Your tickets are bought, your bags are packed and your alarm is set for the first day of your Spring Break. Aside from the token textbook you’re bringing with you (simply to keep up appearances, right?), you plan on leaving all your worries, cares, and assignments at home. But here’s one final checklist for you to go over before you leave so that you have an awesome, healthy, safe trip.
Wait a minute, “get sleep”? Yeah, yeah, Mom. The last thing you want to do after dozens of late nights studying for exams or writing papers is sleep through your Spring Break. This is your time, baby! Maybe you’ll get a nap or two in the hotel room after a day on the beach or a night on the town, but otherwise – sleep is on the bottom of your list of priorities. Unfortunately, sleep should be a crucial part of your Spring Break days. A good night’s rest will keep you happy, alert, fresh-faced and relaxed – and it’s even been shown that sleep helps keep your metabolism up, which will keep off the pudge from that extra helping of the local dishes…or bottomless margs.
It seems obvious, but the last thing on your mind when you’re running around a new town, shopping, sightseeing and hitting on waiters in a foreign language is to get your 8 glasses of water a day. Carry a reusable water container with you throughout the day and refill it as soon as it’s empty. Staying hydrated is especially important in the warmer Spring Break destinations. If you are uncertain about the safety of the local water, buy bottled or sterilized water. Avoid ice unless it was made from treated or chlorinated water.
Stay healthy en route.
Whether you’re carpooling with some friends or flying first-class, it’s important to keep yourself healthy and avoid catching something that could ruin your Break. Pack some hand sanitizer, dress comfortably and take your vitamins (especially Vitamin C). A lot of students will be traveling during the first days of Spring Break and, odds are, someone’s immune system will buckle.
Protect your skin.
If tanning is a priority, please apply a spray or lotion before you leave. The worst possible thing you can do to your skin on Spring Break is lie out in the sun for hours without a fresh layer of sunscreen every now and then. The sun-kissed glow lasts a few weeks, but the chances of getting skin cancer can last a lifetime. (Yes, even college girls can get melanoma.)Pack sunscreen and apply it religiously. Same goes for you if your skin is a milky white (like mine) – if you’d like to keep it that way, bring a floppy hat or find a spot of shade on top of all that SPF.
Protect your skin, part 2.
Some people think of sandy beaches and sparkling blue waters when they imagine Spring Break, but others may want to go somewhere cold or dry. If this is the case, remember to slip a few sticks of chapstick and some moisturizer into your suitcase. It is important to remember to keep your skin moisturized and avoid letting it become chapped or dry.
Drink safe, party safe.
You may be traveling to a place where the drinks are cheap and the clubs are open till all hours, but remember to play it safe. We’ve all heard the stories of the terrible things that can happen to Spring Break vacationers when they don’t take travel safety seriously. Travel in groups, stay in the safe parts of town and know your drinking limits. Spring Break is a time to relax, but stay alert – you don’t want to make any mistakes you’ll regret.
Although there’s no point to waking up at 5 a.m. and jogging for miles during a time that is supposed to be your ‘holiday,’ remember to fit in some form of exercise (I’m not talking about carrying as many drinks as you can from bar to table) into your routine. A brisk walk around town, a hike on a local trail or a run along the beach will keep you fit, toned and focused. Be sure to take a friend or stay somewhere public.
Avoid food poisoning.
Last but not least, avoid the what might be the worst of Spring Break ailments: food poisoning. The very words make your tummy want to curl up and tremble in terror. Unless you want to spend your Spring Break hunched over a toilet, keep your hands clean and check out the restaurant before sitting down. Eat fresh and well-cooked food that is served hot; avoid things that have been warmed-up, salads that might have been washed in contaminated water and fish, especially if served uncooked. Unfortunately, even ice cream is on the list of no-no’s if you are in a location where hygiene has been deemed questionable, as it may have melted and been refrozen.
But of course, don’t let the worrying about bacteria-infested ice cream or staying perfectly in shape ruin your holiday. The most important way to stay healthy on Spring Break is to relax and allow the time off to do its work. If you do, you’ll come back home with a glow that will last longer than an overly bronze suntan and keep you smiling through the stress of college for weeks to come.
[Check out our Spring Break Guide for even more tips and tricks you need to know to make this the best Spring Break ever!]