Ming DeMers/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Many students left Ithaca for destinations including Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Domincan Republic over spring break.

April 10, 2023

A Peek into Spring Break Destination Decisions: Students Consider Trip Costs, Proximity

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As in many past years, Cornellians sought to escape the cold climate of Ithaca during last week’s spring break by traveling to warmer locations, with Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic being popular travel destinations for many.

“Everybody I know was in San Juan or Punta Cana,” said Kyle Schoeneborn ’23, who chose instead to travel to Spain and Morocco with friends.

However, plane tickets to these destinations are often expensive, with the cheapest prices often reaching hundreds of dollars. 

Schoenborn explained that he was happy that he chose to instead go to Spain and Morocco because his group paid the same or less than peers heading to more popular destinations and because he believed he had a more authentic cultural experience.

“I had friends that went to Puerto Rico for more than we went to Spain because we booked it early enough,” Schoenborn said. “My friend’s ticket was only $450 round trip.”

Because of the financial burdens, some students, like Natalie Mahoon ’26 — who said that she chose to visit Boston because it was a close and affordable city — opted to travel to cheaper destinations instead. 

“I thought it’d be better financially to go somewhere a little bit closer and not have to take a plane all the way to Florida, which can get a little bit pricey,” Mahoon said.

Similarly, Marie Joyeuse Ingabire ’23 and her friends ultimately chose to go to Cartagena, Colombia because of financial considerations.

“Colombia seemed affordable and new to everybody,” Ingabire said. 

Though warmer weather might have played a large role in people’s final decisions, existing connections did as well. Both Mahoon and Schoeneborn had close friends in the places they visited. 

“I chose to go back to Spain because I studied abroad there and I have a bunch of friends that I wanted to visit,” Schoeneborn said. 

Likewise, friends were a great resource for navigating new territory. Mahoon visited her best friend at Tufts University and recalled that her favorite part of the trip was learning how to be a solo traveler while her friend was busy with classes. 

“I was just really proud of myself by the end of the trip,” Mahoon said. “It was really cool to explore a new city by myself and as a young adult because I’ve never experienced that before.” 

Ingabire, meanwhile, had a friend from Colombia who helped her navigate the Spanish speaking country. 

“I knew very little Spanish,” Ingabire said. “My Spanish was useless over there to be honest.” 

Even though Jarahn Johnson ’25 remained in Ithaca, time with friends was still a priority. He took time to leave campus and explore what Ithaca has to offer, as well as day trips to Syracuse. 

“It was nice to get off campus and explore other parts of upstate New York,” Johnson said.

Once students have made their decision on where to travel — if at all — they must then navigate an often stressful planning process, with limited bus and plane tickets that only get more expensive as time goes on.

Mahoon and Ingabire finalized and booked their trips in the beginning of February.

“I got my OurBus ticket in mid February just to be safe,” Mahoon said. “I didn’t want the tickets to run out.” 

Some students, like Schoeneborn, even booked their trips as early as last semester. 

“We booked the flights last semester because while I was abroad I knew I wanted to come back,” Schoeneborn said.

Some, like Johnson, opted to drive.

“For a lot of things in upstate New York, the burden of entry to enjoy them is your mobility,” Johnson said. “I really felt the difference having a car on campus this semester.” 

Those without this option relied on larger charter buses or flights. 

“I was just trying to find reliable transportation and the OurBus was obviously a good choice because it goes to major cities,” Mahoon said.

As spring break rapidly came to an end, students shared that they were rested and thankful for the break. However, school work remained an ominous presence for many students — while many said that they did not want to think about work over break, it was still at the back of their minds. 

“I feel like I was able to relax. I think closer to the end of break I started to think about work more and the stuff I had to do,” Mahoon said. “But I still enjoyed my time.” 

Ingabire agreed with Mahoon, saying that she anticipated her stress returning immediately after classes resumed.

“Right now I feel rejuvenated and stress free,” Ingabire said. “But I feel like my stress is going to come back by tomorrow.” 

However, some students, like Johnson, emphasized the rest they got and felt ready to finish the last month of the semester on a high note.

“I feel a lot more rested and prepared to come back to the academic environment,” Johnson said.

Johnson went on to note that given Cornell’s late spring break, the end of the semester was not as far as it seemed.

“The turnaround from the end of spring break to the end of the actual school year is pretty close, so I’m also looking forward to the end of the semester approaching fairly quickly,” Johnson said.

Yet students already are looking forward to next year’s spring break. When asked about future spring break plans, warm and international locations continued to be popular. 

“I’m hoping to go back to Florida next spring break. In the future, I hope I can do an international trip with my friends,” Mahoon said. “Especially closer to our final years at Cornell.”

On the other hand, Johnson hoped to stay in the Ithaca area again. 

“I really don’t see myself traveling outside of the state,” Johnson said. “It is a short turnaround. If I were to travel outside the state, I might as well go back to Florida because I just want to be with my family at the end of the day.”

Syrielle Clement ’23 is a Sun contributor and can be reached at [email protected].