Every student needs a break when school is in session, a moment when they can forget about those exams and the amount of homework piling up as finals approach. As a result, fall semesters, because of the number of breaks students receive, are much easier to manage; all told, you’ve got Labor Day weekend, Columbus Day, fall break, Thanksgiving break, Veteran’s Day and, most importantly, Christmas break. So, what does that leave for spring semester? Spring break, and that’s about it.
Still, although it’s only a few days of vacation, spring break can still be the most exciting week of your semester. You have a week to live your life before finals crunch-time begins and you have to return home to work for the summer, so think of spring break as the last hurrah before going months without seeing your college friends.
However, aside from your schoolwork, planning a trip with two to 15 of your closest friends can be one of the most stressful endeavors of the year. Seriously, you can’t just fling an itinerary together overnight; everyone must agree on a destination, a place to stay, make a first deposit, save money, figure out transportation and consider additional costs.
Simplicity is out the window; this is not some little vacation your parents are dragging you on. Spring break is catching adulthood by the tail and seeing the world with your closest supporters by your side.
Everyone has their own ideal vacation spot, but in this article, I will focus on the five overall best spring break destinations. They’re suitable for people who are spending-conscious, traveling on a budget and want to indulge in the party lifestyle.
1. Cancun, Mexico
No. 1 on the list for traveling to a tropical spring break destination is Cancun, Mexico. The Mexican oasis offers all-day-everyday beach/resort pool parties, and students can also buy tickets to the Inception Music Festival.
In one deal, $2,534.40 covers you and three friends’ hotels and flight costs to participate in a week of spring break festivities in Mexico. Plus, the legal drinking age is 18, which makes it an ideal experience for college students of all ages.
In addition to the extensive beach parties taking place, there are many sightseeing locations to experience if the party scene isn’t up your alley. If that sounds like you, check out Chichen Itza, Xel-Ha Park, Ik Kil and Sistema Dos Ojos.
2. Las Vegas
For students for whom budget is not an issue, Las Vegas is your best option, especially if you want to stay in the U.S. However, while anyone is allowed to visit Vegas, you’ll certainly have a lot more fun if you’re 21 or older.
Sin City has endless options when it comes to entertainment, and hotel rooms can be rented for as low as $240 a night. If you don’t want the convenience of casinos online, Vegas has its own ample selection offering gambling, restaurants, bars and shows, and visitors can take helicopter tours over the city before heading out to the Grand Canyon, where you can hop on a boat and head down the Colorado River.
When people say Vegas never sleeps they aren’t wrong; the Las Vegas Strip is full of bright lights that make it as if night never really falls. You’ll have to do some extensive research on the place to find out exactly what you want to do, but Vegas would make a spring break vacation you will never forget.
3. South Padre Island, Texas
For students who want a week of full-on party mode, South Padre Island, Texas, is becoming the No. 1 spot for spring break festivities. In March, you can buy Padremaniac VIP Cards that give you access to clubs, pool parties and almost all concerts, as well as discounts on food, for no additional charge.
A group of students from Lindenwood University – Belleville (my school) will be heading down to South Padre March 7 – March 15, and their total bill for gas, food, hotel and Padremaniac tickets ended up being $350 each. Indeed, the many activities and cheap costs for the party-seeking crowd make Padre one of the party capitals for spring breakers.
4. New York City
The Big Apple offers a New York Pass for $379, which covers a seven-day trip to the city. The pass gives you free access to the city’s most popular sites, which normally cost between $39 – $60 per attraction, so the discount becomes a better and better investment the more you use it. For instance, if you want to experience six or seven sites per day, you would save between $700 and 1,532 for the week by purchasing this pass.
The NYP gets you free admission to the Statue of Liberty/Ferry Ride, Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial/Museum, The MET, Madison, Square Garden and Coney Island, among dozens of other attractions. Plus, New York City is an experience in and of itself.
There is so much to see and so little time. Considering all the options, if you are a college spring breaker who doesn’t enjoy the party scene, New York is your perfect fit.
5. Panama City Beach, Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida, is perpetually known as the Spring Break Capital of the United States. However, because of all the beach trashing that has taken place over the years, vacationing here has fallen off.
In recent years, Panama City Beach refused to rent out hotels and condos to college-age students, but recently they have changed this protocol. Obviously, though, the beachside town has a degree of antipathy toward their status as the premier trashy spring break destination, so if you’re going, treating the place and the locals with respect is critical.
Panama City Beach offers a strip filled with hundreds of shops, and for easy transportation there are golf carts, mopeds and little street cars that can be rented for low prices. Public beach access is around every corner, and drinking on the beaches is also permitted, just please throw your trash away.
Hotels can be rented for as low as $85 a night during your stay, and, if getting blackout seven days in a row gets boring, you can always check out the area’s waterparks, amusement parks and mini golf courses.