For most college students, the words “spring break” conjure up as much excitement as a basket full of puppies. Weeks before the event, planning begins, with everyone chattering enthusiastically about escaping to tropical weather, partying, and having a blast with their friends.
Like everything else pertaining to college, holidays and breaks require a certain amount of preparation to turn them into a reality. If you’re stumped about how to plan for your best spring break ever—no worries. We’ve got you covered with some tips that will take you from planning to the beach in no time.
1. Choose a Cool Destination
Just because everyone else is headed to Fort Lauderdale or Mexico, doesn’t mean you have to. The usual suspects can be a lot of fun, but there are some fantastic destinations around the globe that you and your friends might enjoy even more. If the hot sun is not your thing, how about heading to a ski resort out west? A cozy cottage on the side of a mountain might be more memorable than a noisy hotspot teeming with booze and testosterone.
In fact, nobody ever said you need to be near water at all. Break the mold and head to a national park or explore some historical sites you’ve always wanted to visit.
If traveling is out of the question, consider being a tourist in a nearby town or city for the week. Spend your money locally and enjoy a massage, shopping, and dining with the extra money you save on airfare.
2. Research the Best Deals
If you do plan to fly to parts unknown, make sure you book your flight well in advance. Use comparison sites to shop for the best deals and look into the cost of packages as opposed to purchasing lodging and flights separately. Lots of companies offer great deals around this time of the year to lure in tourism dollars. Make sure you get your share of those deals.
A word about hotels, however. Be sure to do your due diligence and look at review sites like Trip Advisor or Yelp before you make a final decision. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a dirty hotel room in a lousy part of the city. If your gut says no, pass on it. Even if it’s cheaper, you won’t be happy with shady lodgings.
3. Stick to a Budget
Money adds up when you’re traveling. With so many things to see, do, eat, and experience, it can be easy to overspend without even noticing. Bring your credit card for emergencies, but keep it safely tucked away where you won’t be tempted to use it. Set aside a dedicated amount of cash and stick with it.
If you are traveling with friends (which we highly recommend), you may be working with different budgets. If you are on a more limited spending plan than your companions, you might feel pressured to keep up with their more extravagant habits. However, there is nothing wrong with saying something is not in your budget and sitting it out at the hotel. Maybe you only wanted a sandwich and a little chill time anyhow.
If you are the one with the deep wallet, be sensitive to your buddies who might not be as financially blessed and don’t try to convince them to spend beyond their means. Try to choose moderately priced restaurants and activities, so everyone can enjoy themselves without worrying about money.
4. Make a Preferred List of Activities
You and your friends may all be of one mind when it comes to the activities you want to enjoy during spring break, but its best to talk about things first. Make a list of each person’s priorities and try to accommodate everyone as best as you can. If three of you want to hit the beach and others want to go shopping, split up for the day.
If you are the one in your group who needs a lot of downtime, let your friends know that you will probably be taking a little time to yourself once in a while to regroup. They likely already know this about you, but if you make your needs clear, nobody will have hurt feelings if you decide not to tag along.
If someone in the group absolutely has to see the world’s largest hot dog or some other crazy site, try to fit it in. Not everyone has the same tastes and preferences, but the idea is for each person present to create a memorable experience.
5. Utilize Apps
Utilize technology to avoid the need for maps and directions. There are plenty of travel apps like Citymapper, Wanderu, and Roadtripper than that can help you navigate where you need to go. If you plan to split costs at events or restaurants, you can utilize money-sharing apps like Venmo or Google Wallet to make the task simple.
6. Stay Safe
You’ve heard it a million times but staying out of harm’s way is paramount to enjoying spring break. Every year, hundreds of unfortunate incidents take place due to a lack of responsibility and carelessness. You don’t want to end up being one of these statistics.
Be aware of the drinking laws where you are going, and make sure you stay hydrated. If you do choose to attend a party, it’s best to travel in a pack and arrive and leave at the same time. Designate at least one person who will be sober to help out if someone overindulges. Stay with your friends and check on them often. Don’t let anyone go off with a stranger or decide to take a late-night ocean swim when they are drunk.
Be sure your cell phone is always charged, and that you travel with your identification. Keep an eye on your belongings. Some places are more famous for pickpocketing than others.
7. Have Fun
Above all, enjoy every minute. With a little advance preparation and common sense, you can have the best spring break trip of your life. Following the above tips should help you create a memorable experience that will live on for years.
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