On a typical weekend, if you’re at a bad party, you can call it a night, call Safe-rides, and make it back to your dorm in one piece. Then again, if you’re at a good party, you can live it up, sleep until noon the next day, and then relax your hangover away until it’s time to get back to the daily grind.
On Spring Break, however, once you get off the plane at your final destination, you’re in it for the long haul. Though you anticipate your vacay being the highlight of the semester, it can be grueling to go all day, every day, and, being far from home, there’s a lot that can go wrong. Nothing is suckier than getting sick in a foreign place, fighting with your tripmates, or getting into a sticky situation in an unfamiliar place. Make sure you make it back to school in one piece this spring, by taking a few simple precautions.
1. Do your research.
Get some maps, or travel guides with tips, before you leave. Ask people you trust if they can recommend a good hotel. Try to brush up on the local rules or laws of the place you’re headed. The last thing you want to do is get lost, check into a lodging that is reminiscent of hostel, or get in trouble for something you didn’t even think was wrong.
2. Pack wisely.
Flip flops all day, it can’t hurt to throw a sweater in your suitcase for when the temperature drops after dark.
3. Give yourself a budget.
Say, “I’m going to spend X dollars a day,” or, “I have this much to spend all week. I should plan to spend 20% on food, 10% on travel, 30% on shopping and excursions, and 20% on nightlife.” Note that these percentages don’t make up 100%. You’ll want some emergency cash in case of a day of indulgence, or to make sure you have enough left to get home at the end of the week. Even if you don’t stick to your budget, you’ll be a lot closer than if you just went on a free-spirited spending spree.
4. Don’t rely on cell phones.
You don’t know where you’ll hit a dead zone, or a high-frequency area that won’t let your calls through. Plus, chances are, once you leave for the day, you’re gone. So what happens if your phone dies? Or if you thought your phone would work overseas, and it suddenly doesn’t. If you and your friends are splitting up into groups, establish a set time and meeting spot, just to make sure you don’t miss each other. Meet up a couple times a day to reevaluate the plan, or say you’ll all get dinner at six and then decide the night’s course of action.
5. Lather up!
Okay, I’m going to backtrack all the way to high school, even though we’re all in college now. It was my senior class trip to Florida, a week before prom. I’m so white I could be considered “Clear” before “Caucasian,” so I reapplied the sunblock like my life depended on it. When we got back to school, I remember one girl’s legs were so burned that they were fire engine red and swollen like tree trunks. And I was the only girl without ridiculous tan lines at the prom. Shiseido makes a great sunscreen that leaves your skin feeling smooth, not leathery.
6. Stay. In. Groups.
Seriously, not to be your mom or anything, and we’re all grown up enough to know the buddy system is safer than the… stumbling through the streets alone system. Besides, isn’t the point on a high-priced vacation to spend some QT with your faves?
7. Have fun!
Don’t stress about your daily itinerary down to the minute. Don’t freak out if a stranger says “Hello.” Don’t argue with your friends about whether to hit the beach or lounge by the hotel pool. Come one, it’s only seven short days. Enjoy it. You deserve it!
Any other tips? Share them below!