you want to go on Spring Break?
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?
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
hey, you're going on spring break! What is some 50-year-old
lady going to be able to tell you about spring break?
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
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.
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.
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.
general rules to follow include making sure the company is
registered with the Better Business Bureau. And don't stop
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
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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).
always keep in mind the two rules for your Spring Break: Reliable
Let us know your thoughts. Got questions or comments? We want to hear from you
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.)