Ahhh, Spring Break. You've busted your you-know-what all year and who better to enjoy a little well deserved fun in the sun or on the slopes than you? Before you hit the beach or the mountain, though, be sure you're prepared--you don't want to waste a single moment of the week waiting in line at the drug store because you forgot something important.
- Think about your destination first. Sure, there are some items you'll need whether you're going to be digging in the sand or the snow, but every spring break destination has its own special needs.
If you're going on a ski trip, make sure you have all your equipment and that it's in good working order. Next, think warm and think layers. Long underwear (the pros say synthetics are better than cotton), ski socks, turtlenecks, a couple of sweaters, gloves, hat, goggles, parka and ski pants. And, just because your destination isn't tropical, don't forget lip balm and some sun protection for your face.
For the beach, don't forget a few swimsuits, towels (the resort ones are always small and rough), swim goggles, flip flops and a little something to throw over your suit when you come in for lunch or a drink. And sunscreen. When you're partying in paradise, it's easy to forget how long you've been in the sun, and you don't want a painful burn to ruin your trip.
- Less is more. Try to pack basic wardrobe pieces that all work together. If you start planning outfits with shoes and accessories, you're going to need a U-Haul just to get to the airport. Think jeans and/or shorts, white shirts go with everything (especially a tan), at least one pair of shoes you know you can wear all day or all night. If you'll have access to laundry facilities, so much the better. Pack two sets of underwear per day plus one extra (it's small, and this is one area where you don't want to get caught short.) Something to sleep in (this IS a G-rated site, after all) and one dressy outfit, just in case. Leave the good jewelry home.
- Cleanliness counts. Try to streamline your personal hygiene routine. Deodorant, soap and shampoo are must-haves, but you can probably do without a complicated skin care regimen or a ton of hair styling products for the week.
- An ounce of prevention. Pick up travel size OTC remedies to cover pain, stomach upset and cold or allergy symptoms. Too much fun or unusual food and drinks can mean any or all of these, and you want to be ready to nip them in the bud. Carry any prescriptions in the original package and if you wear glasses or contacts, get an extra copy of your prescription in case they get broken or lost. If you're flying, though, be sure to check your airline's website for restrictions on carrying OTC or prescription meds.
- Protect Yourself. You may have no intention of hooking up, but you'd be amazed at what a little booze, some sexy music, and a vacation atmosphere can do to the best of intentions. Bring condoms. Use them. 'Nuf said.
- Stash some cash. You wouldn't be the first spring breaker to have their wallet lifted. Travel with only one credit or debit card, and hide some cash in your luggage to get you through in the event your card is stolen and you need to wait for a replacement. Use the lockers at the beach or mountain for any valuables you must bring with you.
And most of all, pack a good attitude and plan on being flexible. For example, you never know when that beachfront condo will turn out to be a shoddy motel surrounded by asphalt, but don't let unexpected bumps in the road ruin your trip.