The coming of spring break means different things to different people, especially if you live in colder climate states. So whether your idea of spring break is hanging out and relaxing near a beach in the sun or traveling to places like Thailand to see different scenery, one thing is clear: the 2,000-year-old spring break tradition makes this a popular time for adults, students, and families to travel, which means waiting is not an option.
Fortunately, some spring break stressors – like dealing with hotel rates, large crowds, and safety concerns – can be minimized by simply planning ahead of time and taking certain precautions before you make decisions. That said, if you or a loved one plan on heading to a destination that’s on everyone’s list, here are some traveling tips to help you can plan a stress-free vacation and save on things like flights, rooms, and food expenses.
Do Your Research on Your Destination Ahead of Time: Since the turn of the century, U.S. officials have warned travelers about going south of the border, which means if you decide to go south, do your research ahead of time. So your best bet this year might be to stay here – in the United States. But staying within the border doesn’t mean that you’ll be 100 percent safe, and it doesn’t mean you should stop doing your research on your destination. That’s because there are cities within the U.S. that travelers simply shouldn’t travel to alone – like Detroit, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri just to name a few.
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With that in mind, once you’ve figured out your budget, the next thing you should do is choose your destination. Are you planning on going overseas, or staying domestic? These are questions you should think about while planning your trip since they can help you narrow down your list. If you plan on going away for 1-2 weeks, then you’ll want to spend as little time as possible traveling. On the other hand, if you’re staying at your destination longer than 2 weeks, then you’ll have more options when it comes to choosing a location. If you’re struggling with a destination, talk to a family member and see what their thoughts are and keep an open mind.
Make Sure Your Insurance Is Valid at Your Location: It’s the last thing we think about when we’re on vacation, but the first thing we think about when things go wrong with our health. That’s right, health insurance. Medical care is already expensive no matter where you are, but once you travel outside your coverage area, your rates could double, triple, and even quadruple due to the out-of-network fees. So if you decide to travel abroad – to Canada or Mexico, for example – then your medical insurance won’t likely matter. This means that you’ll more than likely have to everything out-of-pocket with cash or a credit card.
The best thing to do in this case is to call your healthcare provider and ask them what the rates will be if you need medical attention outside of your network. The insurance provider will either cover the fees or tell you about different payment plans you do. Make sure you listen to them and take their advice. You’d be surprised to know that a couple of stitches could cost as much as the entire trip, which would simply take all the fun out of the vacation. Right?
Keep Your Guard Up: It’s easy for people traveling with their families to get swept up in the fantasy-like feeling of spring break, but it’s important to stay alert and be weary of putting your trust in strangers on the road. If you’re talking to someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, for example, inform those around you and make sure to keep an eye on your children.
If you have a teenager, however, and are traveling within the U.S., then a smart phone will do the trick. On the other hand, if you’re traveling internationally, then things can get a little tricky with roaming rates; so look for other alternatives like wi-fi calling. Whatever the case, communication is key here when it comes to staying safe and keeping your guard up.
As a final point, if you’re on a family road trip in an unfamiliar location, whether in the woods or in a city, it’s important to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. In urban environments, you should always stay in well-lit, well-populated, and well-secured areas. When you and your family are out roaming the neighborhood, keep an eye on things. During the day and especially at night, keep your eye on your belongings and the people around you. As soon as things don’t feel right, relocate.
Shop at Local Stores and Farmers’ Markets: Shopping at local grocery stores or markets can save you a lot of money on your trip in the long run. Why? Well, because they offer local food, which refers to any food that’s traveled less than 400 miles from its original location. There are a number of people, however, who believe the term “local” refers to anything that’s traveled less than 100 miles to reach their plate.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what buying local food means – whether that means food grown near you or food grown by someone you can have a personal conversation with. However you define it, locally grown food is always a safer, healthier option when it comes to food consumption. So if you decide to travel during spring break, remember, just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you have to splurge on food.
Now that you’re more equipped with spring break travel tips, the only thing left to do is go out and have fun.
Thanks for the read! Did I miss anything important? What are some other ways spring breakers can enjoy their time away from home on vacation? Feel free to leave a comment below.
H. Davis : H. Davis enjoys escaping to the outdoors whenever he can. If you can’t find him online reading up on traveling tips, you might be able to catch him at the gym or watching sports (Go, Broncos!).
Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241. Thanks!