Perfectly manicured beaches in March are not everyone’s idea of the perfect spring break, and those warm-weather destinations aren’t always a good match with the average collegiate budget either. But with planning, flexibility and savvy spending, the sacred week can still be fun without the ocean and sand.
Whether you have time to travel the country or only a free afternoon or two, trying out at least one of these ideas can make your spring break a success.
1. Head into the great outdoors: It can be hard for students to find time to get out of the library and into the wild. Kassondra Cloos, a senior at Elon University interning at the Colorado Springs Gazette said spending time in nature can be relaxing, which students often need during break.
“I really enjoy being surrounded by nature, and Colorado’s sky is really open,” she said. “Even if I’ve had a stressful day, I can see the mountains and I will always think that it’s a beautiful view.”
Some schools offer inexpensive camping equipment rentals for students. Outdoor outfitters such as REI have affordable rentals as well.
2. Explore a career: Pick a city you’re considering as a post-graduation home and test it out. Spend a few days seeing what there is to do around town, judging the food, culture and shopping. Go ahead and contact a few employers of interest in the area and ask to arrange informational interviews to learn more about the company culture and professional expectations. You’ll also be able to ask them what there is to do for fun nearby.
3. Do some good: If you don’t want to go on a university-affiliated service trip, plan a visit to an non-profit organization you support. Call ahead to see if there are days and times they could use help, and be sure to let them know you’re coming.
University of Florida senior Ryan Dyke spent last year’s break at Palmer Home, an orphanage in Mississippi. He spent the week doing manual labor and connecting with the children. This year he plans to return.
“Going out to the beach and partying all the time is cool, but at the end of the day if you look back, it was sort of pointless,” he said. “(On a service trip) instead of doing nothing, you have just as much fun and help people out a lot.”
4. Catch up with family or friends: Reach out to relatives who live in diverse areas and see if you can spend a few days with them. If the distance is reasonable, consider a road trip and enjoy the journey. Once you arrive, ask what the best sights are and go exploring.
Jenny Rumble, a senior at the College of Charleston, is traveling to Quebec to visit her father during spring break. Not only will she get to spend time in an exciting city, Rumble said she can unwind with the comfort of family.
“Going to visit family is often more relaxing than traveling with a group of friends,” she said, “Who would ever turn down home cooking and all of the comforts of home for a week?”
5. Stay put: Hanging out on campus can be an awesome cheap option for a restful week. But it doesn’t have to be a complete snooze; there is still plenty to explore. Pick a mission and vow to accomplish it, like finding the best burger in town. Try a few restaurants near campus that you’ve always wanted to go to and make a rating system to compare the competition. Or visit a different museum each day, taking advantage of student discounts. Don’t want to spend money? Check out the DVD collection at the library, bring your picks to a local park and watch outside in a laptop (if the weather’s nice).
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