This year’s college spring break is in jeopardy. At least it will look different this year and probably make you take shorter and closer (if any) trips. Being isolated on a beach with other tourists may be the least desired outcome, though white-sand blue-water paradise is so attractive. However, you are blessed if you have the expected study-free week at all, as many universities just cancel it to prevent their students from the coronavirus. In this article, we will still recall the five most popular spring break locations to visit next year, hopefully.
Spring Break Dates and COVID-19 Measures
Spring break dates vary from region to region and may differ among universities too. Sometimes this period starts at the end of February and sometimes at the beginning of April. However, typical dates range from mid-March till mid-April. Unlike the winter or Thanksgiving breaks, the spring holiday is not associated with a family celebration. So, students often enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with friends and relax before they are back to college.
However, a year earlier, in 2020, when students returned from their spring breaks, they brought the coronavirus to campus. And for safety reasons, this year, many US universities made their input into the anti-coronavirus measures. Obviously, colleges can not directly control their students’ social life; moreover, young people often neglect the social distance restrictions and gather to have beach parties during the break. Nonetheless, colleges have a very effective anti-virus instrument to limit spring party trips called academic calendars.
Consequently, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Florida, Purdue, Ohio State, and the University of Michigan have already canceled the traditional classes-free week to prevent possible COVID-19 outbreaks. So, if you happen to miss classes then, you would be considered absent and have issues. Elimination of a one-week student vacation this spring might seem too strict and not fair (especially when other universities have it scheduled). But if we look at this from your health and studies perspectives, such a solution looks much better!
Below you can see the latest information about the spring break dates in different universities across the US. If you can’t find your college on this list, then it most probably canceled the vacation. However, you’d better check your college or university’s official site for the updated calendar plan to be 100% sure. Read on to know whether you are having the spring break this year or not.
Suppose you are among those lucky ones who will boast one week of holidays this March? Great! What are the options for you to spend that time? What will other fortunate students do to benefit from this fabulous week? Let’s recall several favorite places of the American students and hope you will be able to go there.
Popular Locations to Visit (Probably After the Pandemic)
Let’s imagine the COVID-19 restrictions exist no more, and the world returned to its normal life. Here are several unique places for you to visit:
- Daytona Beach (Central Florida)
One of the spring break homes, Daytona Beach, has 23 miles of inviting beaches and exceptional hotels on the Atlantic coast. The weather is always warm in March-April, and you even can swim in the ocean then! Though almost every hotel boasts a warmed swimming pool as students adore having fun in it. Daytona Beach hosts the hottest night parties, so it is a real spring break fantasy for most students. A young, dynamic, and always fun atmosphere spreads across Daytona’s every location, so hundreds of students to have an exceptional vacation experience.
- Panama City Beach (North Florida)
The PCB has 27 miles of amazing blue-water beaches of the Gulf Coast that you definitely heard or read about before. This fascinating place is full of beach nightclubs that are always open. Students from the whole country drive to this exceptional location to enjoy the spring-break paradise on the earth. If you want to party 24/7, come to Panama City Beach, as parties never stop here. You can always find your budget options to join your old and find new friends in PCB this year.
- Cancun (Mexico)
Zona Hotelera is Cancun’s electrified passage of hotels with soft-sand beaches and deep-blue waters. The sun, beach bars with exotic cocktails, exciting parties near the pools – are usual daytime activities in Cancun. You should also visit Mayan city Chichen Itza’s ruins with its most famous El Caracol pyramid – one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Or explore Cozumel waters during a cruise from Cancun to see one of the biggest coral reefs. Still, nightlife in Cancun will enchant you as you join other spring breakers from all over the world in this mini Las Vegas. Incredible light shows and party-zone dance floors will leave you with unforgettable memories.
- Cabo San Lucas (Mexico)
Cabo San Lucas’s town, located at the Baja California Peninsula, is one of the most trendy places to spend a student’s vacation. At its famous Arch, you will see how the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez join their pure waters. The nightlife and vitality of Cabo San Lucas attract thousands of young people from many countries. A few taxi ride minutes will take you to the fantastic Medano Beach full of bars standing right in the swimmable water. Jet skis, glass-bottom boats, jet packs, and parasailing is not all the daytime activities you will see in Cabo San Lucas. As the sunset comes, the beach turns into a giant party location. The nightclubs do not have an entrance fee, so you can go from one spot to another until you finally decide to stay.
COVID-19 Requirements in Mexico
Mexico’s government does not require you to have a negative PCR test as you enter the country and does not insist on quarantine upon arrival. But, most probably, you will be asked to complete a health declaration form in your hotel. The land border with America is currently closed, and you can travel only for a serious reason. However, flights are still available. As of January 2021, almost the whole territory of Mexico has a level of COVID-19 marked orange. Baja California Sur state, where Cabo San Lucas is located, has a yellow alert color.
Before you decide to travel to Mexico, carefully read the State Department’s Travel Advice to be sure you know the procedure for leaving and re-entering the United States at your dates of interest. It’s a pity, but as of January 2021, Mexico possesses the 4th (the highest) level of COVID-19, and The Department of State highly recommends avoiding any travel to Mexico. However, there are chances that by March, the situation can slightly change.
- Montego Bay (Jamaica)
Perfect weather, inviting white sands, and blue water of the Caribbean attracts thousands of spring breakers to Montego Bay. Unforgettable nightlife, relaxed people, different cultures, and many various activities will not let you forget any single day of your spring break. Gloucester Avenue, widely known as the Hip Strip, boasts three main beaches: Cornwell, Doctor’s Cave, and Aqua Sol. Restaurants, hotels, night clubs, and shops are all located along the Hip Strip. Rick’s Cafe will let you jump off cliffs that are 50 feet high, Margaritaville club will offer its spiral water slide that is 110ft high, or check the Dunn’s River Falls to see the cascading waterfalls that are 600 foot high. If you like gambling, visit the Coral Cliff Casino in a tropical jungle entertainment center.
COVID-19 Measures in Jamaica
Jamaica requires a COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test for US citizens who are 12 years old or above as they check-in for the flight. This test must not be older than ten days and should be done in a CLIA-registered or ISO15189-certified laboratory. In addition, you will need a travel authorization document that you can get online. Also, to protect locals and tourists, Jamaica approved so-called Resilient Corridors. These are segments where tourism service is approved and conforms to The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) requirements.
Montego Bay belongs to Part 1 of the Resilient Corridors (the Northern segment of the island). During your stay in Jamaica, you cannot leave the Resilient Corridor territory, which spans most of the coast and some areas in the South (check the official site to know the exact towns). Social distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing a mask in public places is obligatory. The Department of State advises reconsidering your visit to Jamaica due to the pandemic. Most probably, you will have to quarantine upon return. However, if you decide to go, carefully check travel authorizations, test requirements, control measures, and quarantine orders that may affect your plans.
The COVID-19 situation changes, so you will need to check if wearing a mask is required in your places of interest. Luckily, there are exemptions for eating, drinking, or exercising people, provided they keep the social distance. You should always check the mask rules in effect to comply with the local mask requirements. Therefore, these official ordinances help protect our health and be penalized once ignored – whether on purpose or unintentionally.
Early Booking Discounts
To have the best spring break experience inside the country for a modest budget, you can start booking your trip now. Some hotels allow early booking and group discounts, and some agencies propose the best values for their clients, sending spring breakers to the most popular destinations over the last decades. Traveling with friends will make your vacation experience full of new adventures, shared impressions, new friends, and a lot of fun. And in addition, group packages will cost you less, so you could spend the saved money on entertainment.
Spend the Spring Break at Home
The spring break is like a deep breath before the academic year-end. There are not so many possibilities to break from the pretty stressful studying routine while you are in college. From one point of view, these are seven full days when you can do whatever you want, but, on the other hand, seven days may go very fast. And not to feel like the time was wasted when the break is over, take a look at these ideas. Probably, one of these activities will help you feel real satisfaction.
- Find a job or try to make some cash. It’s the right time to start searching for your summer gig, a post-grade job, or even try to find a one-week side job to make some money. You could ask your friends or parents if they have an option for you.
- See your family or go somewhere with your family. If you study in another city, seeing your parents, brothers, sisters, and friends for a while could be an excellent idea. Staying at home can’t compare to anything, and your family will also be happy to see you.
- Stay on campus, enjoy the quiet, relaxed atmosphere, and sleep well. The walls of campus will help you catch up on some of your studies, if necessary. And in the daytime, you can explore the city or town you live in, as often students don’t have much time for it. If there are lovely spots in your town, watch the sunrise one day, it should be exciting.
- Do the things you love but never have time for due to multiple school activities. Whether you like watching movies at home, going to the cinema, reading, writing, drawing, playing music, or video games, do it. Or, if you like active sports like rock climbing, camping, running, biking, or skating, check the nearest locations and go there soon.
- Donate blood. If your health is good, and you feel well, it’s an excellent way to help others and earn a little. Each time you will be given $25-$50 and can donate twice a week. But before you go, check the requirements, as you can be deferred due to some minor illness, medications you take, low iron level, etc. You can learn more details on the official Red Cross site in the section for students.