Spring Break: Last Minute
Check out these last-minute Spring Break trip ideas.
Hit the great outdoors
No matter where you live, there is a good campsite within spitting distance -- be it the Rockies, the Appalachians, a beach along the California coast, or simply a prairie in the Great Plains. A weekend with Mother Nature requires little planning and the majority of sporting good stores, like REI, Eastern Mountain Sports will rent everything you need to survive in the wilderness: sleeping bags, pads, backpacks, portable stoves and more. If athletics are your thing, but you don't revel in the thought of sleeping outside with the bears, skiing is a suitable alternative. March, and sometimes April, are prime ski conditions in many mountains, and unless you're staying overnight, nothing has to be taken care of in advance. Your equipment and lift tickets can be rented and purchased once you reach the resort.
Be a tourist in your own town
Whether you live in New York City or rural Nebraska, you'll more often than not find your region rich in culture and heritage. When you're a local, chances are you're less likely to do all the typical tourist-y things. Strap on your sneakers, grab a few pals, recharge your camera batteries and explore your city from the eyes of a tourist. Check in at your local tourist office or state's department of tourism before you go to map out any must-see spots.
Alternative spring break
For thousands of college kids, spring break is no longer just about keg stands and wet t-shirt contests. Many students are trading in their vacation for a little do-gooding of their own. Whether it's rebuilding homes with Habitat for Humanity or volunteering in an orphanage in the far depths of Africa, you can spend spring break lending a helping hand. These trips may be pricier than some -- you generally have to pay for transportation and a program fee -- but they also can be booked at the last minute. Consult your school's study abroad office for a list of options, or get tips from companies like Cross-Cultural Solutions, lauded for their volunteer programs.
Who doesn't love a good game of blackjack? If you live in the western states, Las Vegas is the obvious choice for a little casino action. Temecula, CA, also has a notable gaming house and boasts vineyards if your loss at the slots send you running for the bar. A resident of the South or New England? Have no fear, Tunica, MS, and Atlantic City, NJ, can fulfill all your gambling needs. Connecticut is also rich in casinos, and Iowa boasts a host of floating casinos riverboat-style (fun fact: Iowa was the first state to legalize riverboat gambling).
Workin' hard for the money (or for free)
Can't rake up enough cash to do anything exotic, or simply prefer the comfort of your own dorm room? Then why not make your break worthwhile? Many companies, like newspapers or advertising agencies, for example, offer short-term internships that allow you to gain a little knowledge in a field, network and -- most importantly -- pad your resume. Even if your desired employer doesn't publicize such opportunities, it never hurts to call and inquire. You can also simply to observe the office for a day or 2. You likely won't get paid, but the experience (and connections) you'll walk away with may prove invaluable.
If you're still dying to join your classmates in the tropics, you could get lucky and score some last-minute deals. Companies like Last Minute and Priceline allow you to find reduced hotels, car rentals and airfare. If you really want every minute mapped out before you go, look into 1 of Contiki's last-minute promos. Catering to the college crowd, the tour operator company has such specials as Alaskan Adventures, a 9-day bus tour of the Last Frontier State's hot spots, and 1- or 2-week-long treks through some of Europe's most popular cities. If you're still not appeased, enlist the help of some friends and take the road trip of a lifetime. You can do this wherever you live, and sleep in your car or pitch a tent along the way if funds are a problem.
Spring break is looming before you. Maybe you procrastinated planning a trip, or simply didn't have the funds. But the clock's a-tickin', and unless you want to be the only one on campus while the rest of your friends are living it up, take our advice on some plans you can throw together fast.