Thanks to sub-zero windchills and icy roads, winter may no longer be the wondrous season it was in mid-December. But spring break trips could constitute a metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel.
From a romantic getaway to a family vacation, spring break trips can offer relief from the frigidity of winter and the staleness of routine and include enjoyment that is a far cry from the iconic college trip, according to local travel agents.
Lindy Capps of Central Travel touted San Diego as an ideal destination for a family with young children.
"Between the beaches, the theme parks, the museums, and the shopping, there is plenty to do for a family," she said.
After living in San Diego for five years, Capps noted that "there was always something to do," she said.
"There's so many beautiful sites and sunsets. There's a lot of great food there," Capps said.
Capps emphasized the numerous outdoor and sightseeing activities available in the San Diego area.
She also recommended Balboa Park as a "really neat, unique place."
Balboa Park hosted the 1915 Panama-California Expo, and much of its architecture is representative of that event, creating a nostalgic feel, Capps said.
"It's a made for yesteryear thing. There's great food and a lot of things to do," she said.
In addition to the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park features "a natural history museum, science center and an air and space museum, among others," she said.
For a closeup yet safe look at wildlife, Capps recommended the San Diego Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo, which includes a popular panda exhibit.
For an even more natural encounter with wildlife, San Diego's beaches, coastline trails and kayaking spots in the caves of La Jolla can satisfy the outdoor-oriented family.
Capps characterized La Jolla as a "ritzier, fancier place ... in an area just north of San Diego," she said.
"You can explore the shore. There's unique little caves," she said.
Capps described a spring break vacation as a welcoming alternative to burrowing in in the sometimes cold Missouri March.
"You can go somewhere and take a break from your studies. It's renewed energy after the long, hard winter," she said.
Keith Kliethermes of Travel Answers suggested an excursion to Mexico for the ideal family trip.
Kliethermes believes that vacations to Mexico are often safer than ones to other locations abroad, he said.
"As a whole, Mexico is our favorite, safety-wise. You can get out and about," he said.
When traveling with his family, Kliethermes usually vacations in Mexico, often in an all-inclusive resort, he said.
"You get the most for your money. I like the sun, the beach and the all-inclusive concept, especially when we take our kids down there," he said.
Kliethermes touted the ease of "putting your wallet into the room safe and being done with it," upon arriving at the all-inclusive hotel, he said.
Though some vacations may include a list of perpetually scheduled activities, Kliethermes lauded the lack of the necessity of a busy itinerary for guests at an all-inclusive resort.
"All-inclusive is one of the greatest things. It's the only time when I truly relax," he said.
While Mexico is home to many popular tour destinations such as the Tulum ruins, Kliethermes personally enjoys spending more time at the resort.
"I want to do nothing. It's a recharge for us," he said.
For the resort guest eager for an activity-filled day, however, all-inclusive resorts offer a host of free activities including kayaking, windsurfing and sailing," Kliethermes said.
In order to ease any stress associated with traveling with young children, Kliethermes recommended embarking on a direct charter flight from St. Louis to Mexico, in order to avoid lengthy layovers, he said.
He also suggested that parents select a resort with plenty of activities for children to enjoy, he said.
"Make sure you have things to do. I'm not a fan of having separate places for kids and adults. The best trips are where adults and kids are together having a good time," he said.
Kliethermes cited the bonding and relaxing aspects of the spring break vacation as the most enjoyable.
Many people appreciate "the family just spending time together as a family and knowing that everyone else is back home freezing," he said.
"I think it's become necessary to a degree for mental health to keep you refreshed because you know how stressful it's gotten today. You just need to get away and do nothing," he said.
Colleen Taylor and Bruce Magee, president and travel consultant at Midwest Travel Consultants respectively, also recommended all-inclusive resorts in tropical locations.
"The all-inclusive includes your flight, transfers, food and beverages. You can just hit the beach or go shopping," Magee said.
Magee suggested a few different resorts in Jamaica, as well as Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
"They are more popular but not so crowded," he said.
Magee highlighted the availability of a variety of activities at the resorts.
"There are cool shows for all ages. There's motorized and nonmotorized sports," he said.
Magee also mentioned ziplining, renting a small boat and snorkeling as entertaining endeavors.
"All those things are just to get away. Relax and have fun. That's what it's for," he said.
Though Magee selected island resorts to recommend, Taylor cited Europe as a spring break alternative.
Because many European countries do not often have high tourism levels during the traditional American spring break timeframe, a European vacation may cost less in the spring compared to higher volume seasons like summer, Taylor said.
"Europe is a good deal if you have extra time," Taylor said.
Though Taylor suggested Europe, "... Every trip depends on what you're looking for. All destinations have a lot of neat things," she said.