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The Blue & Gray Press | October 24, 2017

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The world is your oyster, right? Take advantage of school breaks

The world is your oyster, right? Take advantage of school breaks

By ALEX CLEGG

As we begin to undertake in the meaningless small-talk that is, “What are you doing for spring break?” I would like to propose some different questions: Are you content with what you are doing for break? Are you doing what you really want to be doing? If not, why?

I do not think I am going too far to assume that one would much rather be traveling than staying at home working or even lounging around the house.

I am sure you could come up with a lengthy list of what is holding you back, and I am positive that I could come up an equally lengthy list of rebuttals. For most of you, I would presume that the main reason is the cost of travelling.

Plane tickets, hotels, activities and other expenses can all add up. I get it. On the other hand, if you plan, prioritize and act frugally, you can save up enough money in no time. I promise, if you saved all the money you spent having a good time on the weekend, you would have enough for a trip.

There are hundreds of thousands of resources out there to help you get where you want to go, one being the Center for International Education right here on the University of Mary Washington campus. Many students might not even know where the CIE office is, but you cannot say they do not promote their services. UMW dedicates an entire week to this office in the fall.

If you were to waltz into their office, they would be more then ecstatic to show you all the options you have. The CIE offers programs by the semester, year and even breaks, one of which is spring break. If you were interested in getting the most bang for your buck, this is the way to do so. Not only do you get to see the world, but you can earn credits while doing it.

Along with the resources provided on campus, there are hundreds more you can find on the Internet. One of the most popular sites for young adults is EF College Break, an organization that specializes in making travel affordable for students. Not only are their programs relatively inexpensive, but they also have a system that allows you to pay by installments, rather than paying for it all up front. You work with their company to set up a plan for payments, whether it is weekly, monthly or whatever else works best for you.

Travel costs are directly proportional to your destination, time and travel. London, Paris and other Western European cities are obviously going to be more expensive then a Central American destination. Likewise, if you travel during the months of June, July or August, it is going to be significantly pricier then, say, February or March.

Interestingly enough, spring break runs through those months. Although it may seem silly to have a “spring” break when there is snow on the ground, it actually benefits us in the realm of travel.

Nearly everything you encounter will be at a discounted price due to the fact that it is off-season. Plane tickets could be 75 percent of their summer prices, and hotels can be even cheaper. Planning is crucial. If you wait until the last minute, the prices are going to be just as expensive as if you were traveling in the height of peak-season.

Having the funds to travel is less about straight up costs, but rather prioritization. If it is important to you, you will find away. Otherwise, you will find an excuse. We have the rest of our lives to work. Enjoy having the freedom to travel while you can, and utilize the opportunity our university has given us. Next year I suggest you travel during spring break. Think about it, and start saving now.