NEW YORK (
) -- You didn't make it through a long, gray winter just to spend your spring break avoiding a can-strewn hotel pool and cleaning a co-ed's vomit off your rental car.
Much like hurricanes, brush fires, blizzards and various other seasonal anomalies, spring break is best accepted as an unfortunate reality at this time of year for travelers whose best beer-bong building days are behind them. As with any destructive force of nature, the best way to approach spring break as a traveler is to avoid it as best as possible.
That's going to be a bit tougher this year. The
Spending and Savings Tracker found that 61% of Americans plan to spend more on travel overall this year. About half of those big spenders will be hitting domestic hot spots, while 22% will be heading abroad and another 20% will be taking to the seas on the giant floating all-inclusive resorts that call themselves cruise ships.
This means a while lot of mixed demographics in such places as Florida, where travel site
says four of the Top 10 spring break destinations are this year. American Express Travel, meanwhile, put Florida's Panama City, Daytona, Key West and South Beach at Nos. 1 through 4 on its list of the Top 8 spring break destinations in America.
Think a passport and a plane ticket will keep the keg stands and deep bass at bay? Not in Mexico, the Bahamas or Jamaica, where American Express and
place nine of the Top 10 warm-weather Spring Break destinations this year.
While Orbitz suggests avoiding Spring Break crowds by heading to Olympic basketball trials in Portland, Ore., this April, taking in baseball's spring training in Arizona and Florida or confining the family to a
cruise ship, there are other ways to salvage a spring vacation without being surrounded by nonstop parties. With help from travel experts, we came up with seven places where grown-ups can take a spring break without being overrun by spring breakers:
Sometimes you just need some more distance between you and your island vacation to keep the kids away.
While not exactly a quick jaunt from the East Coast hubs and still a bit underserved on the West, Hawaii's getting a bit cozier with both thanks to new service.
starts nonstop service from New York's JFK on June 4 and just partnered with
to create a few more route options, according to SmarterTravel.
unveils yet another nonstop option June 7 when it begins service from Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.
If that's just a bit too close to summer for travelers' comfort, they'll be getting a big boost out west April 10 when
Airlines begins flights to Honolulu from Oakland and San Jose. Such additions are extremely welcome for Hawaiian tourism after the loss of Aloha and ATA airlines in 2008, as evidenced by three-night air-and-hotel specials to Honolulu from Oakland
Here's the bad news: Fort Lauderdale is Orbitz's fourth-most popular spring destination. Airfare averages $333, while a room will set you back roughly $148 per night.
The good news: No undergraduate worth the sand they'll be sleeping on this spring break would ever consider Fort Lauderdale a place to party. Sure, grandma will tell some young undergrad how wild it used to be, but Fort Lauderdale's not even the kind of place that can keep a dueling piano bar in business anymore.
No, this is where parents go for a nice, relaxing day of family friendly fun at the beach. Maybe they catch a taco, hoagie or nice Italian dinner afterward. Maybe they sneak out to a blues bar or beach pub once the kids are asleep. Mostly, however, they just enjoy the fact that ground zero for all the
-worthy bass bumping and drunken grinding is miles down the coast.
The Caribbean is usually awash with young, rowdy tourists this time of year, but they're not going to be teeing up in Aruba anytime soon.
This seems like a coin toss for wary travelers all too aware that the renovated Hyatt and Radisson resorts, expanded nonstop
and JetBlue service from the East Coast and generally laid-back atmosphere attracts plenty of visitors young and old. Aruba just had its big, rowdy season, though. It's called Carnival, and it wound down to a colorful, booze-soaked close last month.
American Express Travel and Hyatt love it for the family friendly resorts full of screaming kids and the golf courses devoid of college-age chuckleheads making well-worn
references. Right now -- with the exception of
on Thursdays when the streets shut down -- it's just plain peaceful in Aruba. Don't overthink it.
The Pacific Northwest spent the winter getting slammed by weather usually reserved for frigid Midwest states and Nor'easter-inundated coastal towns. If any place is ready to embrace visitors willing to bring some spring with them, it's British Columbia.
The flower gardens will just be blooming in Victoria, where a package at
with a room and access to Butchart Gardens goes for $140 a night. In Vancouver, meanwhile, the
from April 5-28 offers visitors maps of all the best tree walks and a seat for the annual haiku invitationals. The city makes it easier to stop and smell the blossoms by offering a
As SmarterTravel found, the province is teeming with activities including the
Mountain Spring Festival
in Panorama Mountain Village (April 6-9), the spring
in Richmond and the
BC Open Gold Panning Championships
in Cherryville (May 18-20). It also comes fairly cheap at the time, as prebought lift-ticket rates at B.C. slopes drop by 30% or more and a
at the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa that goes for nearly $1,500 in July can be had for $925 through April.
So maybe Germany doesn't exactly have "spring break" written all over it, but Berlin's become one insanely cool town while you were picturing it behind some sort of cinder block wall.
The highly stylized Hotel Mani, which looks like a set from the German version of
, is offering rooms for roughly $105 a night in April, but that rate jumps to $121 a night in May and upward of $130 by June. It's a similar case elsewhere in Germany, where SmarterTravel says round-trip flights between San Francisco and Frankfurt illustrates range from $989 all-in for a May flight to $1,549 for a flight in July. Air-and-hotel vacation packages were no different, as the low price for a six-day
in early June from Go-today was $1,299 but soared to $1,849 for July.
Need reasons to go?
launches nonstop service from Los Angeles in May, while the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens in June. What will you do once you get there? Well, there's always the artwork and events surrounding the
Berlin Bienniale For Contemporary Art
, which starts April 27.
Is it a bit gloomy and rainy in the spring here? Sure, but no more so than for much of the rest of the year.
Fortunately, airfares and routes here are getting a bit sunnier. This week, Alaska kicked off service from Kansas City, Mo. On June 3, AirTran launches service from Baltimore, and on the same day, its owner
begins flights from Houston.
, meanwhile, is trying to make an argument for the romance of the rails with
round-trip tickets to Seattle from any point on its Cascades (Eugene-Seattle-Vancouver), Coast Starlight (Los Angeles-Seattle), and Empire Builder (Chicago-Seattle) routes. The offer is available for travel through April 29 when booked by April 22.
As luck would have it, guests are going to have plenty to do once they arrive. Sure, visitors can say hi to the otters at the aquarium, get really small doughnuts or huge fish fillets at Pike Place Market and drink espresso until they shake like molecules, but the Seattle Art Museum humbly suggests checking out its upcoming
exhibit through April 29 and partaking in the
tied to it. If that's a bit too highbrow,
makes one of his final appearances in the U.S. starting May 24 at the Pacific Science Center.
Listen, you let Portugal worry about its sovereign debt and position in the European Union. You just sit back, relax and enjoy the affordability.
SmarterTravel places the average cost of a hotel room in Portugal at about $100 a night, but says room rates can dip as low as $66 in places such as Albuferia. One of the most effective ways of ensuring a sweet price is to stay in pousadas -- inns tucked away in manors, monasteries and castles.
offers accommodations for $95 a night, free nights and packages that include massages, meals and horseback rides.
Worried about the price of getting there? Don't be. Portugal's
is offering round-trip fares from New York, including all taxes and fees, from $723 for early spring travel.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.
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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.