spring break

Unconventional Places to Spend Spring Break

The oh-so-anticipated spring break is just a ways away. It’s time to start thinking of ways to spend the week long hiatus from classes. With popular culture and travel agencies promoting college ‘spring break’ as a week of wild partying on tropical beaches, which by all means does seem fun, it’s easy to forget about other options. The Earth provides us with thousands of miles of adventure, beauty, and landscape to explore. Use this spring break to discover nature and the beautiful scenery available to us. Here are four suggestions of where to look:

spring break

1) Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah

Lake Powell is located right on the border of Utah and Arizona, settled right on the Colorado River. This scenic area is colored by blue lakes broken and broken up by high rocky canyons. It is also only a short distance from Antelope Canyon and Glen Canyon Recreational Area. However, around spring break time the weather is still fairly cool, averaging around 61 degrees. This means swimming may not be an option. Luckily, the chilly temps make it the area’s offseason, meaning the prices for travel drop. This makes it perfect for college students on a tight budget. Additionally, the city of Flagstaff is a two hour drive away and passes Grand Canyon National Park. Make sure that road trip playlist is on point!

spring break

2) Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park is a desert landscape teeming with wildlife of all sorts, surrounded by mountains that seemed to have popped up from the dusty ground by magic. The park is the ultimate dream destination for many travelers. The area houses multiple campgrounds and affordable vacation rentals. If you’re a Jack Kerouac junkie, the Jack Kerouac Cabin is located along the northern end of the park. Joshua Tree is also less than three hours away from both San Diego and Los Angeles, California… in case you’re also in need of some beach time.

spring break

3) Canmore, Alberta, Canada

There are the Rockies, and then there are the Canadian Rockies. Located in the Canadian province of Alberta, Canmore is the destination for nature lovers. Nestled right beside Banff National Park, the area houses opportunities to hike, ski, and simply explore. For those still holding onto the the cold elements that make winter activities possible, this is the place for you. In between March and April, during most spring breaks, Canmore’s weather is still brisk. Unfortunately, this does make camping more difficult. Instead, check out the prices of lodges and ski resorts as they often fall that late in the season. Hot tub after the slopes, anyone?

spring break

4) New Orleans, Louisiana

A city of culture and liveliness, New Orleans is the perfect spring break destination for those wishing to both enrich themselves and have some fun. While it isn’t the most unconventional place to spend spring break, it’s still worth every consideration. This melting pot of a city is home to around the clock entertainment, flavorful dishes, and amazing architecture. With a variety of festivals popping up constantly, popping up constantly, New Orleans always has something to fun to do. Check out the famous Bourbon Street for some of the best jazz music the United States has to offer, or dare to walk through the infamously haunted French Quarter.

Spring break doesn’t have to be a party in Cancun. While that might seem fun, consider using this free week to travel to some unforgettable places. By the way, feel free to invite me!

What to Take Home Over Spring Break

Packing Your Bags for Spring Break = Less Finals Stress!

Want an easy way to make your finals week less stressful, before you even head home for spring break? Take home as MUCH as you can! Here is a short DO’s and DON’T’s list for spring break packing (if you’re headed home!)

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DO take you winter coat, scarves, hats and gloves. The bulkier the stuff you take home now, the less you have to deal with fitting it next to your comforter while studying for finals.

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DON’T take all of your sweatshirts home. There might be days when it still gets cold out, so just keeping your T-shirts and shorts handy isn’t helpful.

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DO take winter outfits and clothes you don’t wear so often. There’s no point in keeping it around if you aren’t going to wear it anyway.

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DON’T take your rain jacket. April showers bring May flowers.

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DO take home extra bags, notebooks, your third set of sheets- the extra stuff laying around that you never use and just takes up space.

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DON’T leave any textbooks or notes behind when you head back to campus!

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Following this list will not only lighten your packing load and stress at the end of the semester, but will also give your dorm room a (likely) much needed spring cleaning!

Tips For Planning An Affordable Spring Break

If you’re planning a spring break trip with your friends, now is the time to crack down on your planning.  Finding an affordable trip is easier than you might think.  Here are a few tips to help you get started!

1. Do your research.

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Look into every deal you can find for the places you’re thinking about going.  Check Groupon, Airbnb, Expedia, Priceline, etc.  Make sure you find the best deal for the kind of trip you want.  Really explore your options so you can find the trip that’s right for you.

2. Set a budget and stick to it.

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Make sure you know how much you have to spend and plan accordingly.  Include any potential spending money you’ll need while you’re there.  If you’re not going to an all-inclusive resort, factor in your food and beverage expenses.  If you’re doing any non-free activities, make sure you’re prepared for the costs.

3. Read the fine print.

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Some hotels and getaway deals have extra and hidden fees.  Read everything before you book your stay/trip to make sure there are no surprises.  Be certain of the costs before you agree to anything.

4. Be open-minded.

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Don’t be too set on a specific place.  Just know the type of vacation you want to have (i.e. warm weather, beach resort, city, ski/snowboard trip, etc.)  Depending on the popularity of the place, the dates you’re going, and the amount of people you’re travelling with, some places/hotels will be more expensive.  Being open to different places can help you find a more affordable trip.

5. Split costs where you can.

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Find rooms that sleep more people.  Split the cost of the rental car or gas if one of you has your own car that you can take.  Go in as a group on snacks and/or groceries.  Anything that can be a shared cost, share it.

The 5 Types of People You Meet on Spring Break

5 People You Meet on Spring Breakhttp://www.residentshield.com

As you are preparing for Spring Break 2014 make sure you remember the sunscreen and consider what you are getting yourself into. This is the one week of the year where you can do anything, no questions asked, which means that you are bound to run into some interesting people. This is my list of the 5 types of people you meet on Spring Break.

 1. The Hot Mess

Hot Messhttp://thepotpapers.com

You know who I’m talking about. This is the girl that’s been having too much fun, who either winds up sleeping in the bathtub to be near the toilet or left alone to sob about her ex, friends or for no reason at all. This could also be the guy that has to be dragged to bed before 8 p.m. Watch out for this type, otherwise you are in for a long night of trouble.

2. The Buzz Kill

The Buzz Killhttp://www.iqpartners.com

This is more than likely the friend who is merely trying to look out for you… a bit too much. They want an update every 5 minutes of your location and if you don’t text them, they call a search party out for you. On the one hand it’s good to go on Spring Break with someone like this but make sure they aren’t going to cramp your style.

3. The Socialite

The Socialitehttp://collegelifestyles.org

Comparable to the lifestyle of a vampire, the socialite is nowhere to be seen in the day time hours. No one knows who she is, what her story is or where she’s been all day. As soon as it gets dark, she is at every club, party and gathering you can think of! The crazy part is that she knows EVERYONE. Mission: find this type of person.

4. The Eye Candy 

The Eye Candyhttp://www.teen.com

Ladies, let’s be honest, when you are on Spring Break there is more eye candy than you can handle. There is always one that you set your sights on though. He’s always surrounded by other girls and appears to be the descendant of a Greek God. This type of person keeps you busy all week but don’t be too shy to go up and say hello.

5. The Wild Child 

The Wild Childhttp://www.ufoparasail.net

This type of person is easily recognizable because they are more than likely participating in the craziest Spring Break games, parasailing in the ocean, riding a banana boat or jumping from their hotel patios. They seem to have no fear in anything, so be careful of this type of person and have 911 on speed dial.

4 Alternative Spring Break Ideas

With March just around the corner, Spring Break will be here before you know it. With more free time than usual, you may be tempted to spend the entire break watching cat videos but there are plenty of alternative Spring Break options to make the most of your time off.

1. Travel

Vacationing over spring break is an obvious and popular choice. Shake off your cabin fever from spending all winter indoors with a nice getaway. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or exotic (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt) to be an amazing vacation. For any traveling needs like finding out flight, hotel or car rental prices, Kayak.com is one of the leading search websites in doing so. World Map


2. Volunteer

Spending time helping others is always time well spent. Spring break is a fabulous time to help out around your community or in another city. Some colleges even offer programs to volunteer in communities abroad. Habitat for Humanity is a great organization to get involved in as a student, for more information, you can see if your college has a campus chapter at http://www.habitat.org.  

Habitat for Humanity


3. Get Organized

The middle of the semester is a good time to get organized. Clearing out old papers from last semester and cleaning up your living space will make a huge difference in your work ethic and stress level. When you are throwing all those papers away, remember to recycle. Its a great option to take when getting organized because not only are you cleaning up, you are doing something good for the environment, and if you would like to know more about recycling check out Earth911.

 Messy desk


4. Revamp and Refresh

With winter gone, a new fitness routine is in order. Spring break is the perfect time to trade in your treadmill run for a run in the park or on the beach. Fresh air and sunshine are sure-fire ways to motivate your workout (and let’s face it, summer is getting dangerously close). If you would like some work out encouragement, check out some of the videos on Fitness Magazines website that you can use during your routine.



Try out this list and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the semester by the end of the break!

WARNING: By the end of your awesome spring break you may feel an urge to start a countdown to summer break. Side effects include procrastination, loss of motivation, and an urge to burn textbooks.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Spring Break

Do Try Something Different – Why not mix things up?  Living outside your comfort zone is really the only way we can change and grow, huh?  Now, no one is advocating for anyone to do something completely crazy now, just something different.  Maybe taking a little road trip with friends or checking out that local, kind-of-touristy attraction that everyone has been talking about.  Go.  Wander.  Explore.

Don’t Spend Too Much – While some of your friends may be uploading picture after picture of themselves in Punta Cana and the Dominican, you can have an awesome spring break right where you are.  Taking a road trip to the nearest beach or lake or even relaxing in your own backyard with friends and family if the weather is nice enough.  Don’t let your friends pressure you into thinking that you need to spend a ton of money to enjoy spring break.  The whole purpose of this week is to relax, unwind and have some fun and who says you have to waste hours on a plane to do so.  There are fun day trips to take wherever you are, even if you believe where if you are is the most boring place in the world.  It might take some Google searching, but checking out your town from a new perspective can lead to some amazing finds.

Do Spend One Day Doing Work – Unfortunately, some professors are ruthless.  We all have assignments do right after spring break and who wants to come back from a week off to spend a full week in the library slaving away.  What’s a day on your laptop?  Nothing.  Plus, no one says you can’t do that homework outside in the sun?

Don’t Work Too Much – For a lot of people, spring break is the chance to get some more hours at work and to catch up on all those assignments you’ve been procrastinating that are due right after break.  Make that money, work your tail off, but don’t forget to  relax too.

Do Catch Up With People – Break is a time to catch up with friends and family.  Don’t forget that break is not only a time to take care of yourself, but to show them some love too! Although many schools have differing spring breaks, if you are free, why not visit a friend at a neighboring school?

Don’t Spend All Day Online – Go out, get active, be safe and have fun!


I’m reading Fundamentals of Physics Extended

How to Pack for Spring Break

Spring break is approaching and although you’ve got the perfect location planned, booked your hotel, and requested off work for the week, you still need to pack! Packing can be either stressful or fun. Let’s start Spring Break 2012 off right with an enjoyable packing session. Obviously, the type of clothing you need will vary depending on your location. Beachside or mountaintop, I’m here to help you plan exactly what to pack for your vacation.

Beginning with beachside, boogie boards are a must! Boogie boards will ensure you a great time on the water. I found two great website where you can order boogie boards. If you’re a last minute shopper like me, try: http://www.boogieboard.org/shop. This website has same day shipping which is great for late planning! Also, they guarantee a 30 day return policy if you aren’t happy with your purchase. Another site to try is: http://www.beachstore.com/. This website will provide you with free shipping if you spend over $100. Nothing would be more fun this spring break than absorbing a good tan while soaking up the waves.

Beachside, we will need sun protection! http://www.coolibar.com/ offers a range of sunhats that are all approved by the American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Association, and the Melanoma International Foundation. They create these hats to be both fashionable and safe. Hats are made for both men and women and come in a variety of styles. The website even has a section specifically for packable hats that are made for suitcases! Hats range in a variety of colors to match any style.

Now it’s time to turn our focus to mountaintop spring break 2012! The temperature during springtime in the mountains can vary throughout one day. According to http://www.summitcove.com, “The temperature could start in the single digits when the sun rises could have you in jeans and a long sleeve tee by mid-afternoon!” We need layers! If you are a Victoria’s Secret Pink fan, you know that layers can be easy and fun! Pink has yoga pants, sweatpants, matching sweatshirts, matching under t-shirts, matching shorts, and even tanks. It’s so much fun to layer up at Victoria’s Secret!

If you’re going to the mountains, you need mountain mix! Mountain trail mix is fun, quick, and easy to make. This mix will be great to take along on your road trip, or on a hike! The recipe I like to use is from http://allrecipies.org.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup cashews, 1/4 cup peanuts, 1/4 cup almonds (optional),  1/2 cup raisins, 1 (1.69 ounce) package candy-coated milk chocolate pieces (such as M&M’s®)

Directions: Combine the cashews, peanuts, almonds, raisins, and chocolate in a bowl. Store in an airtight container to store.

This festive mix is great for your trip if you will be on the go and want a healthy treat.

So, whether you’re Beachside or Mountaintop, you are sure to be prepared for spring Break 2012! Have a great time, be safe, and don’t forget to pack for a good time!

-Speedy G.

I’m reading Celebrating Sacraments

Awesome Spring Break Destinations: No Passports Allowed

Spring break is right around the corner—finally! It’s time to spend a week on a cozy beach, in a city, or at least somewhere interesting! And the best part is you don’t need to worry about your awful passport photo. All you need is you, your gear and a friend or two. Unless you’re the loner type, in which case, bring some extra pepper spray. Let’s get these vacaciones started!

1.     South Padre Island
Don’t let its name fool you! This little bit of beach is on the southernmost tip of Texas. For those who don’t know geography well, that leaves you along the Gulf Coast. There’s tons of water activities to choose from, like parasailing or dolphin watching, horseback rides on the beach, and pools if sand isn’t your style. Fresh Gulf shrimp or some other local bites will be sure to wow your taste buds, and there are plenty of clubs and bars to keep the party going all night long.

2.     Myrtle Beach
I’m sure many of you have heard of or been to this popular spot in South Carolina. With temperatures around 70, it’s the perfect not-too-tropical-but-still-toasty beach destination! Beach houses can easily be rented for large groups so you can share the cost and the memories with ease. There’s Family Kingdom Amusement Park and Water Park if you get bored with the normal beach town agenda, along with theaters, clubs, bars, you name it! Sounds like a good time for everyone.

 3.     Las Vegas
Be careful. It’s called Sin City for a reason. Plan the ultimate high-rollers get away with your friends. Even if gambling isn’t in your budget (and you should seriously make a strict budget for gambling if you plan to), there’s still action around every corner. A wide variety of shows, like Cirque du Soleil and the Blue Man Group, will surely keep you entertained during your week off. Remember, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas—just don’t abuse it like The Hangover boys.

 4.     Crested Butte
It’s been a light winter almost everywhere, so make up for it this year with a wintery spring break ski trip in Colorado! Crested Butte is one of the best skiing destinations. If you need some serious R&R, this little town has several great spas to choose from. You’ll get back to school feeling like a whole new you. You can even give dog sledding or ice fishing a try! Talk about the best snow days ever.

5.     Santa Barbara
Everyone goes to LA, San Fran, or San Diego. Try a different Cali vacation in just-as-sunny Santa Barbara. You can choose from plenty of beaches (duh), as well as parks and picnic areas to enjoy the outdoors without always being in your swim trunks. If you love art, you can visit one of the best art museums in the country: Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Though there’s many other galleries and museums to choose from. Exercise nut? There’s plenty of trails to take your bike on or hike around; you’ll be so busy pedaling your break away, your friends will be envious of your buffed bod when you return.

 6.     Jackson Hole
 Haven’t heard of it? It’s a small-ish ski town in Wyoming. This is another need-to-go-to vacation spot for you snow bunnies. If you don’t know how to ski, it is said this spot is the best place to begin. By the end of your trip, you’ll be a pro (unless you’re really uncoordinated, just not meant to ski or hate the snow so much you don’t put an effort in). Like Crested Butte, Jackson Hole boasts many great spa options and shopping. And if you have a late spring break, you just might get to be part of its Mountain Festival on March 30th! So if you’re without snow and itching to ski, get your booty to Wyoming.

 7.     Oahu
This is the place to be if you love luaus, beachy time and relaxation. You can even go island hopping! Instead of getting your athlete on in the snow, do it in the water! At an average of 80º year round, the water is perfect for shark encounters, kite boarding, surfing and snorkeling—just don’t get eaten. Golf courses, beaches, cave exploring, or seeing the endangered parrots are just the tip of the iceberg (though you won’t find any here) for this island dream vacay. Don’t forget your sun screen!

 8.     Ocean City
No, not where Marissa tragically died along with the TV show. Travel to Ocean City, Maryland! Though it won’t be super warm like California, the weather will still likely fair around the 60s or 70s. But there’s plenty to do besides hit up beaches! Maryland crab cakes are a must (my mouth is watering at the thought), as well as seeing the famous Assateague ponies, just 9 miles from the main city and surrounded by great nature trails for a day trip. Their downtown area is known for its history, so take a few steps backwards by visiting the Life-Saving Station Museum.

 9.     Salt Lake City
Though they’re sadly won’t be any Olympics going on, there’s still plenty to do in this great Utah city! Plus, you can visit the Olympic venues to lessen your sorrows. Temple Square downtown is another popular spot, with guided tours, interactive exhibits, and more. Plus it features the largest genealogy library in the world. Salt Lake also has a nice art collection, for all the art lovers (like moi) in the crowd. Depending on the weather, you can add winter or spring athletics to the itinerary too! So, basically, come to Salt Lake to do some sight-seeing and wish for the Olympics.

 10.  New Orleans
A little too late for Mardi Gras, but that isn’t all this historical city has to offer! There are plenty of festivals to choose from in March, like Soul Fest at the Audubon Zoo celebrating African American culture or Saint Patrick’s Day Festivities from the 11th-18th, with big parades, street parties that rival Mardi Gras and some delicious Louisiana grub. You can also visit the many different areas of the city, including the French Quarter, full of beautiful architecture, plenty of museums, and—of course—tasty treats. There’s so much to do, I hardly even know what to write about next! Take it from me, there won’t be a single dull moment.

Feliz vacaciones mis amigos!


I’m reading Anthropology: Appreciating Human Diversity

How to Stay Safe on Spring Break

Spring Break is right around the corner and while it is a lot of fun in the sun, safety is key.  Here are some important safety tips to remember!

-If you plan on driving to your SB destination, make sure you buckle up! Police are very strict about seatbelts, especially on interstates and highways, and won’t hesitate giving you a ticket. You don’t want to start your spring break off with a ticket! Also, take turns driving. These road trips can be pretty long, and as much as we all like to sleep during car rides, you need to let your friends sleep too! And if you are riding shot gun, stay up and keep your friend company, you don’t want them falling asleep at the wheel!

-Once you get to the beach: drinking + sun= sunburn and bad hangover. The sun can increase the effects of alcohol. So, take it slow, and stay hydrated (with water, not just alcohol). Also, don’t spend the entire week of SB in pain because you got burnt on the first day, WEAR SUNSCREEN.

-When drinking.. drink smart. I know spring break is all about partying and having fun, but BE RESPONSIBLE. Pace yourself, especially with hard alcohol. Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, so you don’t overwhelm yourself. And if you decide to drink on the beach, know the liquor laws. You don’t want to get arrested just for trying to have fun. Last but not least, have a plan on how you will be getting back to your hotel/resort. NO DRINKING AND DRIVING!

-While swimming: Don’t be an idiot. First off, no drinking while you are in the water. Secondly, pay attention to the flags on the beach. Red= stay out of the water because of strong undertow and rip tides. This is dangerous because even the most qualified swimmers can get caught in and undertow. Yellow= use caution in the water because of a possibility of an undertow and ripples. Blue= calm water and you can swim safely.

-If you plan on drinking and sitting in the hot tub at the same time, think again. This might seem like a good idea, but drinking in a hot tub can cause the alcohol to dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure a lot faster than usual. This can lead to unconsciousness and drowning. So, just scratch that idea.

-When going out: use the buddy system! It’s the safest way to be. You can look out for each other and help get each other home. Also, be aware of drugs in drinks. Don’t take drinks from people you have just met. Watch the bartender the whole time they are making your drink. Some symptoms of being drugged are: dizziness, confusion, slurred speech, and difficulty standing. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or your friends, get your group together and get out of there! If the symptoms seem to be severe, go to a hospital ASAP!

Have a blast and remember stay safe!

This is a guest post from our wonderful intern Haeli Denton. Many thanks to her!