Spring Break is a popular time in the United States, as schools give their students a week off from classes. Many students take this time to travel, relax, and explore new places. As an international student with an F-1 visa, you generally do not need special permission to travel within the United States. You may travel state by state as you wish, even to Alaska and Hawaii. Simply keep your passport and immigration documents with you and you can enjoy travelling within the United States freely.
After working so hard, you deserve to enjoy your time off from school. ISO is here to help you with some tips on how to make the most out of your travels. Read along for ideas on where to go, as well as how to stay healthy and informed, during your Spring Break.
With Spring Breaks usually taking place in March, you have to head south if you are looking to enjoy warmer weather. With some cold days continuing to rage on in the north and especially in the Northeast of the United States during March, heading south is your best bet. For a variety of places to browse through, with all different weather, click here.
Need Some Sun?
For places with warmer weather, Florida is among the most popular. Spots like Destin in Florida offer warm and sandy beaches with water activities like snorkeling and kayaking. The fun doesn’t have to end there, as places in Florida all along the Emerald Coast have activities like tours, zip lining, water parks, and beautiful sightseeing spots.
Other places to find some sun during your Spring Break include Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina, Palm Springs in California, and South Padre Island in Texas. Wherever you are in the United States, there is likely to be a nearby state that offers a warmer and beachier destination.
Are you a Winter Person?
To enjoy the cold weather and some snow fall before Spring officially begins, head to more northern places. Places like Colorado, Sandpoint, Idaho or West Dover, Vermont or Park City, Utah all thrive during the winter months. Not only are there winter activities to take advantage of, there are also annual festivals or concerts as well as discounted lodges during the months of March and April. For more detailed descriptions of these fun places that allow you to enjoy winter, check it out here.
Save on Travel
Long Distance Travel. For trips where you cannot avoid using a plane, make sure you shop around to get the cheapest flight possible. Click here to start your search on a site that displays student discounted flights and allows you to compare to other travel sites.
Short Distance Travel. For trips when you’re maybe crossing a few state lines, but you don’t want to spend a lot on a flight. Check out train and bus tickets, they’re often cheaper than plane tickets. For example, you might pay $140 round-trip fare on Amtrak between New York and Montreal, as compared to a plane ticket ranging from $225 to $457 for round-trip airfare.
Road Trips. To save money from buying any form of ticket, rally some of your friends and turn the trip into a road trip. It may take longer, but you can make some playlists for you and your friends to enjoy and make your road trip one that you will never forget. Click here for guides on routes and landmarks to stop and see along the way.
Save on Lodging
With platforms like Airbnb, renting is typically cheaper than booking a hotel room. On this site, you can rent a single room or an entire house. With greater competition, you can browse around to find a cheap place to stay during your Spring Break. Check out Airbnb, as well as websites like Trivago, and Expedia for hotels. The same room may be cheaper depending on the site you find it on. So, take your time and browse around to make sure you find the best deal.
Lodging Power Tip: the larger the group you are travelling with, the more it makes sense to rent through Airbnb. When the number increases, renting a larger apartment or even a house and splitting the cost by the number of friends in your group is typically going to be cheaper than booking a hotel. With specific rules on the number of occupants in a hotel room, a hotel’s expenses can quickly add up.
Stay Healthy over Break
Use a bicycle.
With rental bike services becoming increasingly popular in cities throughout the country, riding a bike is turning into a convenient and healthy alternative to driving or public transportation. Riding a bicycle is good for the environment and good for your body. Some examples of these companies are Citi Bike in NYC and Divvy in Chicago. Just download the app and enjoy the ride. Remember to stay safe: use a helmet and obey all traffic and biking rules.
Be aware of your health.
Travelling can open the door of exposure to new germs in new environments. Remember the basics of staying healthy, wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and be aware of your surroundings. While rental places can be cheaper than booking a hotel, there typically is not a cleaning service you can rely on. Sanitize anything in a rental that you use and make sure to clean up after yourself.
Think about your diet.
Vacationing means trying new foods. While this is a fun and exciting time, changes in your diet can impact your regular health. Paired with changing weather, this can cause you to feel run down, making it more likely to catch a cold. While Spring Break is a time to relax, it is just a week-long and then you have to get back into classes and start working hard again. Making sure you stay healthy during break is extremely important.