By Lena Inglis & Sheila Haya
When Jeongwoo Nahm recalls last year’s spring break recess, where he vacationed in the Pocono Mountains with a group of friends, plenty of fond memories come flooding back. The ease of travel, low overall cost of the trip and days of seemingly endless fun come to mind. So, it’s no surprise why this April, he is planning to go back.
“I went last year and had a lot of fun so my friends and I are trying to make it a yearly thing” says the 22-year-old student living in New York.
A trip to the Poconos, beats locations such as Mexico and Florida since he doesn’t need to budget for flights, making this trip, “definitely easier on the wallet.” Affordable travel is not the only reason Nahm picks the Pennsylvania mountains over bar hopping south of the border. “Lodging is cheap to find there, and there’s access to a lot of outdoor activities” said Nahm, speaking of late season ski-runs, fishing, ATV rides, as well as the massive indoor water parks.
New Trends for Spring Break
Spring Break is not what it used to be. These days, for many coeds, MTV’s Spring Break specials are far from an accurate depiction of how students spend their time off campus. Tours are catering to college students with a more refined taste in travel, finding millennials more apt to skip the predictable Cabo San Lucas trips in search of adventure, unusual destinations and local exploration. Whether heading to beach, mountain, city, or in search of the last remnants of snow, twenty-somethings are ready to seek out new experiences beyond the norm, without breaking the bank.
courtesy: Joanna Omari
Unusual destinations like Iceland with its budget friendly deals have many twenty-somethings trading in a sandy beach for a blue lagoon. “Any destination where you can pack a bikini, and snow boots is sure to have a little something for everyone” says Jennifer Lewis, a 24-year-old Baruch college senior who is looking forward to an upcoming spring break trip to Reykjavík.
courtesy: Joanna Omari
“A $320 round-trip flight to Iceland was too hard to pass up” says Lewis, and notes that she is sharing an AirBnb rental with three girlfriends totaling only $92 per person for four nights. Jennifer isn’t alone, as other New York City students are intrigued by the cold weather destination.
Joanna Omari, 29-year-old student at LaGuardia college, who has already made the trip, “didn’t want to vacation at the typical locations like everyone else” and instead sought a trip that would include beautiful scenery and fewer crowds. “It was different. I loved the ski and snow activities” she added.
Those who need a quick-beach-fix that won’t burn a hole in their wallets, are taking long weekend getaways to Florida. “My friends and I enjoy the party scene too, but a chance to soak up some sun with no homework due is what we’re looking forward to” says 28-year-old, Samiyha Jiminez, a native New Yorker who plans to visit the beaches of Miami over the recess.
Her flight is only $214 roundtrip, while a South Beach hotel package split between six friends amounts to just $188 per person. The sunshine state’s classic locations like Ft. Lauderdale and St. Pete, are always fun, as well as newer destination sweet spots like Daytona Beach, Panama City Beach, Del Ray, and Cocoa Beach, will keep spring breakers satisfied and sun-kissed.
Travel expert and Orbitz Senior Editor, Jeanenne Tornatore says that one of the hottest Spring Break trends isn’t hitting the beach or theme parks, it’s good old fashioned baseball. And from Phoenix to Florida, there are plenty of opportunities to see your favorite teams playing in the pre-season or early season for as little as $10.
Off the field, Orlando is a big hit for millennials “because it’s not just about the theme parks anymore, there’s shopping and celebrity restaurants at these destinations” says Tornatore, with nearby hotels starting as little as $110 a night.
National parks can be a satisfying alternative for coeds who can get a jump on these natural wonders before crowds of families descend upon them. Tornatore also suggests locations like Zion National Park in Utah “for its immersive programs into the local ecosystems and hiking,” the type of adventure that millennials would prefer showcasing as Sequoia-laden selfies or picturesque mountainscapes pinned up on Pinterest boards.
This generation of spring-breakers prefers to relax in off-the-grid locations that won’t have them tripping over tourists, large families or sloppy sorority girls. Students are traveling on a budget and on a short time frame, which means they want good weather, convenience and fun.
Millennials’ quest for originality seeps into their spring break plans.
Depending on your situation, the actual week of spring break varies. It doesn’t matter if you’re preparing for the recess or taking some much needed PTO (code for “personal time off” for those of us over 30).
No matter your age, we can all take a page out of the spring-breaker’s playbook and find adventurous ways to enjoy the seasonal transition from March through May.
Lena Inglis & Sheila Haya, seniors at Baruch College, are interns at travelwithval.com