Grown-Up Spring Breaks
If you’re looking for a spring break idea that’s a little more “wow” than “woo-hoo!,” here are seven tips for a more grown-up spring break.
Europe in Bloom
The price of flights tends to be seasonal. Winter is cheaper than spring, which is cheaper than summer. The key is finding the sweet spot, when the fares are low, but the weather’s nice and getting better. March offers that opportunity to travelers looking to visit Europe. Sales are offering last-minute savings to Europe through the end of March. Pricing starts to shift after that, and by late May it will likely cost $300-$400 more to visit the same cities.
With the days getting longer, and weather getting warmer, spring break is a good time to cross the pond. Travel midweek for the lowest fares, and to avoid the backpack crowd, which will likely need to travel on weekends to make it back to school.
Mexico or Caribbean? Go the Extra Mile
While the MTV set descends on popular beach locations in the Caribbean and Mexico, it’s not out of the question to enjoy a more tranquil escape in the same region. Just choose the destination wisely. Instead of Cancun, head about 30 minutes south to the more serene Riviera Maya. Instead of Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Bahamas or the Dominican Republic, consider going the extra mile (or boat ride) to Aruba, Curacao, the Cayman Islands or the Virgin Islands (U.S. or British).
Travelers can also focus their stays on adults-only resorts. While the age restriction is usually 16 and older, if you select more luxury options, the budget will thin out the college crowd.
Bright Lights, Big City Escapes
If you care less about tan lines than the bottom line, planning a city break is a good way to get away without blowing the budget. In cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Washington, D.C., deals on hotels are almost always available for the taking.Combine that with Local Deals on dining, spa stays and other activities, plus the draws of shopping, museums and culture – and you have a complete vacation.
Airfare to these cities also remains reasonable, especially if travel dates are flexible and you can use a tool such as fare calendars to see when the best days are to fly. Three- to four-day long weekend trips are a good way to catch a break, just avoid traveling on Friday or Sunday to save on flights.
Get Your Skis On
Ski season is far from over across much of North America, but many resorts from Tahoe to Telluride and Vermont to Vail will offer late-season deals. The rule here is: the later the date, the better the savings. Just make sure to check the snow base, and travel midweek for the best pricing.
Sip and Save in Wine Country
Travelers don’t need to forswear alcohol to have a more grown-up spring break. With tasting rooms at wineries restricted to ages 21 and older, Wine Country is, by definition, a more adult pursuit. Even as the vineyards bloom, hotel rates remain reasonable in places such as Napa and Sonoma. Top-rated resorts that would command $300 or more per night during the harvest can be had for half that price right now.
Florida? Go West, Old Man
With miles of beaches and abundant sunshine, Florida attracts quite a crowd for spring break. College kids tend to fill the beaches in Miami, Panama City and Daytona. Families with kids head to the theme parks in Orlando.
Travelers looking for a more laid-back vacation should look at Fort Myers and Sanibel, in the southwest part of the state. These Gulf Coast spots offer less-crowded white-sand beaches, plenty of outdoor activities such as kayaking or nature walks, and for sports fans, several spring training locations within a reasonable drive.
Wait for It …
If you can wait a month, you’ll find great deals for just about any trip after the Easter break in April — even for popular vacation spots such as the Caribbean, Orlando and Las Vegas.