Happy spring break, everyone! Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine made the week of partying look batsh-t insane in "Spring Breakers," but we're here to tell you what to really expect. If you're in college and doing the standard spring break shenanigans in [insert location with warm weather here], we've got some words of wisdom to share. Listen up...
You'll have a better time if you keep your expectations in check.
If you hype up spring break to be THE BEST WEEK EVER, you'll probably be disappointed. It's something to look forward to, sure, but it's only a vacation with friends -- you can't assume it'll be an epic journey of personal awakening and transcendence. Just go with the flow, and it may actually be the best week ever.
You'll be absolutely exhausted after the first day or so.
Unless you're superhuman, your ability to rally will quickly fade after a redeye flight and jet lag. After a few days of nonstop partying, you'll want to stay in for a night or two or three or, like, the rest of your vacation.
Bottled water is your BFF because stomach sickness is real
If you're traveling abroad for break, be careful when it comes to food and drink. I'm not talking about just booze here, either. Even if you have an iron stomach, the water could make you violently ill, and it's very easy to accidentally consume water even when you don't mean to. Food that's been washed with tap water but hasn't been cooked -- stuff like fruit or salads -- could make your stomach turn upside down.
If you're hanging out by a bar, make sure tap water isn't sneaking into your drink. Ask what type of water the ice cubes are made of. At home, it's NBD if a bartender waters down your shots, but abroad, a bit of tap water in your drink could land you in the bathroom for the rest of break.
Pack Imodium and Pepto Bismol.
See #2. You're better off safe than sorry, just sayin'.
Hotel staff aren't joking when they tell you to quiet down.
Not every hotel or resort is spring break-friendly. Know what you're getting yourself into before you book rooms for 50 of your closest friends. Take it from someone whose entire friend group got kicked out of our hotel halfway through the week because we were too rowdy.
If you go abroad, don't expect people to know English.
Teach yourself a few key phrases in the country's native language before landing there. It will come in handy.
You'll likely lose something.
Your keys, some cash, your favorite lipstick, your shoes ... hopefully it's not your pants. Moral of the story? Don't bring your most prized possession with you to a never-ending party.
Set multiple alarms when you need to catch a flight.
Someone in your friend group will miss their flight, guaranteed, and it will probs be because they partied too hard the night before and woke up late. For international flights, get to the airport at least two to three hours early. You need extra time to check your baggage in and get through that insanely long security line.
Give yourself a few recovery days AFTER you get back.
You'll likely be paying for this week well after you arrive back on campus, so plan accordingly. Expect to spend a few days in bed -- a hangover that's accumulated over the course of an entire week is basically hell, and a stomach virus doesn't care that you have class first thing Monday morning. Ugh.
You'll wish you went home for break instead.
No matter how nice the beaches are or how many awesome people you're meeting on alternative spring break or the like, part of you will wish you could vegetate on the couch in your pajamas. Spring break doesn't really feel like a true break when you still have stuff to do 24/7.
(If you do go home instead, your parents will treat you like you're still in high school. You probably already figured this one out over winter break. Not much has changed since then.)
You'll have work to do when you get back. Sorry.
Even if you're lucky enough to not have an exam or an assignment due immediately after break, you'll likely still have to crank out a few internship applications.
Your memories of break will be more positive or negative than you felt in the moment.
In a 2003 study about memory biases, psychologists surveyed spring breakers both during break and following their return to the real world. The research shows that we remember spring break as being more awesome or more sucky than it actually was in the moment. This means that one or two crappy experiences -- missing a flight, having a particularly rough morning -- probably isn't going to override all the more positive things that happen over break.
Just enjoy the time off while it lasts, because next week you'll be back in class.