Spring Break has a lot to live up to. Growing up, we watched countless TV shows and movies where the cool college kids all went on Spring Break and had the most incredible time of their lives. We expect it to be the stuff of dreams.
The potential is there, but only when done right. “But how?” you may ask. Never fear, College Magazine has come up with a list of tips to ensure your Spring Break is MTV status.
1. Pick a destination.
Want to go abroad? Do it. it really isn’t as expensive or hard as it seems, just be sure your passport is valid and make sure to check on the State Department website and see if you need a Visa. You’ll also want to register for their STEP program, which ensures you’re tracked if anything goes wrong. Want to travel the States? Not a problem. Hot or cold, near or far, your Spring Break is what you make it.
2. Groupon like it’s your job
Whenever I plan a trip I start by looking at Groupon and Living Social. They often have incredible deals on vacation packages, hotel stays and flights. Recently I found a great 7-day trip to Paris and Rome with flights and hotels included on Groupon. Last year I took a two-week trip all across central Thailand with a Living Social package and absolutely loved it. Be open to different options, but if you have your heart set on a place check the site daily for a week or two and your destination may come up.
3 .Wait, I can’t teleport to Cancun
Unless you’ve mastered the art of teleportation, you’re going to need to pick a mode of transportation..For destinations inside the States, take a look at the train routes on AMTRAK or the bus routes with Grey Hound. If your heart is set on international travel or flight be sure to check out these sites for deals on flights: studentuniverse.com, rome2rio.com, cheapoair.com, kayak.com and fareboom.com
4. Don’t ride solo
Christopher McCandless wrote, “Happiness is only real when shared.” There is a lot of truth to that, so take a travel buddy with you. Not only will you be safer, but you’ll have someone to share your great memories with (and take pictures of you). Plus, most vacation packages will offer huge discounts if you travel with one or more people.
5. Find a cheap hotel (just look out for cockroaches)
But where will you stay when you get there? If you decide to book a vacation package, the legwork will have been done for you and you can rest easy. Start by looking for a budget place to stay so that you can spend your money elsewhere (cough, cough, alcohol, cough) check out hostelworld.com for tons of inexpensive, but nice spots. Groupon and Living social also have plenty of deals on hotel stays. I booked a four-star hotel at Niagara Falls last minute at 78% off. Don’t forget to check out the Trip Advisor reviews though so you can make sure your perfect spot isn’t a total flop.
6. Don’t just wing it when you get there.
When you get to your destination, you need a plan. Be sure to look on lonelyplanet.com for great tips on what to do, where to eat and where to stay. They even have it divided up by price and activity, so whether you’re looking for an adventure (think rock climbing and sky diving) or a relaxing trip filled with massages and spa sounds, you’ll know what your options are.
7. The importance of street smarts
Believe it or not, not everyone loves Americans and sometimes we make easy targets for crime. Ladies, always keep your bags on the side of your body farthest from the street. A friend of mine learned this firsthand when a motorcyclist attempted to snatch her bag, which was strapped across her body, and she was dragged down the street. She’s okay now but she ended up with broken bones and a bad concussion.
8. Know what you’re getting into
Be smart. Seriously, sometimes it is harder than it sounds. Are there any cultural faux pas you should be aware of? Is it safe to drink tap water? Do you need any vaccines? Have a great time, but keep your wits about you, and be sure to leave a copy of your passport with a family member or friend back home in case you get into trouble.
Have fun, bring your camera charger, and let us know which tips were helpful when you get back.
All photos by Katie Watson.