Every year, when March rolls around, there is one thing on the minds of most college students: Spring break. This is the one vacation where students don't have to return home and spend time with their families. Instead, friends get together to decide where they can go to blow off some steam from midterms and prepare mentally for the end of the school year.
Taking a Spring break trip is like a rite of passage for many college students. They've just made it through winter and are approaching the end of another semester. The weather is finally starting to warm up, which makes Spring break a great time for a variety of different locations and activities. From skiing in Aspen to lounging on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Spring break offers college students a plethora of travel options.
- Ski Trip. Although Spring skiing doesn't always bring with it tons of powder and backcountry trails, it usually brings the sun, which can make your day on the mountain just as good. Spending a sunny, warm day on the slopes and relaxing with friends, a beer and a hot tub afterwards is hard to beat.
If you want an active Spring break trip, skiing or snowboarding is a great option. You can usually find end-of-the-season deals and, since you're staying through the middle of the week, you should get good rates on a place to stay, lessons and even lift tickets. For those in your party who don't ski or board, snowshoeing and sledding are entertaining alternatives.
- Beach. Florida beaches come to mind for most people when the words "Spring" and "break" are mentioned together. Visions of sex on the beach (the drink of course!), wet t-shirt contests and dancing the night away in South Florida clubs flash through most people's minds. Regardless of whether you're a party animal and the typical MTV Spring break is your idea of the best trip ever, or you're just hoping to relax and enjoy the sun, it's hard to go wrong with a beach destination. Southern California, South Florida and Mexican hot spots like Cancun and Cabo San Lucas are common college choices. And for good reason.
Since these locales are known for Spring break, you can usually find hotel/timeshare, car rental and plane ticket packages that make your Spring break planning easier. Now you just have to figure out who's going and, more importantly, who's bringing the sunscreen.
- International. Many students opt to travel internationally for Spring break. One week might not be enough time to really see places like Southeast Asia or Australia, but a trip to South America or Europe is certainly feasible. And, as mentioned above, Mexican beaches are always a popular choice.
Choose one or two cities that appeal to you and spend your week sightseeing and getting to know another country. Spend a week in Barcelona and Madrid or Dublin and the Irish countryside. Or choose a destination like Costa Rica or Peru. A week will be long enough to adjust to the time change and make the lengthy flight worthwhile.
As a student, you'll be eligible for discounts on rail travel, entrance into certain museums and attractions, and accommodations (most international hostels cater to the young backpacker). Going abroad, even for a week, is a great experience. Use your Spring break trip to see a new part of the world.
- Road Trip. Still not sure where you want to go for Spring break? Grab your friends, hop in the car and start driving. Take a road trip around your state, down to Mexico, up to Canada or through the mountains or desert. You can plan your Spring break road trip in as much or as little detail as you please. If you just want to hit the road, pick a general direction and start driving. Figure out where you're going along the way. Keep in mind that some roads may be icy and treacherous, so be prepared with 4-wheel-drive or chains if you're heading into questionable mountain passes or other potentially icy areas.
If you have a destination or general direction in mind, discuss it with your friends and choose some must-see stops. Plan ahead to determine where you're going to stay and which route you want to take. Make a loose itinerary if you like following schedules. However, be sure to allow yourself some extra time to take a detour or two if you encounter some interesting sites along the way. The beauty of a road trip is that it's totally up to you. If you feel like stopping, stop. If you feel like changing your mind, change it. A road trip can be an impulsive, inexpensive way to spend a week with your friends and still get away from campus. You can decide day-to-day where you want to go and what you want to do.
- Cruise. If you want the beach, international and road trip (sort of) options all rolled into one, then a cruise might be the way to go. You'll get to sun yourself on the boat deck, stop at beaches in different towns along the way and party on the boat with your friends and other passengers, similar to a strictly beach-oriented Spring break. If you opt for a Caribbean cruise, or something that stops at international destinations-Mexico, the Bahamas, even Panama-you'll be able to get your multi-country fix as well. And, considering that most cruises stop at multiple locations along their route, you can throw in a bit of the road trip mentality, if you use your imagination.
With a Spring break cruise, everything is usually included (with the exception of alcohol). You and your friends can get together, book a trip and know that your rooms, meals and transportation are all taken care of. This can certainly make the planning stage much easier. You won't have to worry about anything while you're on the ship and you'll have the best of all three worlds: beaches, international travel and a dash of road trip to top it off.