Letting Off Steam Before Finals
Spring Break…just the words conjure up so many different feelings, memories, and emotions. Some of the memories are from my own spring break during my college years. Goodness, those were some fun times with some of my closest friends. Other thoughts about spring break are of my kids – safety, cost, and fun! I am from South Florida and I have seen my share of crazy spring break scenes so being a parent of college-age students can sometimes be a daunting job.
Spring break vacations these days are a bit different than years ago. Cruises are a very popular spring break trip. What could be better than to be on a floating party for 7 nights with 300 of your closest friends? Usually, 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.
Some kids head off to the Keys. Some go skiing out west. 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. And, if your student is planning a trip, plan way ahead as the prices get higher as you get closer.
Before they leave we review the following:
- Don’t go anywhere alone. Use the buddy system.
- Don’t leave a drunk friend alone, particularly if they have “passed out.”
- Wash your hands…a lot.
- Wear sunscreen (sunburn happens in a bathing suit or ski jacket).
- Be aware of laws (open container, alcohol restrictions on beaches, etc.)
- Make sure you have their friends’ phone numbers just in case you need to reach them (or do not hear from them). Maybe it dropped in the pool or ocean or they lost it on the beach. This will allow you a back- up option.
- Following that same thought, make sure you have their friends’ parents’ numbers as well in case you need to get in touch with them.
- Activate the Find My Friends app so if you need the peace of mind to know where they are located, you will be able to find them. This is non-negotiable for my daughter and me.
- Check-in (you can agree as to the right amount of time for your family). If they will be traveling out of the country, make sure you add an international phone plan to their number.
- If they have a credit card, make sure you let the credit card company know they will be out of the country so they are able to use the card.
- Make sure your passport is valid as well. Again, if an emergency arises, you will need a valid passport to travel out of the country.
Some of the other popular destinations for 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. 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. Key West is very strict about underage drinking so many students will head there once they turn 21.
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, they are recovering from a major hurricane..
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.