Spring Break Direct - Newsletter

How to buy a Reliable and Affordable Spring Break Package

Vol 1, No 6

So you want to go on Spring Break?

It can be a daunting task to pick a travel company. You may find 100 different web sites with a simple web search.

This article will help you sort through the maze of buying a spring break package from a reliable and affordable tour operator. Don't fall victim to the "Trip from Hell!"

There are really only two ways you can book your trip - online or with a travel agent. If you deal with a travel agency, you should have an understanding of who they deal with. That is, who are they purchasing your trip from?

Travel agents will typically purchase your trip from one of the very companies you see on the web and can deal with directly. This is a general trend in travel - to deal direct; and travel agents are finding that consumers (especially astute spring break students) prefer to get the better deals available by going direct. That is not to say that they do not serve a purpose - a travel agent can be great when you're married and planning a honeymoon to Egypt and you need some expert planning.

But hey, you're going on spring break! What is some 50-year-old lady going to be able to tell you about spring break?

So, if you've decided to go online like most students, you will see two classes of operators - those that specialize in spring break travel, and those mega-travel companies that just deal in travel generally. The Priceline's, Travelocity's, and Expedia's can get you there, but make sure you know what you're not getting…

These travel outlets do not have staff onsite to greet you in the airport, they do not have organized spring break activities like parties, side trips, and meal plans. If you have a hotel problem ("Senor, your room has been sold…") you will need onsite staff in a hurry. Try calling Travelocity from a Mexican payphone! The on-hold bill could pay your tuition that semester. Seriously, per-minute rates can be $5-$10 if you don't know what you're doing.

The other drawback with the mega-travel outlets is that you must pay in full at the time you book. Nothing scatters a Sorority faster than, "Anyone have $10,000 available on their credit card for the house spring break trip?" Spring break companies will allow you to make deposits (when booked early) and pay the balance later. Look for companies that are flexible when it comes to using five credit cards, a check, and grandmother's contribution.

The other group of companies that specialize in spring break travel is also a maze to navigate. There aren't too many companies, but so many of them have multiple websites designed to redirect you back to their main site. "Hey, I was just there! Crap!!!" This creates a quagmire of Internet spring break stew that could baffle even astute web surfers.

Some general rules to follow include making sure the company is registered with the Better Business Bureau. And don't stop there… look up their report. It is not uncommon for travel-related companies to have some complaints on record. There's always the "Oh my God, I saw a lizard near my hotel room in Jamaica!"

But remember, "some" complaints - if the company has an unusually high number of complaints, don't bother. Also, look at the type of complaints. If a company has been reprimanded for deceptive sales practices or unauthorized use of the Better Business Bureau name or logos - don't go there.

Next, make sure that they don't charge you an extra fee to use a credit card. This is a scam that, remarkably, still exists among a few companies. They are not allowed to do this according to their contract with the credit card processor, but they attempt to loop-hole it by claiming their rates are "discounted" based on "cash or check" payments. You could report them to a credit card company and get them in a heap of trouble. Bottom line, it just costs you more money and headaches.

Once you've narrowed the spring break company field down, call them and get a feel for how they answer your questions. Are they friendly and helpful?

Do they have online account access and can you log into your account to make payments and print tickets? If the company is still in the stone-ages when it comes to web technology you may have a lot more heartaches when it comes to getting your group fully paid on time, submitting pre-travel forms, and getting your tickets. There just no excuse anymore for antiquated systems. "So, you want to make a payment? Okay, you need to go to the bank and get a money order, next go to Kinko's and FedEx it to us, we will record it and mail you an updated invoice." Anyone want to buy a typewriter?

Okay, let's just assume you've selected your company - when is the best time to buy? This is a tough question because you will get the best deals if you buy really early or really late. The problem with buying really late is that the trip you want may be sold out. What good is a great sale if there's nothing left? You know what's hanging on those 50% off racks at Abercrombie.

The key dates you should be aware of are early November, when most companies stop offering free meal plans with every trip. Then comes mid-December - this is when trip pricing transitions from Fall Semester to Spring Semester rates. The change can be a $30-$100 increase.

Here are some tips for making the whole thing a lot easier on the cash-flow (if there is such a thing for a college student)… Book early (Aug/Sept) when the deposits are $50 instead of $100. Don't add the VIP Party Package until 2-3 weeks before you go - this way you don't have to pay that amount in your final payment in January and you still get the reduced price (prices go up onsite).

So always keep in mind the two rules for your Spring Break: Reliable and Affordable.

Happy hunting.


Hey! Let us know your thoughts. Got questions or comments? We want to hear from you

For more info you can download our 2007 Spring Break Travel Guide (It is a 3mb Adobe Acrobat .pdf file, so be patient while it downloads.)

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32 Days Until Spring Break

Last Chance Specials:

Book before midnight January 30th and receive:


$300 Cash Discount Coupon!

28-55 Hours Free Drinks (Negril, Montego Bay, Cancun, Acapulco,


Free Meal Plan (Mazatlan)

Group Special - 15th Trip Free (Can't be combined with cash discount)

Lowest Price Guaranteed!