Preparing for College

Planning Your Spring Break

Well, we just said Happy New Year! Now it's time to start thinking about how to put the "happy" into your new year. I'm aiming this post at college students, but you high schoolers out there are going to get a spring break too, just like your collegiate buddies. Plus, if you're a fortunate high schooler, you may even be going away somewhere, either with Mom and Dad, or possibly on your own. There are a lot of intrepid high school students who have freedom-minded parents.

Most colleges schedule their spring breaks around early March. If you want to see when some of the top colleges have scheduled spring break, take a look at Student City's helpful listing. Also, if you think it's way too early to start planning for spring break, you might want to check these suggestions. For example:

Plan Ahead

Note that in order to prepare for a Spring Break vacation you need to allow yourself adequate time and resources to make your trip possible. At least 5 months prior to your Spring Break you should begin to think about the location that you want to visit.

That's right. These experts suggest starting your planning process five months ahead of spring break. So, let's say your spring break happens the first week of March. According to this planning approach, if you haven't yet done anything about arranging your break details, you're already several months behind schedule! Time to get with it, people!

So, let's see what some others have to say about planning (timely or otherwise) for that spring break.

One of the "others" I'd like to cite here is yours truly. The first step in planning your spring break is to get permission and an understanding from your parents. Some college students feel that they are entitled to their spring break adventure. They may have no idea how the expense of the trip will impact family finances. Anyway, just a word to the wise (and considerate). Keep Mom and Dad in the loop.

As far as an overall strategy for planning (once you've cleared things with your parents), here are some highlights from a detailed planning scenario by spring breaker Mom, Candice:

- How To Avoid a Spring Break Power Struggle

[Did you know that there can be warring factions involved in spring break planning?]

First and foremost, a Spring Break Leader needs to be appointed. Sure, this can be a self-appointed role. Just realize that you are going to take on a lot of responsibility, and you will receive ALL of the blame if the Spring Break trip is a stinker. However, you will receive a lot of praise if it's AWESOME-- and you'll probably be asked to plan the subsequent Spring Breaks while you're at college.

You can appoint yourself Spring Break leader without being obnoxious at all. Say something to your friends like, "I was thinking about all of us going on Spring Break together. Would you want to?" Once they agree, tell them that you would be happy to plan the trip. Usually, no one else wants to take on the responsibility, so you will be a shoe in . . .

- Deciding Where To Go

[If you need help in this area, check out some sites like this.]

Okay, now that you've gotten the leadership role sorted out, it's time to decide where you want to go. Determine if your group wants to go somewhere warm or cold, domestic or international, all-inclusive or a la carte, beach or mountains... You get the idea.

So now you know the climate and activities where everyone would like to go. Terrific. But, there is one major factor that comes into play here: The budget. Find out how much each person wants to spend on Spring Break as a TOTAL. This includes airfare, hotel and all incidentals. People don't realize how much money gets spent on alcohol and activities during Spring Break. You really need to keep this in mind . . .

- Think Outside The Box

[What? A spring break without partying???]

Do not automatically think that you have to go to some party place, like Panama City, just to have a good time. What do you want to do on your Spring Break? Do you want to go to a common Spring Break place? What types of activities are you interested in? Where is a place that you have always wanted to go, but never had the chance?

You would be surprised at how many different options there are for you out there. For example, many people rent out their timeshares at a rate that is a lot less than what a hotel would go for. You can also become an Associate Travel Agent and go on a familiarization trip for a fraction of what the regular cost of the trip is . . .

- Ask For Help

[Most of us aren't travel agents!]

If you aren't experienced with planning travel, it's a good idea to ask someone for help. You would be surprised at how much you can find out on websites like Travelocity and Orbitz. Get suggestions from people that travel. You can even go to a travel agency! I'm sure that there is a Student Travel within your university. (Of course, you can always email yours truly!)

Believe it or not, your parents really might have some good suggestions of where you should go . . .


I think Candice has some solid advice. So . . . parents can be a big help! Amazing!

There's a ton of information on the Web about spring break planning. Just search for . . . (wait for it) . . . "spring break planning"!

Anyway, see you in Cancun (or maybe Dayton, Ohio (no offense to Dayton!)).


Be sure to check out all my college-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.