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Spring break... an American institution that promises easygoing, relaxed 'fun in the sun' for anyone who feels the spring in the air and wants to 'get out and go', leaving your everyday life far behind. While travel deals are everywhere, how do you even start to plan the perfect getaway for one special week? The answer will depend on your interests and how far you'd like to journey, as well as your budget and other variables. To help you start to gather your thoughts and get your plans in place, we are sharing some of our favorite ideas for a memorable spring break experience. Whether you are a student, a couple, or a family, the right spring break is out there for you!
College StudentsAs new adults, the world is yours for the taking, and spring break fun beckons from many corners. To make it even better, classes are all off, so what's your excuse to not go out and enjoy the free week? Some vacation locations have a regular spring break 'scene' where you can meet and mingle with students from other schools, while other destinations are perfect for creating your own adventure.
Pros: These vacation locations are popular for a reason- they have a lot to offer for activities and are an easy place to enjoy oneself. There is a spring break 'scene' in place so you'll have the company of other students to share in the fun.
Cons: As with anywhere that's well-visited, crowds can mean, well, crowdedness. You won't find a secluded beach and there may be waits for restaurants and shows. It's also good to remember basic travel safety tips in the spring break 'hotspots'.
Tips: Popular places are easy and may be be a good choice for your first trip planned 'on your own'. Be aware of possible crowd issues, and plan as best you can to find alternatives- maybe eat early, or buy your own food. Know your travel safety- don't walk alone at night, etc.
Pros: For some students, the party scene is 100% not their style. If that is you, you might enjoy using a free week to explore some place that you've always wanted to go. This is the time of life when you can just 'pick up and go' and immerse yourself in something entirely different for a week!
Cons: An active or off the beaten path location may be involve more research to plan out. You may also need to find a 'travel buddy' if you are not going to be part of the mainstream break scene.
Tips: Start planning early and if your first dream trip doesn't seem that it's going to pan out, keep exploring ideas until you find a trip that's going to work for you.
CouplesFast forward a few years... you've graduated from school, you're employed now, you're part of a couple. You've both been working hard all winter, and spring beckons you to take some time to get away together. You want to relax but also enjoy some active fun doing things together. You probably no longer want the student scene, but there's still a great spring break for you.
Pros: The well-traveled is always easy. If you have less time to plan and no full week off anymore, a quick getaway is easy to schedule. Since you aren't going to the same places as students, this becomes more like taking a vacation than a 'spring break'- but, as it's still 'off' season in many locations, there are many times discounts to be had for travel in March.
Cons: With any good idea, other people have it too. Even non-students like to get away in spring to enjoy the year's first warm sun and lower prices.
Tips: If you can find out when most students have break in your area, you have the flexibility to go a different week to avoid the rush.
Pros: Spring (as well as fall) is the best time to visit places that are normally busy in summer and cold in winter. The weather is just right and crowds and prices are still relatively low.
Cons: Weather is unpredictable, you could find yourselves still wintered in! Some destinations are so seasonal that not everything is open in off months.
Tips: If you are willing to accept that the trip is an adventure regardless of weather or what activities are available, you can enjoy your trip regardless of what surprises you may encounter.
FamiliesFast forward again... you're no longer just a couple, you're a couple with kids! And as you find yourselves retied to a school calendar, you once again have a whole week to get out and about. This is your chance to get away from daily life and enjoy some quality family time. The one trick? You'll need find a destination that all family members can enjoy.
Pros: Some destinations are 'no-brainers'- you know you will love them. Keep it easy and stick with a pre-set package that includes everything your family would need so you can focus on enjoying yourselves and your time together.
Cons: Some destinations that cater to families are thus overrun by families. You aren't the only one who thinks DisneyWorld at this time of year! Lines can get long and that's no fun for kids.
Tips: Consider your kids (as well as adults) and how much crowdedness you can endure and still enjoy the destination. If you have family members who won't do well with a busy scene, plan someplace less well-known to avoid the frustrations.
Pros: Doing your own thing can relieve the pressure that you ought to be spending every moment of your week doing activities or participating in a larger vacation scene. It becomes more about you and your family and your free time and less about 'spring break'.
Cons: You'll have to research options, make plans, and prepare the whole family. Weather can be mercurial this time of year, so you have to plan and pack for all eventualities.
Tips: Know your own family's limits and what collectively decide what you'd like from your free week. You may want to use the chance to create a unique adventure, or you may wish to keep it simple.
FatWallet Asks the Travel Experts
Mark Chesnut from LatinFlyer.com is the expert when it comes to travel in Latin America. He was kind enough to provide a few of his top picks for spring break destinations:
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