un, surf and sand— the makings of a quintessential college spring break. Every spring, thousands of students flock to warmer weather during their time off from school. After a season of Christmas cookies, New Years champagne, and Valentine’s Day candy, it is no surprise that we might not feel our healthiest during the winter. Whether it be PV (Puerta Vallarta), PR (Puerto Rico), or PCB (Panama City Beach), spring break at the beach can be a rite of passage for many college students. Peeling off layers of sweaters and slipping into a bikini after months of bundling up can even be daunting. For some, Spring Break is the motivation needed to get fitter and eat healthier.
Sophomore Jane* has booked her tickets for Cancun, Mexico and her schedule with morning workouts. Waking up as early as 6:30am to go to Pottruck before class can take dedication, and that dedication is infectious. She has even inspired her housemate and fellow spring breaker Zoey. After sneaking into a class at Pottruck, Zoey decided to purchase the semester class pass. Now, she is a regular at classes like Zumba and Pure Barre.
Jane’s biggest change to prepare for vacation has been cutting alcohol from her diet. A regular drinker during the weekend, Jane is well aware of how the calories can quickly add up. Vowing to go dry in February, Jane already dropped pounds within a few weeks. Even worse than the calories from alcohol can be those from the drunk meals after a night out. According to studies, people eat 30% more when they drink alcohol. Without alcohol influencing her diet, Jane can make healthier food choices. One of her favorites? Halo Top ice cream which her and Zoey regularly snack on when sweet cravings hit.
Jane acknowledges that staying at all-inclusive resorts will lead to indulging in you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink on her vacation. To counteract the splurges she expects on her spring break, Jane plans to eat healthier in preparation for the extra consumption, joking that she needs to make up for the bloat that the extra booze will cause.
In addition to preparing physically for a spring break blow out, students have to prepare financially to prevent breaking the bank. The financial burden alone can prevent many students from traveling if they cannot afford a vacation or must stay on campus for work.
For students on a budget, a cheaper option is booking an all-inclusive trip. However, all-inclusive resorts only operate outside of the United States. For students that aren’t staying with all-inclusive plans, food, drinks, and other excursions can stack up on the bill quickly. According to estimates, students spend over 1 billion dollars on spring break every year.
Sophomore Victoria will be spending her break at the Ritz-Carlton in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where a piña colada can run you $19. Luckily, she managed to cut costs by booking through Expedia, where she combined her flight and hotel for a better deal. In comparison to booking separately at a cost of over $1,200, her bundle with three other girls brought the bill down down to $700 per person.
However, the $500 savings came with a price. Victoria found booking through these travel websites like Expedia and Hotels.com to be misleading and difficult to navigate. She spent almost an hour on the phone with Expedia trying to figure out why the price it advertised differed from what showed up in the online checkout. After numerous calls, transferring from manager to manager, she finally booked her trip at the price she wanted. Despite her plans to be a savvy spender, she still intends to hit up King of Prussia Mall beforehand to pick up last-minute spring break essentials, like swimsuits and shorts.
For many students, spring break can be a week of pure fun, but it can take months of preparation. Whether it be financially or physically, students can find planning a spring break trip to be stressful. Rest assured, it will soon pay off–who can think about stress when you’re sipping a margarita on the beach?
*Name changed for privacy.
Image Courtesy of: DestinationMiami.com