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Beyond Acapulco

Only one more day of midterms, papers and the hell (I swear) professors enjoy inflicting on students, and then it’s a week of glorious and splendid freedom! Well, sort of. Depending on spring break plans, the week could hold more exciting possibilities for some than for others.
Contrary to what many may think, there can be more to spring break than drinking too many Coronas on a Mexican beach – although that can be nice. If that’s not exactly your vacation of choice, there are other options. Wendy Stahl, branch manager of STA Travel on Grand River Avenue, said more and more students in recent years are choosing Europe as their spring break destination. “People are realizing that Europe has seasonal prices, so it’s a lot cheaper to go during spring break than in the summer months when prices are three times more,” Stahl said. Hitting up two to three cities backpacker-style could cost you under $500, including airfare and lodging.
MSU also offers a great way to volunteer over the break. The Alternative Spring Break program sends students to perform necessary services in communities in need. Karen Pickard, co-chair of ASB and human biology senior, explained the program is not your typical college spring break because you’re providing a week of service alongside new people in a different environment, away from the usual tourist spots and without your best friends. This year’s locations range from helping out in a soup kitchen in Washington, D.C., and saving the rainforest in El Yunque, Puerto Rico, to working with senior citizens in Quebec. “You are doing things that you wouldn’t normally be doing,” said Pickard, who went to Queretaro, Mexico last year and is going to San Francisco next week. “You are putting yourself in an awkward position, but it usually ends up being one of the best weeks of your life.”
For some, spring break will be even less exotic. Many students will be staying in East Lansing, working or going home to save money. “I’m looking forward to relaxing at home and not focusing on school, even though it’s for a short period of time,” Gale Sullwold, education senior, said. And Kim Tomlinson’s bank account anchors her to East Lansing for the week. “I went to Florida last year,” the history junior said. “So I’m staying here and working so maybe I can go on spring break next year.” If you are sticking around campus or are short on cash, here are some ways to spice up your break:
-Go on a stellar road trip. Get spontaneous and jump in the car and see where life takes you. Chicago and Toronto are both less than five hours away and hold tons of attractions. Make it a day trip or splurge on a motel or hostel for the night. Either way, don’t forget the all-important road trip jams.
-Since we live in snowy, cold Michigan, you might as well take advantage of the frigid temperatures. A weekend ski trip provides a great getaway and sometimes resorts offer mid-week specials. Crystal Mountain, located in Thompsonville, offers a mid-week lift and lodging package for $69. Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls offers overnight accommodations and next-day lift tickets starting at $80. If you’re not looking to spend the night, Mt. Brighton is just 45 minutes away and offers a 9-5 all-area lift ticket for $27.
[ear] -Get a new piercing or tattoo. If you really can’t leave the area, you can at least pretend you’re in a crazy spring break environment and show something off to your friends. Splash of Color is only a short walk away down Grand River.
-If the thought of looking pasty compared to your very tanned and Acapulco-bound roommate depresses you, consider fake baking. Tan at your own risk in a number of East Lansing tanning salons, but remember not to overdo it. B-Tan is located on Grand River, Clearwater Spa on Linden Street and Tanning & Company on Albert Street. If you’re not going anywhere, you can at least look like you have seen the sun sometime during the week.
Whatever your spring break plans, try to relax a little from the daily grind. The long haul until May 6 can seem like an eternity.

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