, college students don’t just want to party during spring break. Given today’s tough economy and their penchant for adventure, many students want to do spring break on the cheap, and they want to do something unconventional.
Depending on your interests and your threshold for adventure, consider the following unconventional spring break ideas:
1. For the sightseeing enthusiast: Let’s say you want to spend a week in the heart of San Francisco but can barely afford the flight. A relatively new concept in travel, www.couchsurfing.com offers free accommodations in over 53,000 cities in 231 countries (and counting). Don’t worry; members are linked through friend networks, so you most likely won’t get robbed while sleeping on someone’s couch.
2. For the outdoor buff: Getting outdoors during spring break isn’t a new concept. However, doing it cheaply can require some ingenuity and a rugged spirit. My most memorable spring break was spent hiking through the Olympic National Rain Forest. The entire trip cost $20. Sure, we had no showers and ate primarily dehydrated peaches and shivered in our pup tents; the funny memories will last a lifetime. For college-hosted trips, the school may actually loan groups outdoor equipment and pay for part of the food. If you’d like to explore Hawaii, bypass the expensive beachfront hotels and go camping. State campgrounds in Maui cost as low as $5 a night per group.
3. For the career-minded senior: Some seniors choose to focus on their career during spring break (after all, this may be the last few months they don’t have to pay their own bills!). Job shadowing is an excellent way to get hands-on experience and to make professional contacts. Be sure to arrange your job shadowing assignment early, as well as your accommodations. Another unconventional career idea is to spend a week in the city you’d like to work in after graduation. Hop on a bus, train, or ferry and see the sights. If possible, schedule some informational interviews with potential employers to take advantage of your time there.
4. For the sentimental student: If you can swing the airfare, fly home and surprise your family. This unconventional idea shows your family you care about them. (Bonus: You’ll also get to load up on home-cooked meals and do some laundry.)
5. For the foodie: Do you and your friends love a certain type of food, for instance, teriyaki or cinnamon rolls? Stay with a friend’s parents, research the best restaurants in that city for that type of food, and visit a different restaurant every day. For fun, write a food review and submit it to the local newspaper.
Spring break can be as unconventional as your passions, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. So assemble your friends and assess your interests, and you’ll come up with an unforgettable spring break at an unbeatable price.