With spring break just around the corner, students are eager to finalize their vacation plans and prepare for a week of rest and relaxation. For those who need a little help with this, STA Travel and Huron Valley Travel are two on-campus agencies you may want to explore.
Conveniently located in the basement of the Michigan Union, STA Travel sends approximately 220 spring breakers each year to destinations ranging from Acapulco to Australia. The agency uses a deep pool of resources to help close the rift between client’s budgets and their imaginations. Agents personally assess each client’s travel options, and can help him or her design the perfect spring break vacation. For students in search of the typical MTV party extravaganza, STA plans trips to Cancun, Acapulco and Negril, Jamaica. The agency also recommends Punta Cana of the Dominican Republic for those seeking a more subdued side to paradise. STA also provides a number of excursions to more adventurous travelers. Agents have recently helped a flurry of active students fulfill their wanderlust with bookings in Costa Rica, South America and the South Pacific. Currently, one of STA’s airline packages offers travelers trips to Australia and New Zealand with a free stop in Fiji. The agency also arranges a variety of trips for Europe to travelers seeking a more cultural experience. Travel agents especially recommend Turkey as an underrated gem for vacationers. Additionally, STA provides a selection of cheap packages to spots nearby, including Las Vegas, New York, Toronto and Chicago.
Enterprising students have been able to find better deals through online searches, but for those who don’t want to spend the time seeking out a bargain, travel agencies offer a range of benefits that are hard to turn down. STA travel has contracts directly with airlines, enabling them to provide clients with great bargains and a flexible scope of travel dates.
“Wherever you’re going, chances are someone in office has been there — they can give you all the extra little tips. And if something does mess up, you have a face to come back to, you’re not just left dealing with a website,” said Rachel Doyle, the senior travel advisor at STA.
Agents at STA do the bulk of research for travelers, ultimately tailoring the perfect itinerary around each customer’s needs.
Eager spring breakers may also want to head to Huron Valley Travel, located in Pierpont Commons on North Campus. This year, the travel agency has prepared a number of excursions, from Caribbean cruises to a ski trip in Switzerland for 95 students. The agency estimates that 300 students annually use their services to plan spring break trips each year. John Kosta, the president of Huron Valley Travel, recommends that students begin booking as early as October. Although many packages are already taken, there are still some options left. However, “students who begin in October will get their best deal, they can go almost anyplace they want,” Kosta said.
Because the weather across the country tends to be unpredictable in February, the agency steers most of its clients toward Mexico, the Bahamas and cruises around the Caribbean. The agency has seen cruise vacations dramatically rise in popularity with students in the past year. The typical cruise offers a variety of enticing advantages — including discos, casinos, 24-hour free room service and exercise programs — for around $600 or $700. Kosta added that cruises are a more sophisticated option to most spring break trips.
The agency also sends customers to a number of more exotic destinations; agents often shape trips around a client’s specific wishes. “We will actually build a trip for people,” Kosta said. For example, last year Huron Valley sent 14 students off the beaten path in an adventurous journey through Costa Rica. The agency also recommends Europe as a fun possibility. Because most European destinations are considered off-season in February, travelers can easily find great deals.
Huron Valley constantly seeks to improve its services by sending out questionnaires to returning vacationers. After years of experience, the agency is able to confidently match students with the perfect vacation. “Travel is such a great experience. Just go somewhere,” Kosta said.