During the spring break of 2003, Alistair Anagnostou ’05 went rock climbing outside of Las Vegas, sleeping at a campsite for $10 a night. But when he returned to Nevada the following year, he decided $10 per night was $10 too much.
To further cut costs, Anagnostou found places to sleep off to the side of the meandering dirt roads, often next to his car. In addition to forsaking a comfy bed, Anagnostou also sacrificed traditional nourishment, buying all of his food — mostly candy, cheese and beef jerky — from gas stations. When it rained and he wasn’t able to rock climb, he and his friend would watch movies for free at the local public library.
“I’m the epitome of the cheap outdoorsy college student,” Anagnostou said.
While few Yalies will be enduring such extreme expense-free “vacations” as Anagnostou’s this spring break, many have found ways to enjoy themselves without paying boatloads of money. While some students may jet off to Fiji to go out on the family yacht, others have to plan more thrifty trips.
Zoe Palitz ’05 and 14 of her Yale friends will be staying at a rented house in Rincon, Puerto Rico for the first week of vacation. Thanks to a generous Jet Blue offer Palitz discovered in an e-mail, her group was able to book its roundtrip flights for $150 per person. The rented house, which is equipped for eight people, will be occupied by nearly twice that number during the week-long stay. As a result, each of the 15 vacationers will only pay roughly $10 a day for lodging.
“The price is definitely right, but it’s going to be a little cramped,” Palitz said.
The cheap price for the house will directly benefit the group’s partying habits, allowing the spring breakers to spend more money on going out to bars and eating nice dinners.
Renting a house in the Caribbean seems to be a popular way of saving money for Yale students.
Another group of 12 seniors, including Susan Keppelman ’05, will be heading down to the Dominican Republic for a week. While there were cheaper houses available for rent, the group chose a $600 one because it had a great location — right on the beach — and came with an added feature that any college student would appreciate: a cook and two maids.
“It’s the best deal I’ve heard of for what we’re getting,” Keppelman said. “I don’t think any other houses for this price come with these amenities.”
Keppelman is a staff photographer for the Yale Daily News.
Jon Fougner ’05 will also be spending spring break visiting the Dominican Republic with at least 15 other Saybrugians, though they will be staying at a hotel. Fougner and friends will spend roughly $800 for the whole trip, including airfare, rooms and meals.
“We’re going to try to do a little bit of everything: clubbing, dancing, gambling, beach volleyball,” Fougner said. “As long as [the plane doesn’t] land in Haiti, I’ll be fine.”
Fougner is a former director of business development for the Yale Daily News.
To ensure cheap prices, the Saybrook crew found their tickets on the Internet and made reservations months in advance.
“We’re certainly not staying in a four-star or five-star hotel,” Fougner said. “I mean, you don’t want to be stuck in an absolute stink hole. But as long as there’s sun, water, land…”
Unsurprisingly, the Caribbean is a popular destination for cold and frustrated New Havenites, but Europe is also a common target for adventurous Elis who know how to spend their Euros wisely.
Chris Hanson ’05 spent two weeks in England last spring break visiting friends and exploring Europe for the first time. From the moment Hanson stepped on the plane, he exemplified the uncanny ability of college students to find ways to get things for free.
“When we got on the airplane, we realized there was free alcohol,” Hanson said. “We just started drinking. The stewardess came by in the morning and said ‘What are you doing still drinking at breakfast?'”
Hanson managed to get through the trip without spending a penny — or a pound — on lodging, finding ways to stay overnight with friends or friends of friends.
He even spent four nights staying in the dormitory of a friend of his who attends Oxford University while that friend was on vacation. Passing himself off as an Oxford student, Hanson was able to eat meals in Oxford’s dining halls for free and bypass Oxford’s strict policies against overnight guests.
While all of these Yalies have found innovative ways to travel cheaply, for those who are not quite so adventurous there is also the cheapest option of all: staying home.
“I’m just looking forward to some good old-fashioned rest and relaxation with my family and friends over break,” David DeAngelis ’08 said.
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