Spring break: To splurge, or not to splurge

With spring break approaching, students’ plans are affected by the economy.

Senior Elementary Education Major Angela Bohrer fills her car up with gas last week at the BP gas station on the corner of 10th Avenue and University Avenue. According to Consumer Reports, the national gasoline average as of March 9 is $1.28 below the price this time last year.

Ashley Goetz

Senior Elementary Education Major Angela Bohrer fills her car up with gas last week at the BP gas station on the corner of 10th Avenue and University Avenue. According to Consumer Reports, the national gasoline average as of March 9 is $1.28 below the price this time last year.

As the economy continues to decline and college tuition rises, the prospect of an extravagant spring break getaway isnâÄôt an option this year for many students. Gail Weinholzer, public affairs director for the American Automobile A ssociationâÄôs Minnesota office, said the company has witnessed a significant drop-off in travel reservations âÄî including hotels, airfare and cruises âÄî for the state this year compared to the past six years.

Gas prices

The national gasoline average as of March 9 is $1.28 less than the price this time last year, according to Consumerreports .org. Dawn Duffy, spokeswoman for AAA in Minneapolis, said she doesnâÄôt expect there to be an increase in travelers this spring break because, while gas prices are down, students have other expenses âÄî like a rise in college tuition âÄî to worry about. âÄúGas prices right now are doing great, but it is everything else with the economy,âÄù Duffy said. Although AAA does not make travel projections for Easter or spring break travel, they do look at current gasoline prices and compare them to prices from a year ago, Duffy said. Dustin Coupal , co-founder of TwinCitiesGasPrices.com, a website that aggregates local gas prices, said given the current recession, he doesnâÄôt think there will be an increase in spring break travel. In fact, he predicts a decrease. âÄúI think thereâÄôs going to be a pretty big drop-off in travel compared to what it was last year,âÄù Coupal said. Travel trends have been low for a while, Duffy said, because people also couldnâÄôt afford it when gas prices were high. âÄúThis isnâÄôt a textbook year that you would think âÄòwell gas prices are low, people are going to go on trips for spring break,âÄôâÄù Duffy said. âÄúGas prices are the only good news we have in our pocket.âÄù In order for people to save money, they might not be going as far as they normally would go or spending as many days in a given destination, she said.

Affecting U students

Finance professor John Molloy said he senses that fewer students are going on trips for spring break, which he attributes to the recession. âÄúItâÄôs harder to get part time jobs these days,âÄù he said. âÄúThe economy is having an affect.âÄù Nigel Sharper, a psychology junior, has yet to have an opportunity to go on a spring break trip while being in school. Sharper said he originally had intentions of going somewhere with a warm climate, such as Louisiana, Georgia or Texas, but due to finances, he is unable to make his trip. Many of his friends are in a similar situation, he said. âÄúI have to take care of tuition first,âÄù Sharper said. âÄúIf itâÄôs cold [in Minnesota] during break, then IâÄôll be upset, knowing I can be someplace warm.âÄù Although many students are choosing not to travel for spring break, some are still looking to have a good time outside of Minnesota, but will maintain a spendthrift attitude. Such is the case for child psychology junior Jazlynn Paige , where finance hasnâÄôt been much of an issue. Paige, along with a friend, has plans to take a leisure trip to Puerto Vallarta , Mexico, for the break. This year is the first year she will be able to take a vacation for spring break. Paige said the total cost of her trip will be roughly $950 âÄî even with a discounted rate through her motherâÄôs time share âÄî including $500 for travel and about $300 for spending money. Because of a settlement she received when she turned 21, Paige was able to save some money for extra expenses, and said sheâÄôs happy that she can go on a big spring break vacation. âÄúI donâÄôt have any regrets of the spending, especially being that I have the extra money,âÄù she said. Kinesiology senior Audra Ragan is also spending her spring break elsewhere. Along with three of her sorority sisters from Kappa Alpha Theta, Ragan will go on a road trip for seven days to Boston. In order to save money, Ragan said once they get into Boston, they will use public transportation instead of their car. Sophomore kinesiology major Sam Semler will be going to Panama City Beach, Fla., for seven days. Semler said she thought taking a plane was going to cost too much money and driving seemed more cost efficient. âÄúItâÄôs only going to cost us like $200 to drive down there all together,âÄù Semler said. âÄúIt just seemed like a cheaper thing to do.âÄù