CM’s 2011 Top 10 Winter Break Trips

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Family vacations are out of the question. Your parents have you checking in every hour, your sister tags along to the nightclubs and you have a curfew. Did your family not catch on to the fact that you’ve been partying till 3 a.m. all semester? Cut the drama and plan your own winter trip. Check out our list of 10 awesomely inexpensive college winter adventures:

1. Snowboard, Skiing & New York

Ever been ice climbing? Well add it your list this winter break. Aish Connections takes Jewish college kids on a 10-day excursion on the slopes and through The City for only $249. Over thirty students from all over the country embark on snow adventures from ice climbing to snow tubing. Then the group experiences New York City, including visits to the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and the 9/11 memorial.

The Aish Connections leaders keep the trip laid back with a flexible structure; they won’t wake you up early, but they make sure to jam pack each day with fun. Along the way, students have the opportunity to learn more about Judaism through daily group discussions. Consider the trip an awesome complement to the Birthright Journey to Israel but with a winter spin, where students can travel together and learn what it means to be Jewish. This is the kind of unforgettable winter trip that creates long-lasting friendships

2. Amsterdam, Paris & London

You’ve always wanted to party in Amsterdam, but that’s no trip for the fam. EF College Break offers an 11 day trip where college students can bike alongside the canals of Amsterdam, explore the Louvre museum in Paris and party with the green fairy in London. The trip, at $2,095 includes airfare, transportation, tours and hotels.

3. Volunteer in Morocco

Get on Santa’s good side with an alternative break trip to Rabat, Morocco’s second-largest city. Students work with Moroccan locals to help children in orphanages, schools and day care centers. Cross Cultural Solutions offers week longs trips starting at $1,700 through their program Insight Abroad.

4. Walk the Great Wall of China

Visit Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai over the course of nine days. Highlights of the trip include tours of the Forbidden City and Imperial Palace, Great Wall, Tian'anmen Square, the Tomb of Emperor Qin and his Terracotta Army and city tours of Xi'an and Shanghai. Did you catch all that? Through Joshua Expeditions, students will be guided each day in tour groups, as well as participate in discussions about Christianity.

5. Backpack World Wide

College is the ultimate time to backpack. It’s cheap, your schedule is open to adventure and you’ll meet new people along the way. Several travel companies offer cheap day trips and discounts just for college students. When booking a hostel, visit Europe’s Famous Hostels or Wombat’s for great deals in Europe. For student exclusive backpacker discounts on airfare, hotels, transportation, museums, guided tours and more check out StudentUniverse.

6. Ski and Snowboard in Aspen

Whether you’re a serious skier or like to stay close to the bunny hill, Aspen is the destination for winter sports. College Ski Packages offers 6-day packages that include lodging in Snowmass Village (walking distance from restaurants, shopping, nightlife and the slopes) and 4 days worth of lift tickets at $299/per person.

7. Volunteer in Costa Rica

Stave off the winter weather and give back through Cross Cultural Solutions’ Costa Rica trip. Students stay in San Carlos, a major city in Northern Costa Rica, and volunteer in a school helping children learn English. During your free time enjoy the beautiful weather, tour the rainforest, visit the orchid and butterfly gardens or even check out a crocodile farm.

8. Learn Abroad

Universities nationwide offer 2-3 week study abroad opportunities over winter break for students who don’t plan to spend an entire semester overseas. For example, George Mason University has programs in Italy and Ireland and Kansas State offers business classes in India. Visit your school’s study abroad office asap. If your school doesn’t offer winter break study abroad, check out programs from other universities. Abroad offices often allow students outside the university to join.

9. Make a Wish in Rome’s Trevi Fountain

Visit one of the most romantic and historical cities in the world this winter while taking classes on early Christianity. Through IES Abroad, students stay in fabulous apartments in the heart of Rome with students from all over the world. On weekends you’ll participate in guided field trips to destinations like Pompeii and Naples. Embrace the Italian culture, study the history and party like the Romans.

10. Trade Winter for Summer in Australia

While it’s getting chilly in the US, Australia is enjoying their summer season. Experience the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney or Brisbane on an activity-filled vacation in the sun. Contiki offers sweet deals on guided tours with a group of young people that, lets face it, are ready to party down under! Ditch your North Face and pack plenty of bathing suits.

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