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February 03, 2005 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-03

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12B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 3, 2005

By Kathryn Rice
For the Daily
With spring break just around the
corner, students are eager to final-
ize 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 base-
ment of the Michigan Union, STA
Travel sends approximately 220
spring breakers each year to destina-
tions ranging from Acapulco to Aus-
tralia. The agency uses a deep pool of
resources to help close the rift between
client's budgets and their imagina-
tions. 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 extravagan-
za, STA plans trips to Cancun, Aca-
pulco and Negril, Jamaica. The agency
also recommends Punta Cana of the
Dominican Republic for those seek-
s ing a more subdued side to paradise.
STA also provides a number of excur-
sions to more adventurous travelers.
Agents have recently helped a flurry
of active students fulfill their wan-

derlust with bookings in Costa Rica,
South America and the South Pacific.
Currently, one of STA's airline pack-
ages offers travelers trips to Australia
and New Zealand with a free stop in
Fiji. The agency also arranges a vari-
ety of trips for Europe to travelers
seeking a more cultural experience.
Travel agents especially recommend
Turkey as an underrated gem for vaca-
tioners. 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 bar-
gain, travel agencies offer a range of
benefits that are hard to turn down.
STA travel has contracts directly with
airlines, enabling them to provide cli-
ents 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

help students get away

research for travelers, ultimately tai-
loring the perfect itinerary around
each customer's needs.
Eager spring breakers may also want
to head to Huron Valley Travel, locat-
ed 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 agen-
cy estimates that 300 students annu-
ally use their services to plan spring
break trips each year. John Kosta, the
president of Huron Valley Travel, rec-
ommends that students begin booking
as early as October. Although many
packages are already taken, there are
still some options left. However, "stu-
dents 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 typi-
cal cruise offers a variety of enticing
advantages - including discos, casi-
nos, 24-hour free room service and
exercise programs - for around $600

RC junior Helen Edwards gets help with her spring break plans from STA
travel advisor Emily D'Andrea.

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 cli-
ent's specific wishes. "We will actual-
ly 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 con-
sidered off-season in February, travel-
ers can easily find great deals.
Huron Valley constantly seeks to
improve its services by sending out
questionnaires to returning vacation-
ers. 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.

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