Smart Source and Red Plum coupon inserts can be an educator’s best friend. I can save $1.00 on Kellogg’s cereal, $2.00 on Axe deodorant, and another buck for Reynold’s aluminum foil. But these Sunday inserts do not have coupons that can assist me when it comes to expensive vacation planning. A $500 off coupon sounds nice in theory, but when I wake up from this reverie, all I see is a Pamper’s diaper savings with a smiling baby proud of his accomplishment.
So where can an educator hope to spend a week or so without taking out a second mortgage on their home? These three possibilities cover the full scope of what vacationing is all about; from adventure to relaxing and from bright lights to culture. A trip for two can be claimed for as little as $1000 if one puts forth the time and effort.
1.) Viva Las Vegas!
No, do not click away from this article just yet! I understand and the past thing some teachers desire after 10 months of craziness and chaos in the classroom is a location that thrives on both. But some educators, myself included, enjoy being immersed in this scene and will relish the neon lights and pulsing casinos. And Vegas, in all of its glitzy glory, can be the least expensive break imaginable. Last year, I flew from Jacksonville, Florida to Las Vegas, secured a cozy 7 night stay at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, and nabbed an economy car for $920. No tricks, no gimmicks. Not even a coupon code for Expedia or Orbitz. The key here is to consider traveling on days in the middle of the week, as opposed to the more popular days like Sunday or Monday. Keep a close eye on airline fairs and popular travel sites. Compare and Contrast; there exists at times a large difference between prices site to site. Las Vegas for educators offers a place to cut loose, see live shows and eat at fantastically cheap buffets, without the dread of bumping into parents and their chief desire to make impromptu conferences while you feast. Financial restraint needs to be addressed here though. While this city does offer extremely inexpensive hotel and car rates, the assumption is that you will be ponying up your hard-earned teacher checks at the poker tables and slot machines. Bring a set amount of “play money” and do not go over. One does not want to “lose their shirt” and be relegated to teaching summer school or tutoring to cover steep gambling loses.
2.) Montreal, Canada
Is Las Vegas too fast-paced for you? Do you instead want to make your vacation a learning experience? Play the role of student again and visit the Musee du Chateau Ramezay. Dwell upon the jaw-dropping architecture of the Cathedrale Christ Church. Science teachers will especially be enthralled by Biodome de Montreal, complete with splendid and true-to-life rainforest and polar environments. This out of country gem may set you back a bit more if you need to purchase a passport, but the cultural offerings are second to none. One can save by not bothering with a rental car, instead opting for subway and bus services in this majestic city. Summertime offers many educational experiences for teachers, including the Montreal International Jazz Festival, which runs from late June to early July. A vast majority of concerts are free of charge. Street performances for the “Just for Laughs” comedy fest are also gratis and run most of July. What you save on entertainment can be spent at a potpourri of corner bistro’s and restaurants that range from Portuguese to Chinese a welcome change from the cafeteria mystery meats and tater tots on a plastic tray presented in schools. Temperature is comfortable during the summer, unlike portable classrooms set to easy-bake oven heat.
3.) Dominican Republic
Is Las Vegas too crazy? Is there too much walking in Montreal? Care to rest your exhausted feet from marching down the rows of desks six hours straight? Perhaps you want little more than a tropical paradise, the soft breeze waterside, a cocktail in your hand. Resting on a bed by the beach and reading a thick novel sounds like a little slice of heaven to me, and every educator can relate to that feeling of the world being lifted off weary shoulders. The Dominican Republic gets a bad rap at times, much like Mexico due to screaming headlines regarding drugs and violence. But dismissing an entire country because of “bad areas” would be as irresponsible as giving a thumbs down to the ideology of public school education based on low standardized test scores. Cheapcarribean.com offers almost unheard of deals that will make the weary teacher dream of Pina Colada’s and margaritas. And the divine beauty of it? Two words (or maybe one with a hyphen, if you want to get technical): All-inclusive. I let a 3 1/2 star resort slip through my fingertips a month ago that would have cost only $1240 for two. This included airfare. Hotel. Food and beverages. Nightly entertainment. 6 days and seven nights. The greatest danger, according to many reviews of the area, was the plethora of timeshare representatives that mill about the location. If you know how to say “no,” and this word should be ingrained in every educator’s vocabulary, this paradise can be your ultimate salvation and escape from paper grading and parent conferences.
Teachers nationwide: Follow your own advice to students. Do your homework and evaluate your options carefully. These three vacation locales will help you forget your troubles. It is a well deserved week away from the madness and chaos. And, best of all, it is within your budget.