6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going on Spring Break

March is just one of those months where you have no idea what to expect. Between March Madness and the old cliche “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb,” it really is an unpredictable time of year. You can go from a snowstorm to a nice 70-degree day.

But one thing is certain about this rather hectic time of year: SPRING BREAK! Whip out your hot pink ski masks and get ready to party in paradise like James Franco. Whether you’re staying Stateside in Miami or dusting off your passport to hit up Cancun with your sorority sisters, there’s a few things to keep in mind before jetting off.

Take it from me, your older sister who you just haven’t met yet.  At the ripe old age of 26 I’ve “Been there. Done that.”

Apologies in advance if I come across as a grandma in this article, but my hope is that by reading this, you’ll have an even better spring break with as many Natty Lights as your heart desires.

When I was in college, I went on a spring break in Cancun, 2 in Miami for Ultra Music Festival and 1 in the Dominican Republic. These tips apply to those destinations and then some.

So without further ado, here are 5 things I wish I knew before going on spring break.

Party hard but party responsibly!

  • Always get travel insurance: This is seriously a no-brainer and I can’t believe so many people risk traveling without it. If you’re staying in the US, you should be okay on your regular health insurance plan (or maybe mom and dad’s? Thanks guys!). But as soon as you cross into international waters, the stakes are higher if you have an accident of any kind. This includes the crazy high bill for getting your stomach pumped after a night of drinking too much or riding in an ambulance. Drunk people do all kinds of dumb things - you wouldn’t want to pay $1,000s just for a broken toe, would you? Try World Nomads - they’re affordable and will cover you for a vacation in most destinations around the world.
  • Get a traveler’s credit card. They’re so useful because they don’t have foreign transaction fees. Because you pay the going market rate, you’ll save hundreds of dollars in the end. Cards that do tack on a fee for international purchases often charge an extra 2%, sometimes as high as %10 percent from local vendors. It sounds small but it really adds up after a bunch of beers and dinners out. If you go to an all-inclusive resort, you can put the whole trip on your credit card and rack up a lot of points which will later 3translate to more travel. Free travel, too.
  • Don’t take gifts from strangers. If a local gives you a present, you should be really careful. I know that sounds weird, but Spring Breakers tend to accidentally double as drug smugglers. I met this middle-aged Australian lady in Cambodia who took a backpack from a man who she thought was her South African boyfriend, only to find out that he was actually a Nigerian Drug Lord. That backpack had 2k of heroin secretly stuffed into the lining. Obviously, this is an extreme example, but this poor woman wound up in jail because of a gift she took. Use your intuition and be careful.
  • Buy your toiletries ahead of time. In fact, you should get a Convenience Kit. The name honestly says it all - they’re very convenient.  They make travel toiletries a whole lot easier (since everything you need comes in one pre-packaged kit). Its also more affordable to buy 5-6 toiletries in one of their packs, versus individually at Walmart or Target. They make a ton of different ones, all with typical brands from Unilever, Proctor & Gamble and other household names. Individual toiletry sized shampoo costs me $1 or even $1.50 in NYC but if you order a Convenience Kit online you can get 6 of them for $6.
  • Stay hydrated.  Last but not least, I know, I’m really going to sound like a mom for saying this, but don’t forget to drink a lot of water. It’ll balance out all the alcohol you’ll be drinking, plus you’re going to spend so much time in the sun. Which leads to my next tip, a bonus if you will...
  • Please wear sunscreen! Whether it’s because you don’t want to be wrinkled by the time you’re 30 or because you actually care about your precious skin and don’t want to look like a lobster, it’s a great idea to lather up in the mornings. Buy it in the States, too, rather than waiting ‘til the last minute, because sunscreen tends to be more expensive abroad, especially at resorts near beachy destinations like Mexico or the Dominican Republic.

In any case, no matter where you vacation for spring break, have an amazing time with your friends or families and enjoy that well-deserved break from college! I'll just leave you with this James Franco meme .