Gobbler's Knob's revered prognosticator and bringer of bummers, Punxsutawney Phil has spoken (or sniffed -- or something): we're all doomed to six more weeks of winter. And once again, the northern hemisphere focuses its hatred on an innocent, shadow-seeing rodent who reminds us that we're still going to need heavy coats and scarves as we trudge through the snow to our classes.

On the plus side, though it may be cold now, mid terms really are right around the corner. And just when you begin to believe that one more paper could literally kill you, it finally happens. The ice starts to melt and you spot freedom peeking out from behind the classroom door.

Spring break is coming, and the time to prepare is now. If you put in a bit of time and research (come on -- it's not like you're studying anyway, right?), you can plan an epic trip that will make you a hero among your friends. You only get a few spring break trips, so why not make this next one the vacation of a lifetime?

Ready to get started? Let's go!

  • Fatten your wallet

There's no way around it. Vacations aren't free, and you're going to need some cash. And not just a little cash, either. You're going to need plenty.

With a tight class schedule -- not to mention the time demands of a decent social life -- a typical nine-to-five type job probably won't cut it. Start thinking non-traditional. Start thinking of working for yourself. Start thinking about capitalizing on the recent upswing in the market to earn some scratch.

For business majors or for those willing to do the type of homework that really matters, check out Complete Currency Trader. At CCT, you can access the educational materials you need to make a killing in the market, which you can then use to finance the type of spring break that dreams are made of. Their free webinar on hedge fund tactics to easily maximize your payout in the forex market is a good way to get started.

  • Think sideways

Traditional hotels or bed-and-breakfasts aren't necessarily your best bet when it comes to lodging. Since spring break is about fun, thinking about it from the angle of work doesn't come naturally. However, when you start considering lodging options from a business person's point-of-view, you can solve a lot of your spring break problems.

Consider connecting with friends from other colleges and universities that have spring breaks that start the week before or the week after yours. If you can coordinate a month's worth of time, you can book short term corporate housing at luxury locations like Park City or Jackson Hole that will be the envy of all your friends. And by sharing the cost, you can save scads of cash, too, for which you can find much better uses (like re-decorating your dorm room when you get back, for example).

  • Bring snacks

They say that getting there is half the fun. Well, that may be true, but getting there won't be fun at all if you're hangry. Keep your eyes open for sales on bulk snacks that you can pack up just before you leave. Include some proteins like nuts or bars that will give you extra staying power for those longer road trips. Portion out your snacks into ziplock bags, one for each member of your party. When tempers get short and threaten to harsh the chill of your long awaited trip, break out the snacks. It's amazing what a handful of chips or a bit of chocolate can cure.

  • Get yourself organized

Start planning early and keep yourself organized. Have backup maps in case GPS isn't accessible. Write up an itinerary you can give to your parents who will worry (and call) far less if they know you've got a plan and are safe. If you will be road tripping your vacation, scope out some fun tourist-y spots to experience on the way, but leave room for spontaneous side trips, as well.

  • Stay safe

Pack a first aid kit that includes, at a minimum, assorted band-aids, topical antibiotic, sunburn treatment spray, pain relievers, and stomach discomfort medicine. Leave a copy of your itinerary with at least a few people you trust (e.g., parents, best friend, your RA). Get your car checked over thoroughly before you set out on a lengthy road trip. If you're leaving the country, hit the doctor's office to get any immunizations you may require.

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