Students look to vacation in U.S., save money on trips

This year’s spring break season is predicted to be quite different than those of the past, said travel representative Chris Lawhorn from Inertia Tours.
While many college students have been known to flood the beaches of sunny destinations, this year they may be looking more toward beaches within the country and putting travel abroad on hold, he said.
Lawhorn said some conspicuous changes have taken place, and the economy is playing a large role.
While traveling outside the U.S. is generally always more expensive, this year there seems to be a larger price difference.
Lawhorn said he estimates an average Cancun getaway at $1,000 per person, including airfare and accommodations. However, he said a week on South Padre Island, Texas costs about $300 per person, plus fuel.
The South Padre price isn’t considering the same type of ritzy resort you would find in Cancun, but still a reasonable island condo, Lawhorn said. 
Another factor pushing the surge of spring break travel in the domestic direction is obtaining a passport.
With the U.S. Department of State charging a $95 application fee and a $25 execution fee, along with a routine wait of five or more weeks, many students are looking for an easier and less expensive travel experience, Lawhorn said.
Passport requirement laws have also become stricter, making border town visits and conventional trips to Cancun, Mazatlan and Acapulco more complicated.
MTV’s famous Spring Break will be hosted in Acapulco Bay, Mexico this year instead of its previous location Panama City Beach.
Lawhorn said he doesn’t know if there will be a large turnout for the festival its first year abroad. However, he said he thinks the passport issue will be a detracting factor.
Freshman elementary education major Kelly Bisping said she spent part of the last summer touring Italy, but this year she and her family is sticking to the beaches and tourist attractions of Fort Meyers, Fla. 
“Not only has foreign travel gotten more expensive, but you can get more for your money by staying closer to home,” she said. “Sure, the beaches of Florida may not exactly compare to those of Capri and Sorrento, but I’m sure we’ll have a memorable time together regardless.”
Although Bisping’s Florida vacation is more cost-reasonable than those abroad, many Bradley students said they will be finding entertainment within the reaches of their hometowns and not too much farther.
Gas prices are always a major factor in traditional spring break road trips, and this year students can expect to see somewhat cooperative prices, Lawhorn said.
Prices are up from this time last year, but a five-week low was hit in the first week of February.