Fun to be had by all!
You haven’t seen them since January and are looking forward to some time with them home again over Spring Break. FSU’s 2019 Spring Break is March 18th to 22nd. I recognize the scenario. They, our students, may have other plans though. Just thought I would give you the heads up. It is not uncommon for students to go away with their friends for Spring Break. It’s what they saved all summer for, right? Remember cramming 10 college kids into the Holiday Inn in Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Break when you were their age? Perhaps that is what is frightening you.
Probably the most popular Spring Break trip these days is a cruise…with 422 of their closest friends (think group rates). My son has been on two. Based on his stories, I pity the family that was also on that cruise ship thinking they were getting a quiet vacation. Yes, generally four kids (one of which must be 21 or older) cram into the cheapest cabin possible, purchase the all you can drink package (this does not mean that the drinking age on cruises is anything less than 21) and go. If you are lucky, the worst thing they will come back with is minor sunburn.
Some kids head off to the Keys. Some go skiing out west. Bimini has become a popular destination lately too. Wherever they and their friends may venture, there have to be some guidelines. One thing is for sure; they will have fun. We all want to know our kids are happy; it’s how we get through those moments of missing them. Keeping them safe comes first though.
Before they leave we review the following:
- Don’t go anywhere alone.
- Don’t leave a drunken friend alone, particularly if they have “passed out.”
- Wash your hands…a lot. (I am normally germ-phobic, but, these cruise ships are a breeding ground for viruses, etc.)
- Wear sunscreen (sunburn happens in a bathing suit or ski jacket).
- Be aware of laws (open container, alcohol restrictions on beaches, etc.)
- Check-in (you can agree as to the right amount of times for your family)
Some of the other popular destinations for FSU students these days are the following:
Daytona Beach – has long been a popular Spring Break destination. The whole town likes to party. They kick off the spring season with the Daytona 500, Bike Week in mid-March, and more celebrations continue well into April. It especially gets crazy near the newly renovated Main Street Pier and boardwalk. It’s not always beach weather in spring though. If you want guaranteed beach weather, head further south.
Fort Myers Beach – During the past few years, its popularity has soared as a Spring Break destination with many converging on the beach for games, contests and other events.
Clearwater – not mentioned often, but apparently, the party action and crowds are still strong.
Miami Beach – if your student is on a serious budget, skip this destination. A night out there will cost them. Yet the Art Deco flair and topless beaches seem to crowd the beachfront hotels and Lincoln Road’s outdoor cafes during Spring Break.
Key West- Parties are a 24/7 event here at any time of year, and everything seems to kick up a notch when college kids swarm down Duval Street, Key West’s beaches and bars. Mallory Square pops, as always, with its sunset show, and there are plenty of restaurants.
Cocoa Beach – is the surfing capital of Florida, but you don’t have to bring a surfboard to have fun. The beaches get pretty lively during Spring Break.
Fort Lauderdale – This is where the 10 college kids in one room at the Holiday Inn happened. That isn’t the way Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale looks anymore, but it can still be popular; the Elbo Room still jamming. While “The Strip” can hold its own, the current crowds are also dispersed onto neighboring beaches in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Pompano Beach, Hollywood and Deerfield Beach.
Panama City/Destin – When local laws banned alcohol on the beaches and created other restrictions; its allure changed. Add to that was the major hurricane that struck their region.
Spring Break is sort of a rite of passage. Let’s face it, in just a very short few years they will (hopefully) be out in the working world and vacations will take on a whole new look for them.
Residence halls close on March 16th for Spring Break and reopen on March 24th.
A few other things to note if you are traveling outside the country:
- For students who are traveling abroad, they should enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). To enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate: https://travelregistration.state.gov.
- If a student is traveling abroad as an FSU RSO (registered student organization) to perform service, they should make sure they have completed all required forms: https://global.fsu.edu/travel-policy/student-travel-policy, and have completed all of the required steps including submission of proof of insurance.
- For international students on an F-1 or J-1 visa that plan to leave the country during spring break, they need to make sure to have a valid student visa and an I-20 or DS2019 signed for travel within the last year. These will be required to re-enter the US.