Options abound for students on a budget
Spring break is six weeks away, and already the campus is buzzing with conversations of trips to exotic locations, beaches, booze and, best of all, a week off from school.
Sure, you may not be thinking about it now, but spring break is looming on the horizon. Between professors trying to squeeze in that midterm exam before the break and that sweet, precious down-time, those six weeks are going to fly by. So, if you want to have a decent break, you had better start planning now.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a few thousand dollars to pour into a trip to Cancun or go backpacking in Europe, so here are a few tips for the money-conscious spring breaker to make the most out of break while spending the least.
Budget? Is that French for ‘broke’?
Tip one: Try playing on the sympathies of your parents. At the very least, they might pay for you to get home for the week because they love you.
Tip two: Go to Fort Collins for the day and tour beer factories. Sure, it doesn’t sound like much, but Fort Collins is the Mecca of breweries, featuring Anheuser-Busch, New Belgium and Odell. Even if you aren’t 21, you can still tour the factories for free, and if you are 21, they all offer tastings.
- Anheuser-Busch: Offers a free tour with free tasting. Also has a Clydesdale and dalmatian exhibit. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Location: 2351 Busch Drive, Fort Collins.
- New Belgium: Guided tours at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and every hour 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Self-guided tours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Free tasting. Location: 500 Linden St., Fort Collins.
- Odell: Tours at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday thru Friday, and Saturday at 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tastings cost $3, which is donated to charity. Live music is featured on Wednesdays. Location: 800 East Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins.
Tip three: Get to know the lovely capital of our state. Denver is a beautiful city with many attractions to see, all of which are either cheap or free.
- 16th Street Mall: Much like Pearl Street in Boulder, the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver offers shopping, street performers and a nice place to walk around.
- Denver Mint: The mint, located at 320 W. Colfax Ave., offers free tours every hour from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Reservations are required and can be made online at www.usmint.gov. They also give you a free nickel at the end of the tour, and now you’re making money during Spring Break.
- Denver Art Museum: The art museum renovations are complete and impressive. The collection houses works by Picasso, Monet and Lichtenstein, as well as Indian, Renaissance, Chinese and Japanese works. The museum is located at 100 W. 14th Ave; flash your student ID and get in free on Saturdays.
I’ve been saving my pocket change
If you’ve got a few bucks stashed away and will be stranded in Boulder over spring break, why not cash in and show yourself a good time?
Tip one: Hit the slopes. You can bet that the snow will still be good at many ski resorts over spring break, and not only that, but many have scheduled special events in honor of the occasion.
- Winter Park: Amateur free ride series showcase-rail jam on March 31.
- Crested Butte: The 32nd annual Al Johnson memorial downhill is a double-black race featuring costumed riders on March 25.
- Steamboat Springs: The NASTAR National Championship, the world’s largest ski and snowboard competition with more than 1,300 riders, is on March 25.
Tip two: Explore your wild side. The CU Recreation Center offers several outdoor trips over the break, all of which are less than $400 with transportation and food provided.
- Canoe Ruby/Horsethief Canyon along the Colorado River. The trip takes you through Colorado and Utah and is only $300.
- Backpacking through Canyonlands National Park will show you the areas around Moab, Utah that were once inhabited by the Anasazi Indians and costs $375.
- For those brave and experienced souls, the recreation center offers a rock climbing trip to the desert towers of Utah for $395.
Road trip baby
Oh, the memories you get from packing up a car with a few friends and taking off across the country. But a well-intentioned trip can quickly turn into a nightmare without proper planning, so remember these tips.
Tip one: Use a reliable vehicle. A road trip is no time to get stuck on the side of road with car trouble, so before you leave, get the oil changed, balance and rotate the tires, and get the alignment adjusted.
Tip two: Over-budget for gas. Gas prices fluctuate from state to state, so bring more money than you think you will need.
Tip three: Educate yourself to the rules of the road. Speeding tickets are very expensive no matter what state you are in, so take your time. Remember that on a trip of 1,000 miles or so, a few extra minutes doesn’t really mean anything.
Tip four: Respect Mother Nature. Always try to stay two steps ahead of the weather and check reports often. If a nasty surprise catches you, don’t feel obligated to drive if you don’t feel confident enough.
Tip five: Do not, under any circumstances, road trip with people that you are not willing to be in car with for many hours. Also, remember to spread driving time equally and don’t push yourself. No one wants to add the “car in a ditch” photo to the spring break scrapbook.
Tip six: Book lodging now. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Call up a Days Inn or a Holiday Inn (they are the cheapest) in your destination city and book the hotel room. Remember that most hotels have a required week-long booking for spring break because they will be hard-pressed to find someone to take the other half of the week’s reservation.
Well, there you have it. For those you fretting springs break, fret no longer. There are many alternative spring break options that are just as fun as the “drinking on the beach” trips; you just have to be creative. These few tips should give you plenty of options to have fun for the week while also saving some cash. Happy spring break.