Across the country, students are preparing for their spring break.
Every year between the last week of February and the first week of April, college students often migrate south to enjoy a week off from classes in warmer weather. Last year alone, an estimated 53 percent of millennials planned to travel over their school’s recess, according to a study by TripAdvisor, Viator and Offers.com.
Spring break at Salt Lake Community College begins March 18 and lasts until March 22. Students who are making plans for the week should study up on what they need to make the most of their break.
Cody Stevenson, a full-time SLCC student and business major, plans to visit Cancun during his time off and says the crowds don’t faze him. He and his family have been visiting this popular spring break destination in Mexico at this time of year for a long time. Due to a travel advisory released in November of last year by the U.S. Department of State and Bureau of Consular Affairs, however, he and his family will be taking extra precautions during this year’s visit.
“We’ve been to Mexico a lot, but are still going to need to be careful to not leave our resort at night and stay away from certain areas,” Stevenson says.
The advisory urges travelers to practice increased caution while visiting Mexico, due to recent crime and violence. In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warns travelers of health risks, like the Zika virus, that still pose a concern in areas of Mexico, Central and South America, Pacific Islands and the Caribbean.
“Spring break is about having fun, but people need to plan ahead and be aware of their surroundings,” Stevenson says.
Coastal cities throughout the United States are also ramping up for the boom in travel that this time of year brings. While many are looking forward to the economic boost brought on by the high amounts of spending made by vacationers, others are cracking down.
Police Departments in Miami and along Alabama’s Gulf Coast issued letters to hundreds of universities earlier this year reminding students that unlawful and rowdy behavior will not be tolerated. This comes after incidents of violence, sexual assault, and an increase in drug and alcohol related arrests that occurred over spring break in recent years.
A study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that 11 percent of students drink to the point of blacking out during spring break, and 32 percent report drinking to the point of hangover.
Fatal traffic accidents also go up by more than 9 percent during this time, and even more among drivers visiting other states, according to a study published by the Economic Inquiry.
Mallory Bell, a full-time SLCC student and communication major, says she’s opting out of traveling over spring break this year.
“My husband and I plan on traveling at the end of the semester to avoid the crowds,” she says.
According to Bell, many of the popular tourist destinations she’s visited in the past have been crowded and overpriced during spring break. This year, she says she plans to instead catch up on schoolwork, ski with family, and rest.