1 Spring Break | The Billfold

Spring Break

“Back in the day, people bought the cheapest deals—a mattress on the floor,” Jason Chute, StudentCity’s director of operations, told me. “You can’t even give those away now. It’s basically, ‘If I’m not going to the top place, I’m not going at all.’”

Allie Conti’s piece looking at the big business of spring break for Vice reminds me of my own college spring break experiences, which were mostly buying a bunch of snacks and supplies and going camping with friends in Yosemite. It wasn’t exactly cheap for students with little or no income, but it was much cheaper than a flight and shared hotel in Cancún, which, based on what I saw on MTV or in the box office dud From Justin to Kelly, didn’t look like my kind of thing (although I may be into massive choreographed dance sequences on the beach).


21 Comments / Post A Comment

rorow (#1,665)

while i don’t go for the best of the best (if i could afford it, i’m sure i would) but i always feel 100% justified in spending money on travel when i wouldn’t spend it on anything else. i won’t randomly book a week to Mexico, but if a friend is getting married on a beautiful island somewhere, i’ll stay a few days extra. i always extend work trips (for instance, i’m currently eyeing a layover in Moscow and seeing how i could turn it into 4 days.)

i love travel, but it’s one of the biggest costs in my life. while i’m trying to cut out shopping and things that i care less about, i just can’t imagine ever turning down a vacation when it presents itself.

is this… wrong?

cmcm (#267)

@rorow I don’t think going to Mexico to get hammered with a bunch of kids from your American university and never leaving the beach/club counts as ‘travelling’.

limenotapple (#1,748)

How are students paying for “elite” spring break trips?

andnowlights (#2,902)

@limenotapple There’s a reason for that several thousand dollar average student loan debt in the US. A lot of people I knew in college financed their spring break with loan money, then didn’t live on hardly anything the rest of the semester and didn’t have jobs.Not saying EVERYONE did that, but a lot do.

Worker Parasite (#2,292)

@andnowlights Which is one reason why I’d be choked if tax dollars were used to forgive student loan debt.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Worker Parasite Ha ha, following me around the Billfold today? Nice to “meet” you! And I totally agree. If they use tax dollars to forgive student loans, I will try my damndest to use every tax loophole imaginable and look into tax shelters. I am NOT paying for spring breaks and party nights when I didn’t do either of those. I will be in big budget trouble if taxes go up again and I’m trying to pay off my husbands student loans!

Worker Parasite (#2,292)

@andnowlights Hah, we’re on the same commenting wavelength today – I didn’t even notice until you mentioned it!

honey cowl (#1,510)

“I forgot how I ended up watching From Justin To Kelly but I know it was free: The Mike Dang story”

cmcm (#267)

I cannot think of a single thing worse than that.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

Today we learned that Mike Dang is one of the 10 people that actually saw From Justin to Kelly…the more you know!

aeroaeroaero (#1,422)

Thank you for reminding me about From Justin to Kelly, the cinematic masterpiece of 2003.

bgprincipessa (#699)

I was guilted into doing spring break my senior year (“It’s your only chance!” “We’re all going to be in different places soon!” “What else would you do??” etc etc ad nauseam). It was an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. The buffet sucked. The food in the restaurants was decent. It rained half the trip and we didn’t have alternate activities. Counter-intuitively, I also managed to get sun poisoning and spent a night sick. We didn’t leave the beach. Every time my friends got drunk they ended up in a fight/starting drama, usually in a very public place. Half my graduating class was at the same place as us.

….no thanks, ever again. I’m trying to remember how much that trip cost me. I want to say at least in the $1200 range, not including some incidental expenses (hotel room for the night before our flight out, tips..)

MaxBraverman (#3,273)

I feel like I’m the only one who just went home and hung out with their parents and worked at their old job for a month.


Brunhilde (#78)


Brunhilde (#78)

One time for Spring Break we drove from San Diego to the Grand Canyon to camp and it rained and then it froze and we got up at 6 am to try to find coffee and warm up but the zipper of our tent was frozen but we finally got out and then I saw the sun rise over the grand canyon and a lady let us stand next to the fireplace in her shop on the canyon rim to thaw out and then we got the hell out of there and spent the rest of spring break with our friend who lives in Vegas.

I don’t know why my internal monologue is going all Ron Burgandy this morning. I’m kind of hung over, I guess.

I had no money and was far away from home, so my first spring break was spent living in an empty residence while everyone but me and two international students went home/travelling. Every one after that was spent desperately trying to catch up on assignments, which never worked because all the profs assigned huge reports for the week after with the assumption that we’d have unlimited time to work on it during “Reading Break”. Whoo hoo?

I spent my first college spring break doing a school-sponsored “externship” at a local radio show. I researched colon cleanses and childbirthing practices in sub-Saharan Africa and called around to all the African embassies to get on their press lists. Somehow my personal email got on one of the press lists, and I’ve never been able to unsubscribe. 7 years later, I still get an email from them about once a week.

Subsequent spring breaks were spent at school, writing the papers my professors expected me to turn in the week after spring break.

The only time I went anywhere for spring break was my first year of grad school, when I visited a buddy who lived in Orlando. We read a lot, took a lot of naps, and spent two days at Disney for free because his boyfriend’s dad worked there. It was pretty great, actually.

sea ermine (#122)

I did spring break once! For the first three years I just went home and did homework (why did all of my professors decide to give big assignments right before break?). But during my senior year I made my first friends during college and also started dating a guy, and neither one of us had ever gone on spring break before so we decided to do it.

We went to Savannah, GA and it was lovely! We borrowed a car from his parents and it was a van that let you fold the seats down flat in the back so we could cover it with my duvet and a mattress topper and sleep back there. We slept at truck stops on the drives down and back up because they were free and well lit and super safe (to shower I filled a spray bottle with half dr bronners and half water and sprayed myself and then wiped off with wet washcloth). After the first night in Savannah my parents lent me $75 so we could stay in a hostel the rest of the time, because the truck stop right outside of Savannah was really small and poorly lit and by this dark highway and it was super scary. Also, it was nice to finally have a real shower.

For food we stopped at grocery stores on the drive down and up (and the hostel was right across from a Kroger!) so we just bough bread and kept lunchmeat and mustard in a cooler and sometimes bags of grapes and made packed lunches the whole time.

It was nice because Savannah is soooo pretty so you can just walk around and the weather was nice so we could hang out in the park and stuff and do so much for free. Also, Savannah doesn’t have open container laws in the historic section of town so one night I got a Tom Collins to go and just strolled around by all the Spanish Ivy and slowly walked back the the hostel.

I think gas was $200 total and we spent maybe $50-100 on food (for two people for 5 days including treats in the little shops (there is a honey shop!!!)) and maybe another $50 combined on little souvenirs. We got that money by working extra hours in the month or two before the trip. And then my parents gave me $75 for the hostel which was lovely and prevented me from having to put that on my card (seriously, that last truck stop was scary! and all the rest were so nice looking!)

Jinxie (#2,987)

I did Spring Break once in college and even then I don’t think we did it “right”. My friend and I wanted to experience warmish weather and sit on the beach, but we didn’t want to deal with the hoi polloi in PCB or Miami so went instead to…St. Augustine. Where we stayed at a hostel, went to cheap museums, and toured the old fort. I think we spent one afternoon on the beach drinking bargain basement whiskey but quickly got bored of that and instead went on a walk to check out pretty old houses. Weee!

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