By Jessica Spencer

Spring break is a time for students to relax and unwind after two months of classes, homework and jobs. Whether your idea of unwinding is partying hard with your friends or taking it easy on a quiet beach, spring break is an essential time for students. Hot spots for spring break ’08

For those who prefer the craziness of a massive influx of college students doing the spring thing, Cancun is the way to go, according to The Top 10 Spring Break Hot Spots in 2008 list by Kathleen Crislip at About.com. For a less expensive route, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Daytona Beach, Fla., are always great destinations.

But if you are looking for a slower-paced paradise where you can relax and enjoy a peaceful vacation, visit Cancun’s sister beaches. Xel-Ha is fun for adventurous snorkeling and Tulum is beautiful with its ruins and peaceful night life.

Spring break without a passport.

If you want to leave the country without actually leaving the country, the trick is easy. Kathleen Crislip suggests in her article, Spring Break Hot Spots You Can Visit Without a Passport, to just understand U.S. territories. The Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, known as St. Croix, are in the Caribbean but are actually part of the United States, saving you the money and hassle of getting a passport.

Ski trips from Colorado to Canada are a cool spring getaway. And for college students who want an easy and cheap getaway, Crislip suggests Winter Park, which is about an hour outside of Denver, Colo., for a loaded day of fun.

Spring break Texas style offers students a number of excellent vacation options, according to Crislip. The Gulf Coast area spring breakers gravitate to it for its party-heavy atmosphere. Both regions offer several activities that are mostly water-based. And while Texas beaches are the mainstay for college students, a few breakers head north of Austin to the numerous lakes surrounding hill country.

Can’t afford a break?

Every college student deserves to relax and unwind from the stresses of college life, though some are on a tighter budget than others. But there are ways to avoid overspending on your break. Just search the Web. Places such as studentuniverse.com, expedia.com and travelocity.com are there for the conservative spender.

And you do not have to spoil your vacation with money woes. Here are some tips for saving dough while enjoying your getaway.

Ride public transportation: Instead of taking an expensive taxi in the city, rely on buses and metros. They tend to be much cheaper and are a great way to get from point A to point B without breaking the budget.

Water is free: Always keep a water bottle with you and take advantage of sinks and public fountains with free water.

Avoid tourist traps: If you see all of the tourists heading in one direction, try going the other way. The more local things you do, the more cash you will save.

Take the train: Instead of buying an expensive plane ticket, take the train instead. While it might take longer to arrive at your destination, you’ll not only save money, but you will get to see more of the sights, and the trip may actually add to your vacation as a whole.

Go somewhere different: Avoid the typical spots for college spring breaks. While you will still have just as many attractions, you will save on rentals, airfare and hotels as well as avoid the bigger tourist traps.

So no matter what your plans for the upcoming break entails you will be able to enjoy it to the fullest and still be afford to finish your education.