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Where to Go, Stay, Volunteer, Party for Spring Break 2012 - and How to Get There

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Where to Go:

Student Airfare Tips:

Look before you leap: check student airfares against an aggregator before you buy your spring break airplane ticket. A flight-hotel package from a student travel agency may net the cheapest overall deal -- check hotels and flights separately before buying, though.

How to Get the Best Hotel Deal:

Student travel agencies have the best beachy group deals at the hot hotels in sunny spots like Mexico or Jamaica; get a package for a good hotel deal. Expect $35-75 per night -- an Acapulco hostel is $15/ night, but way slower than a hotel room in the downtown action. For a European trip, just pick your hostel (Amsterdam, London and Paris will be popular this year) -- if you know you want American student company in March or April abroad, grab a student travel agency (like STA) travel package.

About Tour Operators:

Companies specializing in spring break travel are largely capitalizing on airfare buys -- though a spring break tour operator may seem like an escorted tour service, it probably isn't; it's doubtful that you'll get any help at hotel check-in, for instance. You *will* get group hotel rates, a printed itinerary, free drink chits and /or club entry, and transportation to and from the airport, all of which are huge money and time savers. And spring break packages are not necessarily group tours. Learn more:

What to Budget:

A whole lot of how much money to bring depends on destination. Europe is cheaper than Mexico, which is cheaper than Florida, but any resort anywhere is spendy. An example, using Acapulco:
  • Hotel -- $35 per night for the Costera (main drag) if sharing a triple
  • Food -- $10 per meal
  • Clubs -- assume a $40 cover, which covers drinks
  • Transport -- assume 50 cents per local bus ride
  • Sights -- cliff divers are $3; some museums are free on Sunday
Total: $104 per day

Spring Break Cruises:

Breaking on a boat has soared in popularity -- if you choose a cruise, expect to spend your time partying, partying and partying some more. Basically, you'll board a boat, cruise to a sunny port and rock out in a beach hotel for a few days. Airfare is not usually included; meals are. $400-800 for 4-7 days. Popular spring break cruises:

Travel Safety Tips:

Be aware when you travel and you'll doubtless be fine. Stay with friends if you're over-imbibing. Keep an eye on your possessions. Stay safe, but don't stay home!

Volunteer for Alternative Break:

If you're thinking you'd like to make a difference with your time, try volunteering. Want sun splashed sand? Spend time on a Costa Rican beach, working with sea turtles, through i-to-i's volunteer forays, made just for students. Hit the US's Gulf Coast with United Way ASB, or learn about ASB programs for which you can sign up on your own campus:

What to Bring and How to Pack:

You won't need much more than a swimming suit and flaps on sunny shores, but do bring good duds if you're hitting clubs; in Mexico, for instance, you may not get in if you're grunged.

Documents:

Learn how to pack light -- remember that, aside from having to schlep 'em through airports, giant suitcases take up tons o' space in a shared room:

Travel for First Timers:

A few basic student travel tips and some tropical-specific stuff will make the trip easy and the week memorable (provided the shots aren't flowing too freely, that is!):

About Travel Documents

About Travel Money

Remember to Bring:

  • Insect repellent if you want an organic or non-toxic variety, like Crocodile -- can be hard to find in Mexico.

Last Tips

  • Remember to take a cover-up when you head away from your hotel -- you may want to duck into a restaurant or museum. Button your shirt indoors in Latin America.

  • If you drink a bit too much, remember to drink as much water as you can get down and stay out of the sun afterward -- you'll be way dehydrated, which is, basically, what makes a hangover feel sooo bad, and the heat can make that feel even worse. Good excuse to hit a hammock in the shade.

  • Know how to get in touch with the local US embassy if you're abroad -- you can ensure your friends know, too, in case they need to help you get help.

Have a great time!

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