Vacation fantasies becoming staycation realities

When many people fantasize about spring break, they imagine what is depicted in movies — elaborate trips to destinations like Cancun and Key West and excursions to encounter love at first sight with a sun-drenched surfer boy or girl. Many kids grow up looking forward to what could be a highlight of their high school or college years, but wind up getting their dreams crushed because spring break trips like these are completely unrealistic.

Not too many college students can afford these sorts of trips and usually end up spending their spring breaks at home. I don’t even know anyone who’s going away for spring break. Now with the movie “Spring Breakers” coming soon, and the airing of “MTV Spring Break” just around the corner, I may throw my TV out the window if I see any more of this glamorized idea of being swept off my feet on a white, sandy beach — especially if I can’t even afford the plane ticket.
First, consider why you need to go far away for spring break. How much do people really need to have a great spring break? All you need is a beach and friends, and the good times should unfold just right. You have your friends and South Florida has a ton of beaches. Plus, some of us have friends who live on the beach or the Intracoastal. They may have a boat and you can spend time together on the water.

If you don’t want to spend a whole week at the beach, South Florida has a lot of lively fun places to go to, like Las Olas, Beach Place, Lincoln Road, Downtown Delray and Wynmoor Design District. As a South Florida native, I often get tired of the same beaches and other attractions. It’s not uncommon to think that one could be spending their vacation somewhere better. But many students at other universities or natives of other states are chomping at the bit to go to Fort Lauderdale and Miami. While South Florida does not present any novelty to us at NSU, it’s important to appreciate what’s around us. We are lucky to able to say that we live or attend school in a popular vacation spot. We can make the most of spring break without driving eight hours straight or flying out of the country.

In addition, think about how much money can be saved by staying in South Florida this spring break. Spring break comes with an extremely expensive price tag. There are the essential costs for air fare or gas money — depending on method of travel, plus fees for additional transportation, the hotel and food. But, sometimes, it doesn’t stop there. Maybe, if you are the water sports type, you may want to rent equipment like waterskis or parasails.  You may also want to buy a swimsuit or some kind of souvenir — especially if there are local artisan shops. According to current hotel and airline prices, along with the average costs of recreational activities and restaurant prices, the total adds up to about $1,000 as a minimum amount for a week.

There are ways to save, but, sometimes what travelers choose to save money on is really what should be an important vacation investment. For example, decent hotel rooms often cost around $250 a night. Usually the only way to get good housing is to rent a small house and split the cost with a large group of 10 or more people. Otherwise, you may wind up in a shack filled with roaches and bad plumbing.

On many of my spring breaks, I haven’t stayed home, but I haven’t traveled far. I’ve gone to what I fondly call “Camp Glass”. No, this is not a summer camp.  I’ve spent most of the week with some of my friends, and all of us have stayed at the house of our best friend, whose last name is Glass, for a few days. We spent a lot of time on his boat wake-boarding, tubing and just hanging out. Then, when we weren’t in the mood for that, we would all go out somewhere at night or stay home to watch movies or play Wii in a room Glass’s family has with movie theater chairs and speakers.

With all of the activities South Florida has to offer, perhaps create your own “Camp Glass” and have all the adventures and shenanigans of spring break in the comforts of a friend’s home. It may not be like MTV’s version of spring break, but you’ll have a wonderful time.

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