Spring Break: Solutions for students unable to get out of town


Michael Klein, News Editor

The time-honored tradition of Spring Break is one of the most anticipated parts of the school year. Unfortunately, most cannot afford the ideal trip to Cancun and are stuck in Midwest with little nothing to do. For this reason, The Clarion is offering up some suggestions for somewhat comparable “Staycations.”

Movies  There are numerous options for having a movie day. Some quality looking movies like “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Olympus Has Fallen” and even the perfectly timed “Spring Breakers,” will all be in theatre when spring break begins. Whether students feel like going out or staying in, there are inexpensive options.

Movie Hopping — Equipped with pockets filled with candy and a coat of beverages, a purchase of a movie ticket could provide a full day of sugar rush and entertainment. While this isn’t the most honest route and is not condoned by The Clarion, movie hopping is a popular choice for cheap moviegoers. Scavenging the floor between shows usually produces a used tub for free popcorn refills. If going this route, layers of clothes are recommended to change up appearance and stay incognito.

Home Movie Nights Netflix is extremely popular with college students because of streaming movies. Those unacquainted with this service should consider trying it out for a free month. Returning users can always use a different email address in order to take advantage of an additional free month.

Another way to enjoy a movie night from the comfort of home is to have the gang of fellow “staycationers” over for an evening of good flicks and company. Have everyone bring over a film of their choice and a snack to share. This is a good opportunity to incorporate games as well.

Exploring — Meeting new people and having unexpected adventures is a great way for students to break out of their comfort zone and have an eventful spring break experience. A great site to start exploring ahead of time is couchsurfing.org, where users simply type in a destination to interact with others nearby. The site always has good suggestions for local fun and likeminded people looking for new adventures.

Taking a road trip, alone or with friends, can make for an exciting day. Gas is a bit pricey these days, but it is hard to put a price on a good time. There are always fun events going on in the big cities of the Midwest like Milwaukee and Chicago. Anyone looking for a shopping trip of a lifetime need only look to the west where Minneapolis’ Mall of America provides days of window-shopping exploration.

Party of Animals — Madison’s Henry Vilas Zoo offers free admission to its park and is open all week from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. With no fees to get in or park, the 28-acre public zoo might make for a wild time. The Milwaukee County Zoo is just over an hour away and is another option. While it is more expensive, it’s much bigger and has Egg Day on March 30.

The Dells A day at one of Wisconsin Dells’ numerous indoor waterparks offers the perfect occasion to break out the swimwear and have some thrills on the water rides.  The Dells also offers an exciting nightlife with Club Wet and other drink and dance venues like Marley’s. Trying a new restaurant shouldn’t be hard either as the Dells has tons of casual and formal dining options.

Camping This time of year is perfect time to take advantage of less crowded campgrounds. While the weather may not be ideal, many prefer the solitude of nature when there are less drunks spoiling the mood.

Spring Cleaning — Many students need an excuse to clean up their act: or at least their space. It may be a wise decision to spend a few hours cleaning out a schoolbag, bedroom or car. Students’ backpacks are likely full of useless notes and old assignments by this point of the semester and cleaning them out can only help productivity.

With winter finally ending, or so the calendar says, it should be a good time to clean and prep your wheels. It will feel nice to remove the salt layer that has accumulated throughout this never-ending winter. Even bike riders will have a proud feeling after washing and shining up their ride.

Volunteering — Time off from school can be the perfect opportunity to do something nice for others. Students are often bogged down with assignments and studying throughout the year but would give back if time allowed.  March is National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month. Many organizations and health clinics, including UW, are holding events that need volunteers. Other volunteer opportunities include tax preparation helpers and food servers for Easter meals.

Get active — With snow still on the ground and blizzards nearly every week in Wisconsin, there are still ways to be active. Winter sports enthusiasts should take the week off to enjoy their favorite snow activities, like snowboarding and skiing, before it begins to look and feel like spring.

Starting a new workout regimen is a good idea to start building that summer physique. Madison College has workout facilities open for current students to take advantage of and save money on a gym membership. Getting fit and flexible in a serene environment is also possible with Yoga in the Gardens at Olbrich Gardens.

Come back looking like a real spring breaker — If you don’t want it to be obvious that you read this article and enjoyed a cheap “staycation,” there is a foolproof way to dupe friends and appear to have spent all of break sipping coronas by the beach. Spending a couple days at the tanning bed or getting a spray tan will have students heading back to class with a tropically bronzed tint.

Get Smart(er) — For the more studious spring breakers, the occasion offers a chance to catch up or even work ahead. Getting future reading assignments out of the way early will surely make for a less stressful second half of the semester. Imagine having half of April’s assignments done beforehand. Going this route could potentially allow for an earned extended break while classmates are struggling to get back in the swing of their academics.

There are other ways to get ahead in the big picture. Planning a summer internship or visiting the transfer school of your choice could be another route that could prepare students for their future academic career.

Another idea could be taking an enrichment course or lessons. This will develop a more rounded collection of interests and give students more to talk about when school starts again. Give a new hobby a try, there are so many options including: martial arts, foreign languages, painting, or even learn to sew. Keep a journal of all things you learn and do.

Nightlife — Many breweries call Wisconsin home and taking one of their tours can make for the perfect buzz-generating start to a night on the town. The Ale Asylum on Pankratz St. offers a brewery tour for only $5 and includes a free pint and special samplings. Similar tours, like Sprecher’s and Pabst, are held in cities throughout Wisconsin.  For the more sophisticated drinker Food & Wine 101 will be held March 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Lake Mills. Regardless of how students decide to enjoy their adult beverages, The Clarion reminds everyone to drink responsibly and have a sober ride home.

Entertainment events — Rock out of town – The La Crosse Center of La Crosse Wis. will be hosting Three Days Grace and Shinedown with P.O.D. March 29 at 7 p.m.

Local Laughs – Dave Landau will be at the Comedy Club on State March 28-30.

It is said that spring is nature’s way of saying “let’s party.” Regardless of what peaks your interest, these ideas will allow you to be frugal.