10 Critical Spring Break Hacks

For those of you who hate February, much like I do, partially because of the miserable 4:30PM-sunset-snow-hail-storm weather and partially because of the existence of Single Awareness Day, I have good news for you: the tragic month is almost over.

Now I have even better news for you: March is upon us. Everyone knows what that means…spring break is just around the corner and freedom is so close you can almost taste it. Unless you’re goal is to accomplish everything Bruno Mars does in his The Lazy Song music vid, here are some suggestions that might make your life just a little easier when you plan your spring break trip.

  1. Like the “Insider Travel” Facebook page


If you and your crew are still scrambling to find a travel destination, go ahead and “like” the Insider Travel Facebook page to gain some inspiration. Granted this will probably distract you 87% of the time while you’re on your laptop, you’re guaranteed to find a cool place to hit up for your week’s adventure. (For further inspiration, try stalking people’s Instagram feeds to see where they went for their prior trips).

  1. Following Twitter accounts from chosen city


Now that you’ve chosen your travel destination, you have to utilize all your free resources and make sure there are actually things to do in the city. For example, if I were to take my first trip to Shanghai, I would follow CityWeekend Shanghai (@cityweekend_sh). My feed would be filled with recommended restaurants to dine at, things to do for the Month of March and events to attend. This means after you finish being a giddy tourist and checking out all the landmarks, you can actually do some local activities.

  1. Download TripAdvisor app


Two main reasons for this:

  1. You can find package deals for activities you want to do prior to arriving at the city. For example, my group has already purchased our $79 one-day trip to Chichen Itza and Cenote exploring so we no longer have to worry about booking it when we get to our Airbnb. Isn’t it nice to know one of your days is already all planned for you 3 weeks in advance? I know, you’re welcome.
  2. TripAdvisor also has a “city guide” for most of their popular city destinations. If you’re lucky, there may be enough info, reviews and data on restaurants and things to do for the destination that your crew has picked.
  1. Download the city’s local subway map


If you love actually learning the geography of a city like I do, you’ll opt for the subway system (check if it’s a safe way of transportation first). Most subway apps will not only inform you of how to get from one location to another, it can also predict the arrival time of the next train or bus. Trust me, London Transport app was a lifesaver during my year abroad.

  1. Exchange your currency online ASAP

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Don’t be the sucker who’s forced to pay the airport rip-off exchange rate because you got no dough to get you from the airport to your resort. Bank of America lets you order online and it promises you it will be ready within one business day if you put in your request before 1PM. Throw in another $7.50 delivery fee and they’ll send it to your door. Again, your welcome.

  1. Pinterest your heart out for potential airplane snack recipes


While we all anticipate that complimentary bag of free mini pretzels, you’re out of your mind if you think that’s enough to satisfy me for a few hours. Save yourself the $15 cold-cut sandwich you’re forced to buy on the plane because you’re stomach won’t stop grumbling and bring your own snacks.

  1. Watch YouTube videos for days

If your crew is thinking about an all inclusive-deal, you can most likely find company videos promoting their package resorts on YouTube (like Live Aqua in Cancun). This not only shows you facilities and services, but also lets you know exactly what demographic resides at these places.

  1. Follow Instagram bloggers for unique sites to buy swimsuits

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Assuming most of you guys are going somewhere tropical, I know we face a common dilemma when it comes to swimwear; namely, you have no idea where your swimsuit’s gone since last summer since who in their right minds would try swimming in Boston weather? Instagram fashion bloggers get paid a hefty sum for advertising small boutique clothing brands so you don’t have to run to Victoria’s Secret to buy the same bikini 100 other girls will be wearing at the beach too.

  1. Download your airlines app and check in on your phone.

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Why bother even opening your computer when you can check in on your phone 24 hours beforehand lying on your bed in a burrito-blanket position?

  1. But the biggest hack really is…shutting down Netflix


That’s right, you heard me. Everyone knows you have to get through midterms before professors let you out on break. So download Self-Restraint onto your laptop, block out Netflix (and Facebook and Twitter and BuzzFeed and Reddit…) and get your work done so you can really enjoy spring break!


  1. Great to see a post like this, was a really easy read. I just traveled and wish I had seen this post prior. I had done some of these tips but I really wish I had changed currency before hand.

  2. This post was really entertaining and fun to read! Every time I travel, I always wonder what traveling was like before we had so much information just a few smartphone clicks away. My favorite tip you mentioned is the airline app one — I agree that it has made flying a much better experience!

  3. CarbNatalie · ·

    Great post! I definitely think the last one is the most important tidbit of advice, but all of the other hacks are great to know especially before traveling outside of the country. Following Twitter and Instagram feeds of specific places to see what locals do is definitely helpful to make your trip unique and so that you aren’t stuck in huge lines of tourists at touristy attractions.

  4. clinecapen · ·

    Thanks for all the great tips, it’s hard to think how we ever traveled without all of these guides at our finger tips. Planning in advance not only builds up the anticipation of the trip and eliminates stress once you arrive but knowing your options can help you save a few bucks too. Unfortunately I am a self proclaimed procrastinator so I really do any pre planning but I think you’ve inspired me.

  5. laurencondon23 · ·

    This was a great read! I am traveling out of the country next week and had no idea we had the opportunity to exchange currency online before hand. Definitely going to look more into utilizing this service.

    1. lesleyzhou · ·

      I have only recently learned of this too and it’s really made currency exchange much more transparent and convenient. You can follow the rates for a few days before deciding which you’d like to settle on.

  6. fayehubregsen · ·

    Thanks for the hacks Lesley! I will definitely look to download Self-Restraint for this coming week. Also, I would add two additional hacks prior to take-off for spring break. #11: If traveling to a country that speaks another language, brush up with the free app Anki that uses a flashcard system to help users memorize words and phrases. #12: Download podcasts that discuss your spring break destination!

    1. lesleyzhou · ·

      Thanks for the other two tips, I will definitely look into them before I head off to Cancun.

  7. lenskubal · ·

    I really enjoyed this blog post! With social media and smart devices, traveling has been changed forever, and its always fascinating to learn about tips and tricks to utilize such platforms. I recently downloaded the JetBlue app and it was life changing. I think a lot of the tips you highlighted are great when traveling out of the country and I plan to use what I learned in this blog on my future trips this summer.

  8. Nice post. A bit buzz-feedy for my taste, but some interesting insights. I think it could have been interesting to take on the pros and cons of various social media platforms and spring break activity.

  9. I also enjoyed this post a lot! I am a fan of the listing approach to blogs. This makes them easy to read and easy to understand. Overall, I appreciated the tenth recommendation the best. Spring Break really is a great time to just relax and get away from schoolwork and Netflix for a bit. Being a senior, this Spring Break will likely be my last and I look forward to enjoying it with all of the great friends I have made over the past four years.

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