Volume 93, Issue 77

Wednesday, February 16, 2000


McGuinty takes on Tories

Craving for alcohol linked with cigarettes

Weston aids the homeless

Three year degrees face extinction at U of T

Province backs Toronto's bid for 2008 Summer Olympics

The early bird gets the vacation

Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

The early bird gets the vacation

By Tola Afolabi
Gazette Staff

Those hoping to have a bit of fun in the sun this reading week had better of booked early.

Debbie Westerwoudt, manager of Travel Cuts in the basement of the University Community Centre, said she encouraged students to arrange their trips before Christmas for prime spots and less costly options.

"All the cheap stuff is sold out," she said. "It's a very big year for spring break. Any good deals are pretty much gone." She said all that is left is a week in Barbados for $2,500 per person.

Some of the more popular vacation sites this year included Daytona Beach, Florida, the Dominican Republic and a couple of Mexican destinations – Acapulco and Cancun, she said.

Westerwoudt added although money played a key role in students' vacation choices, popularity was a main factor. "Most students want to go somewhere there's going to be a lot of other students," she said.

Temperature is another factor, said Mark Hall, sales representative for Endless Summer Tours. "Usually this early, people go to Jamaica, because it's warmest there," he said.

Hall agreed students should always book early for popular sites. "I suggest at least a month to avoid late charges," he said. "It's 10 per cent cheaper if booked a month and a half prior to the [departure date]."

Westerwoudt added there are two distinct groups which emerge when looking for a destination.

"It varies. There are two ends," she said, "Older students, third and fourth-years, have more money to spend. [They are] getting away from the craziness of Daytona Beach."

She added for money conscious students, the best option was to travel in groups. "It's more expensive to travel by yourself," she said. "Most people travel in groups of five to 10."

Mona Ischac, a first-year kinesiology student and Melissa Oziel, a first-year science student, said they were both avid travellers and would be travelling with a group of people they met on a previous trip. "We're going to Club Med, Mexico," Ischac said. "We went to Cuba last Christmas break."

Oziel said many factors played a role in their decision. "Our parents are into safety," she said, but added Mexico was chosen for guaranteed sun and nice weather. The pair said they booked in December to insure their spot.

Some students opted to stay on Canadian soil. Philip Ayriss, a first-year social sciences student, said he would return home to Vancouver. "I couldn't afford to go to Cancun," he said. "This is exactly a last minute thing – my grandma sent me some money."

Despite remaining within the country, Ayriss said he encountered late booking problems. "I had trouble with Robert Q [airbus]," he said, explaining he was forced to stick it out between transfer flights for over six hours.

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