Spring Break Planning – Check!

SPRIIINNNGGG BREEEAAAK!!! (Sorry for yelling)

Anyway, spring break is right around the corner. If you haven’t finalized your plans, now’s the time! If you haven’t figured out your what you’re doing yet, don’t freak out. Good deals are still available if you do some research and are flexible about your destination. Use this easy checklist to get organized and maximize your chances of a fun, rewarding experience.

Don’t Go It Alone

Since it’s never a good idea to go on spring break alone, find some good travel buddies. Travel experts recommend appointing someone as the “team leader” to keep everyone organized and make sure that any required pre-travel costs such as room deposits or airline tickets have been paid. The team leader can also figure out other shared expenses such as hotel rooms, car rentals/gas if you are driving to your destination. And since safety is always important, make sure everyone shares their contact information and includes their emergency contacts.

Set a Budget

Arguably the most important step in planning your getaway is figuring out what you can afford to spend. Create a realistic budget for travel and entertainment expenses. Since you’re traveling with friends, this can be challenging, as some may have more resources at their disposable. Have a clear, candid group discussion about your spending expectations to avoid any misunderstandings or surprise expenses, like swimming with sharks or skydiving.

Get Permission

Before purchasing tickets or booking the hotel, make sure you speak with your parents, if applicable. This is especially important if you plan to travel out of the country and/or if they are paying any or part of your college expenses. Make sure they are okay with your plans and provide them with your itinerary so they will be able to contact you in case of an emergency. After all, you don’t want to scare them with any surprise phone calls from Cancun.

Finalize Your Destination

There are a number of online options for finding affordable places to go. You don’t have to go to the latest “cool” destination to have a good time. For last minute deals, try searching on sites such as stsTravel or Groupon. But don’t forget sites such as bookit.com or travelocity.com. AAA provides travel services for members which can be helpful if you are relatively inexperienced in vacation planning. Be extra careful before finalizing online purchases, particularly hotel rooms, as these may be nonrefundable and you may be stuck paying the charges even if your plans change. No point in paying for a bed, you won’t get to sleep in, right?

And don’t forget that there are other lodging options besides hotels. Broaden your search to include places such as vacation rentals, airbnb or hostels which may be more affordable than hotels. Plus they may offer the added benefit of a kitchen which can help cut back on your food expenses.

Also, depending on where you are traveling to, you need to find out whether you will need a passport and/or other ID, as well as currency exchange.

Map out Your Activities

To maximize your experience, research your destination to find attractions that interest you. Check with your travel mates and map out your activities. Though everyone may not want to do the same things, make sure that no one is going anywhere alone. If traveling to a country you have never been to, make sure you have a good understanding of the cultural differences. Talk with family or friends who may have visited the area to get their advice and recommendations or check online for experiences and recommendations of other travelers.

Pack the Essentials

Plan ahead by creating a checklist to ensure you only bring what you need and avoid overpacking. Stick to your necessities like suitable clothing, any medications, phone charger, toiletries, sunscreen and sunglasses if applicable. Make sure to leave expensive items such as jewelry at home. You don’t want to get an unsightly tanline just because you wanted to wear your favorite necklace.

Stay Safe and Plan for the Unexpected

Last, but surely not least, it is important to have a safe trip. Make sure you and your travel mates never travel alone, keep a charged cell phone with you and always be extra aware of your surroundings. Make a plan or agree upon a designated meeting spot if anyone gets lost or separate. Check out additional travel safety tips at safespringbreak.org.

If you following all these helpful tips, you’ll give yourself a better chance at wonderful spring break memories that will last a lifetime.

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