By Kaylee Johnson
If I had to pick one word to describe the average college campus, I would say diverse, not only in regards to race and ethnicity, but also in students’ ages, upbringings, financial states, and interests. Yet, most students can agree that spring break is a time of revival and pleasure. As a student myself, I am keenly aware of college students who fell into poverty’s arms, and others who are on a tight budget. The following vacations are affordable for many, unique, and are universally appealing.
Although you will not be able to jump the waves and tan on the beach, you will be able to walk the Boardwalk and gamble in the casinos (if you are 21+). Many shops are open that time of the year, and the temperatures are sensational. Casinos like Resorts have indoor pools and hot tubs, which in my experience, usually prove to be vacant and serene. If you enjoy old-fashioned Italian food, try Carmine’s in Tropicana. The dishes are served family style, and the waiters always delight with their “mobster” personas and offbeat jokes. If you have a sweet tooth don’t forget to walk across the Boardwalk to It’s Sugar in the mall, or if you prefer a quainter environment, try Lick in Resorts, a personal favorite. And taffy! Another great thing about AC is that you can drive there in just a few hours.
If you are a college student trying to unwind during spring break, you are probably seeking a bit of rowdy fun. Cruises offer unlimited alcohol packages for reasonable prices. Cruise lines like Norwegian and Carnival are cheaper than Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Disney, but some of the more expensive cruise lines provide relaxing environments that Norwegian and Carnival lack. When I cruised on the Regal Princess last year, I felt like I was on vacation; finally I was able to breeze through books and bask in the sunlight. Most of my fellow cruisers were elderly, but I did not mind that, since I was with my family, and I am not a drinker or partygoer. While the parties were tame, and the nights ended earlier, I found myself enchanted by the evenings draped in elegance and ballroom dancing. The adult pool was also a huge bonus, even though there were only a handful of children onboard. Norwegian and Carnival, both of which I have cruised on, are quite different, in that they cater to a more diverse audience, and they are twenty somethings’ first choices when they want to party. If you like live music by pools, bars around each bend, and fun clubs I would recommend either of these two. Ultimately, the main goal of cruising is to explore new countries, but it is always more memorable if you savor the journey.
Walt Disney World
If you don’t enjoy drinking or partying at all, like me, consider opening your heart up to the childlike wonder that Disney has been providing for decades. Many people have written off Disney as “too expensive,” but the truth is it can be done cheaply, especially if you monitor sales and packages. Also, if a large group of your friends also want to visit Mickey Mouse, rent a large vacation home on the outskirts of Orlando. That way, you save money on food and have some extra space.
The Florida Keys
If you prefer long road trips with close friends, consider driving to the Florida Keys. It is a long drive, but the sea is picturesque and the sand is alluring. You will able to find cheap hotels near the Florida Keys, if you book ahead of time and sign up for sale alerts. Beachfront resorts are very tempting, but they tend to cost a lot more than hotels a few minutes away. Also, plan on bringing a cooler from home and packing your own drinks for beach days. It is important to stay hydrated in the Florida sun, but you don’t want to be robbed for a bottle of water!
Most people have labeled Las Vegas as a wild party destination, and it can be if you choose to engage in those types of activities, but there is also a wide range of activities that appeal to everyone. Museums, resorts, and national parks, just to name a few. Also, Vegas supplies tourists with ideal weather and a dose of essential tackiness.
The Northeast has plenty of wonderful ski slopes and tubing locations. One resort that I am particularly interested in is the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont. It is owned by the real life Von Trapp family, made famous from the classic movie, “The Sound of Music.” The lodge flaunts its stunning architecture and history, all while having impressive ski hills. Some of the grandchildren of the original family still work there!
Overall, these places have proven to delight, and accommodate ever-changing financial states, at least in my experiences. Even trips as simple as Atlantic City have proven to be blissful and relaxing. You can find joy in any trip if you search for it. I challenge you to not compare your trip to other students, whether it is New York City or Athens, Greece. Find personal contentment, and you will surely enjoy your Spring Break.
Kaylee Johnson formerly attended Adirondack Community College and now is an Education major at College of Saint Rose in Albany.