9 Alternate Considerations For Your Spring Break Travel

by Kerwin McKenzie on March 1, 2017

Asiana Airlines Airbus A330 in Sydney, Australia (SYD)

 

Spring Break is in full swing so for you, it means your chances of getting on a flight are slim to none unless you’re resourceful. If you have children, it makes it more interesting as this is the time they are off from school and want to do something or go somewhere.

 

It’s hard to know when the schools are off, but I found this site that has a pretty comprehensive list. I hope its helpful. And if you are looking for a hotel, here’s a good place to start:

So what do you do if almost all the flights to your selected destination are full. Here are nine things to consider:

  1. Car OdometerDrive To Your Destination – If your destination is not too far away, then this will work. You can still get your airline discount on car rentals if you decide to rent a car. Or just gas up your own and get going. It may cost a little more, but you’ll have a different experience and you’re on your own schedule so you can see and do more. Don’t make the trip so much about the destination, but the journey. So plan on stopping and doing things along the way and just smell the roses.
  2. Explore Your City – I’m in Houston, TX when I’m not traveling and there are tons of things to do here. I’m on Jury Duty at the moment and as we can’t talk about the case, we talk about all other things; I was intrigued as to how much others don’t know about the city and its environs and the same for me. I now have some neat places to go visit. Don’t underestimate the power of what is termed (staycation, although I’m not a fan of that term). Here are a few things to consider when staying local:
    1. Check with your Convention and Visitors Bureau and they will tell you what are the main local attractions. You can also ask them what attractions get visited the most, which offer discounts, etcAll the major airline hub cities have thriving museum districts
    2. Visit Local Parks/Zoos. [Updated in 2016]. The National Park Service has a number of free days. See if one meet your needs.
    3. Visit Local Monuments
      • Downtown Houston for example is a treasure trove; it would perhaps take more than a week to explore all its history
    4. Find The Bike and Hiking Trails
    5. Burger and Fries from HubCap GrillCheck Out Local Restaurants
      • I know Houston has the most restaurants per capita in the U.S. Other cities are just as populous.
      • Most city has a Chinatown area or some other ethnic area where you can go get local food. I know in London, you can get almost every kind of food imaginable, same for several other cities where airlines are based/hubbed.
  3. Use An Alternate Airport
    • This one is not just for use at Spring Break. You really should know this for all your travels. For example, I see people wanting to go to Honolulu, HI (HNL) as its the one they hear about all the time and they just want to go to Hawaii. But there are several Hawaiian Islands and they are just as good or better than Oahu, which is where Honolulu is; and yes they have beaches too. Besides oftentimes, the flights are not as full from those islands. So you can fly into one and out of the other, going between the two by a ZED fare or an actual ticket as sometimes the fares are not too expensive for intra-island travel.
    • Try to get your backup tickets beforehand so you know that if you miss the 10a on United, then you have a ticket for the 11:15a on Delta from another area of the airport.
    • Berlin Schonefeld, Berlin, GermanyHere are a few of the alternate airport for popular cities. You can use the flight schedule application on Passrider.com to help you as well.
      • Berlin, Germany (BER) – SXF, TXL
      • Edinburgh, Scotland (EDI) – GLA
      • Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) – CGN
      • London, England (LON) – LCY, LGW, LHR, LTN, SEN, STN  or maybe you can fly into BHX, MAN and take a local train to London if that’s where you are heading. I have a whole Guide about Alternate Airports for the United Kingdom.
      • Miami, FL (MIA) – FLL, PBI, to an extent MCO, TPA
      • Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – BUR, LGB, ONT, SNA, SAN if push comes to show
      • New York, NY (NYC) – EWR, ISP, JFK, HPN, LGA or maybe fly into BOS or PHL and take a train or bus to New York.
      • Paris, France (CDG) – BVA, ORY
    • You can use the AirportLookup.com application to tell you which airports serve an an alternate airport worldwide.
  4. Consider Taking A Train Ride – Some cities have excellent train service; try them. Here are a few to consider:
  5. Take A Bus – In the U.S. there are several bus services, same for Europe, Mexico and other countries. Here are a few companies:
  6. Find A Less Traveled Destination – I know you want to get to the beaches, but at Spring Break Mexico, The Caribbean, Florida are typically full. So maybe you to the beach after Spring Break or just go to a less traveled area or a less visited beach at your destination. Remember that it’s not just the flights that are full, its the hotels too. And when the hotels are full, you can’t get your travel industry rates. And its not always the same places in in these popular destinations. Look for not popular places. I did a trip to Villa Del Palmar at the Islands Loreto, Mexico and it was amazing. Fly Alaska Airlines from LAX or WestJet from Calgary, AB Canada (YYC).
    I’ve also created a Web site at www.UnfamiliarDestinations.com that gives you one new unfamiliar destination each day. Check it out.

    Villa del Palmar Loreto, Mexico - Pool areaVilla del Palmar Loreto Islands – Loreto, Mexico. Take Alaska Airlines (AS) to Loreto, Mexico (LTO) from Los Angles, CA (LAX) or WestJet (WS) from Calgary (YYC).

     

  7. norwegian cheap ticketsBuy A Ticket Beforehand – I know you don’t want to hear this, but if you know exactly when you’ll be off from work, school, etc. check the fares and just purchase a ticket or even do a flight + hotel deal. It’s peace of mind and you sometimes get a really great deal. I know some people spend hundred of dollars on cruises, hotels, tours and then think they will make a flight during this time; they don’t and then the whole trip is spoiled and you waste money. Don’t let this happen to you. Read this article for tips.
  8. Don’t Give Buddy Passes Out – When I used to get these passes, I’d tell my friends, not during Spring Break. The flights are full, the employees can’t get on, much less buddy passes. Your friends may be mad at you, but they will thank you later and just make other arrangements.
  9. Get Travel Insurance – Depending on the policy you choose, you may be able to get your money back for select items. I use WorldNomads  for my travel insurance, so check them out to see what they cover and under what circumstances. Regardless of when you travel, you should get travel insurance as if something happens on the trip, you could be covered for it. The more important thing is getting back to your home quickly if necessary. This is usually the most expensive part if you have to be flown out. There are many horror stories floating around, don’t add to them. Besides, the trip premium is infinitesimal when compared to the other trip expenses. Protect your trip today.

So there you have it, a few ways how you can have a good Spring Break despite the flight loads. Can you think of any other suggestions? Please leave a comment below. In addition, share this post with your fellow travelers.

 

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar AIda Rivera March 22, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Passport!!!!!! When traveling to Hawaii if you can’t get back to the US from there. You can go to Japan and then back to the US. This happened to a friend it was the only way out!

Reply

avatar Kerwin McKenzie March 22, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Indeed Alda, thank you for your comment.

Any good Passrider, never leave home without their passport. I’ve had to do the connecting flight via Toronto from Newark before. And even that routing you mentioned. Actually connected via Vancouver on Air Canada to get home once from Honolulu. HI!

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avatar Catherine Baylis March 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Please discuss back up tickets.  Are they available to dependents?

Reply

avatar Kerwin McKenzie March 28, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Hi Catherine,
Thank you for your question. It is always good to get backup tickets on other airlines to your destination and have them beforehand. Your dependents can fly other airlines if the agreement between the two airlines dictate that. It would be necessary to check with your pass bureau for the details.

Reply

avatar Bob Thiesing March 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm

When is Spring Break over and the chances of getting on a flight open up?

Reply

avatar Kerwin McKenzie March 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Hi Bob,
Thank you for your question. Spring Break runs for perhaps a month or so since the schools are all over the country and none have a set timeframe for Spring Break. Also, as Easter is at a different time each year, it varies. I believe for the most part, it started last week and will run for another week and a half or so. As soon as that is ending though, Easter steps in. So you may not have a lull in travel until about the end of April just before the pre-Summer season starts.

It does depend on the direction you are traveling and where you are headed as well. So first figure out when most of the schools in your neck of the woods have Spring Break and travel in the opposite direction of their travel. Or you may just get lucky and find an open flight.

Don’t discount flying to an alternate airport and taking a bus or a train as well. Good luck.

Reply

avatar Kathy March 22, 2016 at 2:06 am

The ticket finder does not give you the Best Rates, there are cheaper websites. 

Reply

avatar Kerwin McKenzie March 24, 2016 at 3:53 am

Hi Kathy,

What do you mean?

Thanks.
Kerwin

Reply

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