December 19, 2014

Many taking spring break trips with a purpose

Even Iowans who aren’t students are taking Spring Break trips this month, but many people are looking for more substantial journeys, beyond just basking on a beach. Travel consultant Jeanenne Tornatore says some Iowans are leaping into volunteer vacations, where they spend at least part of their adventure abroad doing charity work.

Plenty of groups and organizations make it really easy to find these sorts of opportunities, she says. “The United Way, for example, has on the home page of their website, a tool where you can just type in the ZIP code for the area in which you want to volunteer and they will populate that with a number of opportunities to choose from.” Tornatore says you could spend a day or two, or an entire week, as a volunteer worker in a warmer climate. She says Habitat for Humanity is touching many lives in that manner.

“They have a program called Global Village where they offer opportunities both here, in areas within the United States and abroad, where you can take a vacation, help rebuild homes and then spend part of your vacation actually vacationing,” Tornatore says. “There are those opportunities out there for people that want to do this and give back during their Spring Break.” For another change of pace, she suggests baseball lovers in Iowa make a pilgrimage to Florida or Arizona.

“In Florida, there are 11 venues where they host spring training games, and also in Phoenix, there are 15 venues where they host spring training for a number of teams as well,” Tornatore says. “It can be an affordable option because ticket prices for these games start at about $10 which is far below what you pay these days for any of major league baseball games at some of the major stadiums.”

 She says the economy is bringing down prices on package vacations, with hotel-airfare-car deals dropping more than 20% from Spring Break last year.